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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Guides available for resorts with a universal rating system? [Intermediate with Epic Local Pass]
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Guides available for resorts with a universal rating system? [Intermediate with Epic Local Pass]

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

To begin, I'm an intermediate skier that recently started skiing blues, and I only recently realized just how much blues vary from resort to resort, so I've been trying to do research to determine how steep a run is, whether there are moguls on it, etc... before I find myself in a bind halfway down, because the run is too difficult for me. I recently discovered http://www.andysskiandrideguides.com/ which is EXACTLY what I've been looking for, but it looks like he no longer maintains his site, and although I was able to find PDF's of his guides by googling around (the links on the website appear to be broken), the most recent guides I was able to find were from the 09-10 season.

 

Does anyone know of any site, or even paid physical guide from like Amazon or something, that offers a similar kind of rating system and description of runs to help me plan my ski trips?

 

Moderator note: info added to thread title

post #2 of 19
Well, the "unofficial guides" on this site may help, but as with the rating system, they are only for trails within one resort. Nevertheless, MY guide at least uses extensive pictures of every single trail (okay, there's still none for Fault 3.) on the mountain to show you the type of conditions you'll encounter.

The fact is that trail difficulty is not just a function of PITCH, but also prevailing snow conditions, traffic patterns, grooming, presence of obstructions like trees and cliffs, and even light. So that the "objective rating" could even change throughout the day.

Best case is start on a green at a new resort and ramp up as you get adjusted to their ratings.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that! I'll take a look at these guides. As for the difficulty, I'm aware that the green, blue, black is only for that particular resort, which is why it's hard to try and figure out exactly HOW hard a run is. I'm primarily concerned with pitch and moguls, though. The rest that you mentioned (traffic, snow conditions, etc...) I'm confident I can deal with.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Well, the "unofficial guides" on this site may help, but as with the rating system, they are only for trails within one resort. Nevertheless, MY guide at least uses extensive pictures of every single trail (okay, there's still none for Fault 3.) on the mountain to show you the type of conditions you'll encounter.

 

Welp, turns out there's a bit of an issue with the unofficial guides. I wasn't able to find ANY guides for Colorado's biggest ski resorts. I was able to find guides for Steamboat and Telluride, but those are both way too far from me. I'm looking for Keystone, Breckenridge, and Vail, primarily, but didn't notice any of those on there. And there also doesn't seem to be any guide for Arapahoe Basin, Eldora, Copper Mountain, or Winter Park...seems odd that so many of Colorado's biggest resorts would be missing. Am I not looking in the right place?

post #5 of 19
They're done by volunteers from this site. Maybe no one stepped forward to do it. Guess you'll have to come to Whitefish. ;-)

Actually, when I think of it, none of those places -- Keystone, Breckenridge, or Vail -- get a lot of love here.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeracer4487 View Post
 

Thanks for that! I'll take a look at these guides. As for the difficulty, I'm aware that the green, blue, black is only for that particular resort, which is why it's hard to try and figure out exactly HOW hard a run is. I'm primarily concerned with pitch and moguls, though. The rest that you mentioned (traffic, snow conditions, etc...) I'm confident I can deal with.

 

The "catch" is that skier traffic can transform a trail that was, in the morning, perfectly groomed into an icy moguled mess by the afternoon.

 

Or the clouds roll in and the light goes flat and a nice cruiser becomes "skiing by braille" in the span of five minutes.

 

The point is that trail conditions change more rapidly than any guide could be updated.  The best way to know the trail conditions is to ask somebody.  Instructors, patrollers, other guests...  Most larger ski areas have ambassadors cruising around the mountain...  ask them what's going on.  Mountain employees and regulars are generally only too happy to  yap about "their" mountain.

post #7 of 19

There are good comments/suggestions above. Also, while trail designations are resort-specific, I've never been on blue-run at Resort A and thought "This would be a double-black at Resort B", or vice-versa.

 

As a suggestion ... pick one resort that you want to visit (based on size, location, cost, whatever) and then ask this forum before you go.

Something along the lines of: "Hi, I'm a intermediate skier that enjoys blue runs at Winter Park, but I hate crowded runs, moguls and trees. Can anyone suggest some good runs at Copper?"

