or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

When is a blue not a blue? - Page 4

post #91 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

We're still missing double black with the E X inside, designating extreme terrain.
Quote:
The ski area's extreme terrain shall be signed at the commonly used access designated with two black diamonds containing the letters "E" in one and "X" in the other in white and the words "extreme terrain".

Maybe for super easy greens it could be E E for "extremely easy" and for winch cat pitch blues it could be S S for "super shitty".


Okay, okay . . . here's what Breck has on their trail map as a legend.  However, if you look at the interactive trail map, only shows double black.  Do you have a picture of a E X sign on a Colorado slope?

 

post #92 of 118
Sure - from A-Basin on the access to the East Wall traverse. Note usage of both double black and double black E X.



Interestingly, E X terrain is often high alpine terrain where rocks may be lurking right under the surface, etc., meaning it is "less managed". There are routes off the East Wall traverse that are not particularly difficult, but the relative remoteness of the terrain is "extreme" and it is all one "area" so they can't discriminate on the access signage (placed at that point by law as the "commonly used access").

This is probably a clearer example (not my pic) of the difference between double black and E X. One is about trail difficulty, the other about terrain hazards.



Here we have what could be a double black relative at Beaver Creek, but that as a cut trail, could never be E X.


Edited by NayBreak - 5/1/16 at 10:31pm
post #93 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Does Alta still not have double blacks?

MJ / WP does not. They use blue/black.
post #94 of 118
Quote: = NayBreak
Sure - from A-Basin on the access to the East Wall traverse. Note usage of both double black and double black E X.

That helps a lot!

 

The first time I noticed E X was at Aspen last season.  At Snowmass the access traverses to E X terrain from the top of a couple lifts are marked E X on the trail map.  In contrast, the traverse from the top of the Cirque poma to Hanging Valley is Double Black.  Needless to say, it's not the traverse that's hard but the terrain once you get over there.  In the Highlands Bowls, only one marked trail is E X, the others are Double Black.  At Ajax, only Traynor Ridge is E X.

 

I took a look at my CO trail map collection.  Collected a few in recent years driving around Colorado.  A-Basin and Loveland have a lot of Double Black E X terrain.

 

Crested Butte doesn't use E X at all.  Instead Crested Butte uses Green, Double Green, Blue, Double Blue, Black, Double Black and stick the word "Advanced" in at every chance, as in Advanced Beginner, Advanced Intermediate, then Advanced, and finally Advanced/Expert.

 

Steamboat uses Blue-Black and Double Black E X, but not Double Black.  The trail map I picked up at a highway rest stop this winter has all the words that marketing can think of.  The older trail map legends didn't include the terms "Intermediate" or "Expert."  The E X terrain includes the chutes on Morningside and the upper part of Mt. Werner.

 

Steamboat Trail Map Legend 2015-16

 

EASIER - Green (circle)

MORE DIFFICULT-INTERMEDIATE - Blue (square)

MORE DIFFICULT-ADVANCED INTERMEDIATE - Blue-Black (blue square with a black diamond inside)

MOST DIFFICULT - Black (diamond)

EXTEME TERRAIN-EXPERTS ONLY - Double Black (two diamonds)

post #95 of 118

At Big Sky in MT, everything off the tram or Headwaters is Double Black.  I would guess that if the chutes off Lone Peak were in Colorado, they would be considered E X terrain.  Certainly can be plenty of exposed and hidden rock on Lone Peak, even at the top of Liberty, which is Black, depending on snow coverage.  There are times when getting around the top of Challenger was E X in order to get over to Midnight and Moonlight, which are Black trails.  Be interesting to see if that changes much since the old Challenger double will be replaced with a quad for 2016-17.

post #96 of 118

Yeah I've noticed that while Winter Park and some others I've been to use the black diamond inscribed in a blue square to indicate in between a blue and a black, Jackson Hole used double blue squares. I thought the meaning was pretty clear. Although even many of the single blue squares there were quite steep compared to what I've seen at other areas. I guess all you can do if you are worried about it is start with the green circles and work your way up.

Breckenridge used to have blue-blacks, but now they don't. I heard when Vail bought them, they made them pick black or blue.
post #97 of 118

Copper has 2 types of  explanation in their trail maps.  The actual signage on the mountain is pretty straight forward.

