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Beginner or Intermediate Ski Hire?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

Just wondering at what point do you move from beginner to intermediate skis please?

I've not a particularly experienced skier but have moved on from ski school and am not too shabby with technique. However my big sticking point which holds me back is my scaredy-cat nerves which make me a very cautious skier..

I'm hiring skis again this year so just wondering whether I should stay on beginner skis or move up to intermediate? Is there much difference between the two? Will intermediate skis make me go faster? Speed is definitely my biggest fear so I'm reluctant to move onto anything with go-faster stripes at this stage.

Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Definitely at least intermediate.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Out of interest, what ARE the main differences between learner and inter skis?

I'm at the point too.
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I always thought it was something to do with edge (or ability to do with the skis) and/or width but I'm probably massively mistaken.

I two am now hiring intermediate skis for the first time next week having had "beginner" ones previously.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
My wife recently switched from beginner to intermediate and we were told that beginner skis are more flexible and forgiving which helps when making short and slow turns but as speed increases they are less stable.

Intermediate skis are stiffer and bit longer which makes them potentially a bit harder to manoeuvre but more stable at higher speeds. You can control your speed as much as you like, but to answer your question the intermediate skis are naturally quicker than the beginner skis but with the stability to control the speed.

Put it this way -- driving along, even at 30mph, I'd rather be in a BMW than an old Fiat Punto. Speed is the same but suspension is much better in the BMW so the ride feels much nicer.
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Personally I'd jump straight to the top level and go for some short turn skis - it's what I did and moving from cheap, unloved skis to ones with sharp edges and that wanted to turn gave me a huge bump.

I always found with beginner/intermediate skis when you tried, nervously to tell them to turn they didn't feel like they wanted to - queue the weight going backwards and making it worse and making you back off more. That first turn on short turn skis with sharp edges saw them bite and you could feel they wanted to turn - queue getting a little confidence and putting a little more weight forward, making them work better and giving you the confidence to go ever further forward.

The more you pay the more happy/willing the hire show will be for you to go back and swap them. Don't get on with them, go back and ask for something different - preferably telling them what you didn't like about the first pair so they can pick something more to your tastes/needs.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Nervous Nellie wrote:
I've not a particularly experienced skier but have moved on from ski school and am not too shabby with technique. However my big sticking point which holds me back is my scaredy-cat nerves which make me a very cautious skier..

I'm hiring skis again this year so just wondering whether I should stay on beginner skis or move up to intermediate?


I can't understand this combination of facts. You've moved on from ski school, not too shabby with technique, but you wonder if you should stay on beginner skis?

Think you need to make your mind up Smile
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I would certainly move away from "beginner" skis. Modern piste skis designed for intermediates are very user friendly and won't "make" you ski faster than you wish to go. They may give you the confidence to go a little faster, but you can drive them as slowly as you like. Don't overthink it. You are clearly now an intermediate skier, so hire some intermediate skis.
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Orange200 wrote:

I can't understand this combination of facts. You've moved on from ski school, not too shabby with technique, but you wonder if you should stay on beginner skis?

Think you need to make your mind up Smile


@Orange200 Hahaha...yep, my ability is quite clearly telling me to progress but general cowardliness is thinking I might be more comfortable staying on beginner skis.

Thanks everyone for your great replies. General consensus seems to be that I stop being such a wimp and move up a gear Laughing
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Nervous Nellie wrote:
my ability is quite clearly telling me to progress but general cowardliness is thinking I might be more comfortable staying on beginner skis.


Once you have the basics skiing's really just a confidence game. If you have confidence your skis will do what you tell them, when you tell them you'll get over the front of the skis (like your instructors always told you to) and carry a bit more speed, and the skis will respond better and give you more confidence to get forward. On the other hand if you don't have confidence in your skis you'll naturally sit back a bit (like your instructors always told you off for doing) and slow down, and the skis will respond worse, give you less confidence, and you'll sit back further.

