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Expanding Trail Color Distinctions (Website?)...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Is there a website out there already that helps skiers see more detailed trail maps or details for ski resorts that expands on the difficulties of their offered runs? I think everyone would agree that you know what you get with a green run, but blue runs can run the spectrum from horribly sky blue happy zones to dark violet death zones.

 

When I visit a new resort I haven't been to before, one of the hardest parts is seeking out information in advance of what runs I should be looking to hit and what areas of the mountain are best suited to me as an intermediate rider. Typically I schedule a lesson the first day and ask the instructor for the info, but I would love of there was a place online I could go and look at the trail map, see more detailed analysis of the run types at the resort and plan my day better.  

 

My idea is just being able to pull up a resort and being able to go to their trail map, click on a run (that is coded in a better color system) and then see details like:

- Difficulty Level (7 out of 10)

- Groomed daily

- Steep beginning pitch that flattens into some rolling moderate terrain.

 

Could also be useful to have information like (Warning: Tree Wells commonly present on/near this run).

 

Again, if this exists, than I apologize. If it doesn't, and someone else thinks this would be useful, then maybe I will get coding and moving on this haha.

post #2 of 17

You might want to take a read through this thread : http://www.epicski.com/t/144660/guides-available-for-resorts-with-a-universal-rating-system-intermediate-with-epic-local-pass

 

A lot of the same information applies with regard to the difficulty of having any kind of standard rating. Even if someone were to review a run at a resort you're not familiar with, it could be drastically different conditions when you're there. There are lots of examples of two runs, call them A and B, where which is harder is condition dependent. 

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'll definitely take a look back through that thread and agree that conditions can change things significantly, but also do believe that there will always be some runs that are inherently on the easier side and some that are inherently on the harder side at most mountains. If the website used user rating systems to rank difficulty so that an average was shown over time with feedback, it was just be a cool tool to help people plan their trips to new places and plan out some terrain they want to check out that may be in their range.

 

If conditions determine the difficulty, that is something that could also be included in the feedback for each run. Not saying this wouldn't be a difficult obstacle to overcome and a tough project, I'm just curious if there would actually be interest.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdtotten View Post
 

I'll definitely take a look back through that thread and agree that conditions can change things significantly, but also do believe that there will always be some runs that are inherently on the easier side and some that are inherently on the harder side at most mountains. If the website used user rating systems to rank difficulty so that an average was shown over time with feedback, it was just be a cool tool to help people plan their trips to new places and plan out some terrain they want to check out that may be in their range.

 

If conditions determine the difficulty, that is something that could also be included in the feedback for each run. Not saying this wouldn't be a difficult obstacle to overcome and a tough project, I'm just curious if there would actually be interest.


Agree there would be interest from people who haven't ski a variety of ski areas or any large resorts (> 1000 acres) when doing trip planning.  However, there would be very little interest on the part of enough people to provide the data.

 

For trip planning threads, when someone provides examples of their favorite trails at places they have skied before, very often that gives enough context for someone else to give advice related to choosing a destination for a ski vacation.

 

Have you ever checked out the OnTheSnow trip planner tool?  Considers terrain in general, as well as other factors that go into picking a destination such as the type of lodging of interest or whether or not non-skiing activities are important.  Can be one way to narrow down the options.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Have you ever checked out the OnTheSnow trip planner tool?  Considers terrain in general, as well as other factors that go into picking a destination such as the type of lodging of interest or whether or not non-skiing activities are important.  Can be one way to narrow down the options.

 

I have and that is a useful tool - but I am coming from a slightly different perspective. I was not thinking about using this as a tool to pick a resort to visit, more once I have chosen a place I want to go to, what parts of the mountain or runs in particular would be up my alley to check out. For instance, the first time I went to Steamboat, had no clue on that massive mountain where I should go, what runs my ability could handle and what runs were out of my league. If I simply went by color, I would have been in a world of hurt because some of their blues really have black pitches, but are wide enough to keep them blue for color grading, but some of their blues just have a slight drop at the beginning (that you can work around) and are relatively flat the rest of the way and are almost green. Asking around and with the help of instructors, they can direct you to the best runs to be on for your skillset, but that is a hard way to do it. As a relatively caucious skier, and someone who spends a decent amount of time looking at websites such as this one all day anyways, I thought "wouldn't it be nice if there was a site out there that helped point you in the right direction...". 

