Learning how to ski is a journey, and we all start from the beginning. There is a natural progression of ability levels that every skier goes through during the process of becoming really good or even an expert.
I’ve been skiing for almost my entire life. When I started as a kid, I was a beginner. But now, after decades of experience, I consider myself to be an expert. I’ve hit every ability level there is along the way, and I know what’s involved in each.
This post will provide you with a skiing ability level chart. I’ll also provide you with some information to help you discover your ability level. This can give you new goals to shoot for and help you understand where to ski on the mountain.
Let’s get after it.
The basic ability level categories are beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. But there are actually different levels within those general distinctions that we will look at in this post.
The truth is that every skier has a unique ability level. Two people might be beginners, but there is a difference between someone on their first day on the mountain and someone who has been out ten times.
I’ll break things down in the sections below to give you a good understanding of where your ability levels currently stand. You can also use this information to set some new goals for improving this season.
Skiing Ability Chart
|Ability Level||Classification||Skill Required|
|Level 1||Beginner||Never skied before|
|Level 2||Beginner||Can do basics such as snowplow and initial turns|
|Level 3||Beginner||Can go down a full green run making good turns|
|Level 4||Intermediate||Go down entire run linking multiple turns. Skis parallel at the end of turns.|
|Level 5||Intermediate||Good parallel ski form but still might use a wedge. Comfortable on easier blue runs.|
|Level 6||Intermediate||Very capable with parallel skiing. Able to handle a variety of terrain and conditions. Ski blue runs with confidence.|
|Level 7||Advanced||Can ski black runs using good form and parallel turns. Know how to stay in control at all times.|
|Level 8||Advanced||Excellent form and technique in all conditions. Capable and confident on black runs or anything below. Can make quick turns in all types of situations.|
|Level 9||Expert||Skiing skills are mastered, and no condition or terrain is out of reach.|
This chart breaks down the four primary ability level designations into nine levels. You can look at the skills required on the right side of the chart to determine where your abilities currently sit or what is needed to be the next level.
Look over this chart and see where you think your current ability level is. Remember that this ski season, and then come back to it next year to see how you have improved.
These nine levels cover about every type of skier you can imagine – from the first day on the mountain to people who have been on the slopes their entire lives. It’s still somewhat of a generalization, but it’s pretty close.
How to Discover Your Ability Level
Ok, now that you’ve taken a few minutes to look over the chart, let’s break things down even more to give you a more thorough understanding of how to find your ability level.
Level 1 – Beginner
This is the basic entry stage that every skier starts on. When you have never skied before and get on the mountain for the first time, you are at Level 1.
Level 2 – Beginner
This is the level when you learn how to make a snowplow, get on and off the lift easily, and might be able to make a basic turn without falling. This level can be reached pretty quickly, and some skiers can get here on their first day out.
Level 3 – Beginner
Level 3 beginner can occur anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after your first day on the mountain. You will be comfortable going down green runs and can keep yourself in control at all times.
You might not be going fast yet, but you can start and stop when you want to and get on and off the chairlift with ease. You’ll also feel comfortable on all green runs and don’t feel nervous about slightly variable terrain.
Level 4 – Intermediate
The first level of intermediate ability means that you are comfortable going to a complete green run without stopping. You can link multiple turns together and might be starting to get the hang of parallel skiing by bringing your skis together after your make a turn.
You have a good idea of how to use your poles and what good skiing form is at Level 4. You can easily go down green runs and have tried a few blues with confidence.
Level 5 – Intermediate
At this level, you are comfortable and most blue runs. You can go down them while making decent parallel turns, even if this skill isn’t quite perfected yet. You can also go down an entire run while linking multiple turns together the whole way.
Level 6 – Intermediate
At level 6 intermediate, you’ll be a pretty good skier. You have a good grasp of parallel skiing and use it almost all of the time. Steeper blues and even moguls are doable, and you like to challenge yourself and ski at faster speeds.
Level 7 – Advanced
At this stage, you are really skiing. You’ve tried your first black diamond run and had a blast skiing down it and challenging yourself. You feel capable and confident in various conditions, and your form and technique are excellent.
Level 7 advanced skiers should feel comfortable in just about any situation. You may not want to tackle extreme terrain yet, but you could probably handle it if you had to. You can ski most of the day without getting too tired.
Level 8 – Advanced
When you reach this level, you can ski just about anywhere. You love skiing down black runs and can do so with excellent form and limited stops down an entire run. You parallel and carve turn exclusively and can make quick jump turns when needed.
Level 9 – Expert
This is when you can ski with the best of them. You can take on any type of run, no matter how steep or what the terrain is. You get excited by extremely challenging terrain and aren’t afraid of pushing yourself to the limit.
Expert ability level can take years, even decades, to reach. If this is your goal, you need to ski as often as possible for a long time.
The best way to improve your ability level is to spend as much time as you can skiing. The more practice you have, the better you will become. It can take years of patience to become an expert skier, but the entire mountain becomes your playground if you make it that far.
No matter what level of skier you currently are, there is always room for improvements – even if you are an expert. Consider taking a lesson or skiing with people who are better than you are to become better and push yourself to new heights.