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State of skiing public and lesson needs

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Rather than clutter up the Random thoughts thread I thought I would put this here. I have three questions for you to ponder and suggest answers for while you await the start of the ski season, but first a little background.



My Ski Canada Ski magazine has the following definitions for skiers to help them choose the appropriate gear:

"Aspiring skiers are those who are at the beginning of the learning process. They snowplow often, usually ski quite slowly, and are still gaining experience with snow texture and choosing a line down the slope. Aspiring Skiers prefer greener slopes and may do rudimentary parallel turns in ideal conditions"

"Intermediate skiers are well on their way to skiing the whole mountain. They have overcome most fears of speed and can turn at will on green and blue slopes. Intermediates usually ski parallel except when their confidence is shaken. Intermediates enjoy skis that have good stability, a big sweet spot and versatility to allow room to improve. Specialized skis such as slalom and high performance carvers are usually not a good choice."

"Advanced skiers travel faster and can carve on groomed conditions. They have the confidence to ski almost any pitch, including off-piste slopes. Their repertoire of ski experience is well developed to include all snow and slope conditions. The can adjust technique to suit prevailing conditions. Although they don't always do it with style. Advanced skiers can enjoy good slalom and carving skis and have fun off-piste"

"Expert skiers have well-refined technical skills such as pressure control, enabling them to maximize carving and efficiency. They perform with ease in difficult conditions. They can sense differences in ski and snow behaviour and modify technique on the fly."

On the other hand, in a post by BIGE in the random thoughts thread, the CSIA definition and requirements for Level II were placed at the "consolidation" level and referred to as Intermediate. (seems to roughly correspond with the "expert" definition above in my mind)

But wait there's more ...
On Peter Keelty's review site the following definitions are used

"Expert: Former pro-level skiers who currently ski considerably fewer days per season than working pros. Includes ex-NCAA athletes, former coaches and instructors, other racers and athletes, many coaches, many instructors, some patrollers, some professional freeriders, most junior and development athletes, many ski testers, many industry members, a few committed recreational skiers for whom coaching, instruction and camps are major skiing motivations.
Sport: Many recreational skiers for whom skiing is a passion pursued for the thrill of accomplishment. Often take lessons, attend camps, explore new terrain and 3-dimensional conditions. Often first on the lift and last off.
Strong: Many long-time skiers who do not pursue coaching. Some instructors, some patrollers, many long time recreational skiers, some shop employees, generally strong skiers who use traditional technique
Leisure: Many, if not most, recreational skiers for whom skiing is less all-consuming passion than it is another form of active recreation among many.
Casual: People for whom skiing is primarily a social opportunity, who accompany skiers of other levels, people for whom the heart of the experience is enjoying the mountains, amenities but who are unlikely to focus on technical improvement. May feel tentative in mildly challenging conditions. May ski 5 or fewer days per season.

Not done yet!
Many web sites and ski schools also have a numbering system from 1 to 10.

Ok. Now for the questions.
Question 1: What would you say is the breakdown in the typical skiers on blue square and black diamond runs at your resort, in terms of beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert.

Question 2: What would most benefit the skiing of the skiers in each of the above groups and How best should these skiers needs in each group be addressed.

Question 3: How can a skier tell which group he is in?

Have at it!
post #2 of 18
Whitetail, PA

Q1
==
Blue trails (excluding the Stalker trail)
beginner <1%
intermediate <54%
advanced <44%
expert <1%

Black trails
beginner 0%
intermediate <30%
advanced <60%
expert <1%

Q2
==
Sorry, I don't teach that way.

Q3
==
If they can't figure out which group they're in from those definitions, they'll have to ask someone else besides me. I don't have much interest in going beyond classifications for beginner, intermediate and advanced. Letting the most difficult color trail you ski define your classification is easy enough. It's not a big deal if advanced at a little hill is intermediate at a big one.
post #3 of 18
Ski Canada definitions would fall like this: (Ski canada on left.)

