Know Your Level! What’s Your Skiing Ability?


When it comes to skiing you’re either going to be a recreational skier, advanced or an expert. It’s important that you know your level before you start shopping. If you’re new to the sport you could end up paying far too much for skis and bindings that you really don’t need. So how can you work out what level you are?

You’re recreational if:

  • You’ve never been skiing or you have only skied a handful of times
  • You cannot do a snowplough
  • You don’t venture beyond the nursery slope
  • You can change direction and do a snowplough but still at a slow pace and Blue runs are still a challenge
  • You are gaining confidence and can finish turns with parallel skis but you still stick to the green and blue runs.

You’re advanced if:

  • You are confident to experience the groomed runs using a wide parallel stance
  • You still resort to a snowplough on the steep slopes if you get into trouble
  • You’ve attempted a red run, perhaps on a few occasions and you’re happy to attempt all the blue and green runs without a second thought
  • You feel much more confident and are happy to ski at faster speeds
  • Parallel turns in different conditions are not hard for you
  • You’ve attempted a black run
  • You’re ready to learn about all sorts of different terrains and learn how to ski them
  • You’re aware of the safety equipment you need to use and why.

You’re an expert if:

  • You have skied multiple times at many different resorts
  • You are aware of the different equipment you need for your skill level
  • You want to spend as much time as possible carving, exploring off-piste and being challenged on the pipe and terrain park
  • Instructor training is beginning to sound appealing to you or you already hold a professional qualification
  • The back country is where your heart is
  • You know all about avalanche safety and you have experience and knowledge of mountaineering

The Right Length of Skis

Buying the right skis can be extremely daunting especially if you’ve never bought any before now.  If you’re getting ready to head out for some winter fun it’s essential that you make some good buying decisions.  It’s always worth reading through the description of the skis before you make the purchase.  Buy the right type for your needs, freeride skis need more stability than piste skis and therefore they should be between 5 and 10cm longer than usual skis. Mountain skis are longer still, between 5 and 20cm, and are designed to help keep you stable if you want to head off-piste.  Shorter skis are used if you want to attempt slalom skiing and freestyle skis are the same length as the piste skis.

If you need to buy skis for children the general rule to remember is the length needs to be between the level of their chin and their forehead. However, you must also take into consideration the:

  • Weight of the child
  • Flex of the ski
  • The different types of skis for different uses
  • Ability of the skier

To help your child gain confidence on the slopes it’s always worth spending out on some professional coaching. The instructor will be able to ensure your child develops good basic techniques and prevent the formation of bad habits.

Taking Care of Your Equipment

You will need to look after your skis once you’ve purchased them. Buy a good wax that will help improve your skills and ensure the edges are kept sharp so they’re able to cut through the snow smoothly. The best type to buy is the hot wax as it will protect the base from dents and scratches plus it works hard to regulate the water under the skis.

If you are not buying new equipment it could be worth having your current skis serviced before you go. There are plenty of technicians that offer servicing and it will be a worthwhile spend.  Equipment that is in poor condition can ruin the entire experience for you, making it harder to enjoy the slopes and could put you at risk. Remember this if you plan on borrowing equipment too, you should check over everything to ensure it’s in suitable condition.

Best Time to Buy Ski Equipment

Buying new equipment can be costly but you can save money by shopping on Boxing Day and in the sales that lead into the New Year. You will find the best outdoor gear at incredibly low discounted prices if you hold off and wait for these sales.