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How do pistes in US/Canada/EU compare?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I skied in America and Canada bloody years ago so I can't remember. Are the black runs comparable to black runs in Europe? Or are they graded easier/harder in different countries?

Any general observations about the differences in pistes?

I'm on my way back from Italy already thinking about next season Laughing


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 9-03-19 7:56; edited 1 time in total
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It varies between hill/resort. A black in Ontario can be like a blue in BC.
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In my very limited different resort experience, Black runs in Whistler (single and double back diamond), are steeper than the equivalent in European resorts.

My guess is that because in Whistler practically everything within the resort boundaries is considered a ski run, much steep terrain is marked as runs. For example off the Peak Chair in Whistler you have a gentle blue piste/track, with black and double black chutes dropping off it.
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It’s just very different and hard to compare! Like you say the big difference is that everything in the ski area is ‘in bounds’ so a lot of what is marked on the map is not a ‘run’ in the European sense. A lot of blacks and double blacks would be serious off piste in Europe. A huge factor is whether it has been pisted or not. Blacks are often not pisted, double blacks never. So what you don’t really get much of is the equivalent of classic steep pisted blacks like La Face.

The grading also varies from resort to resort, with it being graded relative to the other runs there. So a green would be the easiest in that resort, blacks the hardest, no matter how hard they actually are. Even in one area the greens at Lake Louise are much steeper than the Sunshine greens.

So are blacks the same? It depends!!! A pisted black may well be the same or even easier than Europe. An unpisted one probably harder.

Seek local advice!
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TommyJ wrote:
It’s just very different and hard to compare! Like you say the big difference is that everything in the ski area is ‘in bounds’ so a lot of what is marked on the map is not a ‘run’ in the European sense. A lot of blacks and double blacks would be serious off piste in Europe. A huge factor is whether it has been pisted or not. Blacks are often not pisted, double blacks never. So what you don’t really get much of is the equivalent of classic steep pisted blacks like La Face.

The grading also varies from resort to resort, with it being graded relative to the other runs there. So a green would be the easiest in that resort, blacks the hardest, no matter how hard they actually are. Even in one area the greens at Lake Louise are much steeper than the Sunshine greens.

So are blacks the same? It depends!!! A pisted black may well be the same or even easier than Europe. An unpisted one probably harder.

Seek local advice!


Going to Lake Louise in a week, is it really that much more difficult than SV?
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Overall the runs at LL are steeper and harder than Sunshine - but still very good. LL is a steeper hill with less flat spots. What they don’t have are the very gentle greens Sunshine has. For example on the mountain the easiest trail at LL is Wixwaxy. At SV it would be an easy blue. It’s still a lovely cruisy wide open run, that’s typically empty most of the time.

Don’t let it put you off - there are greens and blues from every chairlift and they are all superb.

Don’t miss out on Sunshine, it’s only 40min away and definitely worth visiting. Lots of lovely cruising blue and greens. We’re going in three weeks and will stay in Banff and ski all three resorts.
Mind you we’ve been several times before and keep coming back.
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I'd say both resorts are similar for single blacks. I haven't been for a couple of years but Lake Louise always used to be more groomed that Sunshine. Lots of lovely, not crazy steep un-groomed on Goat's eye. One difficult thing for beginners / low intermediates is that blues out west have a huge range. They go all the way from easy, nearly flat groomers to moguls and glades. Sometimes at the top you don't quite know what you're getting into! It would be great to introduce 'red' like in Europe for that reason.
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Having been to a number of resorts in BC, like me, most skiers used to Europe get quite a shock.
We don't realize how sanitized skiing is in Europe until we go elsewhere.
In order to attract the highest number of punters [money] many European resorts remove difficult terrain and prepare the pistes to a ridiculous level.
This results in bad skiers being able to ski at dangerous speeds .... but that's another thread.
We have all been brainwashed into thinking that this is skiing.

