Getting ready for your ski holidays? You have booked a cosy accomodation in a chalet, read about the best après-ski, you have your gears packed, everyone around is super excited… You are now starting to wonder about your skiing level:

  • Will I be able to ski nicely?
  • Am I going to enjoy myself?
  • After all, what is my skiing level?

The quick test below will help you answer this question:

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What is my skiing level?

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4 questions to find out your real skiing level

No matter what you will discover about yourself after going through this test, remember that it is not set in stone. You can very well loose your skiing level temporarily after an injury, a pregnancy or for many other reasons. You can just as well get better at any point in your skiing life! Like many other sports, improving your skiing requires practice, commitment and a good coach!

> Note down your answers to the 4 questions below and let’s get started!

Do you train on a regular basis?

A woman in the starting blocks ready to run

A woman in the starting blocks ready to run

A – Training is not part of my lifestyle.

You don’t train on a regular basis. When you try to commit it usually does not last for long. It would be fair to say you jog once a month for 45 min to an hour. Sometimes once every two weeks. You tend to choose the stairs over the lift but not always.

B –   Training is a weekly commitment

You train at least once a week. You run for at least an hour. When possible you like to go to the gym as well for a cardio class. You like to go to work walking or cycling. Feeling fit puts you in a good mood.

C – Training is a daily routine

Training is part of your lifestyle. Running, cycling or going to the gym at least 5 days a week is your routine to stay in shape. You like pushing your limits to feel stronger and more in shape. Thanks to your efforts, you are great with cardio.

What is your skiing experience?

A chairlift with skiers from different skiing levels

A chairlift with skiers

A – I have skied very little and started only as an adult

You started skiing after you turned 25 years old. You have been skiing 3 or 4 times. During your winter holidays, you also like to walk, snow shoe or just relax. After all, this is supposed to be holidays!

B- I have been on ski holidays 5 to 15 times in your life

You take the oppotunity to join on a ski holidays when it comes. That being said, several winters without skiing won’t worry you. You have plenty of other outdoor interests!

C – I have been skiing since I was a child

Since you were 4 or 5 years old, skiing has been part of your life. Weither you were born in the moutains or weither your family has always been into skiing, you have had to learn. You have skied at least one week every winter.

Have you had many skiing lessons?

Drawing from Oliver Preston

Drawing by Oliver Preston, ski lessons & skiing levels

A – None. I have never had a ski lesson.

You have learnt on your own. More experienced friends have given you usefull tips and it works fine for you.

B – A few ski lessons. Group or private.

You have taken a few ski lessons here and there. Sometimes choosing to learn for a couple days a week and then skiing on your own. In total you have taken less than 20 days of ski lessons.

C – I have always had ski lessons.

Since an early age you have had regular ski lessons. Your ski instructors have taken you out to different terrain, on piste and off piste. In total, over the years, you have taken more than 6 weeks of skiing lessons.

What is your off piste experience?

Client skier and ski instructor ski touring on snowy mountains Alps France

A skier and his private ski instructor ski touring

A – None or close to none

You almost never ski off piste. When you do, you stick to the side of the slopes. You are not interested in off piste skiing or maybe you just feel more comfortable on groomed runs.

B – I have done a few easy and short off piste runs

You have experienced off piste skiing a few times when snow conditions were ideal. The off piste you tried were short and easy runs. You have been off piste between 5 and 15 times.

C – Extended off piste experience

You never miss an opportunity to ski off piste. You have skied on many long off pistes, some quite tecnical. In total your off piste experience is over a 100 runs.

Results – Find out your skiing level

A drawing by Oliver Preston: a group of skiers watching out for beginners

A drawing by Oliver Preston, different skiing levels

Majority of A – find out your skiing level

You can call yourself a beginner skier for now. So far, you feel confortable on green slopes and on blue runs when snow conditions are good. Above all, you are starting to get a feel of your skiing balance. Turning and stoping is becoming easier and easier. There is still lots to learn of course but you are already enjoying skiing. It is important to keep on practicing, ideally taking ski lessons with a private ski instructor will help you get better faster. The more you learn, the more you will have fun!

Majority of B – find out your skiing level

So far you are an intermediate skier. You are having fun and this is great! Many skiers leave it to this level and stop trying to get better. That is fine of course but be sure that there is a whole lot of new sensations to explore if you decide to keep on learning.