Aspiring = Initiation
Intermediate = Acquisition
Advanced = Consolidation
Expert = Refinement
unlabled = Create Variation.

The numbering systems I've seen cluster the higher skilled over levels 8,9,10, and expand the lower levels over 1 through 7. Highly non-linear.
post #4 of 18
IMO, my rule for members of the general skiing public is if you're not a beginner, you're an intermediate. There are very few actual "advanced" skiers, though many people would classify themselves as such. Most people can get to the intermediate zone with some coaching and not much physical effort if they are in any kind of shape, but to go beyond that requires actual training and conditioning that today's casual skier doesn't bother with. I deal with beginners all the time that are honestly surprised when they are tired at the end of the lesson. Skiing is becoming a vacation, not a sport. It's just as easy and much warmer to go to Disney...
post #5 of 18
I've always enjoyed these classification systems, because there is such variety of definition and so much ego involved.

BigE, I think the reason for the weirdness in the numbering systems is that as you get better, it takes longer to take it to another level. The first six levels go very fast. In ski school, the gradations between these levels are more important than they are later.

Another interesting note is that I find that lower level skiers routinely underestimate their skill level, while upper level skiers routinely overestimate it.

I have my own classification system based partly on my "objective" observation, and partly on respecting people's self assessment and partly on just basic usage.
Beginner: First four days--develops some effectiveness
Intermediate: First two or three years--develops effectiveness and some efficiency
Expert: Long time, experienced skier--adds versatility
Good: You know who you are. Effective, efficient, versatile.
post #6 of 18
Glad to see you rank a good skier ahead of an "expert". I've always thought of myself as a non-expert "good" skier.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post
I've always enjoyed these classification systems, because there is such variety of definition and so much ego involved.

BigE, I think the reason for the weirdness in the numbering systems is that as you get better, it takes longer to take it to another level. The first six levels go very fast. In ski school, the gradations between these levels are more important than they are later.

Another interesting note is that I find that lower level skiers routinely underestimate their skill level, while upper level skiers routinely overestimate it.

I have my own classification system based partly on my "objective" observation, and partly on respecting people's self assessment and partly on just basic usage.
Beginner: First four days--develops some effectiveness
Intermediate: First two or three years--develops effectiveness and some efficiency
Expert: Long time, experienced skier--adds versatility
Good: You know who you are. Effective, efficient, versatile.
The issue I have with the number system is that most everyone that has skied 3 -5 years is slotted into levels 6-7. That's a huge chunk of the skiing population at rather high in the scale....

It's a lot simpler than we make it out to be. We really don't need to be all that arbitrary.

There are 4 skills (CSIA 5).

Are the students using appropriate movements/skills? (Initiation)
Are the movements/skills conscious? (Acquisition)
Are the movements/skills automatic? (Consolidation)
Do the movements/skills stand up in less than perfect conditions? (Refinement)
Do they use novel moves *automatically* to recover from errors or bad conditions? (Create variation -- three levels.)

I think it is fair to say that most of the skiing public is at either steps 1 (using a subset of skills) or two (thinking about each movement). Instructors level 2 are expected to have automatic movement patterns that stand up in MOST conditions. Level 3 must stand up in all conditions. Then, when skiers actually get good () they can create variations of the movements as necessary.

Good racers fit in here, by the nature of racing you will find yourself in many situations that demands skillful recovery...

The measurement of level is one of how ingrained and developed each skill has become. So here if you arbitrarily take the levels and assign them to numbers, 1-7, you'll have a logjam at level 3. To me, this is a reasonable scale.....
post #8 of 18
Haven't got my BASI scheme in front of me but I'll try to wing it:

1) beginner, never used a skill
2) learning skills
3) knows what to do, can do it occasionally
4) knows what to do and can do it when thinking about it (advanced practise)
5) can do it without thinking about it (acquired)
6) can do it creatively

In purely skiing performance terms, instructors at level 2 must be 5 in some areas (on-piste performance - ie carving and short, medium and long-radius turns - central theme - wedge to basic parallel) and minimum of four in all others (bumps, steeps, variables). Instructors at ISIA level must be 5 across the board (central theme, on-piste performance, bumps, steeps, variables).