Usually in BC you have only a few lifts that plonk you on the top of the mountain then you ski the entire area. There may be a couple of pistes but a marked blue may easily be equivalent to a black in Europe.
I remember the first time I got off the very top lift in Kicking Horse. Even the first groomer was unbelievably scary. Then I went up the Stairway to Heaven ........... Shocked
Because you ski the entire mountain, even smaller BC resorts can have more 'in-bounds' terrain than huge European resorts because the number of lines are infinite.
I don't want to sound like I am being negative ... quite the contrary. I LOVE this style of resort!

You will see no designer ski clothing and many really good and capable, rather than stylish, skiers.
The skiing seems much more 'real'.

Many BC ski resorts actually don't want more punters [I actually hear this from one of the guys that owned the mountain I was skiing on]. It's more about the skiing than the money. This is an attitude that has been lost in the major European resorts.
The lifts are quite often slow so they have fewer people able to go up the mountain at once.
I am just saying that if you are a piste skier ... go to a bigger, more corporate resort in Canada which are much more 'European' otherwise you will run out of 'pistes' in half a day. If you love adventure/trees/steeps/skinning/off-piste ... Canada [and Japan] is the business.... but be prepared for a bit of a shock initially.

Just to finish with a anecdote illustrating the difference between Europe and BC ...
A guide in a mid-sized BC resort told me a story about some friends that had a 17 year old German boy staying with them. He was boasting about the amount of skiing/black runs he had done in Europe. The guide took him at his word. Half way through the morning, the sobbing, terrified boy had to be talked off the mountain.
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Must say that n my experience the gradings are pretty similar

EU green blue red black corresponds pretty well to NA green blue black double black.

Kicking Horse is a bit different, only because of its history and they couldn’t invent triple black just for themselves.
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No way does a European black run compare to a double black like Delirium Dive at Sunshine or the chutes on LL back bowls. Double blacks in Canada are never groomed and are effectively off piste routes that ski patrol check for avalanche risk

Anyone who tries to ski those having done on piste black runs is in for a nasty surprise.
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Just to confirm I’m not bragging there’s no way ever I’d even go near the double blacks!!!
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I have only skied Whistler-BC, K Horse and Revelstoke and I don’t recall any double blacks that were surprisingly testing. A chum had a weekend in LL and said it was “a bit flat”.
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Can't say I've skied extensively in North America but my general impression is that there is as much or more variation within countries as there are between countries. ANd the difficulty of any run is very dependent on prevailing snow conditions.
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I think for most of us mere mortals the double blacks at K Horse would definitely count as testing. Although not ‘surprisingly so’ as I fully expect to die on them
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under a new name wrote:
I have only skied Whistler-BC, K Horse and Revelstoke and I don’t recall any double blacks that were surprisingly testing. A chum had a weekend in LL and said it was “a bit flat”.


You must be an unbelievable skier .. Stairway to Heaven involved [at the time] a 2m drop-in onto a near vertical slope covered in rocks. There is absolutely nothing 'in-bounds' in Europe that comes even close to that.

The whole issue is that with a graded run in Europe you are fairly sure what will be coming around the corner. Not so in BC.
I can't remember where it was ... either Revelstoke or Kicking Horse I think, where you drop into a hairy back bowl [again in-bounds] not realizing that the ONLY way down from that point is through a narrow steep gully filled with massive moguls.
That is scarily different from Tignes etc

I would say maybe LL is easier but if I took my intermediate wife there she would freak out and probably divorce me.

If you piste-ski major resorts in Europe you have no idea how to tackle anything approaching off-piste which describes 90% of BC skiing ... I know this cos that was me when first I went .... It was a shock to me as I think it would be to any European piste skier.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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I’ll have to agree to disagree.
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As a long-time rider in both BC and the Alps, I also disagree.
You get people who talk about how nothing's as hard as they are on both sides of the pond. That's about them, not the terrain.

--
On the OP, it's generally obvious from the piste map where the toughest things are.
Double-black-diamonds with "couloir" in their name are probably best avoided in bullet-proof conditions by everyone except novices who want to claim they slid down one.
It's common for "grooming" conditions to be posted, and also common for easier bump fields to be groomed on one side only.

