Originally Posted by MHarry18
As I remember it, Sierra Summit/China Peak is known for double-overhead ice rocks. I just don't remember a whole lot of pitch. Also, wouldn't this rating system be a lot clearer and more useful with some kind of established criteria governing the designations at individual mountains rather than the local marketing team and the accountants? Just saying.
Well, what is the upside for resorts to agree to normalize their trail ratings?
The overwhelming majority of the skiing public is intermediate skiers. However, most of those intermediates aspire to ski more difficult terrain (or want to take vacations at places that have plenty of two diamonds on the map to brag to their friends when they return home).
In my opinion, I see a LOT of trails I would rate beginner moved up to an intermediate rating, all to make the trail map and difficulty percentages look more appealing to the groomer-cruiser skier that dominates the industry. Wolf Creek is certainly guilty of this. All of the "Blue" trails on the skiers right of the Treasure lift pod are so flat as to be straightline affairs almost the whole way back to the lift.
Wolf Creek's official difficulty breakdown? 20% Beginner, 35% Intermediate, 25% Advanced, 20% expert. If the changed the aforementioned runs to green, It would be something more like 35% Beginner, 15% intermediate. But no ski area wants to put a public face on the idea that they really have very little in the way of high-speed blue cruiser terrain, which is why you almost NEVER see a resort where intermediate terrain is claimed to be the smallest percentage of terrain.
On the other end of the spectrum, resorts know they need to sell the idea of expert terrain to attract destination skiers, even if the skiers have no intention of skiing that terrain. So, we get a lot of creep at the expert end of the spectrum as well. In the West, it is now rare to find a ski area lacking double diamond ratings, and the ones that do not label terrain as such either have an expert reputation so ingrained that there is no need (Squaw), or are so lacking in advanced/expert terrain they could never hope to sell the designation (Ski Cooper).
And then you have Triple Diamonds in the East and Midwest (Mt Bohemia) because double diamonds have become so overused that these areas want people to know that their terrain is more difficult than the double diamond labels of their local competitors- double diamond just doesn't carry the marketing weight anymore.
I am anxiously awaiting 4 diamonds.
In any case, most resorts are cheating somewhere to maintain the trail distribution that the market wants. They won't agree to normalize, because there isn't an upside- Skiers familiar with the ski area don't generally care beyond smirking at stretched ratings, and when a new skier arrives at a resort partly on the basis of a trail map with inaccurate ratings, the resort gets to take a swing at converting them despite terrain being off.
Not to mention the ego-stoke factor. Many guests are perfectly happy when a ski area over labels an approachable run for the sole purpose of bagging a double diamond during their trip. The guest doesn't really care that the "double diamond" shows up on the groom list, they care that it still seems impressive to their non-skiing friends.