Skiing Ability Definitions for Ride and Glide Ski Club (2013)


Now that we're on snow we want to make sure we get you into the correct group based on your ability.  Remember this is a Technique Club, not a Training/Workout Club.  True you will get a workout doing these drills, especially at the advanced level, but that's not why we are here.  We're here teach you how to go Further, Faster, and Longer with less effort


First I guess I should define what I think makes a Beginner, an Intermediate, and an Advanced skier. 


I can define a beginner classic or skate skier and an advanced skater.  Any student not fitting the description for these levels falls in the Intermediate group. 


BEGINNER: (Any One of the following points defines a student as a beginner)


    1) Never skied before or very few times

    2) Never had any instruction, Inexperienced

    3) Never had any instruction, Experienced,  but may have bad habits.  Needs to be looked at by Coach


These levels are meant to keep you with other students who are moving at a similar pace.  That keeps the groups more consistent and easier to teach.  The teaching is pretty much the same beginner to intermediate, it's just the intensity and the attention to details that change.


Subjective:  If below describes you,  you should be in the beginner group

Classic (beginner)

    1) Just shuffles along or walks on skis

    2) No weight shift

    3) Not much glide


If you can kick and glide with good rhythm and balance you belong in the Intermediate group.  Kick means using full weight on one leg to initiate the force that translates into glide. Glide means balancing on one foot while gliding in the Classic Diagonal Position. Balance is stable enough to support weight transfer, in movements like step-turning corners or changing lanes.


One indication of a good classic skier is that the tail of the ski comes off the snow.  This is not an intentional lifting of the tail, but it's the result of good forward lean and extension related to the speed and extent of the glide. If you have the majority of these skills but significant problems on others, the coaches may suggest you spend a few sessions with the beginner group to improve those deficiencies, before you return to the intermediate group for more work on the details.


Skate (Beginner)

    1) Very poor V1 timing or no V1 at all

    2) Stays in the middle, does not get out over the skis

    3) Limited glide before having to fall back to other ski

    4) Insists on field skating all the time

    5) Poor Free Skate, minimal glide

Do all of these and student graduates to Intermediate

    1) Climb the hills in the warm-up area at Como using V1 without stopping (without breaking into a field skate) or the back 2 hills on the Yellow loop at Lake Elmo or the Donut at Elm Creek

    2) Good V1 on one side on flat/easy terrain

    3) Defined Field Skate on one side in good conditions.  (YES!, That's a Field Skate)

    4) Somewhat less proficient V2 but it should be recognizable in good conditions (can still have balance problems)

    5) Good smooth Free Skate without poles


ADVANCED: (ALL the following points define a student as advanced)  

    1) Very Good V1 on at least one side.  Proper timing and weight shift, easily climb all hills at Como with good form.  Every hill other than the "Wall" at Elm Creek.  you can struggle on that one and all hills at Lake Elmo should be no problem.

    2) The other side is passable but needs work. The mastery on one side shows you know what to do, you just need practice on the other side

    3)  A passable Field Skate with good timing of the skate off, Form maybe not perfect, but timing is good.  Should be able link FS strides for an indefinite period of time on good terrain.  One side better than the other

    4)) Similar description for V2 as FS except you only need to link easy/cruising V2 strokes for the length of the meeting/practice area at Como (good conditions).  Tougher balance so you don't have to go as far without missing a stroke.


#1 is the big determination.  If you can't V1 properly you'll always have trouble climbing hills.  2 and 3 are more subjective.  The advanced group is fine tuning the movements that you almost have right and pushing them to higher speeds. It does not good working on speed if you can't do it at slower speeds.


A note to the Advanced Skate Group:   I believe there are skiers that I regularly see working with the Advanced Group that cannot pass the advanced test described in the article.  Most importantly as it applies to the V1 technique.  You are doing yourself a big disservice by ignoring your V1 technique just so you can play with the Advanced Group.  A session spent on basic V1 technique will yield more improvement in your skiing than a session flailing through your V1 while you chase the Advanced Group.  Especially you racers.  Without  a solid V1 you are wasting a lot of energy on hills and to tell the truth hills are where you loose most of your time.  An improved V1 will not increase your raw speed all that much, at least in the beginning, but it will allow you to maintain your speed below your Anaerobic Threshold for a longer time.  To allow you to finish the race stronger.  Build a good foundation with your V1 and then use the Advanced Group to up your speed.  Some of you should be faster than your are and I want to fix that.