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post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
This is becoming my topic starter of choice.

By way of getting this started, I read many of the posts in the instruction area and find them enlightening when I can figure out what is being said.

Problem is I have been skiing over 40 years and never took a formal lesson. I have no idea what you all are talking about when the language gets technical.

The good thing is as I get older, I am investigating means to expend less energy and have more fun in the process.

To remain on a basic level for the moment, I will ask just one question for now.

What defines the various skiing levels that get bantered about on occasion? For example, what is a level 5 vs a level 9?

That's it for now.
post #2 of 21
Hi Skier-J--

If you search back in the archives, you'll find much discussion about skier levels. But I don't think it will answer your real question.

Don't worry about figuring out what level you are. Every ski school uses a somewhat different system anyway. All you have to do is go to the ski school desk and tell them your story. Tell them exactly what you wrote here--what you want, that you don't know your level, that you've skied 40 years, and so on. They'll ask you some questions, which you should answer honestly, to the best of your ability. And they'll get you to the right place.

If you take a private lesson, which I strongly recommend if it's a financial option, your level won't matter. The instructor will figure it out quickly and you should have a great experience. If it's a group lesson, they'll probably watch you ski a little before finalizing the classes. The problem with group lessons for someone like you is that you may be at about the same level as others who HAVE taken lessons recently, so you'll end up in the same group, while your needs may be quite different.

So take a half-day or longer private lesson if you can. Ask around for a good instructor, or ask the seller for one who is "Full-Certified." You will get an experienced instructor with a lot of training, one who has dedicated a lot of time, effort, and money to attain that certification. Even so, make sure you are satisfied and that your needs are met in the lesson. If not, go back and demand another one! (They'll give it to you, I almost promise. If they don't, seek your next lesson elsewhere and be sure to let the first place know that you are doing that!)

(Don't hesitate to go with an uncertified instructor, though, if he/she comes highly recommended by a trustworthy source.)

VERY briefly--PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) has traditionally defined 9 levels of skier ability. Level 1 is a "never-ever." Level 9 refers to someone who can outski the majority of instructors. Level 6 is someone who can make basic parallel turns of some sort on most blue terrain, fairly comfortably. Many skiers plateau at about level 6, especially if they never take a lesson. But there are so many variables that it is virtually impossible to describe a skier with a single number. As the EpicSki discussions about skier ability level attest, it can be quite arbitrary and subjective. Few ski schools pay much attention to the "Levels 1-9" these days anyway. So like I said, don't worry if you're not clear what level you are.

Your goal, by-the-way, is a good one. If you've never taken a lesson, I think you'll be pleased at what you can accomplish, and how much less energy you can spend with more fun!

Good luck. Please keep in touch and tell us how it went.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 21
post #4 of 21

I dont understand all the technicall terms but this book really helps .....

"The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing"
by Bob Barnes

available here

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

I did use my head last season when I decided to learn to snowboard, I took lessons from another patrol member who is nearly a level II board instructor. That was absolutely the best decision I have made in snow sports ever.

The experience now leads me to take some ski lessons as well.

I can afford whatever I want, so I will ask around when we get some snow and go from there.

Thanks for the advice.

post #6 of 21
Good answers to a great question.

Bob as usual, it is all in there.
I must say though that the comment; "Every ski school uses a somewhat different system anyway." Just kinda gets to me sometimes. I feel that it is a good idea that there be some indiviuality, and that an area in lets say PA may have differnet terrain as well as clientel than lets say Jackson Hole. But it has long been a concern of mine that the student get what they pay for. PSIA has become the standard by which most schools are run. I feel that PSIA needs to do a better job in building BRAND and getting larger awarness. But I do feel that if the PSIA log is on the door, so to speak, that the instruction for the paying guest is of the quality it should be.
Area certified and Nationaly certified are two very different things. You go to that in your explaination. Certainly the student should ask for and get a PSIA certified instructor. If the student is a level 5 then a level 3 instructor should be given the class, or private. This is important for the student. I was PSIA certirfied but no longer, I do not teach professionaly either. There are instructors who WERE PSIA certified and have had their status lapse. This is important for the shcool and the student to have the ability to check out. It is sort of like having a Doctor preform sugery who has not attended a conference or seminar for ten years. The paying customer is not getting the latest in the best paractices thinking for the money they are paying.
In a nutshell it is BUYER BEWARE, the PSIA logo should be a quality gaurentee, but like anything else, Check it out.
post #7 of 21
It's great you are going with lessons and expanding your experience. Sounds like you are in the "system"-a patroller. Just like patrols bragging about how many Seniors or Trainers they have, ski schools like to show off their "Full Cert"(old term), Level 3 (new term), and examiners.

