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Trail Ratings

Written by Dugald Morrow   
Sunday, 08 August 2004
Skicow summarises trail ratings for each ski area in the form of the percentage of trails that fall into each rating. As there is no governing body responsible for rating ski trails, the various ski area authorities rate their own trails. As a result, there may be some variance when between the ratings at different resorts.

Generally the gradient of the ski trail is the primary consideration. Other considerations include the trail width, the normal snow conditions and whether or not the trail is regularly groomed.

Gradients can either be expressed as a percentage or an angle in degrees. A gradient of 0 degrees is flat whilst a gradient of 90 degrees would be vertical. A 100% gradient is equivalent to a 45% angle.

The various Skicow trail ratings are as follows:


Beginner trails generally have gradients ranging from 6% to 25% (3 to 11 degrees), are wide and regularly groomed.


Intermediate trails generally have gradients ranging from 25% to 40% (11 to 18 degrees), are reasonably wide and regularly groomed. Intermediate trails are often the busiest.


Advanced trails generally have gradients upwards of 40% (18 degrees), may be narrow and ungroomed.


Expert trails generally have gradients even steeper than advanced trails, are probably quite narrow and might have poor snow quality. Expert trails often have other hazards such as exposed rocks, steep drop offs, etc.
Last Updated ( Friday, 08 February 2008 )


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