 

One is over simplified.  

 

 

 

And they also have this

 

 

post #98 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by UllrIsLord View Post
 

Yeah I've noticed that while Winter Park and some others I've been to use the black diamond inscribed in a blue square to indicate in between a blue and a black, Jackson Hole used double blue squares. I thought the meaning was pretty clear. Although even many of the single blue squares there were quite steep compared to what I've seen at other areas. I guess all you can do if you are worried about it is start with the green circles and work your way up.

Breckenridge used to have blue-blacks, but now they don't. I heard when Vail bought them, they made them pick black or blue.


The greens at Sun Valley are steeper than many blue runs out west.  The idea is to start at Dollar Mtn, which only has one black trail.  :)

 

Do you remember if most of the blue-blacks at Breck became black?  Did any blacks become double black?

post #99 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UllrIsLord View Post
 

Yeah I've noticed that while Winter Park and some others I've been to use the black diamond inscribed in a blue square to indicate in between a blue and a black, Jackson Hole used double blue squares. I thought the meaning was pretty clear. Although even many of the single blue squares there were quite steep compared to what I've seen at other areas. I guess all you can do if you are worried about it is start with the green circles and work your way up.

Breckenridge used to have blue-blacks, but now they don't. I heard when Vail bought them, they made them pick black or blue.


The greens at Sun Valley are steeper than many blue runs out west.  The idea is to start at Dollar Mtn, which only has one black trail.  :)

 

Do you remember if most of the blue-blacks at Breck became black?  Did any blacks become double black?


Generally speaking the Blue/Blacks DID become blacks. No blacks became double blacks at the same time. I do think that that has happened at times in the past though, just not at the same time that the BBs were uprated to black.

 

BTW, it was not when Vail bought Breck that the designations changed. Some did change around that time but the last change was just a couple of years ago. Most believe the last round of changes was related to the terrain expansion proposal for Peak 6.

post #100 of 118

I remember hearing during the Snowbird tour that Upper Big Emma used to be green.  But it was changed to blue.  That's important when there are races that mean the center of Big Emma is blocked off.  Then both of the remaining sides get bumped up, and definitely would not be fun for a beginner.  I took the tour on a day when Altanaut was the host and the National U-16 races were happening in late March.  She was glad that I and the other guest were advanced skiers when she realized the normal route used by hosts wasn't accessible.  Learned useful stuff since I haven't skied the frontside of Snowbird enough to avoid looking at the trail map when going between the different drainages.

post #101 of 118

What is the difference at Copper between a regular Double Black, assuming they exist, and High Alpine Adventure Terrain?  The explanation of E X is pretty clear.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike78 View Post
 

Copper has 2 types of  explanation in their trail maps.  The actual signage on the mountain is pretty straight forward.

 

One is over simplified.  

 

[snip]

 

 

And they also have this

 

 

post #102 of 118
^^^^I think the High Alpine Adventure Terrain is marketing - Copper has this "twelves" thing going about its over 12K terrain.

There's a reason A-Basin and Loveland have a lot of E X - lots of bowl/chute terrain. Those areas get avy controlled, but not necessarily terrain marked for obstacles.

Took this for you from Loveland today smile.gif. No other explanation provided. Wonder if putting it in a blue square is intentional, like, "intermediate expert".

post #103 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Does Alta still not have double blacks?


Yep, Alta has green, blue, and black.  It's up to the skier to figure out that not all blacks are created equal.  There are only a few blacks that are groomed and usually that does not happen daily.

 

If someone wants to say they skied a double black in Utah, they can go to Snowbird or Snowbasin.  Or go to Deer Valley to ski a double blue. ;)

At Squaw which lacks double blacks, expert runs are marked by expert only signs (including stuff that isn't expert)--since a lot of it is easy to get into before it gets hard. At Alta, it seems like a lot of the harder stuff is guarded by an intimidating entry--if you can billy goat through the trees into High Rustler (I'm not local so I won't call it High Boy) you can almost certainly ski it. (The same could be said about Corbet's of course--if you can handle the entry you HAVE skied it.)