ISTD they are looking for 6, the skier that other skiers want to be.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Question 1: What would you say is the breakdown in the typical skiers on blue square and black diamond runs at your resort, in terms of beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert.

Question 2: What would most benefit the skiing of the skiers in each of the above groups and How best should these skiers needs in each group be addressed.

Question 3: How can a skier tell which group he is in?

Have at it!
I hope it is okay if I respond, not being a pro.

Q1: The difference between a midweek day on a ridge and a spring break day at the base is huge. In any case, ski resorts appear to spend by far the most money on developing intermediate terrain, so I suspect that is the predominant group.

Q2: Beginner, intermediate: Commitment, full stop. More days on snow. Advanced, "expert": Commitment to progress. Whether through self education, coaching, whatever. More than a desire to improve is necessary...it takes effort. This commitment is more important than what path the skier takes as far as the education, IMO.

Q3: Most times, it just isn't important. When it is important (getting chosen for a group, a leader deciding what terrain might exceed the skier's limits) the answer is that the skier doesn't need to choose...the experienced leader does. For the specific topic of equipment, I think self identification in the form of some small matrix of cubbyholes is highly overrated.

Self identification of skills and desires is important, just not in the simplistic cubbyhole sense. It is more important for boots than skis IMO. For boots, the fitter can get a pretty good idea of where to go with a few well practiced questions. Maybe seeing some skiing tape would be nice, but chances of a self selected "skier skill level" being helpful seem low. After all, it doesn't help the advanced skier who wants to be able to wear their boots like slippers if the fitter has some preconceived notions about what someone described as "advanced" should wear.

For skis, cash you are willing to spend seems most important. There are many high end skis marketed to "advanced" skiers that could serve as forgiving tools to the aspiring skier. At the same time there are many inexpensive skis marketed to beginners that are really too stiff as a function of production process to be a good choice. The people that get in the most trouble are guys that want to prove something with the bigger/stiffer/whatever gear, and I don't think any attempt at improving their self identification of skill is likely to work.
post #10 of 18

1-9

1- No experience
2- Has experienced balancing in motion and experimented with speed control
3- Can control direction
4- Directional control also controls speed
5- Directional control is rhythmic
6- Directional control can be varied to different tempos
7- Directional control is effective in varied terrain
8- Directional control is effective in varied snow conditions
9- Directional control is effective in all terrain and snow conditions
10- There are no 10's- unsustainable except for momentary situations of exceptional performance
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Question 1: What would you say is the breakdown in the typical skiers on blue square and black diamond runs at your resort, in terms of beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert.
That begs the question about what is a blue or black run at each resort? Most resort call the easiest 20% of the mountain green, next 40% blue, toughest 40% black, or some proportions something like that. A black at one resort is blue at another. Then, consider changing snow conditions.

One big clue I look for is a skier's ability to change their technique for different conditions. I don't mean the basics, I mean the details of technique. One basic good technique works everywhere with important detail differences for hard pack, powder, bumps, etc. The skier who is always standing upright, even if they aren't back on their heels, equal weight on both feet, skidding every turn might survive some black runs, but they sure aren't an expert skier.
post #12 of 18

Skier Classification

Ghost. A labelling system is used a lot; Intermediate, Beginner, lst timer, Advanced, Expert. Level 2 thru 9 etc. etc.

Maybe the question should be termed differently; how long have you been skiing, what runs do you ski on this mountatin, where else do you ski etc.?

I don't think there is any instructor out there who hasn't been crossed up with the classification process and the student's opinion of their skiing. Why are people so caught up with being classified? Are we as skiers and instructors being caught up in the; my cars faster than your car, my house is bigger and nicer than your house, you have that-I will have better.

