North American trail ratings

0 Submitted by on Sat, 07 January 2012, 16:45

Knowing the ski trail ratings are essential for mountain safety. Trail ratings vary at different resorts, so, it’s important to consider all trails individually and use caution when skiing.

Green CircleThe easiest trails to ski which are generally wide, groomed, and with a gentle slope. Green Circle trails are popular with beginners.

Blue SquareConsidered “intermediate” trails that are steeper than beginner trails yet easy enough for intermediate skiers to ski on, Blue Square trails aren’t extremely steep. They are popular trails at most resorts because they provide skiing that’s fun but not scary. Generally groomed, some Blue Square trails have easy moguls or extremely easy glades.

Black DiamondDifficult trails that are for advanced skiers. Black Diamond trails can be steep, narrow, or ungroomed. Other challenges, such as icy conditions, may cause a trail to be marked as a Black Diamond. Most glades and mogul trails are Black Diamonds.

Double Black DiamondExtremely difficult trails that are reserved only for expert skiers. Because of hazards such as an extremely steep slope, difficult moguls, glades, or drop offs, Double Black Diamonds should be approached with caution and only be skied on if one is sure they are advanced and experienced enough to handle the challenge.

Terrain ParkWhile not used at all ski resorts, a terrain park may be marked with an orange oval shape. However, most ski resorts add an official rating, so you’ll know how challenging the terrain park is.

Remember to look for variations that are apparent at some, but not all, ski resorts. Some ski resorts combine trail ratings to come up with a new rating. For example, a “Blue Diamond” would be more difficult than a Blue Square.

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