 

Even at my local ski hill, a tiny hill with 100 acres of terrain, there are many new skiers that want to progress past the beginning green runs but aren't sure what blue run they should try first or second, and obviously some are much more difficult than others.

post #6 of 17
Try my Locals Guide. The rating thing won't help you, but the descriptions and pictures of each run might. Plus, that info is also provided for select unmarked areas of the resort.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Your website is 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Try my Locals Guide. The rating thing won't help you, but the descriptions and pictures of each run might. Plus, that info is also provided for select unmarked areas of the resort.

Your website is pretty spot on to the sort of information and detail I am talking about for resorts. Details on each run, what the characteristics are, etc. If anything, yours is more in depth than I was thinking, but strays away from kind of "ranking" run difficulty (the only difference). Great job on the content - you obviously put a HUGE amount of time into it and it is a terrific resource for anyone that is visiting.

post #8 of 17

You wont find a website that is exactly what you're asking for but you can get to the data.  See the options at the bottom of this post:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/126590/what-really-defines-double-diamond-terrain/90#post_1704319

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdtotten View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Have you ever checked out the OnTheSnow trip planner tool?  Considers terrain in general, as well as other factors that go into picking a destination such as the type of lodging of interest or whether or not non-skiing activities are important.  Can be one way to narrow down the options.

 

I have and that is a useful tool - but I am coming from a slightly different perspective. I was not thinking about using this as a tool to pick a resort to visit, more once I have chosen a place I want to go to, what parts of the mountain or runs in particular would be up my alley to check out. For instance, the first time I went to Steamboat, had no clue on that massive mountain where I should go, what runs my ability could handle and what runs were out of my league. If I simply went by color, I would have been in a world of hurt because some of their blues really have black pitches, but are wide enough to keep them blue for color grading, but some of their blues just have a slight drop at the beginning (that you can work around) and are relatively flat the rest of the way and are almost green. Asking around and with the help of instructors, they can direct you to the best runs to be on for your skillset, but that is a hard way to do it. As a relatively caucious skier, and someone who spends a decent amount of time looking at websites such as this one all day anyways, I thought "wouldn't it be nice if there was a site out there that helped point you in the right direction...". 

 

Even at my local ski hill, a tiny hill with 100 acres of terrain, there are many new skiers that want to progress past the beginning green runs but aren't sure what blue run they should try first or second, and obviously some are much more difficult than others.


Ah, now I get where you are coming from.  I usually took advantage of a free mountain tour when I was an intermediate.  Even as an advanced skier, when going to a huge destination resort like Big Sky or JH for the first time, I find doing the mountain tour the first day of a ski week is very helpful.  Even though such tours are on green/blue groomers, the hosts stop and describe the harder terrain and are happy to answer questions.

 

Ski patrol can also be helpful in terms of suggestions of where to go exploring.

 

Take a look at Hillmap.  I've had a good time mapping out my home hill.  With trails for many ski areas in Google Maps, can research exactly the runs that seem to be a good fit while anticipating a ski vacation.

 

http://www.hillmap.com

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Definitely appreciate all the feedback from the users here on the subject. Tons of good information and has guided my thought process on this even better. I'm of the personality type that once my mind gets set on something, it doesn't relent, so I think I may pursue trying to get something setup from a website standpoint on this subject, so if you see me posting in the near future about it... well you know why. Feel free to post anything else you may think of that helps the cause.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdtotten View Post
 

I think everyone would agree that you know what you get with a green run, but blue runs can run the spectrum from horribly sky blue happy zones to dark violet death zones.

I just want to say that while I appreciate what you're asking for I am utterly baffled by your description of the blue-run spectrum...