You'll have better luck going to a larger mountain.(like patrols) Mt. Snow has many instructors at the level mentioned. Okemo does also. You could try to contact PSIA-E in Albany and find out which area has the staff you are looking for.(www.psia-e.org).

Good luck, and of course...always have fun.

No sense in doing it if it isn't fun!
post #8 of 21

I saw this article and thought about your PASSION for finding a way to ski with less energy exerted.

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Yes I am a patroller, just past my 10 year mark. Actually, that had a lot to do with my current interest in lessons. I am going to pass the senior S & T program this season or next and I know I will need some technique tune up in order to acomplish that goal. I plan to take as many clinics as I can this season starting with a 2 day thing at Windham in late Jan.

I will check out the local hill first--who knows there may be some good instruction locally. If not, there is a great reason to take a day trips to Southern VT!

Dr. Go

Nice article, I think I do that "lift the feet" thing sorta unconciously especially when I feel myself sitting back too much---the feeling is to try and "suck" my feet back under me as opposed to trying to force the upper body forward. Not really turn initiation, but sort of the same idea I think. On second thought, I believe it is, when I get this feeling, I am instinctively reaching down the fall line and changing direction at the same time in an attempt to get centered. Usually works pretty well, sometimes results in snow where it don't belong and a search for all the parts that came loose!
post #10 of 21
Well since most people won't toot their own horn.. Kee Tov teaches at Windham. If you got to Mount Snow, check out Todd. AC will be putting up an instructor page soon.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

That is interesting--my clinic is one day with PSIA instructors for skiing skills and the next day with NSP Certified level instructors for tobaggan skills---who knows, maybe I get a day with K T!

K T will you be involved with this clinic? It is called Patroller school and intro to certified, Jan 26 and 27
post #12 of 21
Well, it is time to come out of the closet.

I work for an organization called ASIA. Amateur Ski Instructors Association (www.asiaski.com)

After years of "line-ups", and getting tired, I stumbled upon this group when I started to deal with the local Jr. and Sr. High Schools.

I actually go wherever a ski group goes! Let's face it, many people don't like "lessons", and just want to ski with friends. We are a member school of PSIA and have the same structure and tests as they do. PSIA Examiners run our clinics.

When I take my students from Newburgh skiing, I insist they take lessons from the "pros" (they need the money), but then I ski with different groups providing additional coaching and guided discovery. My students go into a lesson expecting to learn something. Because they know I give the SS Director feedback, my kids look for the "why are we doing this".

Some of these thoughts stumble into the other threads. Pro vs. volunteer, Giving additonal practice in lessons.

Yes I am a Level 2(going for 3 next year)PSIA taking my final for Master Certification this March, Senior Patrol, and State USSA Coach, but I LOVE the work I do with ASIA!!!!

Check out the web site.

Skier j,Maybe we will join up. I go to Jiminy Peak many times. The night hours make it easy. I am not involved with the Windham program in Jannuary. I like instructing so much, I do the minimum to maintain my Senior. If we do get together, I'll be glad to give you some pointers.

BTW, Lisamarie, thanks for tooting my horn for me. I'm off to go skiing now.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
If it isn't fun, don't do it!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 23, 2001 03:36 AM: Message edited 1 time, by KeeTov ]</font>
post #13 of 21
Interesting thoughts in this thread.