Different destinations have different focuses, which is also true of the Alps.

There's a little bit of terminological difference which you have to be careful with too. A lot of the harder stuff in the Alps has been turned into what
I think are called "itineraries". The things with 2m drops onto rocks are still there, but they may no longer be marked as pistes.

The terrain in North America is different - the tree line is in a different place; the mountains are
mostly less pointy; the snow is different; the resort organization is different. North Americans love riding in
Europe just as much as Europeans love the opposite. It's not either-or, it's "variety".

Another general observation: there are generally far fewer pistes covering a much smaller area in North America, served by fewer lifts.
The whole (in bounds) mountain is exploited: skiable, patrolled and controlled. It's denser, less spread out.

A couple more anectodes:
  • When I first went to Snowbird I could not understand all the fuss:
    it's a tiny place with few runs. The "fuss", it turns out, is that the runs are really only there for "transport"
    - to get you to the power which mostly isn't on the pistes at all. Much of what you're buying isn't pistes.

  • When I first went to Lake Louise I was with a local whom I followed all day. It was a powder day and we
    barely touched a piste other than to ride out to the lifts.
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I'm with @under a new name, on this, though maybe BC is different to Colorado?

I'm just back from ten days spilt between Winterpark and Steamboat.

My observations are, is that within the inbounds area they seem to cram as many trails in as possible, where it's not an obvious trail you can see the trees/terrain between them, this is no way a criticism as the pistes that were groomed were fantastic, like fecking six lane highways, at no time was I at all paranoid of collisions, and was a superb skiing experience (see vid).



Those trails that were not groomed were massive bump trails, especially so in Winterpark, but with a good snowfall they would be really nice, safe runs.




For sure some double diamond runs might be a tad challenging, but we came across nothing that was daunting, the bump/mogul trails were hard but that was more down to knackered knees and wrong skis, so was not a pleasurable experience, hence we avoided them, which was true of some the double diamonds in that there was not enough fresh snow at times to warrant skiing them.

In Winterpark we did one run, where the OH is walking through the gate, and then you take a piste basher sled 2km to the face, and everyone was bigging it up, but as I said to a couple afterwards "that was distinctly average considering all the hype", which did not go down to well!

We did a fair number of double blacks/double diamonds etc and apart from being way shorter than anything in Europe, they were only challenging due to lack of fresh snow.

Plus in Europe when off-piste there is often the avalanche risk to take into account, inbounds Colorado I saw no one with any gear or even backpacks!

When we did get a couple of feet of fresh we skied on the edge of the bounds, and I did mess up big time as we went more out of bounds, more on that here .











And glorious pistes


http://youtube.com/v/91i4SeZAP1Y
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@philwig, jeeesss talk about the same POV Laughing

And yes I nearly mentioned itineraries, and La Grave, as I know and have seen first hand just blows North Americans away.

Many years ago in our group was Pete the Ski Director of Whistler and he just could not get over the expanse of it all, then on the last day we took him to Grenoble but stopped off on the way to ski Alpe d'huez from Vaujany and that blew him away even more!
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And a couple more pics

And note the phrase "avalanche mitigation" Puzzled



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^wow I've never seen anyone wearing a snorkel to ski powder before!

Just to say, I went to Banff and found the piste-marked blacks at LL/SV no more difficult than European blacks, and I'm no great shakes. The double blacks however were a different matter, I looked at a few and decided not to. We watched a couple of the better skiers in our group struggling down a steep and heavily mogulled double black in SV and were glad we didn't bother. The really serious terrain like the Wild West and Delirium Dive has gates and massive warning signs etc so you wouldn't go down it by mistake.

As intermediates we found PLENTY of wonderful pistes in all three ski Banff areas, mostly of blue and red equivalent gradient, groomed and ungroomed. The views were just breathtaking too, as above (different resort but still stunning).

