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Trail Ratings

Jully

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Well I think their snowmaking has a lot to do with that. Avenger gets really scraped off down to ice by 10 am Illusion is the same way. Too many New England Ski areas blow wet snow - Cannon is another example. Shit freezes and any snow of the good variety scrapes off easy. I watched videos of the snow making at Loveland and they could not make a snowball out of it because it was so dry. Then again the base building approach may be different back east. In any case, any trail that might be easier to ski the first few runs can easily be come more difficult by mid morning and last season was a perfect example. Lots of very hard pack.

Part of that is due to the humidity out west. There are definitely poor snowmaking operations, but attitash I never thought of as one of them.
 

RISkier

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The thing is, it really should be relevant. The rating system should not be unique to each area. It's a marketing ploy to have a black at a place like Blue Hills or Nashoba or Bradford or Powder Ridge. Or for Smuggs to have a triple black diamond. All it does it does is get people onto trails they shouldn't be on when they get to a place that ranks trails at an easier grade than they are accustomed to.

Do National Parks get their rock climbing routes or rapids classed willy-nilly? No. There are standards so the users understand what they are getting themselves into. Do golf courses come up with their own slopes and ratings? No, certified people come through and assign difficulty values to everything from the height of the rough to the bunkers and water and speeds of the greens.

There needs to be a standard cutoff. As much as the trail map may read "Ratings are unique to this area", no one bothers to read that. It puts stress on the Ski Patrol to rescue an injured person on a trail they shouldn't have been on in the first place. It clogs up trails as beginners snowplow all the way across the fall line on a trail too hard for them.

I see the logic in this but I think it would be nearly impossible to define universally trail difficulty. Narrow and bumped but not that steep may be considerably more difficult than a steeper, wider groomed trail. And the same trail can vary greatly depending on conditions.
 

benski

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I don't know why people say a universal trail system can't work becouse conditions change. I rarely see a trails rating change depending on conditions and why would a universal system prevent ski areas from marking trails as more difficult due to conditions on a particular day.
 

ceo

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I know I've told this story before, but I had a conversation at Cannon once with a father who had had to tell his daughters that, just because they were allowed to go on single blacks but not double blacks at Sunday River, did NOT mean they were allowed to go down Kinsman Glade or Tramline. Who else in New England doesn't use the double-black designation, other than Jay and MRG?

Count me with those who don't think a standardized trail rating system would work. Skiing is different from golf in that getting on a golf hole that's too difficult for one's skill level is unlikely to result in personal injury, and I don't think the difficulty of particular holes is a big part of the marketing of golf courses (I might be completely wrong about this). And it's different from rock climbing in that natural climbing sites generally aren't commercial enterprises, and rock gyms are free to build their courses as easy or difficult as they please.
 

deadheadskier

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As I mentioned earlier in the thread, Wildcat only lists single black diamonds and I disagree with that policy.

I think Jay, MRG, Cannon and Wildcat potentially put their skiers at risk by not differentiating their most difficult terrain appropriately. On the other hand, I think places like Okemo and Stratton label some very tame terrain as double diamond purely for marketing purposes more than the discussed relative rating by area.
 

dlague

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I don't know why people say a universal trail system can't work becouse conditions change. I rarely see a trails rating change depending on conditions and why would a universal system prevent ski areas from marking trails as more difficult due to conditions on a particular day.

I do think that a double black diamond trail rating is warranted. Younger kids that feel they can ski a black diamond trail at a feeder hill translates that single diamond designation to being equal at larger ski areas.


As I mentioned earlier in the thread, Wildcat only lists single black diamonds and I disagree with that policy.

I think Jay, MRG, Cannon and Wildcat potentially put their skiers at risk by not differentiating their most difficult terrain appropriately. On the other hand, I think places like Okemo and Stratton label some very tame terrain as double diamond purely for marketing purposes more than the discussed relative rating by area.
 
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