Worst case you try more expensive skis once, don't lie them and take them back for a pair of beginner skis. Yes you end up over-paying for the beginner skis but sometimes you just need to roll those dice...
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Agreed Mjit, move on Nervous Nellie! snowHead
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
From all of the research I've been doing in the last week (see the Noob Ski Buyer thread), there's really no such thing as an Intermediate ski. I would agree there is an advanced ski and a beginner ski, but everything in-between is such as huge variation that it really has it's own class.

For instance, you can have Intermediate skis for Piste, Off Piste, something in between the two, for carving, for racing, etc, etc, etc. The reason I mention this is because when you go in and ask for an intermediate ski, they may not really understand what you want.

And so to the real question - 'Should I still be hiring a beginner ski'. As everyone else says, definitely not. You will feel much more comfortable on a more expensive and advanced ski. The only point where I started to feel unstable is when I got something a little too long (because I asked for an intermediate ski!).

As nerve racking as it may feel, talk to the hire shop. Give them some information to go on. What types of runs you like, how much skiing you've done, how confident you are. After a day of skiing, if they don't feel different (still too 'beginner'), take them back. If they're pushing you a little too much, take them back. Any decent hire shop will be fine swapping skis as long as it's for a genuine reason.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
ratkinsonuk wrote:
As nerve racking as it may feel, talk to the hire shop. Give them some information to go on. What types of runs you like, how much skiing you've done, how confident you are. After a day of skiing, if they don't feel different (still too 'beginner'), take them back. If they're pushing you a little too much, take them back. Any decent hire shop will be fine swapping skis as long as it's for a genuine reason.


Excellent advice @ratkinsonuk, I think I'll do exactly that and have a good chat with the hire place. Maybe tell them that I'm not the speediest on the slopes but not a complete newbie too.

Great confidence pep-talk too @Mjit. You all make fab coaches. Very Happy

Thanks folks, I appreciate all the goodwill, gestures of support and general kick-up-the-back bottom from you all.

I'll let you know how I get on....
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Please do @Nervous Nellie. It would be very interesting to see how you progress on different planks Smile
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Nervous Nellie wrote:

. General consensus seems to be that I stop being such a wimp and move up a gear Laughing


You typed it but yes I did think it Smile
Good luck!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hahaha cheers folks.... watch this space!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
There's a bit of nonsense (and a fair amount of emperors new clothes) around the banding of skis in hire shops. The cheapest skis are often the better skis from previous years that are just a bit worn or not the latest colours. Next up you have similar skis that are newer but no better really, then you have the expensive ones to flatter people's egos. More important is what type of skiing you're doing. Piste, slack, powder or park jumps.

I go with folk who are very experienced and unless it's fresh powder that justifies fat skis, many go for the cheapest after years of feeling fleeced on fake upgrades.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Skis aren’t like cars. An intermediate won’t go faster or AFAIK be any harder to control. My guess is that you will find intermediate skis easier and more confidence giving.
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There is such a thing as over thinking...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@foxtrotzulu, I’m no expert so I was just relaying what we were told by the people at the ski shop — which happened to correspond with my wife’s subsequent experience.

If intermediate skis aren’t any harder to control and aren’t a bit quicker, why would anyone use beginner skis?
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Conversely, why would anyone spend more on intermediate/red skis? I think you're getting the gist of this, it's all a bit of a scam at the recreational level.

If you want an eye opener hire some proper skis, e.g GS race skis and you'll see what the real step up is, proper stiff skis with unforgiving edge angles. That would be like going from a boggo family car (which all recreational skis are really) to a ferarri.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
If you aren't comfortable with some speed and parallel turns, I don't think you will notice a difference between "beginner" and "intermediate" skis. What will make a difference is the tuning -- if you get a well-tuned pair with sharp edges they will turn better. An "expert" pair with a lousy tune and dull edges will feel...lousy.

Why don't you use this as an opportunity to experiment. Get "intermediate" skis the first day, then on the second day try "beginner" and see if you can tell the difference? If you rent the higher level they will be OK with you switching. (Though, IME, if you try to switch more than twice they'll charge for binding adjustment. But a good shop that wants more business won't care...)
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Nervous Nellie wrote:

I've not a particularly experienced skier but have moved on from ski school and am not too shabby with technique. However my big sticking point which holds me back is my scaredy-cat nerves which make me a very cautious skier..