They really should have signs like that above the Gorges du Malpasset in Val d'Isere, might stop the vast number of idiots trying to ski it when it's impassable.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sat 9-03-19 13:11; edited 2 times in total
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under a new name wrote:
I’ll have to agree to disagree.


I absolutely don't disagree with your experience at all.

I am always supremely grateful for your contributions to this forum which are always informative and wise ... and have assisted me many times.... but

This point is important to me as it had the potential of badly injuring me and therefore I wish to pass on the experience I have had personally in BC to forewarn others.

Here is an example ...

A few weeks ago I was skiing at Red Mountain. I skied many both single and double black diamonds which obviously were all 'in-bounds'. All of them in trees. In Europe 'in-bounds' you ski between poles. There are no poles in BC. I found that the grading of the pistes was pretty meaningless because, due to absence of any markers, if you ski 20m to the left or right it may become very rapidly and scarily a triple black diamond .... not visible as you are in trees.

Going down a single black diamond tree run I was suddenly confronted with an unmarked 10m high cliff, 100m long, which, if arrived at in the middle, would involve a lot of hiking around or falling off.

My point is, you don't find that on a black run in Europe. So to reference the question of the thread .... if you are a good European black run skier who thinks that because they did the Swiss Wall or the itinerary off the back of Grand Masse that they are going to be good for tree filled black diamond runs in BC. Then they, like me, are wrong and need to be warned that BC is on a completely different level and they could get hurt. It is quicker to patrol a piste than a whole forest, so the chances of getting found/rescued quickly are certainly slowed.

All I am saying is that I didn't realize what I was getting myself into and I wish someone had warned me .... hence my post.

Others may have different experiences ....
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@FoofyNoo, like I say Colorado and BC must be different, there is absolutely no way would a unmarked 10m high cliff, 100m long be readily accessible inbounds, or if it was there as a geographic feature, access to the area containing it would be roped off with warning signs, so if you duck the rope it's down to you. much like the warnings in the signage in my post above.

And in Europe, I have merrily gone over a 60' (15-20m) cliff on an itinerary, which was not roped off as I would have seen it Laughing
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under a new name wrote:
I have only skied Whistler-BC, K Horse and Revelstoke and I don’t recall any double blacks that were surprisingly testing. A chum had a weekend in LL and said it was “a bit flat”.



'Kill the Banker' is the only run I had the wobbles over..
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Bob wrote:
under a new name wrote:
I have only skied Whistler-BC, K Horse and Revelstoke and I don’t recall any double blacks that were surprisingly testing. A chum had a weekend in LL and said it was “a bit flat”.



'Kill the Banker' is the only run I had the wobbles over..


That's the lift line in Revelstoke right? It was closed when I was there. I liked the fact that some of the features were marked. On the way up on the lift I saw a 10-12 foot cliff drop with a small sign on a post - roughly A4 size. As the chair passed it it had one word "Cliff" written on the uphill side of it.
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In the spirit of last episode of The Young Ones? @rogg
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Weathercam wrote:
... like I say Colorado and BC must be different, there is absolutely no way would a unmarked 10m high cliff, 100m long be readily accessible inbounds...
They're different, but not in respect of in-bounds patrol/ control, in my experience at least.
I've never been surprised by unmarked cliff bands in BC or North America more generally. But...

Riding "in-bounds off-piste" is a of course a different concept from pistes.
For example at Snowbird, I would not personally ride the cliff bands on my own, even though they're patrolled and controlled.
It's obvious in complex terrain like that that you can get "cliffed out": by the time you see the sign (or the drop),
you're already somewhere which is going to cost you to get back from. You can't rely on tracks because there may be none,
and if there are it just means someone else made the same mistake. If you were to ride there without local knowledge in
poor visibility, well you'd definitely be heading for trouble.

The only place you will find a continuous set of signs spaced about a meter apart in North
America is at the resort boundary. It works fine, the accident rate is very low.

--
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@FoofyNoo, you are far too kind! snowHead

I would totally agree that the terrain is very different - trees are a particular thing, whether naturally or gladed they can be very skiable in the US, much less so IME in Europe and require a different cadence even if not super steep!

