or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Expert skiing

post #1 of 163
Thread Starter 

What is it in your opinion that makes a skier an expert?  Also what does it mean to be a Level 3 or fully certified ski instructor in PSIA or other governing bodies? Is there a difference or are they the same? This is not a question of right or wrong but what is your personal opinion.  Finally is level # in psia too hard?  What about other bodies of certification(csia, basi, kiwi, french, swiss,etc...)?

post #2 of 163

Knowledge and skill make a skier an expert.  An expert skier knows how to ski.  An expert skier knows (either intuitively or via a model) how a ski works and is able to use the skis in any manner desired.  An expert skier has precise control over his skis and his skiing.

 

Expert skiing is difficult to demonstrate; someone may appear to be an expert because he is doing one thing well when you see him or her; it is easier to spot non-expert skiing.   Expert skier's do not become frequent fallers when they get in terrain that is over their head.  That is not to say that they never fall, just that falling is the exception, not the rule.  That is not to say that they won't have their preferred terrain, just that they will be "better" in some terrain, the terrain they have the most experience in, than other terrain (e.g. a Worldcup downhiller could suck at bumps and a champion bump skier would suck at the DH, I would still call them both experts).

 

While it is very tempting to say expert skiers can ski any terrain in any condition, it is simply not true; nobody can ski an ice covered 100 m vertical face that ends in jagged rocks, and a novice can side slip a nearly vertical face with sharp edges.  It's not too far from a side slip to a series of connected side slips. 

 

Being able to ski a steeps does not make one an expert.  Being able to ski fast does not make one an expert.  However an expert can ski steeps fast and in control, having as much control over his path as the laws of physics allow.  Well, not quite; nobody's perfect.  I'm still thinking this out, but for now I'll say that if an expert is skiing and not at the limits of what is physically possible, he should be able to make his skis go within an inch of where he want's them to, and an expert should be able to at least reach 9/10s of what is physically possible.

 

Oh, one more thing, tere are no "experts" on Epic. On the EPIC scale, skiers that would be called experts elsewhere are called "advanced" skiers, and they ski better than 97% of skiers. 

 

 

post #3 of 163

Loki, to address your question about L3's in PSIA vs the definition of an expert skier. The definition of an expert skier by Ghost is one I think is fairly accurate. As far as a Level 3 PSIA instructor, you can be fairly certain that anybody sporting a gold pin is an expert skier. That doesn't mean that any expert skier can get their Level 3. To obtain Level 3 is years of commitment, of time, money, and effort. First one must be a working instructor. Then one must join PSIA. Then take their Level 1 exam. Level 1 isn't too difficult. Then one must study for, and take their Level 2 Exam, which is a written and a practical exam. Level 2 is considerably more difficult. Finally, one must study for and take their Level 3 exam, which is also written and practical, and is extremely difficult. This process typically takes at least 4-5 years. In order to pass Level 2 and 3 requires hours and hours of book studying as well as hours of practical clinics. Also keep in mind that the instructor must pay to take each exam, while also paying their yearly PSIA dues.

 

Long story short... an expert skier is a skier who has a great deal of talent and ability. A Level 3 instructor is an expert skier who has put in loads of work to achieve a specific goal.

post #4 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

 

Long story short... an expert skier is a skier who has a great deal of talent and ability. A Level 3 instructor is an expert skier who has put in loads of work to achieve a specific goal.



...and can take all that training and knowledge and put it to good use in teaching others to ski.

 

I have nothing to back up my follwoing statement other than my own perception but I would say -

 

Bode Miller is a better skier than most expert skiers to include PSIA L3's.  However, ven if he associated himself with a mountain and started instructing and had a waiver for all the requirements to make him eligible to take the L3 exam, I doubt he would pass it.

 

An L3 is a great skier and (should be) a great teacher.  I believe that is why the exam isn't limited to skiing ability.

 

That being said, Bode Miller might actually be a great instructor too.  I'm just using him as an example of someone from that WC group not being able to pass the certification required.  Who know's, maybe Danica Patrick can't paralell park but she's one hell of a driver!  I bet there's a few NASCAR drivers that didn't get their drivers license first time around.

 

I think L3 is very difficult but achievable.  I'm pretty sure I'll eventually get my L2 but I'm not sure I'll be able to invest the time, money and training to get my L3.  You really have to want it and many folks don't get it first time.

