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Trail Rating Comparisons

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone and Happy Thanksgiving To all !

Regarding trail ratings(green, blue, black) are they determined by a standard difficulty or are they simply relative to a resort? If for instance I want to ride a green run at say Jackson Hole will it be similiar in difficulty to a green run at another resort? Is this how they classify difficulty ratings for trails?
post #2 of 25
They are determined by resort, so a blue in one resort might be a green in another, or a black in a third! (but generally, if it's green, it's not going to be too difficult)
post #3 of 25
Definitely relative within each mountain/resort. In general the western areas are usually comparable with each other and I've experienced huge disparities with eastern trails across. Even so, there are exceptions - like A-Basin where many of the blues would be blacks at some of the larger resort areas in Colorado.
post #4 of 25

appeal to as many as possible

the numbers are tweaked to get close to 1/3 each. so you get more difficult greens at a steep mountain to attract more beginners, and easier blacks at and easier mountain to sell more tickets
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post
(.....but generally, if it's green, it's not going to be too difficult)
Have you been to Snowbird?
post #6 of 25
Big Emma @ Snowbird is the steepest green I've ever seen. I would be a black at many other resorts.
post #7 of 25
They vary from resort to resort. I know some blues at some places that would easily be blacks at others and vice versa.
post #8 of 25
There are no national or international standards for trail difficulty rankings. They are all relative to the resort providing them. A green run simply means that's the easiest terrain for that resort.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by duke walker View Post
the numbers are tweaked to get close to 1/3 each. so you get more difficult greens at a steep mountain to attract more beginners, and easier blacks at and easier mountain to sell more tickets
tell that to skico. Ajax has no greens.
post #10 of 25

Rating Trails/Runs

AND. Some resorts are very liberal with their black diamond ratings so a lot of mid-intermediates can go home and tell everyone "I skied some blacks today". Good marketing technique, I guess - Duh. Anyone you know or meet that says; "I only ski double diamonds" is usually from the void filled by self absorbed airheads.
post #11 of 25
Here is info I came across recently that does a nice job in explaining it:

There is no governing body that assigns difficulty ratings to ski trails. Instead, as everyone has advised, ski resorts assign ratings to their own trails, marking a given trail according to its relative difficulty when compared with other trails at that resort.

As a result, identically-pitched trails at different resorts can have different ratings. This non-standardized approach to difficulty ratings often leads skiers to slopes that are beyond their abilities.

Although slope angle is the primary consideration in assigning a trail rating, other factors come into play — including trail width, normal snow conditions and whether or not the resort regularly grooms the trail.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
AND. Some resorts are very liberal with their black diamond ratings so a lot of mid-intermediates can go home and tell everyone "I skied some blacks today". Good marketing technique, I guess - Duh. Anyone you know or meet that says; "I only ski double diamonds" is usually from the void filled by self absorbed airheads.
Yes, very much so. The whole double black thing also was an East Coast marketing thing used by some of the resorts to try and differentiate themselves from their competition. Now they all have them, and unfortunately they have propagated west.
post #13 of 25
I see double diamond as a way to further differentiate degree of difficulty.

Red Mountain has triple diamonds and the trail map says four diamonds "you're lost" or did years ago when I saw a trail map from there. That might have been marketing.

Although the rating are scrictly intended to show degrees of difficulty for runs on one ski area only, I have found myself similarly challenged on similarly rated runs at most places I've skied.

I skied one day at Snowbird, but I don't think I skied Big Emma, a green run that is supposed to be steeper than the double blacks around here. I can't quite get my head around that fact.

The yellow triangles at JH were scarier and more dangerous, and steeper and narrower than my local hills double blacks, but the increased challenge for me was mostly due to the fear factor which was huge. I didn't ski the scariest looking of those.
post #14 of 25
It definitely is mountain-specific. I guess that way for different terrain you could theoretically a flatter trail could still be considered difficult. IMO it would be nice to have some standard steepness indications so you could compare.

Trivia - there is one double diamond at Alta - see if you can find it. It's not where you think it is!
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
I

The yellow triangles at JH were scarier and more dangerous, and steeper and narrower than my local hills double blacks, but the increased challenge for me was mostly due to the fear factor which was huge. I didn't ski the scariest looking of those.
There is(was) one of those yellow triangle caution signs as you enter the woods via the Moran Traverse, skiers left off the top of Wide Open, to get to Moran Face area.

