What Type of Skier Are You?
Knowing your level and ability as a skier is important when determining what slopes and trails to choose. While it’s important to challenge yourself and have fun while you’re doing it, it can be dangerous to take on ski trails that our beyond your current abilities. The following information will help determine what type of skier you are and the kind of skis that are best suited for each level.
Type of Skier Categories
A beginner would be defined as someone who has never skied up to someone who might be called a confident novice. While in the beginning category a skier would learn how to do what is known as a snow plow or a wedge. This would specifically mean being able to turn both ways and stop. At this level you may be able to cautiously link turns and make round snow plow turns on easier trails. Beginners usually ski on what are called Green Circle trails. These trails are usually wide, well-groomed, and have a gentle slope.
While there are several types of skis, a beginner should stick with all-mountain skis. A beginner should select skis that are approximately chin height. They should be relatively soft and flexible so they can turn easily.
Intermediate skiers will ski mostly in a parallel fashion but may still use the wedge to stop or begin a turn. At this level a skier will begin to use their poles to time their turns. They can make parallel turns but usually can’t carve turns yet. An intermediate skier is comfortable on most groomed trails and terrain. This is when a skier will begin trying out more challenging trails. This could include trails that are steeper or icier. Most intermediate skiers will ski on trails called Blue Square Trails. These are popular trails at many resorts.
Skis can be a little longer once you’ve reached an intermediate status. The tip should reach somewhere between your mouth and nose. Skis for those in a lower/intermediate category will often have a synthetic core, still be relatively soft, and somewhat narrow. An upper/intermediate ski will usually be a bit stiffer, and perhaps a little longer.
Expert skiers can control their rhythm and speed while on difficult trails. At this level a skier can adjust the length and size of their turns. They will take on a variety of terrain and advanced trails that are known as Black Diamond trails. An expert would be able to ski most moguled or tree trails with relative ease. An expert skier is also adept at skiing in most types of weather conditions. This level of skiing requires being able to quickly make adjustments in order to remain in control at all times.
At the expert level skiers will want to choose skis depending on the terrain they’ll be skiing on. There are several general categories of skis that an expert can choose from. These include all-mountain skis, powder skis, mogul and freestyle skis, and racing and hardpack skis. A ski with a wider waist is suited for deep powder runs while a narrower waist is good for a variety of terrains. In general, longer skis are for those who plan on skiing faster, more aggressively, and may occasionally go off the trail.
It’s important to remember that not every skier will progress and learn different skills on the same time table. When selecting a pair of skis it’s always important to try them out before buying or renting. Feeling comfortable in your skis and boots is an important part of the overall skiing experience.