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What is an intermediate skier?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just reading another thread and it made me wonder.

How do you classify someone as intermediate? Is it by the grading of the slopes they can ski? How many weeks they have been skiing? The skills they posess? Or a combination? Just curious (and I don't want to have to label myself a beginner again...haha just kidding)

Any thoughts?
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Well according to Robinsrule it's anyone that can stand on a pair of planks wink
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
some one who thinks they are better than they actually are wink
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Probably right Very Happy
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These generic words are pretty useless. All that matters is what you can and cannot do. For multi-day group lessons, a ski school should take people's self-assessment at face value for one lesson, and then redistribute the students according to observed ability.
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Spot on laundryman,
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I think Rob & Scott's site has as near as you can get to definitions. Obviously these things are as broad as they are long.

http://www.insideoutskiing.com/levels.html

But by their reckoning, I'm an intermediate through and through and have been for at least half of my 30+ year ski career.
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Its the most abused term in the sport.

In skiing and boarding, its everyone who is not a beginner (first week of mountain ski/board school) and who is not competing in Vancouver.

I have no need to be labelled so it doesn't really bother me but some people get really hung up about their 'ability tag'.
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what bar shaker said.
If people say they're intermediate, then in general I hear the word recreational or beginner, depending on how much they appear to be BSing.

Was horrified at some of the skiing I saw on the s6BB, fortunately the worst of it not by sH. Speed != Ability.

I do like Rob+Scott's scale though. Even at "Early Advanced" it suggests specific things in the technique that need to be "fixed".
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Someone who is still a punter, but doesn't "hug" their ski's and look like a complete numpty going down a red run Very Happy
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queen bodecia, I disagree their definitions are obviously set by as a ski school to flatter their patrons. If you work by their definitions the average coordinated individual would be an early intermediate by the end of their first week & an advanced intermediate by the end of their third week if they take tuition all along.

In my opinion it shouldn't be possible to consider yourself an intermediate in any sport after 10-15 days doing it. The way most skiers abilities are classed in the mainstream is done in such a way as to flatter holiday skiers. Realistically I would say actual intermediate/genuine middle of the road in ability level between absolute beginners & locals in ski resorts doing race training/hard steep off piste/big airs in the park is being able to confidently & quickly ski blacks at full control without any worries.
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Someone who is better than they were but isn't as good as they want to be. Basically every damn one of us.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I am just $h!t hot, intermediate means nothing to me.. Very Happy
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Someone in the middle of what skiing can offer - ie skiing any piste/any condition in full control with good technique.

Brits in general and other primarily holiday skiers like to use different definitons, but you've got to take into account all slope users, not just punters.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Titles like that are mostly meaningless and entirely subjective. We only stick them on the level descriptions that we use at Inside Out because many skiers expect to see titles like that. If a skier describes themself to me as "intermediate" or "advanced" I always ignore the title and ask them to describe what they can and can't do, what they enjoy the most, what sort of terrain they make the best turns on, etc.
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frank4short wrote:
... their definitions are obviously set by as a ski school to flatter their patrons.

Not really. We stuck those titles against our descriptions of ability based on our best guess of what the majority of recreational skiers would mean when they used those titles. The level descriptions are much more important, and even those become irrelevant when I see a client actually skiing.
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rob@rar wrote:
frank4short wrote:
... their definitions are obviously set by as a ski school to flatter their patrons.

Not really. We stuck those titles against our descriptions of ability based on our best guess of what the majority of recreational skiers would mean when they used those titles. The level descriptions are much more important, and even those become irrelevant when I see a client actually skiing.


Eggsactly it's patron based descriptions as opposed to for want of a better way to put it true definitions. I also appreciate that yes you will assess your clients skiing first & then decide what to do with them. It is very much dumbing down the whole thing based on how people like to see themselves. I'm also aware of the fact that you as service providers have to careful to not offend or alienate your costumer base. Though i do feel certain efforts should be made industry wide to correct some of these myths. As it's pretty apparent to me that in a lot of cases entire classes are loosing out due to people overestimating their ability based on widely accepted & mostly wrong definitions of ability levels. My €0.02
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frank4short wrote:
My €0.02

And obviously you're perfectly entitled to them, although those titles are subjective so I can't see any point in arguing about them. But the motivations you ascribe to us in using those titles in our level descriptions are entirely wrong.

FWIW I can't recall any of our Inside Out clients giving two hoots about titles such as intermediate. A few have been unsure about whether they are suitable for some of the courses we've run, and any discussion we've had about their ability has ignored subjective titles and focused on what they can and can't do.
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frank4short,
Quote:

It is very much dumbing down the whole thing based on how people like to see themselves

The reality is not like that at all. If all Rob and Scott did was to flatter me, I wouldn't be taking lessons wiith them. I actually don't think the labels, or even the numbers, are particularly meaningful. It's what the skier can actually do that counts and the narrative beneath each of InsideOut's levels is very clear on that score.
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frank4short, and I didn't see rob@rar's post before I posted mine - honest! Laughing
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It's clear that the problem here is that people aren't overestimating their ability on a consistent basis. Wink

If they really were "expert" skis we wouldn't be able to ski them either - it's all relative.
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It's someone who has completed a week or more of ski school, but not yet learned to bend their knees.