 

JMO,

Ken

post #5 of 163

To clarify the above description of the exam process, the levels one, two and three exams are principally on snow, on skis. Level one was a two day exam. level two was a three day exam. Level three was, when I did it, a five day exam, divided into a three day skiing exam and a two day written and ski teaching exam (or was it the other way around, two days and three, I forget?). In between the exams are training requirements, requirements for specified hours of teaching experience, teaching clinics, and written confirmation of having met these requirements by your ski school director. Its not an easy process. In my level three skiing exam I was the only one to pass out of a group of seven, for example, and these were all very good skiers with years of teaching and skiing experience. I taught for a large well known ski area and was only the second person from that school to become level three certified in the preceding ten year period. While the frequency of level three attainment varies from ski school to ski school, depending somewhat on the effectiveness of their training programs the percentage of level three (formerly designated as "fully certified" instructors) is not high at the average ski area.

post #6 of 163

There's experts and then there's experts.

 

The cert process is part of a skier / teacher development program. Level 1 is roughly equivelent to a grade school education, level two a junior high school education, and level three a high school education. The important thing to understand is each of these certifications recognizes a milestone in that coaches development. For example, you need to be a 3 to pursue TA. Which to continue my educational example might be seen as an associate's degree, ITC as bachelor's degree, Apprentice Examiner and Examiner as a masters, and ed staff / demo team / demo team selectors as PHDs. Each represents another milestone in that coaches career but may not be apparent to a student who only sees the bronze, sliver, or gold pin on their instructor's coat. So you see, not all "3s" are equal in their levels of expertise. Don't get me wrong I'm proud to wear my gold pin but it should be obvious that I see it as only a milestone somewhere around the one third point in that educational model I just described. It certainly isn't the high end of the skier / coaches development model like some here are suggesting.

Can most "3s" handle most lessons? Sure. Does that mean there are some lessons beyond the scope of that level of certification? Absolutely! So I see the question "what is an expert" as a incomplete question? For a skier, it might be skiing a black run well, or winning a gold NASTAR pin. As a coach it has more to do with the progress our students make and our ablility to consistently help our students discover their inner expert. In other words an expert teacher / ski coach / instructor needs to measure their expertise through their student's improvement and development. Not by the color of the pin on their coat.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 7/31/10 at 4:38pm
post #7 of 163

Many L3s do not consider themselves experts. Indeed, they may regard the L3 as the point at which they finally knew enough about skiing to realize that they had just started the journey.

 

As JASP says, there are several far more demanding levels of certification, although they are less well-known to the general public. Some "standard" certifications from other organizations/countries are also considerably more demanding.

 

"Expert" is largely a matter of opinion, in any case.

post #8 of 163

I measure my expertise by the broadness and duration of my smile.

post #9 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurel Hill Crazie View Post

I measure my expertise by the broadness and duration of my smile.


  The better you get the more fun you have!

JF

post #10 of 163

Any description of level 3, even my own, is relative to current conditions and deserves a little qualification:

 

As I see it level 3 certification is best described by its former title "fully certified". It represents a standard to which all ski instructors ought to aspire. It isn't the highest standard or even an extremely high standard. Instead it was intended to represent a reasonable general standard for ski instruction. In a better world of ski instruction, all members of a ski school would be fully certified except those apprentices and journeymen who were learning the trade. A few would far exceed this standard and  some would become examiners and perhaps demo teamers.

 

That level 3 is seen as a very high standard and unattainable by many instructors and that ski schools do not produce more "full certs" is a reflection of the state of training and the reality of the ski instruction business in this country.

post #11 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post

Any description of level 3, even my own, is relative to current conditions and deserves a little qualification:

 

As I see it level 3 certification is best described by its former title "fully certified". It represents a standard to which all ski instructors ought to aspire. It isn't the highest standard or even an extremely high standard. Instead it was intended to represent a reasonable general standard for ski instruction. In a better world of ski instruction, all members of a ski school would be fully certified except those apprentices and journeymen who were learning the trade. A few would far exceed this standard and  some would become examiners and perhaps demo teamers.

 

That level 3 is seen as a very high standard and unattainable by many instructors and that ski schools do not produce more "full certs" is a reflection of the state of training and the reality of the ski instruction business in this country.


there are some people who just arent physically gifted enough to ever pass a L3 exam. No matter how hard they work IMO.

 

post #12 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post




there are some people who just arent physically gifted enough to ever pass a L3 exam. No matter how hard they work IMO.

 



Or mentally or emotionally.

post #13 of 163

Expert.   Don't necessarily agree with the L3 are expert mantra. 

