©Brad White/CMH

Whether you’re a leisure seeker or a backcountry daredevil, there’s a perfect program to take your skiing or snowboarding to the next level.

Green circles. Blue squares. Black and double-black diamonds. The trail signs say it all: Skiing is a sport notorious for ability levels. While runners or bikers would rarely describe themselves as intermediates or experts, skiers and snowboarders do it all the time. The problem is that they tend to get stuck in these defined levels, and many intermediates remain “blue” skiers forever, while some advanced skiers master basic black terrain but never really become experts, still put off by bumps, trees, or steeps. No amount of ski days lets those stuck at these common plateaus move to the next level.

Every major ski resort has a ski school, but for the vacation skier who takes one or two big trips a year, an occasional private or group lesson has never solved the sport’s plateau problem. In a typical scenario, skiers take a lesson on vacation -- and then, with no follow-up, quickly revert to old habits. During the next trip, often to a different mountain, they try another instructor with a totally different philosophy and another set of tips that do not last.

Fortunately, though, the ski industry has embraced multiday immersion programs, and the best feature truly world-class instructors, including Olympic or World Cup veterans. Students are carefully grouped by skill level and stay with the same instructor, improving and reinforcing every day. State-of-the-art video and computer technology lets students see themselves, and equipment confusion is clarified. Radical improvements in ski and snowboard technology such as shaped skis and boards and integrated bindings can help skiers progress quickly, but these offerings are often bewildering to recreational shoppers. Top immersion ski camps make recommendations and allow participants to switch demo models throughout, with access to the latest high-performance gear. These camps vary by themes and are for every skier type, from all-around leisure seeker to extreme backcountry daredevil. Specialized camps also cater to all ages, sexes, and equipment tastes and are for snowboarders, alpine skiers, and telemark skiers. No matter what your taste or ability level, there’s a perfect camp for you.