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeracer4487 View Post
 

I'm an intermediate skier that recently started skiing blues

 
Say no more...I recommend:

 

Keystone

Copper Mountain

Beaver Creek

Vail

Steamboat

Snowmass

post #9 of 19

I was going to suggest 'Andy’s Ski & Ride Guides' website but there appears to be a breakdown somewhere.

 

Maybe Andy has left the business.

 

 

http://andysskiandrideguides.com/

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ali pine View Post

I was going to suggest 'Andy’s Ski & Ride Guides' website but there appears to be a breakdown somewhere.

Maybe Andy has left the business.


http://andysskiandrideguides.com/

See post number 1.
post #11 of 19

The http://www.hillmap.com site is fun, though in your case you'd probably be using it to figure out where not to go...

Zoom in on a location like a ski area and then use the color-coded overlay that shows you the pitch.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeracer4487 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Well, the "unofficial guides" on this site may help, but as with the rating system, they are only for trails within one resort. Nevertheless, MY guide at least uses extensive pictures of every single trail (okay, there's still none for Fault 3.) on the mountain to show you the type of conditions you'll encounter.

 

Welp, turns out there's a bit of an issue with the unofficial guides. I wasn't able to find ANY guides for Colorado's biggest ski resorts. I was able to find guides for Steamboat and Telluride, but those are both way too far from me. I'm looking for Keystone, Breckenridge, and Vail, primarily, but didn't notice any of those on there. And there also doesn't seem to be any guide for Arapahoe Basin, Eldora, Copper Mountain, or Winter Park...seems odd that so many of Colorado's biggest resorts would be missing. Am I not looking in the right place?


Since the EpicSki Unofficial Guides are created by volunteers, there is no pattern to which places have one and which don't.  EpicSki is an online ski forum that has a lot of content collected over the years, not a professional ski website like OnTheSnow.

 

Take a little time to look around at recent related threads for a few of the places you are curious about.  One way to start is to look at the OnTheSnow resort page for basic stats such as total vertical and total acreage.  Fair to say that a place with 2000' vertical and 3000 acres has a lot more intermediate terrain even if it's only 30% when compared to a place with 1500' vertical and 700 acres with the same 30% for blue runs.  That's not even taking into account that trail ratings (green/blue/black) are resort-specific.

 

One way to get to EpicSki Resort pages is the menu bar.  Or scan the recent threads in Resorts, Conditions & Travel.  Some will have been tagged.  Look under Topics Discussed for the tag link.  For example, I tagged Keystone.

 

Where have you skied so far?

post #13 of 19
Maybe we need to put out another call for volunteers for the missing resorts? It's been a while.
post #14 of 19

Most bigger places (and smaller for that matter) have a grooming report on their website updated every am and usually the groomed runs stay pretty consistently groomed throughout the year. There are some exceptions but for the most part the main blue groomer zoomers will remain blue groomer zoomers. The exceptions usually are the commonly ungroomed runs will be groomed from time to time if the resort deems it necessary for safety and these would then be added to the grooming report. If you go to one of the resorts Lofcaudio mentioned above and the conditions are halfway decent then you will likely have little trouble on the groomed blues. I think where you may run into problems is if the conditions are very icy or you end up on a bump run. Its pretty rare in typical midwinter conditions at the major western resorts to have icy conditions on the groomed runs and you can avoid the bump runs by checking the groomer report. Sure, the groomed runs can form smallish bumps by the end of the day in higher traffic areas, but I don't think it will create a serious bind. So in the days leading up to your trip start looking at the trail map for the blue runs that look interesting and then cross-check them with the grooming report (usually found in the trail status section) and make a list and study how to get to these runs. Once on the mountain they will likely be well marked and easily found. Ive been working on my bump skills on lower angle ungroomed runs so I have been utilizing this process in reverse. Have fun!!!

post #15 of 19

First time out west at Vail last year, as an intermediate. I read through Andy's guide for it (www.andysskiandrideguides.com/images/Vail_09.pdf). And really, it was a great intro to the mountain, but didn't offer a lot once I got out there. (Really, reading the guide made things sound more approachable for me than they really were. There's just too many variables and unknowns.)

 

Better to follow the advice to pay attention to the grooming report, and skiing a few runs to get things figured out. We started with a green and easier blue and just went from there. I'd also note that depending on crowds, runs that were groomed a day or two earlier can be good, even if they aren't on that day's report. 

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

They're done by volunteers from this site. Maybe no one stepped forward to do it. Guess you'll have to come to Whitefish. ;-)

Actually, when I think of it, none of those places -- Keystone, Breckenridge, or Vail -- get a lot of love here.


There are plenty of planning threads about Keystone, Breck, and Vail from the past year or two.  However, not that many Trip Reports that would help an intermediate just venturing onto blues.  Any updates by families or intermediates posted during or after their trip are usually buried in the planning thread.

 

Here are a couple examples of planning threads for Vail for early season 2015:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/143866/best-intermediate-runs-at-vail-and-best-order-to-ski-them

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/143446/vail-first-timer-dec-15-20-advanced-skier

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

One way to get to EpicSki Resort pages is the menu bar.  Or scan the recent threads in Resorts, Conditions & Travel.  Some will have been tagged.  Look under Topics Discussed for the tag link.  For example, I tagged Keystone.

 

Where have you skied so far?

 

Thanks, I'll check that out! This year is my first year with an Epic Local Pass, which has really allowed me to improve my skills. This year I've been to Vail twice, Breck once, and Keystone 3 times (and looking at guides and talking to instructors at Keystone, it seems like Keystone is a fair amount steeper than the other two). I skied Flying Dutchman, Hoo Doo, and Frenchman at Keystone relatively easily, and all the greens at all 3 resorts are a breeze for me. Keystone's River Run was a bit challenging for me, and the instructor said I might want to wait on Mozart. At Vail, the only blues I skied were Hunky Dory and Ramshorn, and I handled both just fine. If no one in this thread is from Colorado than that all means nothing...but I thought I'd list those off to give people an idea of where I'm coming from. 

I've heard good things about the blue runs on Peak 7 at Breck, so I'm hoping to check those out this weekend.

post #18 of 19

I have done terrain ratings on a 5 grade absolute scale for the Resort Guide features I've written for the Inside Tracks newsletter 1997-2002 and since then for First Tracks Online features.  The articles are listed with links here: http://bestsnow.net/insdtrak.htm  Terrain definitions are here: http://bestsnow.net/resguide.htm

 

For another project I have estimated, based upon experience, lift ratios and Google Earth topography, the 5 grade scale of terrain difficulty for a total of 89 areas.

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeracer4487 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

One way to get to EpicSki Resort pages is the menu bar.  Or scan the recent threads in Resorts, Conditions & Travel.  Some will have been tagged.  Look under Topics Discussed for the tag link.  For example, I tagged Keystone.

 

Where have you skied so far?

 

Thanks, I'll check that out! This year is my first year with an Epic Local Pass, which has really allowed me to improve my skills. This year I've been to Vail twice, Breck once, and Keystone 3 times (and looking at guides and talking to instructors at Keystone, it seems like Keystone is a fair amount steeper than the other two). I skied Flying Dutchman, Hoo Doo, and Frenchman at Keystone relatively easily, and all the greens at all 3 resorts are a breeze for me. Keystone's River Run was a bit challenging for me, and the instructor said I might want to wait on Mozart. At Vail, the only blues I skied were Hunky Dory and Ramshorn, and I handled both just fine. If no one in this thread is from Colorado than that all means nothing...but I thought I'd list those off to give people an idea of where I'm coming from. 

I've heard good things about the blue runs on Peak 7 at Breck, so I'm hoping to check those out this weekend.


A local instructor is always a great source of ideas of where to explore later on.  Definitely helps to know that you are a local and have the Epic Local Pass.  As you can imagine, a lot of the people on EpicSki are travelers when they are skiing in Colorado.  Many travelers find an Epic Pass a good deal if they plan to take more than one trip to the Rockies during a season.

 

Hope you'll report back when you decide which blue runs are you favorites.

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