 

An expert can ski Anywhere, Any time, Under any condition and do it well. He or she doesn't have to be PSIA certified at anything.

Probably all of us know skiers like this if we've been around the hills for awhile.   I am not an expert skier but know a few L3 guys and girls that I can wax on any hill, any time and under any condition.

 

Generally speaking, Yes level 3 cerified instructors are either experts or at the least very good skiers but of course there are exceptions to every rule.

 

Have known couple level 3 's that are almost perfect on a groomed run doing drills etc., but are way out of their element in other places and/or conditions.

 

post #14 of 163

I ll just borrow some words from Mr. Bob Barnes

Quote:

A true expert--and particularly an expert instructor--can quickly and easily imitate the style and movements of virtually any skier on the mountain. Upon the foundation of discipline developed through practicing exercises and drills, through intentionally exploring and mastering the entire spectrum of movement possibilities, they can ski any way they choose--not just the only way they can. That's freedom!

 

post #15 of 163

Bombing an icy trail with some pretty good speed behind you.  Oh, I almost forgot about the other part.  Your mind is on the grocery list because your significant others parents are coming for the time and you want to make sure you didn't forget anything.  Dang, I know it was a single malt that her dad was partial to and it was Glen, Glen Plake, naw, Glen Burnie or Livet.

 

post #16 of 163

An expert skier is one who can ski quickly down a pre-determined line.  The gnarlier the line and the quicker you can ski it....the better of a skier you are.

post #17 of 163

To ride a lift to the top of a mountain, pick any line and traverse or hike to it. And rip the heck out of it!

post #18 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurel Hill Crazie View Post

I measure my expertise by the broadness and duration of my smile.



An expert skier will be smiling while a lessed skill skier will not. For example, I think all instructors that have worked in a ski school have experianced a situation when the student is crying. Or girlfriend, whife, child etc. Expert skiers ski down any terrain and they most likely do it smiling. The trick is to not be affraid. Trust your iwb skills.

 

However, a true expert skier is one that can admit he has flaws and limitations and compliment others on their skiing.

post #19 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post




there are some people who just arent physically gifted enough to ever pass a L3 exam. No matter how hard they work IMO.

 


I'm not sure that any unusual physical gift is required although conditioning is. I'm sure there are those who suffer various impairments including those which come with age and there are those who lack the pschological makeup to be good teachers. In general though I think most people who would be considered for ski teaching positions ought to aspire to full certification. The teaching system is very good and skiing at that level is attainable. What is required is learning not giftedness.
 

post #20 of 163

I've skied with a lot of ski instructors, including everything from L2 to several members of the National Demo Team.  What's interesting is that a lot of these folk know one another, and some of them are quite critical of the skiing of many of the L3+ instructors!

 

This all goes to my assertion:  different strokes for different folks.

 

One of the most effective instructors I've recently skied with is a L2 instructor who has (obviously, I guess) never passed his L3 exam.  His skiing is not great.  But he is great at communicating what is affecting YOUR skiing.  It goes to show that one need not be a great skier to be a great skiing coach or instructor. 

 

It's not that surprising, really.  How many head coaches of football teams were great football players?  Not that many.  How many quarterback coaches were great quarterbacks?  A great teacher does not have to be able to do, they have to be able to teach.  And many of these folk can get around their inability to demonstrate in their own skiing what it is they want you to do.

 

I bet that is antithetical to many.  And certainly I've learned a lot by skiing with folk who are great instructors and great skiiers.  But I don't think that you have to be a great skier to be a great coach, and vice versa.

post #21 of 163

The reason to obtain level 3 is to attain a certain standard of ski teaching, not to be able to brag about your your skiing ability. Any one who cares about his/her ski teaching wants to become better at it. Level 3 isn't an end-all, its just a milestone in your personal learning career.

post #22 of 163



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

I've skied with a lot of ski instructors, including everything from L2 to several members of the National Demo Team.  What's interesting is that a lot of these folk know one another, and some of them are quite critical of the skiing of many of the L3+ instructors!

 

This all goes to my assertion:  different strokes for different folks.

 

One of the most effective instructors I've recently skied with is a L2 instructor who has (obviously, I guess) never passed his L3 exam.  His skiing is not great.  But he is great at communicating what is affecting YOUR skiing.  It goes to show that one need not be a great skier to be a great skiing coach or instructor. 

 

It's not that surprising, really.  How many head coaches of football teams were great football players?  Not that many.  How many quarterback coaches were great quarterbacks?  A great teacher does not have to be able to do, they have to be able to teach.  And many of these folk can get around their inability to demonstrate in their own skiing what it is they want you to do.

