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More info on trail ratings

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I often thought it would be nice to be able to easily see why a certain trial is rated as it is.  Trails are only rated relative to each resort so it would be nice to see what is behind a certain rating on any given trail.


For example, at Vail there is Riva Ridge wihich is rated black but is quite easy because it is generally groomed with minimal bumps.  But the only way I know this is by experience and my cuz lived there in the day..  On the other hand the Back Bowls are double black but, to me, are "easier" because it is "my kind of skiing" wide open, sort of steep but it is the qualities of the run that make it discernable from other double blacks that I would use to decide if it will be fun or death defying or otherwise end my day.


Jackson has a system that adds info about runs as you can easily see the sign with the skull and crossbones on the chutes and the hobacks are described as a backcountry experience for experts.   And I like the double Blue system because three days into a 10 day trip that might be all I'm up for.



But it would be nice to know things like if it is double black because of bumps? Steeps? Trees? Cliffs? Or is it just double black because it is a wide open face like back bowls or copper peak at Copper Monuntain.


Yes we have the grooming reports but asking someone is always wierd because they dont really know how I ski and I dont know if they know what they are talking about.


It would be nice to see just a couple words on the sign that says something about the run.





post #2 of 4

Depends on where you are, but often anything with mandatory (or almost mandatory) air or narrow chutes is designated as 'extreme' or 'experts only' above and beyond being double-black.


Glades are generally indicated on the trail map in some way.  Might be nice if this labelling was more uniform between resorts -- but, then again, what constitutes a 'glade' can vary from place to place too.


Generally, trails become 'double black' when they are either very steep, or heavily bumped/totally ungroomed.  It may be hard for resorts to label 'trail X' as a "bump run" because the bumpiness may vary wildly depending on snow conditions and how much it's been skied.


Maybe it would help if resorts listed the approximate pitch of each run.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

A Pitch would help yeah.  And no system is perfect.  I've been on some double blacks that are not that steep but they are rated doouble because they really natural and far away, but great skiing for a guy like me who otherwise has to avoid volkswagon size bumps on steeps and really deep trees.


I mean sometimes its not just the difference between resorts but the reason why a trail is rated as it is.


VW bumps on steeps adn deep snow in trees and that not-so-steep out-of-the-way natural stuff are two different double diamonds and I just want to be able to figure what is which...


some thing like:                   Drain Pipe                                              Sky View

                                       75% pitch bumps                                     deep steep


And still maintain the experts only designation..... but that doesnt tell me if its good for me or not.....I cant ski drain pipe but skyview makes my day, both double blacks.  The Back Bowls at Vail are for experts only, but I love em.  Other experts only stuff like at Jackson or snowbird, I hide from.  The difference is BBs at Vail are wide open but Jackson is going to be way way over my head, both double blacks....


And maybe this starts to mitigate at least some of the probelm with trying to rate slopes between ski areas.


But I have to admit that my favorite is ungroomed blue after a good snowfall.  Finding this is very hit or miss.  I have to guess by looking at maps or old groom reports to see if it was groomed yesterday and then not groomed today. and then I sometimes miss good ones because maybe only half of the run is groomed and the good half would be perfect but I cant find it.


But for blues you sometiems get the double blue designation still without knowing why.


         Dog Leg                                                                               Mamas boy

light grooming, bumps                                                                       steep


Edited by joeshoto - 3/24/11 at 12:40pm
post #4 of 4

Ratings are relative to a resort.

And then there's a huge marketing factor in there too.

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