 

It does seem like there's a lot of unnecessary angst about ratings. I haven't skied a huge number of places but at the 20 or so areas I have skied, including Chamonix, I can't say I've had any trouble figuring out how hard stuff is. 

post #104 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

 

It does seem like there's a lot of unnecessary angst about ratings. I haven't skied a huge number of places but at the 20 or so areas I have skied, including Chamonix, I can't say I've had any trouble figuring out how hard stuff is. 

If you don't mind me asking, how old were you when you could ski pretty much any blue at big mountains?  How about black terrain?  By the time you were 15, 20, 30, 40?  I only got good enough to ski terrain that is considered Double Black in CO after age 55.  Also happen to be the type to read trail maps before a trip, and during a ski day.

 

There are assorted reasons why people care what it really means for a trail to be rated blue, or black, or double black.  The skiers who I know who worry the most learned to ski as adults.  So they tend to have fear issues in general.  Moving off green trails can be a major milestone that takes several seasons for a working adult who doesn't get to ski more than 10-15 days a season.  As they improve and want to get off the groomed blues, they have a mixture of fear and excitement about checking out black trails.  For those people, understanding what Double Black, Double Black E X, and other variations is helpful even though they may never ski enough to enjoy that sort of terrain.

post #105 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

At Squaw which lacks double blacks, expert runs are marked by expert only signs (including stuff that isn't expert)--since a lot of it is easy to get into before it gets hard. At Alta, it seems like a lot of the harder stuff is guarded by an intimidating entry--if you can billy goat through the trees into High Rustler (I'm not local so I won't call it High Boy) you can almost certainly ski it. (The same could be said about Corbet's of course--if you can handle the entry you HAVE skied it.)

 

It does seem like there's a lot of unnecessary angst about ratings. I haven't skied a huge number of places but at the 20 or so areas I have skied, including Chamonix, I can't say I've had any trouble figuring out how hard stuff is. 

 

To me, it's the other way around.

 

I have trouble figuring out how hard stuff is regardless of the rating but it's not due to the color of the marking. 

 

The key for me is to figure out the layout of a new mountain so that I can differentiate Squaw vs. Alta. 

 

In good condition, I can ski AND ENJOY a lot of the so called "expert" terrain in many mountains. But in less ideal condition, on a mountain I'm not familiar with, getting in over one's head is a legit concern. A responsible adult NEEDS to figure out where the boundary is FOR THAT DAY. 

 

The difficulty rating really HELPS in comparing relative difficulty within the same mountain. That's all that really should be. And that's good enough for me. On a day with refrozen coral reef, one run on a blue could tell me I have no business tackling double black THAT DAY on that mountain.

 

Now if a visitor skiing Sugarbush for the first time, on a sub-freezing day following a day of soaking rain, think Sugarbush's trail rating is way harder than what they expect... well, it is (harder) ON THAT DAY! 

 

In short, figuring out how hard stuff is isn't always easy. The rating should help people on that (which I happen to thing they do). But people do need to stop bitching about the relative rating of one mountain vs another. That's NOT what the rating system are designed to do. It can't, not with the daily changing conditions, from one mountain to another. 

post #106 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

 

It does seem like there's a lot of unnecessary angst about ratings. I haven't skied a huge number of places but at the 20 or so areas I have skied, including Chamonix, I can't say I've had any trouble figuring out how hard stuff is. 

If you don't mind me asking, how old were you when you could ski pretty much any blue at big mountains?  How about black terrain?  By the time you were 15, 20, 30, 40?  I only got good enough to ski terrain that is considered Double Black in CO after age 55.  Also happen to be the type to read trail maps before a trip, and during a ski day.

 

There are assorted reasons why people care what it really means for a trail to be rated blue, or black, or double black.  The skiers who I know who worry the most learned to ski as adults.  So they tend to have fear issues in general.  Moving off green trails can be a major milestone that takes several seasons for a working adult who doesn't get to ski more than 10-15 days a season.  As they improve and want to get off the groomed blues, they have a mixture of fear and excitement about checking out black trails.  For those people, understanding what Double Black, Double Black E X, and other variations is helpful even though they may never ski enough to enjoy that sort of terrain.

Blue--about 26 (the first year I skied a big mountain after skiing little mountains in high school and then not skiing for 8 years.) Black--late 20's or so.