 

I bet that is antithetical to many.  And certainly I've learned a lot by skiing with folk who are great instructors and great skiiers.  But I don't think that you have to be a great skier to be a great coach, and vice versa.



I think philosophically what you write is true....I doubt too many would find that antithetical.  Lots of pros that ski mid-level offer great lessons for mid-level skiers....but there is a limit to how far you can take this.  

 

1: In skiing you need to be able to ski the terrain your students do.  While it is true a good bump lesson could easily spend 80% of the time outside the bumps...you do need to go there at some point.  Hence if the instructor cant get down the bump run, the lesson will suffer.  Nothing worse then waiting for your instructor!

 

2:  Somewhere along the way instructors forgot that a big part of their job is to inspire.  Watching what is possible, can for many people be an eye opener to greater learning...by simply being an example as to what is possible.  Without this you end up with "small town hero" syndrome...where the mediorcre is prasied for being great, when in reality it is anything but.

 

3: Finally just like in football, how many WC coaches were great WC skiers?  Like football, not many.  But having said that, dont kid yourself into thinking these guys cant ski.  Sure some might be "over-the-hill" hence you are not seeing their "A-game", but in their day they ripped.  Good enough to be WC?  Often not...but unless you have skied with WC skiers, you really cannot grasp just how f#%king good these guys and gals are....I mean really.  Hence they dont need to be WC to still be better then 99.99% of skiers on the planet....same for football coaches...did they make the NFL...maybe not...but first string on a top collage team is far better then most...

 

4:  Apart from skill you also need to consider physical make-up.  Top level sport success is about the total package...look at Doug Flutie....Heisman Trophy winner...but at 5'9 his NFL prospects were limited.  NBA is even worse....Skiing is no different, a taller person will always have an advantage over a shorter person...taller=longer legs=more suspension.

 

5: Apart from skill and pysical make-up you rneed to consider the mental make up.  Ever run a WC DH?  Seriously, you need to be a few fries short of a Happy Meal to do that...it is SCARY!  Not everyone has the mental fortitude or "mental toughness" to do it.  I bet diving headlong into a 350lbs lineman to catch the ball with no regard for your own body is kinda similiar.  Skill vs. Performance is not always linear.

 

6:  You also cannot forget the reality of money.  To make it as any pro athelete requires cash.  If mom and dad dont have it, you are outta luck.  Tons of money goes in, before a cent comes out.  Sure we have all seen the feel good movies where the kid from the poor neighbourhood doesnt give up and makes it to the big leage to be a star...but there is a reason they make movies about this...those people are rare, and very few can make it on this road.  If they do, they often are stars, because the only reason they made it is because they are so good no-one can turn them away. 

 

 

Hence just because a coach wasnt a NFL star is not always because of no skill...lots of other factors come into play.  I can tell countless stories, where skill and heart where in abundance...but either the physical makeup, mental toughness or cash wasnt, as such to stay in the sport they loved...they became a coach.    

  

post #23 of 163

Someone once told me:

 

Beginner:  May know they are out of control, generally does not know how to correct.

 

Intermediate:   Knows when they are out of control on green and blue...takes time to correct, which causes loss of balance, line, etc.   Does not know how to correct on black, or cant fast enough.

 

Expert:   On any terrain, once out of balance or loss of control, immediate correction. 

 

 

Everyone looses control or balance at sometime.  Experts immediately know it and correct it.  

 

Obviously there are many shades of grey in these....

post #24 of 163

It must be the Dog Days of August, if this question is making the rounds again... Therefore, it must not be too long before the days will begin getting shorter, and the temps a little cooler!   YAY!

 

But let's jump in here... Nobody has ever held L3 as an 'expert' standard. It merely means that a particular skier can perform specific tasks to a certain level. Nothing more. I can say that I know some L3's who would not even describe themselves as expert, whereas I also know many who have no cert at all and could easily be included in the expert group. So to attempt to correlate L3 with being an expert is a non-argument.

 

Keep it simple- ANY, ANY, ANY, ANY.....  Any terrain, Any speed, Any turn radius, Any snow condition. As the skier elects to perform, while making it look simple- that's the mark of an expert.

post #25 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by vail snopro View Post

Keep it simple- ANY, ANY, ANY, ANY.....  Any terrain, Any speed, Any turn radius, Any snow condition. As the skier elects to perform, while making it look simple- that's the mark of an expert.


