Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Determining Your Skiing Skill Level

A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Terry McEnany, MD, practiced thoracic and cardiovascular surgery for nearly 25 years, and he has a second career as a ski instructor at Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen, Colorado. Operating out of Aspen Snowmass ski resort, Terry McEnany and his fellow instructors help aspiring skiers of all ages and skill levels hone their skills on the slopes.

Before deciding which ski lessons to register for, it’s best to first determine your personal skill level. Aspen Snowmass classifies beginners, who fall into levels 1-3, as individuals who have either never skied or who can only ski on green terrain. Beginner ski students learn to come to a stop, change direction, and link turns on green terrain. Level 4 skiers, or advanced beginners, can ski on all green terrain as well as easy blue slopes, while intermediate skiers can take on the majority of groomed blue areas. Intermediate skiers are able to ski parallel and perform a hockey stop before gaining experience on small bumps and easy, groomed black terrain. By level 7, intermediate skiers should be able to use their poles to make parallel turns and are prepared to take on ungroomed black slopes.

Advanced or expert skiers fall into levels 7-9 and are generally well equipped to explore all black terrain, as well as easy double-black slopes. They have learned to make rhythmic short radius turns on both groomed and ungroomed blue and black terrain, and should eventually be comfortable skiing on all areas of the mountain while honing their speed and technical skills.