Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan
The variation between trail ratings is more than significant, it is huge. Trail ratings are relative to other trails at the same area. A black run at Boston Mills would be comparable to some green runs at Mt. Baker.
Even if you were able to average those, you need also to take into account varying conditions. While it is less of an issue on groomed, man-made slopes, Variable conditions can make a run easy one day, difficult the next and even possibly unskiable the following day. Sometimes those conditions drop even within a day. Not long ago we had a day that was fluffy in the morning and manked down after noon. Coupled with poor visibility and sloughing, most of the trails were abandoned by 2pm.
If a person had to label him or herself, your descriptions would be as good as not. If someone were coming to me for a lesson, I would not rely on those descriptions, but would delve into what the person specifically felt comfortable with, what they felt they needed, and then couple that with an analysis of the person's skiing before deciding where the lesson went.
If anything, though, I usually ignore when people tell me they are intermediate or expert, as the interpretations vary so wildly btween people.
And I know about Mt. Baker. I remember skiing down one of their "green" runs.The pitch started out gentle then became more like a blue run and ended with a short steep black-like section. I repeatedly passed a group of novice skiier/boarders stareing down the the black-like section, no doubt wondering how they were going to make the descent. :