I agree with Dr Gos, KeeTov's and BB’s comments. I also think it should be a prerequisite for all level III instructors to have taught two seasons in another country. It is my view that Skiing and Ski instruction can only benefit from “cross pollination”. Level III is very special but I believe it should include a cultural exchange component.

Maybe there could be a PSIA Level IIII that is Level III + working two seasons in other countries as its criteria.

Maybe through exchange programs the terminology confusion that I have experienced in the ES forum would be reduced and if it is reduced for me then then our clients may just stand a chance with uniformity in teaching!

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 23, 2001 05:10 AM: Message edited 3 times, by man from oz ]</font>
post #14 of 21
Once you are Level 3 in the U.S., you can automatically become a member of International Ski Instructors...without ever setting foot in another country.

I agree with you. Teach in another country, and have a good working ski vocabulary in at least one other language.
post #15 of 21
Hey I like that ASIA.

I think it is time we start a RPSIOW,
Retired Professional Ski Instructors Of the WORLD!


I'll sign Ott up!

I can see there are some up and comming members here too.
post #16 of 21

You make an interesting point regarding international experience. However, you would automatically disqualify the legions of part-timers that hold PSIA together. You know, the ones that couldn't take 2 years off from their "real" jobs. The requirement would have to extend to the education staff since they are all LIII. Oops, I think we just lost our entire staff in Central.

Again, not a bad idea, but not very practical.

post #17 of 21
Oh Yah! We should have U.S. instructors spend a season in Bormio! Can you say World War 3???

Actually, since most of the teachers in Bormio use straight skis, rear entry boots, and the appropriate technique for that equipment, it would be a rather interseting history lesson.
Actually, I think the cultural exchange is a good idea!
post #18 of 21
Dr. Go--re: your post of 11/22 10:04am--

I agree with every single word you wrote! Well said! PSIA, for all of its good points, has done very very little to create brand awareness. It is an area I think they definitely need to explore.

Of course, before any major marketing should take place, we have to make sure that our product is consistently first-rate. In my opinion, PSIA needs to drastically increase the standards required of ski schools that display its logo. We must set minimum standards for instructor training before uncertified instructors are allowed to teach. We must make sure that the standard of even Level 1 certification is something we can market proudly. And we must do something to assure that instructors remain current in the years after they attain their cert. pins.

As you say, the PSIA logo should be a quality guarantee. As it is, PSIA provides an opportunity for those who take advantage of it to become supremely skilled. But it is far too likely that someone will sign up for a lesson at a "PSIA Ski School" and get an instructor who has had not one second of PSIA training, hasn't read a manual, and would have a difficult time even SPELLING PSIA! Or they might ski with someone who certified 20 years ago, but has not kept up with the times. We've got to fix this before it makes sense to market the "PSIA brand" too heavily!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #19 of 21
Skier j
If you can't find someone on your Patrol to help you, maybe I can arrange something unofficially through your Leader and spend a day with you in late December/early January.

I am a Senior(inactive for 2 years) and a Level 2 PSIA.

I'll have to check on the inactive issue if I am to actually touch a tobaggon. If not, I can talk to you while you do it.

I hate to see someone wanting to learn and not have a way to do it.

Just spent a great day doing moguls with the head of ASIA. Good stuff. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Kee Tov

Wow that is quite an offer! I am always there Wednesday and Saturday evenings, come on out sometime when in the area.

I am more concerned with refining my ski technique right now, tobaggon handling will be well covered.

I have a 2 year time frame in mind for the senior thing. I will be going to a 2 day clinic as I mentioned at Windham. The region S & T guy (who hails from Poughkeepsie)will be coming to our hill 3 times in January for tobaggon training. Our local patrol trainer is very good as well. And I will be taking as many S&T clinics as I can fit in at Jiminy and Berkshire East.
post #21 of 21
It might be easier if we get together when you are not "on", unless there is enough coverage so we might not get "called".

Again, I want to say-first make sure the hill's PSIA can't/won't help you as a patroller. I don't want to conflict with the pros. I will add to whatever they do, but please check first. If you are only there on those two nights, there might not be an instructor that can fulfill your needs.

I'll send you a private message with some more details, not necessary to state them here.
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