Never figured out why it was there as the traverse and the terrain at the end of the traverse is very mellow open snow fields but because of the sign kept people away so even on a busy powder day this area was basically untouched, dispite being easily seen from the base area. You do have to sidestep over an imposing boulder but it really wasn't all that dificult.

When I took out of town friends there they always freaked out cause of the sign and took alot of convincing that it was not that dangerous and would result in some sweet easy open terrain.

I assume initially the rating system not only protected the skier/rider from geting over their heads but the resort as well in case they got sued by a skier who claimed they were unaware that they were on a trail that was beyond their abilities.
post #16 of 25
The difficulty ratings at Bridger Bowl seem to depend on grooming, in addition to steepness. From what I've seen, trails that are never/rarely groomed get kicked up a notch (green to blue, or blue to black).
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by trurl2003 View Post
The difficulty ratings at Bridger Bowl seem to depend on grooming, in addition to steepness. From what I've seen, trails that are never/rarely groomed get kicked up a notch (green to blue, or blue to black).
A perfectly reasonable way to do things, since three foot moguls will turn a nice easy blue cruiser into a much more difficult proposition for an intermediate skier. A couple of resorts I ski will put a temporary black or double black sign at the top to the trail when conditions have increased the difficulty level.

It also makes sense when you are skiing a new resort to work your way up during the warm-up runs first thing in the morning. That allows you to adjust your thinking as to what a blue or black actually means for this particular resort. You might also consider taking the tour usually offered by snow hosts (insert name of resort program here). Of course the top end of the scale (black and double black) will have a wide range of variability (all the way from "why isn't this a blue" to sphincter clenching "just get me down in one piece, and I promise I'll never do this again").
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by duke walker View Post
the numbers are tweaked to get close to 1/3 each. so you get more difficult greens at a steep mountain to attract more beginners, and easier blacks at and easier mountain to sell more tickets
This is very true at Mt. Bachelor. We skied runs that were designated black diamond and some that were blue but couldn't for the life of us determine the difference in difficulty. They were all groomed. The blue was even more narrow than the black which made me think that it was actually slightly more difficult. We asked a local about it and he agreed by saying that the reason they were so designated was that they didn't have enough blue paint for the signs.:
post #19 of 25
I've seen things change year to year based on how they plan to groom it or not (ie knock down the bumps etc).

It is kind of a letdown when you see a nice steep trail that usually gets bumped and they take the groomers to it - argh!
post #20 of 25
This website has some 3D imagery of some of the major US resorts. You can compare the steepness of certain areas from different mountains by referencing the color codes.

http://www.3dskimaps.com/index.php

On that note, can anyone tell me about where Park City ranks? I went to Breckenridge last year and found the blues to often get quite boring (those flat run-outs at mid-mountain and the bottom are HELL on us boarders). I found the 'blue-blacks' to be just right. It was only my second time snowboarding, so I couldn't quite work up the guts to hit any blacks. But looking back, I wish that I had.
post #21 of 25
I would like to see a double rating. One the areas rading and a national rating next to it.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DownSouthRider View Post
This website has some 3D imagery of some of the major US resorts. You can compare the steepness of certain areas from different mountains by referencing the color codes.

http://www.3dskimaps.com/index.php
That is amazing! Taos really is steeper than average... Hope they put up more resorts. Would love to see CBMR and the BCC/LCC resorts there. The ones of hills I've been on seemed about right to me.

DSR, you should consider putting this link up in a new thread. It would be interesting to see if bears for whom these are 'home' mountains agree with the accuracy.
post #23 of 25
I've definitely heard that about Taos - seems to be true according to the maps.

I agree with Phil's comment - some standardization would be helpful I think particularly for intermediates trying to "stretch" their experiences onto steeper trails.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DownSouthRider View Post
This website has some 3D imagery of some of the major US resorts. You can compare the steepness of certain areas from different mountains by referencing the color codes.

http://www.3dskimaps.com/index.php

On that note, can anyone tell me about where Park City ranks? I went to Breckenridge last year and found the blues to often get quite boring (those flat run-outs at mid-mountain and the bottom are HELL on us boarders). I found the 'blue-blacks' to be just right. It was only my second time snowboarding, so I couldn't quite work up the guts to hit any blacks. But looking back, I wish that I had.
Wow! Thanks for that link. That's gotta be one of the coolest finds in a while. I'm still digging into it...
post #25 of 25

great map......

I bet the ski patrol could do a lot of this measurement on the ground , say at snowbird/alta and it would really help those wishing to move up a notch in steepness without committing to something too steep, especially runs that cant be seen or are difficult to judge from the lift
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