I’m aware of the slope rating system that varies for each course based on the course’s difficulty and one adjusts his/her handicap accordingly. It also varies from the tees one plays at each golf course. That is why I tried to equate the trail rating system with that of the different tee boxes, realizing that many ski resorts’ trails are more difficult than others’ with the same color code. It has often been suggested here that there should be a universal trail rating system much like the course slope system from the USGA. A simple way to compare different trails is their pitch in degrees. Granted, “hazards” would also have to factor into this system.
The lowest course slope rating is 55, the standard is 113, and the highest or most difficult is 155. What would a 55 ski trail be, a flat green run? What would a 113 ski trail be, a standard blue? What would a 155 run be, a narrow, 1,000 foot vertical, 60 degree couloir?
If a skier can ski the most difficult runs repeatedly well in good conditions they could easily justify saying they are a plus handicap skier. Which is what this topic’s original question was referring to. If your skiing were golf, what would your handicap be? For comparison’s sake, I tried, in my last post, to relate the two by associating the PSIA levels with the USGA index. I understand if a Level 8 skier is standing atop that 155 run they may look like a Level 5 when attempting it. But are they really a level 5? It has been said numerous times that your average "scratch" golfer will have trouble breaking 90 on a U.S. Open course and their is probably data backing that up. Does that make those players "bogey" golfers? I don’t claim to fully understand the USGA Handicap Index System. To do so, one needs a PhD.
Interestingly, the largest group of golf handicaps is 14. The median is around 14.5. Looking at my comparison chart, would the largest group of skiers be PSIA Level 6? Would the ski population’s median fall somewhere around a competent Level 6 (skiers who make wedge to parallel turns on blue terrain)? I would say it is pretty close.
Another interesting fact is that the USGA considers “expert” golfers to be those who are expected to make par on any given hole and a “scratch” golfer to be one who plays to the standard of the field of the U.S. Amateur. The Amateur Tournament is open to all golfers who have a USGA index of 2.4 or better. These golfers are the experts expected to make par and they are not PGA Tour card carrying members. If you use the comparison chart I posted and the same logic of the USGA, experts are not as rare as many seem to believe. I refer back to that “EXPERT” topic where I said an expert skier is a solid or top PSIA Level 8 or better. That is, of course, if there is any merit whatsoever with my chart and in comparing the two sports’ rating systems. I think there is. Then again, does any of it really matter? I guess it does for those who want to know at what plane they play the game.
As far as the Masters goes, no I do not have badges. I will try to go out there and purchase a practice round badge from a leaving patron on Monday or Tuesday. I was a caddie there for five years so I’ve been many times. It has been a few years though since I‘ve walked those hallowed fairways. I’d like to see the changes they’ve made. From all the old caddies I have talked with, they are great improvements to what many already felt was and is the most perfect golf course. A difficult golf course becoming more so because top players and modern equipment are pushing the envelope. Much like today’s skiers skiing sick terrain on modern skis.
Masters’ Tournament slope rating... 155.