I'm not saying ratings don't matter (although snow conditions matter as much or more) but that figuring out the rating system at a new area has never seemed difficult to me. What is difficult at a new area is figuring out snow conditions on different exposures--where it might be icy, where wind packed or blown off, where slid off, etc. No rating system will tell you that; only experience and some cautious or not so cautious exploration will do that. (Or do what I do these days; send my son out to scout for me--he's a better judge of my ability than I am.)

 

I understand that venturing onto harder runs or skiing a new area can cause fear and trepidation; overthinking ratings won't help that--rather it's a symptom of displaced anxiety.  What I've eventually learned is that skiing something that frightens me a little is much more satisfying than staying within my comfort level.  The other thing I've learned is that runs where there are significant consequences for getting in over one's head are very few, almost always easily identified and avoided (if desired), and frequently have to be sought out with some difficulty. What people are really afraid of is not actually hurting oneself but embarrassing oneself, or even worse, getting yelled at or laughed at. (Think of all the posts in this forum castigating people for getting in over their heads, or even worse s________. I've not spelled out the word in deference to the overly sensitive who might find it offensive. For the curious I have written it out below.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skidding

 

post #107 of 118
Quote:

Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

 

Blue--about 26 (the first year I skied a big mountain after skiing little mountains in high school and then not skiing for 8 years.) Black--late 20's or so.

 

I'm not saying ratings don't matter (although snow conditions matter as much or more) but that figuring out the rating system at a new area has never seemed difficult to me. What is difficult at a new area is figuring out snow conditions on different exposures--where it might be icy, where wind packed or blown off, where slid off, etc. No rating system will tell you that; only experience and some cautious or not so cautious exploration will do that. (Or do what I do these days; send my son out to scout for me--he's a better judge of my ability than I am.)

 

[snip]

I agree there is no reason to change the existing rating system(s).

 

I'm not the nervous type when it comes to exploring.  Probably because I learned to ski as a teen and was taught survival skills such early on as side slipping, hockey stops, and kick turns (on long straight skis).  But I have friends who are worriers.  When an intermediate who learned to ski as an adult in the flatlands is on their first trip out west, all they have to go on initially is the trail map.  Some maps are better than others for blue groomer skiers.

 

I always recommend doing the free mountain tour at the start of ski vacation somewhere unfamiliar.  Of course, the ideal scenario is to meet up with a Bear who is willing to give a little tour.  I've done that for a few folks at Alta in recent years.  Interesting when intermediates with little experience at big mountains look at a black trail from the lift and think it doesn't look that difficult. :rolleyes

post #108 of 118

Map is nice to get you to the right place on the mountain to start or how to get to a  particular run--but then one should focus on the actual terrain to decide whether to ski it. The map can be a guide in the case of a run where the difficulties are blind (Silverado at Squaw for example) but most runs can be scouted from the chair and the top before committing.

post #109 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Map is nice to get you to the right place on the mountain to start or how to get to a  particular run--but then one should focus on the actual terrain to decide whether to ski it. The map can be a guide in the case of a run where the difficulties are blind (Silverado at Squaw for example) but most runs can be scouted from the chair and the top before committing.

When you say "most runs can be scouted from the chair and the top" that seems like too much of a generalization even just considering destination resorts.  What comes to mind is the first time I took the tram at Big Sky to ski Liberty.  In that case, I was with a friend who had skied it earlier that day.  But there is not really any easy way to assess snow conditions visually in advance.  The same can be said of the trails on the Moonlight side of the Challenger lift.

 

Cool!  Squaw has an introduction to "zones" on their website.  Includes a detailed trail map with directions on how to get to a zone and pictures.

 

http://squawalpine.com/zones#squaw-valley

 

I gather Silverado is not where I would send any of my intermediate friends. ;)

 


In contrast, here's the introduction to Shirley

 

post #110 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

I gather Silverado is not where I would send any of my intermediate friends. ;)

 

 

But you may be able to take them in there after scouting Landbridge first on your own. It is not that difficult when groomed and may have been a blue run at one time. My wife skied it 5 years ago when Silverado opened for the first time in a couple of weeks that included 10 days of storms and it was without me scouting it. She is a strong intermediate, but does OK on groomed black runs.