They say things like "I want to concentrate more on technique and get off the plateau". When they should concentrate on bending their knees and get off my piste.

They are beloved of vendors because they buy tons of kit to make them ski better, or indeed ski as opposed to sliding down a hill with skis on. Carving skis, because they reckon the hire kit doesn't really have enough edge grip. Edge files, because the skis they bought weren't tuned right out of the factory. More files to detune huge lengths of edge, so they can stop catching edges. Had they but bent their knees, they could have rolled the skis over and edged to their hearts' content.

Harder boots, because they don't feel they've got enough energy transfer. Injected inner boots, because they still don't feel the boot is letting them transfer pressure to the edges. Gel insoles, ibuprofen, knee braces and plasters because these hard boots are killing them. Bent knees would have absorbed all that punishment.

They buy special poles so that the pole plant is just right and they'll go round in a nice circle. They buy longer poles because more advanced skiers use longer poles. They buy bent poles, lightweight poles, carbon fibre poles. If only they'd bend their knees, the poles would reach the ground.

Oh why won't they do it ? It's so simple and it's good exercise, bend knee, straighten a bit, bend again. See the posters of super fast racing skiers, admire their knees, so bent, such lovely angles, oblique and acute, never obtuse nor close to it. See the venerable older skiers on their ancient skis with cable bindings, what keeps them so lithe and supple (bend, bend, bend).

They won't though. The horrid, hateful little self styled 'intermediates' would rather struggle and strain about waving their arms and swinging their shoulders like a Soviet mass gymnastics demonstration, but without the rhythm or aesthtics. They whirl their upper bodies like Pete Townshend while their poor old knees seize up with disuse, like cheap marionettes operated by one armed drunkards.

Could we not reserve pistes for them ? Somewhere out of sight ? round the back of the mountain. Give them a restricted lift pass until they satisfy a panel of judges that they don't look appalling and they won't clutter up the place with a lot of unsightly flat skied skidding.

In all, the use of a protractor should enable a rapid assessment of whether someone is or is not intermediate.
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thirty06, but what about the ankles...?
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thirty06, wow, that's quite some rant!
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Skier attainment levels can be useful for determining whether a particular activity or course is suitable and form a good starting point for discussion with an instructor. An agreed standard set would be helpful. However even vague level descriptors are far more use than the practice of determining ability by the number of weeks a person has been on skiing holidays. That makes the assumption that everyone learns at the same rate from skiing the same no of hours per week, irrespective of age, fitness, aptitude, quality of teaching received, conditions encountered etc. I'm an individual and I learn at the pace appropriate to my needs.

thirty06 My brain/knee/ankle connection is coming along now, but it's not been an easy ride - lack of confidence leads to a stiff posture. I would like a nice quiet area of challenging enough slopes on which to learn & develop the confidence I need to be able to relax; too often novices in the novice zone get buzzed by some high speed bullet shooting past the "slow down" sign that together with the novices inconveniently delays his/her descent down the most direct route.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Mon 15-02-10 17:45; edited 2 times in total
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thirty06,
PMSL
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frank4short, interesting idea but not sure it works. I trampoline, and although I took probably a year to be a true intermediate (training maybe twice a week -so 6 hours a week), I have coached others (only a few) who have reached that level in closer to a month with similar part time tuition. Admittedly, the few individuals who do reach this level this quickly are those who are good at other sports where balance, coordination and spatial awareness are important, such as martial arts. Whether you like it or not, I think it IS possible to be an intermediate in some sports with relatively little experience.

As to skiing, I think it helps to liken learning to ski with driving.

First you are a learner - you should hopefully be having lessons and will be learning all the bascis - starting, stopping, cornering while also understanding gears/mirrors/clutch control if driving or balance/edging/movement,etc if skiing.

Pass the test - even after you have passed your test you are still learning on a fairly steep learning curve. You might now be considered recreational level at skiing, but there is still a lot to learn. You need to learn to adapt your skills to different weather conditions, different roads/pistes. At this stage, the process of driving/skiing is still not fully natural yet, not automatic. You still have to think about things occasionally, when situations arise that are difficult/outside of your experience.

Intermediate - I think it would be fair to call this level intermediate. It is when you have the skills and are confident enough to handle a wide range of conditions/situations. Basic functions are now automatic, you don't have to think about how or when to change gear, or blend edging/pressure/rotation.

As with driving, different people reach this level at different speeds depending on ability and confidence. Potentially (at a push), you could reach this level in driving with only 10 - 15 days of experience if you had intensive driving lessons for a week, then passed the test, then possibly did pass plus to experience different conditions while under tuition. I would imagine that most people in the country are intermediate drivers by this definition, few race or rally or have done advanced driving lessons. It also seems to fair to estimate that there are a large number of skiers out there (especially holiday skiers) who are this intermediate level?

