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Trails with absurd difficulty ratings

bdfreetuna

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I'll start.

1. All double black diamonds at Stratton
2. Enchanted Forest at Magic. Rated Green. Most other eastern places would call this black just by virtue of having trees, others would call it blue for being a low angle glade. Either way, this is no place for beginners.
3. Racers Edge at Killington. Rated Black. Not sure why, it's literally flat.
 

thetrailboss

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Big Emma at Snowbird. Pretty much a large meadow, but only way down on that side of the mountain. Rated green. It is so steep that they need a winch cat to groom it. Yeah, greens aren't supposed to be steep. They made it as wide as possible, but that doesn't make it less steep.

Bunker Hill at Burke is a green, but anyone who has skied it knows that it is pretty steep as well.

And another weird configuration is the run under Gatehouse Express at Sugarbush. It is three trails, but yet it is one straight line. Blue at the top, black in the middle (one pitch named "Waterfall") and the blue at the bottom.
 

BeefyBoy50

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I agree with the Big Emma one. I think it is so Snowbird can get to say they have the "most difficult green in North America" (actually heard that from ski instructors there). Another ridiculous one at Snowbird: the "easy way out" if you don't want to take Big Emma is called Snowcat Access, it is rated double black diamond. If you ski all the way to the right on big emma, you get to two "experts only" access gates. The run itself is sloped gently like a steeper green and probably 15-20 feet wide. The reason for its rating is that the run has a cliff on the left, and it does not offer much room to slow down. Were beginners to actually take the trail they would either fly off the cliff or crash into those exiting the Wilbere lift at the end of the short trail.
 

BeefyBoy50

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A second one that I forgot about: Black Hole at Smuggler's Notch. I haven't skiied it myself but when any run is rated "triple black diamond" I just immediately discount it. Most ski areas use double black diamond and maybe an expert's only sign at the top of the double black diamond as a be all end all do-not-go-on-this-run unless you are sure you can do it. In MRG/ Alta / Squaw's case, they are so boss they only use a single black diamond despite having some incredibly hard trails.
 

MadMadWorld

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A second one that I forgot about: Black Hole at Smuggler's Notch. I haven't skiied it myself but when any run is rated "triple black diamond" I just immediately discount it. Most ski areas use double black diamond and maybe an expert's only sign at the top of the double black diamond as a be all end all do-not-go-on-this-run unless you are sure you can do it. In MRG/ Alta / Squaw's case, they are so boss they only use a single black diamond despite having some incredibly hard trails.

It's basically Lift Line with trees and small ledges. No point in rating it a triple diamond when you have to ski Robin's, Lift Line, or Freefall just to get to get to it. That scares most people away. Pretty much everything at Kicking Horse is rated ridiculous. Bowl Over jumps out at me the most. 35-40 degree pitch with amandatory cornice drop at the top. Blues are very steep with moguls.
 

MadMadWorld

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Oh and I hate any mountain that uses a diamond in a blue square or green in a blue circle. Wachusett is a big culprit of this
 

Conrad

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While I wouldn't call it a grossly inaccurate trail rating, at Sunday River the last section of the blue trail Northern Lights is very steep. Also, I noticed that within the past few years, the trail called "Quantum Leap" was upgraded from a single black to a double black.
 

BenedictGomez

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I potentially might get flame action for this, but 80% of the single black diamond trails in the Poconos.
 

skiNEwhere

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Funny you started this thread, I was just thinking about this yesterday.

I've never been on this trail, or at least can't remember, but Space Walk at K. It appears as it was simply a cross-connect to the now defunct devil's fiddle quad. It was blue in 1997, now it is a double black for some reason.

I don't have a trail map in front of me but i think the name of the trail is Black Hole at Sunday River. It is very short (about 50 yards) and less steep as quantum leap, yet it is a double black. It cuts in under the Aurora quad. I remember my Mom saying a while back, when Quantum Leap was a single diamond, that it was pushing the limit of a double black, good to see they made that change because I do think that trail is too steep to be just a diamond.
 

Conrad

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I have to disagree with skiNEwhere on Black Hole. I would argue that Black Hole is one of the steepest trails at Sunday River, possibly even steeper than White Heat. Everything else you said about it is correct so I don't think you are talking about a different trail.

