Do you know your ability on skis?

Downgrade yourself and you might never face those challenges that could make your skiing a more exciting and rewarding experience. To overrate yourself, on the other hand - as too many of us are inclined to do - will, sooner or later, get you into trouble, usually trying to keep up with some friends on a black diamond covered with moguls and cruddy snow with a storm whirling in.

Not actually knowing how you rate as a skier also can prove a mistake when you’re buying, or renting, skis and boots. For a low intermediate to buy a hot-looking ski for experts won’t make an expert out of him. It will make his skiing more difficult. An expert ski doesn’t forgive a mistake. The softer-flex ski for a low intermediate does.

There are several ways to evaluate your own ability on the slopes. One is to take lessons. A skilled instructor will need perhaps 30 seconds to evaluate your ability as you ski down the practice slopes.

Another is to test yourself in an amateur National Standard Race (NASTAR); these are offered by most ski areas. You pit yourself only against a top expert, not other skiers.

Here’s how NASTAR works: A ski racecourse, with all the paraphernalia - flags, poles, a starting platform, and an electronic timer - is set up on nothing more challenging than an intermediate run. An expert skier whose skill level has been rated at a national meeting of NASTAR pacesetters will run the course twice. His best time becomes the standard for that course on that particular day.

When you race the course, your time, with a handicap based on your age and sex factored in, is matched only against the expert’s, not those of other skiers.

If the pacesetter’s time is, by way of example, 35.6 seconds, and yours is 45.6, but you have a 10-second handicap, you’d “equal” the pacesetter’s time and win a gold medal.

You could also win a silver, a bronze, or nothing but a smile and an awareness of how well you’ve learned to ski.

A recommendation: If you enter a NASTAR race, it’s tremendously helpful to take the approximately one-hour-long NASTAR racing school that’s usually offered on days when races are scheduled.

More about Skiing:
2. Car racks. It’s fairly standard for a set of car racks to carry four pairs of skis. If your rack doesn’t lock in the skis, follow the old adage: Man, don’t let ’em out o
Warning: Do you really need it? (Of course. Why do you think I bought it?) Here’s a list of accessories that range from the helpful to the necessary. 1. Goggles. The double-lens
No pair of skis at any ski area in the world is immune from the highly contagious disease called: OH, SHIT. SOMEONE STOLE MY SKIS. The only prevention is locking them. Many skiers
Usually, the only care your boots need is a nightly airing and drying. Some skiers pull the inner lining loose every evening for better airing. Others won’t touch the lining unle
How sharp and smooth are your edges? You can tell with a fingernail. Brush your nail lightly across the edge. If the edge is sharp, a slight amount of your nail will peel off. Run
Only in the past few decades has the ski industry developed bindings that actually release the foot in a slow, twisting fall as well as in a high-speed impact. But the finest bindi

Disabled Competitions

Ski competitions for both standing and sitting skiers are held throughout the country and in Europe. Both Aspen Highlands and Mount Hood Meadows ski resorts…

Mountain Manners

in Kids
However, the fact that they did spend time in various ski schools did not eliminate what I feel keenly is the responsibility of all parents of kids on the…

Nonskiing Necessities

in Kids
Apres-ski boots: These are an important adjunct on a ski trip. The best are those that slip on quickly and are both warm and tolerably lightweight. Laceup…

CROSS-COUNTRY

The ancient grandfather of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, is alive, healthy, and more popular than at any time in his 4,000-year history. True, no longer…

Whistler/Blackcomb - Part 1

Put two great ski mountains side by side, each with more than 5,000 feet of vertical - the most in North America - and you’ve got the first hint of what it’s…

Who Pays the Piper?

If a skier runs into serious difficulty skiing beyond an area’s boundaries, someone will be along to help him. In the United States, this task usually falls to…