East Coast - West Coast trail ratings

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East Coast - West Coast trail ratings

Postby Kirby » Sun Nov 05, 2000 6:00 am

I've never skied anywhere further west than Virginia but I'm planning a trip to Utah this winter. I am either an advanced beginner or an beginning intermediate skier and I wonder whether that kind of a rating works as well on western slopes as on the east coast. I guess I'm wondering if the snow quality and the steepness/width of the slopes is comparable. All thoughts appreciated.
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East Coast - West Coast trail ratings

Postby Admin » Sun Nov 05, 2000 2:58 pm

Hi Kirby, <BR> <BR>Interesting thread, surely one that will spark some fun discussion. <BR> <BR>The things to keep in mind with trail rating are: <BR>1) It's set by each individual resort, often on a very subjective basis <BR>2) It's defined to relate only to other terrain at the same resort. <BR> <BR>Let's take Utah for example. An intermediate run at Alta or Snowbird, two particularly challenging hills, might well be a black diamond at Park City. Pretty tough to take snow quality into effect, as that's a constantly changing element. Most definitely, factors such as trail width, double fall lines, etc., should be taken into account. <BR> <BR>If you're going to compare it to Virginia, I think that you'll find things pumped up a notch in Utah compared to home. However, that's not necessarily an east-west thing. I'm reasonably confident that you'd find some blue squares at Vermont's Mad River Glen, for example, to be significantly more challenging than, say, your average advanced trail at Deer Valley. <BR> <BR>Any other comments from the peanut gallery?
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East Coast - West Coast trail ratings

Postby Kirby » Wed Nov 08, 2000 8:47 pm

I understand that it's not really possible to compare resorts, but I'm trying to figure out in advance whether a realtively easy blue at Killington is generally a green or blue in the West. I want to make the most of my brief visit by picking a resort that is not toooo difficult. No strong death wish, here, just seeking a bit of a challenge.
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Postby Admin » Thu Nov 09, 2000 11:39 am

Unfortunately, Kirby, it's not that easy to generalize. Let's just look at Tahoe as an example. An easy blue at Northstar would probably be comparable to the same trail rating at K-Mart. But at Sugar Bowl or Alpine Meadows? Probably not. <BR> <BR>It's perhaps better to get a feel for what resorts have a preponderence of easy terrain, and that's not something you're going to get from a trail map, again because the trail ratings are relative to that resort only - it makes it easy to get that perfect 25/50/25 rating distribution if you don't have objective standards! A better gauge for your purposes is to get feedback from someone who has been to the resort(s) that you're considering - did they find the mountain easy or challenging relative to their ability level, and was the terrain largely suited to their ability?
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East Coast - West Coast trail ratings

Postby D Nimon » Thu Nov 09, 2000 12:33 pm

I've skied at Killington as well as out west at Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Deer Valley and Brighton. <BR>Let me say that both my wife and I are in our 50's and, I guess, solid intermediates (translation: we like the groomed stuff at our age). <BR>Anyway, we are able to ski comfortably all the blues at Killington as well as some blacks if they aren't moguled up. <BR>While we skied primarily blues at the locations in Utah, I would concur with Marc that a Snowbird blue IS more challenging than a Killington blue. <BR>For a cruising experience on easily handled blues, my suggestion would be Brighton and (If you can afford it) Deer Valley. <BR>That is not to say do not experience the other resorts....just that they may be more of a challenge...especially if, like me, you aren't that experienced in powder. <BR>Mind you, you are not going to have to worry about freezing your **s off out west like you might in Vermont. <BR>Hope this helps.........
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Postby Kirby » Sat Nov 11, 2000 9:24 am

D, most defintely helpful. Brighton is on the list, if for no other reason that I can go night skiing on the day I arrive. <BR> <BR>I've started to use the Picture of the day from Alta as my wallpaper. Even though it was 62 here yesterday, I can dream!!
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Postby James » Tue Nov 14, 2000 11:52 am

I agree with the previous posters that you can't generalize on a regionwide basis. However, the one thing we have a lot of in the east that is hard to come by out west is ICE! When I was at Taos, people who were skiing chutes that scared me senseless seemed to struggle on a very steep, but groomed, section of trail which had iced up. Anyway, most of the mountains out west are so humongous, that you're bound to find something (and probably a lot of something) to your liking. Enjoy!
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Postby Michael Segal » Tue Nov 21, 2000 12:16 am

You shuld defenetly check "THE WORLD SKI GUIDE" <BR>www.demon.co.uk/worldski.I think it will come as close as posible to answer your qustion.
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Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Dec 13, 2000 12:13 pm

My website has several resort reviews which rate terrain difficulty on an absolute, not relative basis. <A HREF="http://members.aol.com/crockeraf/insdtrak.htm" TARGET="_top">http://members.aol.com/crockeraf/insdtrak.htm</A> <BR> <BR>Snow conditions have a major effect on difficulty. Killington is the only eastern area I have skied, and in steepness it is pretty flat (like Keystone/Northstar), but with icy snow it is definitely a challenge. Conversely, my intermediate wife once skied a 45 degree chute at Mammoth when it had 18 inches of powder because she knew she wouldn't get hurt if she fell.
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East Coast - West Coast trail ratings

Postby Alastair » Mon Oct 21, 2002 3:11 pm

One things I would consider is how crowded a resort is. Here in the East (NE for me) the snow is alot denser and harder and as such doesnt bump up as quick, so the slopes might stay smooth longer. On the other hand western snow is far more forgiving if you make a mistake. In my experience (mostly eastern bruiser mountains like Cannon, Mad River, Magic, Jay, Saddleback, etc...) the runs here are tougher because of width and snow consistency. Stuff out there might be steeper and bump up quicker after grooming but it's wide and soft. I would suggest examining your own skiing with such rhetorical questions as "Can I handle a bump here and there if it's soft?" If the answer is yes, then you might find Blue's anywhere in the west to be easier. That's certainly the case for me. I've had more Challenge from eastern Hardpack on blue squares at Mount Wachusett in Massachusetts, than I have on a few diamonds at Aspen, Vail, or Telluride. But that's me. I'm used to hardpack. It depends on how you ski.
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