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Steep slopes?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi folks, I have been meaning to ask about "red" slopes. Where are they in relation to green, blue, and black slopes? Is that just a European thing?

Trail difficulty designator is probably a marketing tool. A resort in our local SoCal hills has a couple short runs rated double black . Still, there must be some kind of average or consensus feel for how steep is steep (ignoring snow condition and difficulty for now). Are the top groomed part of Cornice at Mammoth and Gun Barrel at Heavenly considered steep? What are the angles of these slopes? I want to have some calibration when my friends brag about their skiing abilities on steep slopes
post #2 of 6
All US trail ratings are only in relation to other trails at that resort. A black at Camelback in PA is NOT REMOTELY like a black here at Big Mountain in terms of pitch. Now, given that the black at Camelback is probably a sheet of ice and covered with about 100 skiers on THAT TRAIL, it doesn't necessarily mean it's an easy slope. In fact, if you come here, the black will have nice fresh powder on it and be empty. From that standpoint, the Camelback black is scarier. But the pitch is a joke compared to the pitch here.

At your local resort, the double blacks are just their way of indicating that those trails are MUCH tougher compared to the blue trails than those marked as just a single black. You can't compare those to doubles at another resort unless there is some similarity in the resorts' topography.
post #3 of 6
Most areas have a relative rating system. This means that the hardest slopes at any given area are blacks and the easiest are greens. There is no real definitive standard. For example I hear all the time how the blues at Jackson are like the blacks at some other areas. Red slopes may reffer to "Red Light" terrain in avalanche talk. Each of the three parts of the avalanche triangle is rated red, green, or yellow. So for example a slope that is above 35 degrees is red light, as 38 degrees is statistically the most probable avalanche pitch. I would ski red light terrain if the snowpack was green and the weather was green. I wouldn't ski red light terrain on a red light snowpack day. If you want to really know, get a slope meter and carry it around and measure some angles where you are skiing. Most black runs are 30-40 degrees. You will be suprised that most people wildly overestimate pitch.
post #4 of 6
In Europe, the trail ratings are blue-red-black.
post #5 of 6
The reds in Europe are very similar to double blues\easy blacks in JHMR.
Though the snow quality sucks badly in Europe.

The steepness is a very relative notion, for me it starts at about 40 degrees and goes up to 50. I dont ski after that.
post #6 of 6
Wow, those are pretty comprehensive statements. Nevermind that there is a wide variety in resorts, trail ratings and snow conditions across Europe, let alone across the course of any given season.
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