 

Catching Silverado open is the more difficult task.

post #111 of 118

I said most. Big Sky tram is probably not the first place the average skier wants to go when they go there the first time.

post #112 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Map is nice to get you to the right place on the mountain to start or how to get to a  particular run--but then one should focus on the actual terrain to decide whether to ski it. The map can be a guide in the case of a run where the difficulties are blind (Silverado at Squaw for example) but most runs can be scouted from the chair and the top before committing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

I said most. Big Sky tram is probably not the first place the average skier wants to go when they go there the first time.


True, intermediate skiers who stick to blues are probably only going to go up the Lone Peak tram to see the view, and then ride back down.  But your idea of scouting terrain from the lift seemed more related to black terrain than blue groomers, given your example.

 

Thinking more about the idea of scouting blue trails from a lift . . . that's not that easy at Big Sky.  For the blue trails on Andesite and Moonlight, you can't see most of them before heading down.  However, can ski down a blue groomer, Elk Park, and look over the ungroomed blue Elk Park Meadows from the Thunder Wolf lift before deciding whether or not to ski there.  My first time at Big Sky (2012), I took a quick warm up run before doing the free mountain tour by riding up Ramcharger and zipping down Ambush right back to the base.  While you can see Ambush from the lift, it's a lot longer and steeper than it looks.

 

Can't see any of the blue groomers from the Supreme lift at Alta.  Some of the best intermediate terrain there.

post #113 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by tseeb View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

I gather Silverado is not where I would send any of my intermediate friends. ;)

 

 

But you may be able to take them in there after scouting Landbridge first on your own. It is not that difficult when groomed and may have been a blue run at one time. My wife skied it 5 years ago when Silverado opened for the first time in a couple of weeks that included 10 days of storms and it was without me scouting it. She is a strong intermediate, but does OK on groomed black runs.

 

Catching Silverado open is the more difficult task.


Good to know about Silverado.  I've only skied Squaw once.  Didn't cover that much terrain since the morning was the last day of a 3-morning clinic.  Lucked out and had the lesson (4 students) in 20+ inches of fresh powder.  However, the upper mountain was closed after lunch since it was windy and still snowing.

post #114 of 118

First time in Silvy--the year it opened--I was there when they dropped the ropes about 1pm after 5 feet of fresh, with about 10 other people (now it would be a few hundred). After skiing down the first pitch I noticed the chutes below already had tracks so I headed right, only to find myself traversing a 45 degree slope above cliffs--and praying it wouldn't slide. Riding up the lift that day was fun--while last people followed the main runout trail a lot of folks followed tracks around a side hill to get a couple of turns on the face above the loading station. As the day went on the deep, narrow track those folks were following got faster and faster and extended farther and farther, trapping the skiers in it as they came around a corner and were flung off a 10 foot cliff. Fortunately the landing was soft, everyone managed to get out of the way before the next victim and no one was hurt. Talk about blind air. Now can we talk about taxes?

post #115 of 118

Been interesting to find out about trails that have changed in difficulty.  My first trip to Jackson Hole was in 2014, which was after significant changes to the Casper area.  By then, I was an advanced skier.  Based on reading about JH, I had little interest in going there when I was an intermediate (before 2005).  The new Sweetwater gondola being installed this summer will change JH not only for intermediates but also for advanced beginners.

 

In the profile of Casper in Liftblog, Peter notes the following.  He works at JH, so experienced the change first hand.

 

"In the summer of 2012, Jackson Hole invested $5 million to build a new Casper high speed quad and re-grade three major runs in the Casper pod.  The race course was moved elsewhere and the entire area dubbed “all new, all-blue.”  The new Casper opened December 6, 2012 and completely changed intermediate skiing at Jackson Hole."

post #116 of 118

I agree that the Casper pod is popular and I think it's because it's the easiest intermediate terrain on the whole mountain.  When I think of mountains with the most challenging blue terrain, Jackson Hole is right at the top (with Sun Valley not too far behind).  Casper is the only spot on the whole mountain that has blue runs like what you would see at other western resorts.  Everything else there is steeper than your typical blue.

post #117 of 118
EX sign at A Basin.
post #118 of 118

Some of the more challenging blues are the ones off the top of Lincoln at Sugar Bowl, mainly because they are relatively steep for a blue, tend to be pretty firm and blown/scraped off a lot of the time as well as being relatively narrow. Only the upper parts of the runs are like that; the lower parts make up for it by being beginner level. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion