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Skier Ability Level Poll - Page 2

post #31 of 62
oopps. I voted before I realized there was a link to a test. Saw vote now and evaluated based on feedback from ski school that said I was L 7. By the test standard I'm like ant, better than 8 but still not ready to ski EVRYTHING ANYTIME. I ski almost everything most of the time. As soon as I figure out how to turn and stop in mid air, I'll try big air : . If it's not eastern icey I'll ski just about anything. So what am I by this poll, a 8 1/2?
post #32 of 62

You want to add another layer of complexity to improve the situation? Pardon if I hold my applause.

The lessons are not given nor are they supervised by automatons (as we seem to prefer to have leading our public school classrooms). These people can actually tell when someone who reports he is a Level 6 fits perfectly with another who reports he is a Level 8. It doesn't take more than a couple of key signals to see the trend. I finesse the issue of them comparing notes by telling people the whole levels thing is a pile of hooey: a "tool" that creates more problems than it solves.

Wouldn't it be simpler for a vacationer to have to indicate only once that they are comfortable on groomed blues to get the bindings dialed right, the skis the right model/length, and placement in the right group?

As for instruction, has increasing the number of levels improved the quality of instruction? Does the consumer know that Level I is not higher than Level III? Is our system of "brass" ultimately just as silly and ceremonial as any other fraternal order's?
post #33 of 62
Last year Sugarbowl went with levels 1-4 only and actually they did not call it 1-4. it was

Green circle, = ever ever
Green circle and part of a blue square = can turn left and right and stop
Part of a green circle and a whole blue square = starting to stem to matching skis at end of a turn
Blue square no green = mostly "matched" skis on easy blue runs.

Anything else was "advanced" and required some skiing with the instructor to place. Since 95% of group lessons were beginning early stage skiers this worked great. Then the rest usually ended up being semi private or private. If the customer paid for a "private" it was basicly "guaranteed" to be 1 on 1. Group lessons were dependent on enough students to take out a class.

This whole process required that we build a relationship/partnership with our customers in order to deliver a quality product. I think it worked quite well.
post #34 of 62
Originally posted by nolo:
Tom, You want to add another layer of complexity to improve the situation? ...
Hey Nolo, I can't tell if your comment applies to my first suggestion (ie, changing "level" to "ski school level" where appropriate, or to my second facetious suggestion about granting skiing Ph.D.'s.

With respect to the first one, I totally agree with you that your idea would be excellent if it actually would ever get implemented, its just that the pragmatist in me thinks that its much more likely that adding the two words, "Ski School" in front of the word, "level" is more likely to happen than the larger changes in the overall student handling system that your suggestion would seem to require.

With respect to my second "suggestion" about using 12+ grades like the public education system (ie, instead of 9 levels), I hope you saw all the 's and 's, and realize that I was just being silly. (Note to self: Take humor lessons from Fox ASAP).

All the best,

Tom / PM

PS - I just saw DC's comment about Sugarbowl, and think that is also a very sensible way to do things.

[ October 16, 2002, 08:05 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #35 of 62
Silly thing. I thought about the midwest ski resorts I have been to. Took the test. Came out a level 8.

Thought about skiing Mt. Bachelor. Took the test. Came out a 7.

It depends on whose black runs we're talking about. And the jump between 8 and 9 IS rather large.

Isn't this also for determining a level for skiing on shaped skis? And what if you're on straight skis? Telemark?
post #36 of 62
re` levels: some ski schools in Australia go with the euro system of level 1 being the ultimate in skill, while other Australian ski schools use the north american system, wiht level 1 being never-ever.

Then you have the other grading problem: saying "can ski this or that kind of run" means different things to different people! Some guests' "skiing" is what we might call "surviving"!

I've started to grade groups more on comfort levels with terrain and speed, rather than technical skill. Bad, maybe, but it ensures a cohesive group that stays together.
post #37 of 62
hah, I thought I knew my levels, so I put 7.

I then took the test and it said i'm a 9.

PFFFT. If I remember right I'm probably more like an 8 at Alta.

I dont get how they go from "i'll ski blue bumps" to "i'll ski anywhere"

post #38 of 62
> wtf?

As you may have noticed, that's what everybody is asking. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Tom / PM
post #39 of 62
I estimated myself as a 6 before taking the test, but it told me I was an 8.
I can handle most blacks and some doubles at Killington, but that's about the most difficult terrain I've skied.
But, I really don't care what level someone says I am as long as I'm improving.
post #40 of 62
I felt that the "test" did a good job of segregation.

I can appreciate that the reason for division is to group like abilities that may border on aspirations.
If someone (paying customer) feels they should be skiing a certain segment mountain, then that is the instructional group they should be in. They wouldn't have an enjoyable experience else wise. They didn't come for a lesson to practice what they already assume to know. They came to advance. The instructor will just need to adapt to the realities and still "add value" to all participants. The customer may modify their self appraisal from time to time.

Those advanced skiers caught at the top two brackets are forever confused about assesment of their own ski ability any way, so lump ' em all together and be done with it. Those top skiers don't represent much of a statistic in the cash drawer anyway. There should be a PIA premium for the level 8-9 "group lessons".
Send them off to heli-ski or do an extreme camp or something! Just get them the h----out of the way! If they are so arrogant as to be concerned about "classification" there is likely little hope of any transfer anyway.

Life is tough, enjoy every bit of it.

'Patrol refresher this week end, and it may snow at elevation.

Won't that get the blood flowing!

post #41 of 62
I've learnt that when someone at a ski school split asks me how good I am, I have to say I'm better than I really am. This is because most Brits think they are the bee's knees (dog's b******s) and think 5 weeks once a year makes them an expert. Also (insert rude gender stereotyping here) 'all' men have to say they're advanced. The ski school instructors know this and automatically discount 20% of what they're told.

This forum has helped me realise how poor a skier a really am. So when I tell the truth, I get put in a stupid class and have to be 'promoted' quite quickly.
post #42 of 62
"This forum has helped me realise how poor a skier a really am."

I'm going to have to think about that for a while, Frances. My first reaction is that this forum must not be very uplifting. But if you're talking about "what it is" without posing, and essentially what you mean is "I have a long way to go to get there," then I'm with you 100%. Then again maybe you are calling this thread a forum, and aren't talking about the technique & instruction forum in its entirety.

Can you tell me what you had in mind?
post #43 of 62
Originally posted by disski:

Epicski members may accept it. Aspen clients may accept it.
I am thinking that that is not the 'norm' though.
You're correct about the norm. And Aspen clients don't accept it--that it takes a long time. They still get shocked when we tell them we're working on our skiing all the time. That's why we let them get to six so fast. It's just a positive reinforcement process. Yet we slow them down at the higher levels, because they start to learn that there are endless layers to the onion.
post #44 of 62
A couple of ingredients to stir this soup:

When people read ANY classification system, they often over- or underestimate themselves. We find that the the level 6 and down tend to underestimate themselves, while the 7 and up group tends to overestimate themselves. And yes, men will overestimate themselves more than women will and women will understimate themselves more than men will.

When people arrive at class, there is a strong confusion (which we've tried to clarify and it ended up just being more complicated) about the level "at arrival" and the curriculum of the class. Some are clear that the description is about what they now do, while others are convinced that it is about what will be done in the class.

Ski instructors over the years develop a culture (different from area to area) where they have a pretty fixed picture of what each level is. I believe that they develop their fix as a new pro and never quite give it up--even if a system changes. The designer of the system at each area, has to keep that in mind if we wish for the instructor/student communication about levels to be useful.

Ultimately, we can't and don't expect our students to be accurate. All we try to do is develop homogeneous classes--that can ski together and enjoy the day and the learning together. This is about practicality at the moment of assignment--rather than accuracy. We check and recheck and move people around as they wish.

We also have tiny classes in Aspen (like 3-4 to a class)--so the problem is not so large. In the old days, I taught,like many here, in places with very large classes (which I enjoyed very much by the way). In this situation the problem inflates and it takes an experienced pro to figure it out and make it work.

I learned it from watching my boss/mentor, Harry Baxter at Sugarloaf. One day, the ss ticket seller forgot to check the time, and sent out about six students of all different levels after all the instructors had been sent out. Harry told them that he would teach them all anyway, and anyone who didn't get value could have a full refund. I was teaching a beginners class at the time, and watched the whole process. It was awesome, and it taught me that learning is not so much about levels but about willingness to learn.

Fun stuff, good posts,--we'll relook at our system. Thanks.
post #45 of 62
Well said, weems,

Originally posted by weems:
...When people read ANY classification system, they often over- or underestimate themselves. We find that the the level 6 and down tend to underestimate themselves, while the 7 and up group tends to overestimate themselves...
An example of this: two years ago I was skiing with a group of people who called themselves level 6 (based on a scale I've posted before). Included in the group were a couple of people who were obviously out of their depth. Now, before I go further, let me explain that this was a free half day skiing with an ex-racer, it wasn't a lesson, although it was a series of tips & pointers. Before we all went on the trip, we had to say what level we were at on a form, so that those organising it could sort out equal sized groups for skiing with the pro.
The next year, in an effort to avoid skiing with the same two people, I said I was a level 7, even though I didn't feel like a 7. Guess who decided when they got to the resort to switch groups? Yep, the same two people from the previous year, and part of their reasoning was that they recognised my name, along with a couple of others who had skied the previous year, and thought that they too should move up.
About 10 minutes into the session I was following the tracks of the pro, and then we would wait while our two friends, who insisted on going in the first three every time, would hold up the rest of the group.
The pro turned to me and told me I was in the wrong group, and should go up a level. I explained that I felt, based on the description, that I was a level 6, maybe a 7, but nowhere near an 8, and the only reason I seemed to be skiing well was that certain people were struggling, and wrecking the time for the others.
This year, I believe the same two people are going again, but I intend to see what group they go in, and if necessary, I'll drop down to get out of their way!

post #46 of 62
Heli-skiers also have to state their skiing ability. I asked one of the lodge managers if people all pretty much claim a spot in the top group. Yes, he said.

That's what Sundays are for. To remix into compatable groups. There is grousing on Sunday night as families and friends may be split up. By the Friday night farewell party, no one remembers being upset about it.

The first rule of cat herding: have enough milk to go around.

(Speaking of milk...never mind.)

[ October 18, 2002, 09:31 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #47 of 62
>>>). Anything above that is icing on the cake. Most skiers on the mountain are level 4-5-6, or intermediates.<<<

How true! ......Ott
post #48 of 62
Originally posted by nolo:
Heli-skiers also have to state their skiing ability.

This is true and it cracks me up to watch. Once at Bobbie Burns, I heard a heliski guide quietly utter to his boss perhaps the most elegant statement I've ever heard about how badly mismatched his group was:
"My group is quite heterogeneous."
post #49 of 62
I missed the link to the article the first time around, so I guessed based on my personal interpretation of the range. I put down 7.

Then I started to read the responses and realised that I had missed the point of the poll.

So I took there test. I came out an 8 wavering on 9.

I feel more comfortable with 7.

On the other hand, I took the snowboard quiz as well and in 2 seasons or part time playing, they think I am a 7

Who am I to argue?

post #50 of 62
The issue of self ranking is one which has got my goat for as long as I have been skiing (only 2 years, so not a HUGE problem yet ) I have NEVER been in a lesson where I have not been the best student (barring once when drunk), and that is not a comment on how I ski. More it is a comment on how people rank themselves.

I had a lesson at Mt Hutt this season, and I took a level 5 (which is the second from top there). The description of that level is "You make strong turns on all steep blue runs with confidence, speed control and use a pole plant.
Goal: Make dynamic and carving turns. Long and short dynamic turns with pole plant, in easy bumps, groomed black runs."

I've skied a bit over the last 2 seasons (30+ days?) and I felt that, as I had skiied two level 4 lessons over the last fortnight and been considerable underwhelmed by both, this was the place I should be.

So, it is me, my instructor and 2 others in the group. We chat on the way up, and the woman is talking to the instructor about how she skis. On the way up, she points down a pretty standard blue and says "I came down that today, I didn't fall, and I was pretty happy". I knew where this lesson was going, and I supressed a groan.

it was NOTHING compared to the other guy in the group. Somehow on the way up I ascertained that this was his 3rd day on skis. He seemed so amazingly confident it crossed my mind to think that I must be an incredibly slow learner. Not so. As we neared the top of the chair, he confided that he hated this bit. He snowploughed off ungainly, and I thought desperately about regaining my lost money...

The initial goal was to go down a green to get to a t-bar which would take us to some serious terrain. However, this was not possible. The woman made her way down in a series of unconfident Christies, and the guy... well.. the guy crashed a number of times. Most memorably into a "slow down" sign.

I skied down backwards, for god's sake. The guy was quickly placed into a level 2, but the woman, who was a 3b at best, stayed with me. The hardest stuff we went into on what was a massive powder day was a semi-steep blue bowl, which I waited 10 minutes at the bottom of.

This is the worst experience, but there have been others like it - WHY are people so stupid?
post #51 of 62
It's a perennial problem, bergkamp, and I don't know the solution! Self-grading leads to these crazy situations...I don't think i've ever had a mid-level group where everyone was "the level". Peoples' perceptions of themselves are truely amazing. Being able to "get down something" equates with skiing for a lot of people, because they are such poor skiiers, they think their level of control (or lack thereof) is what skiing is about. But you'll get teh situation where the people who were accurate in grading themselves are lumped with the ones who shouldn't be there, and have a frustrating lesson.

or you'll get a group of friends or family who want to be in teh same group, and can't comprehend that the capabilities of the poorest skiier will dictate the terrain and speed of the group.

One thing that *really* strikes me is the number of couples where the man is an abysmal skiier: he uses muscle and risk to ski (enjoying himself thoroughly i might add!) while the lady is more careful, but in skills terms is a much better skiier. And yet, both are convinced that it is her that needs the lesson. The bloke hardly listens, or skis on ahead and waits for us. He's too good to need a lesson! Despite resembling a bag of laundry on skis.

But if you don't have self-grading, often that causes problems wiht the guests getting disgruntled. They are dissatisfied by the grading system, and feel that the peopel doing the grading "got it wrong" or "did them down" in some way. And disgruntled customers are a no-no for those trying to sell lessons.

I do feel it's *vital* for groups at the mid and upper levels to have a "warm up" ski somewhere close to each other before splitting up though, so that blatantly mid-graded people can be re-arranged. If you're out on the mountain and finding yourselves having to wait 10 minutes for someone all the time, then no one is enjoying themselves.
post #52 of 62
Have I told you this true story? I was hired to give a semi private to a husband and wife. It takes two chair rides to get to the top of the peak I had determined we should ski. On the first chair ride, I rode with the wife. She said, "This lesson is for Joe. He thinks the lesson is for me, but I paid for the lesson and I want Joe to have it." On the next chair ride, I rode with the husband. He said, "This lesson is for Sharon. I only came along for moral support. Now, what I think she needs to work on is yadayadayada."

It was a pretty funny 3 hours, sort of like teaching Lucy and Desi. They've since become good friends and we often laugh about our first lesson. I call them the Joe and Sharon Show (not their real names).
post #53 of 62
You're an instructor aren't you, Ant? Just out of interest, do more people misjudge their skills on Weekends and School Holidays than in Midweek?

You know, weekend warrior syndrome?
post #54 of 62
This whole discussion is one of the main reasons I find taking private lessons far greater value for money.
post #55 of 62
Bergkamp: no, I haven't seen any patterns emerging. Some people just have wildly inaccurate views of their own skiing! I wish they could see themselves on video. I just know they are seeing themselves as those ski gods on the ads.

Nolo: the husband giving you a list of things to teach his wife: I had such a funny one last season in the US. I got a lady and her two teenagers for a private. Dad informed me of all their (many) faults. I listened in amazement, until he got to the son: 'now, X here doesn't go up and down enough..." and the light dawned on me. Dad was THAT kind of skiier. So I took mum and the "kids", all of whom had lovely natural stances and all were really decent skiiers. Dad had been nagging them constantly about jamming their legs together and going up and down like pistons. So we had a great lesson! (Dad was off doing Proper Skiing).
post #56 of 62

Great story. Reminds me of The Castle: He's dreamin'!
post #57 of 62
I just did the test. It says I'm an 8 (which reminds me of a "little Johnny" joke, but I won't tell it here.)
Do I believe it? No. I'm at the most a 7.


P.S. Now you may return to your off-topic posting
post #58 of 62
Thank you Fox! I'll do just that.

When I was in Taos, I used to do the ski week orientation. We did not allow husbands and wives in the same class. "For chissakes," I would say. "If you can't get away from each other for two hours a day, then you've got some real bad co-dependencies going on. Besides, with a couple together, whenever I give a comment to the wife, the husband always feels like he's got to interpret it for her--like, put it into her language."

[ October 20, 2002, 08:38 AM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #59 of 62
I took the test too. By that standard, I am also a Level 9. Sure, I know there are many skiers better than myself. My question is why does anyone care? Are we that insecure that we need to be able to score ourselves? Does it matter if I'm a 9, a 9+ a level X or should it go to 11 (why not just make 10 higher? Because when you get to 10 you've got one more)?

As far as Aspen's level tester goes, if it gets students to the right level, then what's the problem?
post #60 of 62
they need to make a level between 8 and 9. I ski double blacks, the steeps and chutes and stuff but I hate moguls and have some difficulty just skiing steeper blue bumps.

dude that was bad english

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