In that case, how many expert skiers are there in the universe?  Mancuso could probably qualify, but I'm not sure there are too many WC skiers willing to huck 100+ feet cliffs (ANY terrain).  And I'm not sure how many extreme skiers would do all that great in a WC DH race (ANY speed).

post #26 of 163

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by incognito View Post


In that case, how many expert skiers are there in the universe?  Mancuso could probably qualify, but I'm not sure there are too many WC skiers willing to huck 100+ feet cliffs (ANY terrain).  And I'm not sure how many extreme skiers would do all that great in a WC DH race (ANY speed).


You are right. That was not a very good description of an expert skier. IMO offcourse. Gate racers typically dont have the time or the equipment to ski other terrain than specially prepared gromers and racing tracks. Some times on camps if it dumps for days and its impossible to even clear a SL track from soft snow they can ski powder on a gromer but that is it. An extreme and offpist skier also typically cannot ski down a SL track for the simple reason that he does not have the armour. Or skis or boots or tuning that is suited for the racing track. And WC skiers dont take any risks of getting injured jumping cliffs when they are trying to win races. And they are adviced not to by coaches, sponsors etc. Heck, F1 drivers are not even allowed to snowboard even if some do it.... 

 

This is in a way where the sport has gone wrong. The performance level of todays skiing is so high that nobody really can master it all. One guy that can do it all is Lahtela, olympic gold medal bump skier, but he is an exeption and a full time pro skier. He is a true expert skier but if you raice the bar that high then we can pritty much name them all.

 

Typically if you are wondering about your level you are not an expert skier.

post #27 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

 


You are right. That was not a very good description of an expert skier. IMO offcourse. Gate racers typically dont have the time or the equipment to ski other terrain than specially prepared gromers and racing tracks. Some times on camps if it dumps for days and its impossible to even clear a SL track from soft snow they can ski powder on a gromer but that is it. An extreme and offpist skier also typically cannot ski down a SL track for the simple reason that he does not have the armour. Or skis or boots or tuning that is suited for the racing track. And WC skiers dont take any risks of getting injured jumping cliffs when they are trying to win races. And they are adviced not to by coaches, sponsors etc. Heck, F1 drivers are not even allowed to snowboard even if some do it.... 

 

This is in a way where the sport has gone wrong. The performance level of todays skiing is so high that nobody really can master it all. One guy that can do it all is Lahtela, olympic gold medal bump skier, but he is an exeption and a full time pro skier. He is a true expert skier but if you raice the bar that high then we can pritty much name them all.

 

Typically if you are wondering about your level you are not an expert skier.


every racer i know(including USA world cuppers) rips off trail. Usually using pretty big skis. and BTW I can ignore while you dont post flat out wrong stuff.

 

WC skier dont take risk jumping off cliffs? stop posting just to pander to your idea of what skiing should be.

 

WCs ski off piste alot, and would be the first to disagree with your old school pandering.

 

n508465_30698610_2226.jpg

 

 

and ted never ever jumps off those 'dangerous" cliffs

 

 

post #28 of 163

Ross taylor an instructor up at the beav' said it best in my mind

 

an expert skier is a skier who can ski and adjust instantly to any speed or terrain with complete control.

post #29 of 163

Interesting about Ligety going off piste etc. For what it's worth, this spring out at Vail they had a Lindsey Vohn day celebrating her Olympic medals. Anyway in an article in the local paper she was saying what a geat time she had in the back bowls , skiing in more comfortable boots etc. She said she had not been skiing recreationally in years.

 

As BWPA points out there are racers that make an effort to ski the whole mountain love powder etc. Many however fit the profile of rarely leaving the gate training hill. I remeber a shuttle trip to Vail a few years ago with some racers from Buck Hill and one racer saying he had probably been to Vail a couple of dozen times but never skied anywhere except the Golden Peak race training area!

 

That kind of blew me away and obviously he was pretty one dimensional in his skiing - gates or nothing.

 

post #30 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by incognito View Post




In that case, how many expert skiers are there in the universe?  Mancuso could probably qualify, but I'm not sure there are too many WC skiers willing to huck 100+ feet cliffs (ANY terrain).  And I'm not sure how many extreme skiers would do all that great in a WC DH race (ANY speed).

Chris Davenport fits this bill.
 

Oh, and that Plake dude as well.

 

Maybe Hugo Harrison. There's a lot of former ski racers who went extreme, and many of them ran downhill.


Edited by habacomike - 8/3/10 at 9:13am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching