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Mid-level Midwest Skiier

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hey everybody, recent lurker, first-time poster.

I've been reading recent threads about making the jump from intermediate to expert skier, and I'm looking for a little feedback to determine where I sit in the continuum.

I've been skiing Wisconsin my entire life, with most of my time spent at Devils Head (500' drop, south-facing midwest ice slope). I started skiing when I was about 4, and got out about once a year for most of my life. Now, I'm 27 and own my first pair of skis (Rossignol Actys 300's - I love them!). I've been getting out about once a week this year, and it's been amazing.

For the relative infrequency of my outings, I've always been a good skier by Wisconsin terms. I've yet to meet the slope that I couldn't handle.. I'm ok on big icy bumps (3' tall or so), and pretty good on smaller bumps. I ski in control, am confident at speed, carve well, keep the skis parallel, can land jumps at moderate speed, etc. I don't see too many people on the slopes around here skiing at my level. That being said, Wisconsin is a backwater in the downhill world, and I'm looking to step up to Mt. Bohemia in the U.P., and perhaps get out to the Rockies next year.

What I'm looking for is a relative assessment of where I might sit. There's considerable trail inflation here in Wisconsin, so when I say I can ski a double-black (Outer Limits at D.H.), that doesn't say much for "real" hills. Any ideas? I realize that without seeing me in action (I plan to get a video next week), it would be pure speculation.

Best wishes,

Bill
post #2 of 13
Ummmm, what are you hoping to get out of this? We have had endless discussions about what constitutes an "expert" skier around here. If you want to know where you "rank", then start racing and see how you do.
post #3 of 13
There are no expert skiers here just advanced skiers, some of whom are more advanced than others. There are a very few who are better than 97% of all the other skiers on the hill.

Don't worry about your level; you only need to know it when deciding on what level of lesson to take, and for that the instructor can tell you. You could use "expert" ski equipment.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I suppose I was a little disjointed in stating what I'm trying to figure out.. I plan to visit the Rockies next winter, and I'd like to have some idea of what level I'll be skiing at when I get out there. I want to avoid walking out on to the real mountains with a false confidence - the fact that I can ski anything I've touched thus far doesn't translate out West. Am I just going to be hopelessly out of my depth if I decide to try Jackson Hole, for example?

As for the suggestion to try racing, thanks - there's plenty of Nastar races around here, and you're right - that would be an excellent way to see where my skills stack up.
post #5 of 13
Take a lesson at a decent sized resort and see here they put you. Advanced to Expert would be Level 8/9. Sounds like you may be in the 5/6/7 range. A big jump from there to 8/9. Keep it at and enjoy the journey!
post #6 of 13
Your name isn't Luke or Adam Schrab is it?
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post
Take a lesson at a decent sized resort and see here they put you. Advanced to Expert would be Level 8/9. Sounds like you may be in the 5/6/7 range. A big jump from there to 8/9. Keep it at and enjoy the journey!
Thanks for your kind words! I'm doing my best to put miles on sticks this winter, and really practice fundamentals. The relative infrequency of previous years meant that I was completely focused on fun at the expense of good technical practice time - this had changed, and I've already noticed an improvement!
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechWorlds View Post
Your name isn't Luke or Adam Schrab is it?
It isn't, sorry!
post #9 of 13
I remember my first foray into the deep western snow.

Your biggest adaptation will be learning to ski powder or deep snow. It took me a couple of days to get the hang of it. You can prepare a little (only a little) by taking any opportunities you have to ski in deeper snow. Go skiing during snow storms; they will have all that snow groomed by opening bell the next day:. Try any loose snow that you see. Read up on hints for powder.

Skiing in the east on groomed snow, corduroy, hardpack and ice, you will find it almost effortless to pivot skis. Skis will resist the twist a lot more when they are in the deep snow. Fat spatulas probably not so much. Get used to turning by tipping and ski in softer snow. Being a bit of an adrenaline junky, I was into skiing fast and used long skis for stability. They were also skinny skis. Long skinny skis deep in the snow don't pivot much.

Take your first day to get used to the deep snow, balancing on it is a little trickier. By your second day you won't be falling all the time, and will be able to get your money's worth out of a private lesson.

As for the steepness, and length of the runs, don't worry. You will have a blast no matter what level you are, unless you are totally out of shape. To quote one of the skiers skiing steep Alaskan faces via helicopter I saw in a recent video on tv (alaskan nomads or something like that) "It's just skiing." Meaning the techniques used are the same. If you have the basics down you can ski anything (so long as there's a good run-out ).
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
I remember my first foray into the deep western snow.
Awesome response, thank you for your encouragement and advice! Like you, I'm into the skinny long skis, so I think when I make it out there, I'll probably bring my boots and rent the skis. I'm going to be heading up to Mt. Bohemia yet this winter, which boasts huge lake effect snow and no grooming at all. There I'll get a chance to get into some deep stuff and see what's what.

I've been reading these forums non-stop for the last few days, and it's been great. What a wonderful resource!
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Take your first day to get used to the deep snow, balancing on it is a little trickier.
There's no garantee there's going to be "deep" powder. I had gone out west for several years before I hit my first real "dump", all 3 feet of it!

Soft snow doesn't matter, it ski the same way. (it's actually easier than hardpack) It's deep, bottomless snow that's quite different, due to seemingly total lack of snow feedback. If you were lucky enough to hit one, consider taking a powder lesson to "fast track" your learning process.

In a nutshell, I was handling the western skiing trips as well as I did in the midwest. So should you. The rating of slopes aren't all that different, even though the runs are longer. You don't HAVE TO run non-stop from top to bottom, do you? And if you get lucky with the snow god, have fun!
post #12 of 13
billious,
Welcome to epic!!


The locals around where I ski are the real experts of the hill. They ski every day under every conditions. They can absolutly rip even the steepest bump run and ski the terminal velocity of most runs. The terrain is extremly steep, mostly very hard pack and bumpy. Their NASTAR handicapt is either 0 (they are the pasesetters), or low single digets. They allow a very few to free ski with them (most can't come close to keeping up). These few skiers are the benchmark which the other skiers measure their own level of skiing. They are a 9.2 in a scale of 1 to 9. I guess Bodie Miller would be a 10.

For me, it's not how good I am that counts, it how good I can be. I am lucky enough to ski with the big boys, that is my beginning of being a better skier.

RW
post #13 of 13
I too am from the Midwest (Milwaukee, WI) and learned here. If you can go down on ice you can go down on anything I've learned. Powder won't cause you to relearn skiing but more just tweaking. You'll find you're worst habit will be leaning to far on your edges and stopping. I wasted more energy walking then anything else (I snowboard, so it's even worse w/o poles!)

After that it's the steepness you'll need to get used to. We don't have much in the way of large bowls around here, so that terrain feature will be new to you.
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