Labels are often times misused and inaccurate. Treating people and teaching them to ski is way more important than assigning then a number. When the student asks where they should be categorized? The answer should be You're a skier, you're a good skier, Are you having fun and enjoying yourself?

Watch them ski, ski with them that doesn't require a label.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
Ghost. A labelling system is used a lot; Intermediate, Beginner, lst timer, Advanced, Expert. Level 2 thru 9 etc. etc.

Maybe the question should be termed differently; how long have you been skiing, what runs do you ski on this mountatin, where else do you ski etc.?

I don't think there is any instructor out there who hasn't been crossed up with the classification process and the student's opinion of their skiing. Why are people so caught up with being classified? Are we as skiers and instructors being caught up in the; my cars faster than your car, my house is bigger and nicer than your house, you have that-I will have better.

Labels are often times misused and inaccurate. Treating people and teaching them to ski is way more important than assigning then a number. When the student asks where they should be categorized? The answer should be You're a skier, you're a good skier, Are you having fun and enjoying yourself?

Watch them ski, ski with them that doesn't require a label.
I think these comments are really good. You know it only matters when the rubber meets the road. I used to tell the prospective students that the only reason we do the classification is to have a preliminary assessment of compatibility. And the issues of technique, terrian/speed acquisition, learning rates, and learning styles make that classification not be totally useful for everyone. Ideally, the classes should remeet at lunch the first day for adjustments. And even, then, we often still have issues.

The answer for the student is to realize that she can learn in ANY class, if the object is learning.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho
Ghost. A labelling system is used a lot; Intermediate, Beginner, lst timer, Advanced, Expert. Level 2 thru 9 etc. etc.

Maybe the question should be termed differently; how long have you been skiing, what runs do you ski on this mountatin, where else do you ski etc.?

I don't think there is any instructor out there who hasn't been crossed up with the classification process and the student's opinion of their skiing. Why are people so caught up with being classified? Are we as skiers and instructors being caught up in the; my cars faster than your car, my house is bigger and nicer than your house, you have that-I will have better.

Labels are often times misused and inaccurate. Treating people and teaching them to ski is way more important than assigning then a number. When the student asks where they should be categorized? The answer should be You're a skier, you're a good skier, Are you having fun and enjoying yourself?

Watch them ski, ski with them that doesn't require a label.
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post
I think these comments are really good. You know it only matters when the rubber meets the road. I used to tell the prospective students that the only reason we do the classification is to have a preliminary assessment of compatibility. And the issues of technique, terrian/speed acquisition, learning rates, and learning styles make that classification not be totally useful for everyone. Ideally, the classes should remeet at lunch the first day for adjustments. And even, then, we often still have issues.

The answer for the student is to realize that she can learn in ANY class, if the object is learning.
I'm with you Pete and Weems...here at Squaw are top group lesson is 6-7, which makes the whole classification system irrelevant. Fortunately, I primarily teach privates and rarely does the question of "what level am I?" even come up.
post #15 of 18

Screening students

Verbal screening is a vital part of every lesson. It allows the instructor the opportunity to strike up a conversation geared towards getting the student involved in learning, first with past accomplishments, then with present challenges and then future goals. Effective screening sets up an efficient split for group lessons and establishes credibility for private lessons. It's essential as a fact finding tool and also creates the learning partnership from the start of the lesson.
post #16 of 18

Oops

Quote:
Originally Posted by olylady View Post
I'm with you Pete and Weems...here at Squaw are top group lesson is 6-7, which makes the whole classification system irrelevant. Fortunately, I primarily teach privates and rarely does the question of "what level am I?" even come up.
...here at Squaw our top group lesson is 6-7,... Spelling isn't one of my strong points.
post #17 of 18
That's just phonetic typing isn't it?
post #18 of 18
Ya, ya, that's it! English....
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