I've done maybe 14 weeks skiing, some with rubbish group lessons (which cemented bad habits), some with OK group lessons, and maybe 10 private lessons.

For the last privates I told my instructor for the week "I don't want to be scared". So she gave me some days moguls, some days steep stuff, and a couple of goat tracks through trees at the end of it.

I think the problem is much more in your mind than on the end of your legs.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
CallumDA wrote:
@foxtrotzulu, I’m no expert so I was just relaying what we were told by the people at the ski shop — which happened to correspond with my wife’s subsequent experience.

If intermediate skis aren’t any harder to control and aren’t a bit quicker, why would anyone use beginner skis?


I wasn’t disagreeing with you. Intermediate skis may be a bit less forgiving, so in that sense you’re right they may be harder to control, however I think they are only quicker because you can, if you wish, push them harder. If you ski the same slope with the same technique then I think they would travel at the same speed. A bit like driving a car with a bigger engine, it won’t go any quicker unless you want it to.

I think.....
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Nervous Nellie wrote:

I've not a particularly experienced skier but have moved on from ski school and am not too shabby with technique. However my big sticking point which holds me back is my scaredy-cat nerves which make me a very cautious skier..

I used to be nervous, but I've realised now that was mostly down to knowing my technique wasn't good enough to cope with higher speeds and steeper slopes. When you say you've "moved on from ski school" what do you mean? It's likely that some more focused tuition, coupled with practice, would be beneficial.

In terms of the skis, get a recommendation for a good ski shop and hire from there. If you put a thread up with the resort name in the title there's almost always Snowheads who know which shops are good. Unfortunately not all shops are equal and some will attempt to hand you the first pair of skis that come to hand that look roughly the right length, regardless of what level you've booked or whether they've been serviced.

It would also help you to know what to check in terms of whether a ski has been recently and adequately serviced - maybe start another thread on that. As others have alluded to, this can make a lot of difference.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Nervous Nellie wrote:
Hi,

Speed is definitely my biggest fear so I'm reluctant to move onto anything with go-faster stripes at this stage.

Thanks


You need to learn to stop. I'm not talking about slowing down, i'm talking about a hockey stop
http://youtube.com/v/0e7-mNDgIXw

Once you know you can stop on the spot you wont fear the speed.

Then go for what ever skis you want to.

One year at the EoSB ski test, after only 4 weeks skiing, I took out as many pairs as i could, ranging from kneissl piste skis to whitedot Ragnarok skis.

I was given tips on what type of snow to stay on and looked for soft slush for the Ragnarok test.

Give the intermediate one a go if you dont like them change them.

(as a side note, im fairly tall and fairly heavy so flexing skis isnt too much of an issue, thats why i was confident in testing really stiff skis)
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I'm a lifelong skier and always thought the Beginner/Intermediate/Expert question was down to bindings settings rolling eyes
and the ski type down to what you were planning on skiing that day.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
This thread is going around in circles. Anything labelled as a "beginner" ski in a hire shop is guaranteed to be cheap, soft, ultra-forgiving and totally lifeless. Depending on the shop, it's quite possible that their "intermediate" skis won't be much better but there's at least a chance that they may be half decent too. Many newer ski models labelled as "intermediate" are easily user-friendly enough not to scare off nervous intermediates, while at the same time providing plenty of potential horsepower for expert skiers. In other words they have a very wide sweet spot for many users and will allow you to progress.

In all probability, you would only have an issue if you hired ultra-stiff race skis. Even some quite advanced piste skis are pussycats in the hands of intermediates. You only have to look at what typical 1 or 2 week per year intermediate holiday skiers ride around on when they start splashing out on their own skis. Only about 10% or less of people I see on "expert" piste carvers can actually use them to full effect, but that doesn't mean the other 90% don't still enjoy riding them. Modern piste skis of all sane levels are generally quite forgiving if you don't push them hard.
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