 

"horribly blue sky happy zone?"

"dark violet death zones?"

 

:dunno

post #12 of 17

My first trip out West was to Telluride, Colorado.  I started on a single green run (Meadows).  I spent my whole first day on that run until I felt like I had it mastered.  My second day I ventured out to the double green runs!  YES!  Telluride has double greens.  On day 3, I skied my first blue run...a nicely groomed run that had a few steeper pitches but was overall pretty mellow.  Had I been willing to take the next step up, it would have been to a double blue which would have meant ungroomed terrain on a similar pitch as the single blues which were groomed.  I was shocked on my next trip out West (Keystone) and found that there was just green, blue and black and no further division.  Telluride does it right, in my opinion, by providing improving skiers a wonderful progression with the way it rates their runs.  A few other resorts (Jackson Hole and Deer Valley immediately come to mind) do use the double blue designation which I think helps with the OP's primary concern as there really is a huge jump between a groomed blue run and a steeper non-groomed black run.  

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post

 

...use the double blue designation which I think helps with the OP's primary concern as there really is a huge jump between a groomed blue run and a steeper non-groomed black run.  

 

As an east coaster who's barely been out west, what I found is that grooming plays a huge role in what I can handle. I am much more likely to ski well (or at least passably) on a groomed black, than I am on an ungroomed or bumped up blue. 

 

So for now, what I think is helpful for me, is combining the grooming report and trail colors. But even then, if something wasn't groomed last night, but was groomed the night before, I may still be able to handle it easily. It depends on the weather and skier traffic too. I found blue runs that had been groomed two or three nights before that varied pretty widely - busy runs that had been pushed into soft piles, some melt/freeze runs that had some small moguls or hardened crud, and some that may as well have been groomed that morning. And I think they were pretty comparable runs otherwise, that all get groomed at least every several days.

 

(If you know Vail, the runs I can think of were Mid-Vail Express; parts of Simba; and Cappucino, Espresso, and Christmas. There's some variation in difficulty there, but if they're all freshly groomed, they're all pretty straight forward. But Mid-Vail was like skiing on a frozen washboard, Bwana had soft piles and some harder bumps lower, Cappucino got pretty piled up and is a little steeper in places, etc. But Christmas, if I remember correctly, was still pretty smooth even when not groomed the night before.)

 

So if you really wanted to be precise, you'd need a way to factor in the recency of grooming as well, and the weather, and the amount of skier traffic the run gets. 

post #14 of 17

Why try to quantify minutia? It doesn't matter. Just go ski the mountain.

post #15 of 17

^^^^^^This

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 

My first trip out West was to Telluride, Colorado.  I started on a single green run (Meadows).  I spent my whole first day on that run until I felt like I had it mastered.  My second day I ventured out to the double green runs!  YES!  Telluride has double greens.  On day 3, I skied my first blue run...a nicely groomed run that had a few steeper pitches but was overall pretty mellow.  Had I been willing to take the next step up, it would have been to a double blue which would have meant ungroomed terrain on a similar pitch as the single blues which were groomed.  I was shocked on my next trip out West (Keystone) and found that there was just green, blue and black and no further division.  Telluride does it right, in my opinion, by providing improving skiers a wonderful progression with the way it rates their runs.  A few other resorts (Jackson Hole and Deer Valley immediately come to mind) do use the double blue designation which I think helps with the OP's primary concern as there really is a huge jump between a groomed blue run and a steeper non-groomed black run.  

Then there's Squaw--which does have double blues, but no double black. Basic advanced runs and true expert only runs have the same rating, although Squaw marks the latter with expert only signs at the entrance, but not on the map.

post #17 of 17
Yes, you can't count on being able to access local knowledge without being a local. Sometimes you can take time to ask others, sometimes not.

Part of the adventure, even for an intermediate skier or boarder, is to trust that you have the basic skills you need for the terrain you're coming up to, explore, discover, learn, maybe struggle through it a little, but still enjoy the experience.
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