Skiing Ability Level Chart (9 Levels Explained)

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. 

Initial Thoughts

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 LevelClassificationSkill Required
Level 1Beginner Never skied before
Level 2Beginner Can do basics such as snowplow and initial turns
Level 3BeginnerCan go down a full green run making good turns
Level 4IntermediateGo down entire run linking multiple turns. Skis parallel at the end of turns. 
Level 5IntermediateGood parallel ski form but still might use a wedge. Comfortable on easier blue runs. 
Level 6IntermediateVery capable with parallel skiing. Able to handle a variety of terrain and conditions. Ski blue runs with confidence. 
Level 7AdvancedCan ski black runs using good form and parallel turns. Know how to stay in control at all times. 
Level 8AdvancedExcellent 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 ExpertSkiing 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. 

Final Thoughts

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.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • Hsin-Yi

    HI Christine, I just discovered your blog, considering myself very lucky. Based on your chart here, I fall somewhere in between Intermediate Level 5 and 6. I want to improve my skills and eventually share my love for the sports with youngsters. I live on East Coast and ski every weekend during winter months on a local small skiing establishment. What would be your advice besides taking private lessons? TIA!!!!

    • Christine

      Hi Hsin-Yi! Other than lessons, my best advice would be to get on the snow as much as possible. There really is no better way to improve than experience, and the more days you can swing, the better you’ll get. I’d also say that challenging yourself to go slightly out of your comfort zone ability-wise while still keeping things safe is another great way. As is skiing with others who are better than you and pushing you to try runs you might not go down on your own. SO happy to hear you’re having a blast and like the blog.

  • Eric Thompson

    Hello again, Christine. I was recently looking at a website by a certain ski manufacturer, and how they rate their skis. This ski was rated for a strong intermediate skier to an advanced. Then next to that it said also suggested for the ambitious. What does that mean? Because this is a ski I’m looking at buying in the next few years. As you know I’m new to all this but I picked it up pretty fast. I just wanted to know what an ambitious skier is.

    • Christine

      I’ve never heard that one before, but my guess as to what the brand means by ambitious skier is that someone who likes to ski hard and wants a fairly aggressive ski. Intermediate and advanced skis are typically a little stiffer and more capable, meaning they will go faster and take a little more skill to control. But they’ll also perform much better in challenging situations. My advice would be to go for it if you are feeling ambitious. I don’t think that it’s bad to get a ski that’s a bit above your current ability level and work into it. You just usually don’t want to go the other way around. Hope that helps.

  • gordon koury

    What is your source for this information? Can you provide a link to the source doc? If it is PSIA, I was under the impression that both level 8 and 9 are considered expert, but can’t find any document supporting the levels.

    • Christine

      Hi Gordon,

      There really isn’t an official standard or document for these ability levels. The information here I came up with myself based on my many years of experience on the snow, alongside talking to a few ski instructors and professional skiers I know. Since ability is subjective, there’s no exact way to measure everything, and these are more guidelines than specific rules or statements. The reality is someone might have better skills in one area of skiing and could still fall into a particular category without exactly matching everything I’ve written. Think of this more like a snapshot into your ability level rather than an exact assessment. Hope that helps!

  • Elsa Ng

    I am an expert skier right now and I still have a little problem with terrain parks.

    • Christine

      Hi Elsa,

      I feel similar sometimes! The terrain park is definitely specialty skiing, and even if you can handle the rest of the mountain at an expert level, some of those features seem way out of reach. There’s always room to improve though, right?!