Quantum Leap, as you say, is right on the fence between being a single black and a double black. Also, Downdraft comes to mind.
 

BenedictGomez

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I have to disagree with skiNEwhere on Black Hole. I would argue that Black Hole is one of the steepest trails at Sunday River

Do you mean that if Black Hole were at Sunday River it should be a XXX-Black Diamond?

If not, I'm corn-fused.

FWIW, I used to have a season pass at Smuggs for about 4 or 5 years and I still go there 2 or 3 days a year and I've STILL never skied Black Hole. Not because I dont want to, but because I really dont give a ratz azz and have only looked for it 2 or 3 times and each time failed in actually finding the dang thing. I doubt it could be THAT much harder than Liftline anyway.
 

deadheadskier

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While I wouldn't call it a grossly inaccurate trail rating, at Sunday River the last section of the blue trail Northern Lights is very steep. Also, I noticed that within the past few years, the trail called "Quantum Leap" was upgraded from a single black to a double black.

Quantum has definitely been a Double Black since at least 2007. I'd say the rating is justified for Sunday River. It's probably the 2nd steepest pitch on the mountain next to Black Hole. Though it's short, I really dig it when the bumps are good on it. There's been plenty of midweek days that I wished that chair was spinning so I could lap it for a couple of hours.
 

skiNEwhere

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FYI, I'm talking about Black Hole at SR, not Smuggs. Black Hole is too short IMO, for that reason it just doesn't seem to have that pucker factor like quantum leap did to me when I skied both 13 years ago.
 

deadheadskier

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I've never been on this trail, or at least can't remember, but Space Walk at K. It appears as it was simply a cross-connect to the now defunct devil's fiddle quad. It was blue in 1997, now it is a double black for some reason.

It probably got switched because some unassuming intermediates skied it and found themselves in a bad place crossing Outer Limits and having to ski the bottom of Devil's Fiddle. From a skier safety standpoint, it makes sense for a trail like Space Walk to have at least a Double Black rating. Only people with the ability to handle OL or DF should be on that trail.
 

deadheadskier

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FYI, I'm talking about Black Hole at SR, not Smuggs. Black Hole is too short IMO, for that reason it just doesn't seem to have that pucker factor like quantum leap did to me when I skied both 13 years ago.

It's definitely short, but it's for certain the steepest pitch on the mountain with very little "ladies tee" options. If you hug skiers right of Quantum Leap, the pitch is a bit more mellow. Black Hole doesn't have "pucker factor" for most when it's groomed, but it certainly would for an intermediate when it has bumps despite being very short.

If I had to rate Steepest Trails at Sunday River it would probably go:

1. Black Hole
2. Quantum Leap
3. Upper Vortex
4. White Heat
5. Shockwave
 

skiNEwhere

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It probably got switched because some unassuming intermediates skied it and found themselves in a bad place crossing Outer Limits and having to ski the bottom of Devil's Fiddle. From a skier safety standpoint, it makes sense for a trail like Space Walk to have at least a Double Black rating. Only people with the ability to handle OL or DF should be on that trail.

ah, I guess that makes sense, at least from a liability standpoint. Since the DF quad is gone now, they could probably revert that back though. If anything, they should for safety reasons. If a relatively new skier ended up on the trail and was like "that was a double black, that wasn't that hard", they may get false confidence and end up on a "real" double-black and get hurt.

It's definitely short, but it's for certain the steepest pitch on the mountain with very little "ladies tee" options. If you hug skiers right of Quantum Leap, the pitch is a bit more mellow. Black Hole doesn't have "pucker factor" for most when it's groomed, but it certainly would for an intermediate when it has bumps despite being very short.

If I had to rate Steepest Trails at Sunday River it would probably go:

1. Black Hole
2. Quantum Leap
3. Upper Vortex
4. White Heat
5. Shockwave

I think BH was groomed when I went on it, maybe that's why I did not find it indicative of double-black status. I would put shockwave and quantum leap tied for second though, because even though QL might be a tad steeper, the double-fall line on SW can make skiing down it more difficult.
 
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