Trail ratings can be a very interesting topic, and are often rather trivial. The most important thing to remember when considering trail ratings is that there is no board or organization which rates slopes ? the ratings are done by the resorts themselves. What this means is that slopes are rated according to relative difficulty in comparison with the other slopes at that resort! So, a black diamond at one US resort could be a blue square at another. Despite this, once you have a feel for how a specific resort rates trails, trail ratings can be very useful.European trail ratings differ from American trail ratings in a few ways. Here is an overview of both systems:.
American Trail Ratings: Green Circle ? Beginner trails. Blue Square ? Intermediate trails, often varying changing between steeper parts and a short flat area to rest. Black Diamond ? Expert trails, often, but not always, groomed. Double Black Diamond ? For Experts Only, often narrow with obstacles, moguls, near-cliffs, etc.
European Trail Ratings: Green ? Learning and baby slopes. Blue ? Beginner trails. Red ? Intermediate trails, steeper than Blues, mostly groomed, sometimes not. Black ? Expert trails, steep, sometimes groomed, sometimes with moguls, has a large range: from a bit harder than a red up to steep icy slopes with looming moguls.
By keeping the European ratings in mind while, you can avoid standing at the top of a slope and wishing you had taken a vacation to Hawaii instead. On the other hand, you can only improve your skiing by pushing yourself to your limits..Corey Hannum is the president of European Adventure Travel, a provider of guided luxury adventure travel tours in Europe, and authors the Adventure Travel News blog.
He is also a certified paramedic, and has bachelors' degree in German. In addition, he is a dedicated skier and sports enthusiast.
By: Corey Hannum