Just my 2p worth.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Rob@rar

You'd hope so wouldn't you ? but those remain locked in place too. Must be the stiff boots.

Hurtle.

That's basically a summary of the thought expressed by 'Renzo, the instructor who started a course of lessons by getting each student to ski down a run in front of him and then saying,

"What do I think of your sking...

...I wish I 'ad not forgotten my gun!"

He then drilled into us the idea that if other people are going to have to look at us on the slopes, it behoves us to make the experience pleasant for them.

Bent knees are a step along this path.

It's pleasanter to watch a good beginner doing a series of proper snowploughs than it is to see some tearaway leaning back and scraping a succession of parallel 'turns'. As 'Renzo would say "Look at him, he's got skis on his feet, he's sliding down the mountain, but that's notta skiing!"

I therefore propose the extra categories of:

Total beginner
Good beginner
Advanced beginner,
Beginning intermediate
Intermediate intermediate
Hopeless case.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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thirty06 wrote:
The horrid, hateful little self styled 'intermediates' would rather struggle and strain about waving their arms and swinging their shoulders like a Soviet mass gymnastics demonstration, but without the rhythm or aesthtics.


Laughing Laughing Laughing
Thank you - for the funniest thing I've ever read on these boards - I often struggle to summarise what you've just put there but from now on in I'll simply refer people to this post!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Just as an aside, I think intermediate is not the only classification that causes problems...so does beginner. A friend signed up to complete beginner lessons for her week holiday in France. She had done a couple of hours in a fridge to get used to skis and was feeling nervous about her first lesson doing a strange sport with no one she knew. The others that were booked in on her complete beginner lesson were 1 and 2 week skiers who were all friends. Now I know they would hardly be advanced skiers by then, but surely not COMPLETE beginners? My friend spent most of the week playing catch up, although the instructor did bring in a second instructor to help due to the differences in ability within the group. She was getting to grips with snow plough and taking the greens gently while the others were working on parallels and tackling blues and occasional reds.

Could we not just have little 'badges' or something to show our attainment level, something like swimming or brownies. We could sew them onto our ski jackets and show off how many badges we have? Not sure it would catch on though... Puzzled

thirty06, you crack me up.
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carettam wrote:
frank4short, interesting idea but not sure it works. I trampoline, and although I took probably a year to be a true intermediate (training maybe twice a week -so 6 hours a week), I have coached others (only a few) who have reached that level in closer to a month with similar part time tuition. Admittedly, the few individuals who do reach this level this quickly are those who are good at other sports where balance, coordination and spatial awareness are important, such as martial arts. Whether you like it or not, I think it IS possible to be an intermediate in some sports with relatively little experience.


I don't disagree but surely that's the exception that proves the rule. There will always be people who are naturally talented athletes & learn how to do new things at an exceptional rate. However these people are in the extreme minority & are certainly not representative of the majority the population as a whole.
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I am absolutely not getting involved in this one Laughing
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thirty06, Laughing Laughing Laughing

but no one believes in teaching bending the knees any more... It's ankles ankles ankles...

People sitting on the toilet have their knees bent nicely NehNeh
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thirty06 wrote:

I therefore propose the extra categories of:

Total beginner
Good beginner
Advanced beginner,
Beginning intermediate
Intermediate intermediate
Hopeless case.


There has been considerable work on this matter, chiefly undertaken by snowheads on this thread:

Skier ability ratings


...which resulted in the three-dimensional Axsman/horizon Abilitizer (TM):

[/url]

This should really be adopted by the industry as a standard.
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Hmm I would like to see a wedding dancing bag of spanner, possibly with a bit of demented banana.

I agree this is the best skiing level chart I have seen. Definitely no confusing intermediate words, just aptly descriptive titles.

frank4short, I do agree with what you are saying in general. I was just illustrating that it might be possible to be considered an intermediate level with 10 - 15 days experience, not that everyone is intermediate after this time. Assuming the definition of intermediate is not at the more difficult end of the skiing spectrum. And as someone else has said before, weeks on snow is not a useful indicator anyway. I know plenty of timid 4 - 6 weekers who still bimble on blues and struggle with parallel turns and others who are cleanly carving reds and have tried a bit of off piste, moguls, etc (admittly their style is a little lacking).
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horizon, that is definitely one of the best things I've ever seen on snowHeads. It just cracks me up every time. Laughing
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horizon, It is, I would venture, the definitive thesis on the subject. Laughing
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I see that the work is substantially done and that someone has been spying on my skiing.
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well aparently im number 7 on the chart! theres no way im an advanced intermediate thats for sure!!!!! Laughing well im chuffed if im classed as an advanced intermediate but i think thats too high a grading well im not going to be in the x games in 2 years time so i dont think anyone can say thats advanced!!! Crying or Very sad
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