As an intermediate skier you have probably realised that you start getting out of your confort zone when skiing on a difficult red slope or when snow conditions aren’t the best. You can ski black runs but you prefer not to. However you are the « king of the mountains » when skiing on a nice blue slope.

If you choose to keep on learning, the only receipe is practice, practice and more practice. The right ski instructor can also help you get better faster.

You might also like: 5 reasons to choose your private ski instructor yourself.

Majority of C – find out your skiing level

You are an experienced to expert skier who is in control. In any situation, you can rely on your technic to ski different types of snow quite nicely. An experienced skiing level allows you to go anywhere on piste. If snow conditions get really difficult you will notice it but you will get easily through that moment.

At this stage your improvement curve starts slowing down. To get better you will have to:

1/ train regularly to strenghen your legs. Without strong legs, no carving difficult slopes or long off piste will be possible.

2/ Challenge your tecnic on a variety of terrains. A ski instructor will be gold for you at this stage. But don’t forget: you will only get better by pushing the limit of your confort zone.

Majority of A&B or B&C – You are in between two levels

It is great news. You are transitionning! Don’t give up now. Moving up a stage is a very satisfying period of time. The more your learn to ski, the more fun you will have during your ski holidays.

Should you be interested in a personalised training program to prepare yourself for your next ski holidays,you can contact us.

Evolution to a modern skier

Evolution to a modern skier

5 steps to become a better skier

Stick to these simple advises and you'll become a better skier

Stick to these simple advises and you’ll become a better skier

 

Skiing: how many levels? 5 levels to define every skier

Let’s explore each and every skiing level from first-time skier to expert skier. World champions and professionnal skiers are outside any of the following categories….

What is an expert skier?

Expert skiers are close to super heroes, so you would think...

Drawing by Gruhn. Expert skiers are close to super heroes, so you would think…

 

An expert skier cumulates a great skiing technic, strong legs and good cardio. There is only one method to become an expert in any discipline: training, training, and more training.

You can call yourself an expert skier if you can carve on any slope (asuming you have the right skis of course!), if you ski deep powder snow on challenging off piste runs and if you don’t need to stop to catch your breath all the time.

Few of us are true expert skier.

What is an experienced skier?

Ski instructor Clement Lepage posing for a portait skiing Val d'Isère France

Ski instructor in Val d’Isère, french Alps.

 

An experienced skier is an expert skier who is missing the physical training to move up a level. Usually the experienced skier does not have extensive off-piste experience. Not everyone want to ski off-piste. As long as you are happy doing what you do, it is all good!

The experienced skier is confortable on any piste, green to black and in most snow conditions. If a run is ice blue or covered with moguls, the experienced skiers might have less of a good time than one a well groomed blue slope but he/she will get through easily.

If you are only skiing for one week every winter, evolving from experienced to expert is a tough job. You might want to consider committing to longer periods of time up in the mountains to seriously practice, train and get better.

What is an intermediate skier?

Drawing by Oliver Preston

Drawing by Oliver Preston, intermediate skiers in a difficult situation…

 

An intermediate skier can be defined as an experienced skier missing some technical skills. Even with the best physical condition, and intermediate skier won’t feel confortable on every run.

The intermediate skier will be confortable on blue runs. He/she will reach the edge of his/her confort zone on a red run and prefer not to ski black runs. The snow conditions plays a great part in the skier confidence at this stage.

Intermediate skier can get better quite fast, and even faster if they hire a ski instructor for professional guidance.

What is a beginner skier?

A drawing by Oliver Preston: a group of skiers watching out for beginners

A drawing by Oliver Preston: a group of skiers watching out for beginners

 

Beginner skiers are confortable on a green run and on easy blue slope with proper snow conditions. They know how to stop but if an emergency situation arises, things might get a bit out of control.

This is the earliest stage of the learning curve. The objective is to rapidly gain basics technical skills.

Your arms are usually up in the air. Your balance is still uncertain but your progress are visible from one day to the next. This a a highly satisfying stage. If you put yourself at it, it should not take longer than a week to become an intermediate skier.

What is a first-time skier?

Drawing by Charles Addams, for the New York Times

 

A first time skier is someone who has never ever skied before. You are new to skiing and a whole world of sensations is to be discovered.

You might be a bit worried but also super excited on your first day skiing. Lots of fun moments to come. Enjoy this stage because it won’t last long. As soon as you start your second day, you will already be part of the beginner skiers!

 

 

 

 

What about your skiing level?

Leave a comment and let me know more about your learning experience.

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