Tips Up!

Sierra Club Advanced (Third Class) Ski Test

Originally adopted by the Sierra Club Winter Sports Committee, 1932
Current revision adopted by the Ski Mountaineers Central Committee, 1998

Purpose: To stimulate and measure the ordinary touring ability every skier should be ambitious to attain in order to enjoy all-day tours over mountain terrain. Fluency, assurance, steadiness are required rather than speed.

Demonstrations required:

  1. Four linked wedge christie or wedge telemark turns in moderately soft snow on a slope of at least 15 degrees, executed slowly under complete control and separated by traverses with skis parallel, either parallel traverses with upper ski leading or telemark traverses.
  2. Four linked parallel or telemark turns on hard snow on a slope of not less than 15 degrees.
  3. A right and left turn to a standstill from a direct descent, the turns started at a speed of at least 10 miles per hour. Parallel or telemark turns may be used; inside ski must not be lifted.
  4. A right and left jump turn to a standstill from a downhill traverse through a minimum angle of 90 degrees, preferably on soft snow. One or two poles must be used. This turn should be done on a slope of approximately 15 degrees at a speed approaching three miles per hour.
  5. From a direct descent on a slope of not less than 15 to 20 degrees, side-slip to the right and left far enough in each direction to demonstrate control of side-slip and speed by edging and weight shifting, linking each side-slipping with turns.
  6. Kick-turns to the right and left, both uphill and downhill, on a slope of at least 30 degrees.
  7. Step-turn to right and left at a speed of approximately 15 miles per hour.
  8. The descent of a slalom course without a fall. The course requires the candidate to mix various turns and parallel running in a continuous descent of about 150 vertical feet. Ten or twelve turns are required with wide gates to allow smooth running. The time allowed shall not be more than 30 percent greater than that required for a steady (non-racing) run by a good slalom runner. Alternative: If no course is set: follow the track of a good skier down a similar course without skiing substantially out of the track.
  9. Ascent and descent of approximately 1000 vertical feet. The candidate is required to carry a pack of at least 10 pounds, contents of which must satisfy the judges as being adequate for all-day touring. Climbing devices or appropriate waxing may be used. Time limits, depending on snow conditions, will be fixed by the judges. The course must include a variety of terrain, including open woods, such as is encountered in ordinary touring.
Alternative: This test may be passed in the course of a ski tour involving the ascent of at least 1000 vertical feet with an average slope of 20 degrees or more. A skier who exhibits competent climbing technique and skis down using primarily advanced linked turns (not wedging unless appropriate) with the required fluency, assurance, and steadiness shall be deemed to have passed the test.
About The Sierra Club Ski Tests
Qualifying (4th Class) Test
Expert (2nd Class) Test
Ski Mountaineering Test
Back to SMS Home Page