There is probably the point to be made that double blacks are much less likely to be groomed than in EU - and be opened when conditions in the EU might have them closed.

Which just adds to the fun Happy
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My impression is that in North America you are expected to take a lot more responsibility for yourself. My local hill was Whitewater where Black Diamond generally = forest on a mountain, and double black = forest with cliffs. Speeds need to be slower and everyone needs a whistle.
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Weathercam wrote:
@FoofyNoo, like I say Colorado and BC must be different, there is absolutely no way would a unmarked 10m high cliff, 100m long be readily accessible inbounds, or if it was there as a geographic feature, access to the area containing it would be roped off with warning signs, so if you duck the rope it's down to you. much like the warnings in the signage in my post above.

And in Europe, I have merrily gone over a 60' (15-20m) cliff on an itinerary, which was not roped off as I would have seen it Laughing


I have sadly no experience of Colorado .... though I would love to!

Yes, my experience of BC seems to be very different. You get such a strong feeling that you are on your own .... I always sense there are more people looking after me in Europe.

Of course you can find equally nasty stuff pretty much anywhere.
If you look at the average off-piste skiing ability of a group of punters in Europe and compare it with the same in BC and there is no comparison.
I have taken part in loads backcountry skiing in Europe and, frankly, if you put the vast majority of those skiers on the top of a steep tree run in Canada they just wouldn't cope ... locals would as they know no other type of skiing.
Sanitized European piste [and to a large extent off-piste] skiing has ruined us all. There is a sad lack of ability to ski the massively varied terrain you find in BC. And I very much include myself in that group.
Obviously there are many European individuals to whom this doesn't apply. But, from my observation, this is generally true.

I am trying to give my experience to stop others making the same mistakes I have.

To give a short history [stop reading now if you are already bored], which may or may not help ...

I first went to Canada about 10 years ago on a Crystal Holiday [yes really] to Whistler.
My mate couldn't come with me because he had crashed his bike the week before and had broken his arm.
I was on my own so decided to join a group just being casually guided around to get their bearings .... most of them were in their 60s so I felt reasonably safe.
At this stage I could fairly happily ski anywhere on piste in Europe and did a bit of side-of-the-piste skiing.
I soon realized things were different in Canada when after the second run we were taken into the trees. This was absolutely nothing to the oldies [I am approaching 60 myself now so maybe I should shutup] ..... but for me, I was so far outside my comfort zone.
Ahhh...... my 'normal' was very different from their 'normal'.
After a couple of days I caught a tree branch under the snow and destroyed my ACL.

Then when I went to do some work in Calgary I nipped out to Lake Louise and skied with Ski Friends. It was all what I considered off-piste.

About a year later having become much more interested ...

It was my mad Italian freind's 50th so we decided to go on a BC road trip. By then I had more off-piste experience but still pretty much a beginner.
We went to Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, Baanf and did some cat skiing somewhere I can't remember.
Naively we looked at the colours of the lines on the trail maps and equated them with Europe.
I loved that holiday but spent most of the time terrified. I realized that if you want to get the most out of BC you need to be much more prepared than I was.
When I did the cat skiing I was the worst in the group which I don't think ever happened in Europe.

Since then I have done much more European backcountry, this time with as many trees as possible .... I have also had a few trips to Japan which, of course, is all deep snow and trees.

Now, though I am still very much a newbie/wannabe, BC is possibly the best place on the planet. I can now make a reasonable attempt at steep tree skiing without completely losing the plot, which has happened to me even recently in Japan.

If someone had told me 10 years ago exactly how prepared I needed to be I would have enjoyed it much more.

I would highly recommend BC to everyone but suggest you respect what you are getting into.

If you love piste skiing, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, save your money and don't put BC high on your list as you will probably enjoy other places more.

Ohhh .... and get a guide .... it makes a massive difference if you are in the trees and haven't a clue where you are and where the nearest great snow/cliff is!
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motdoc wrote:
My impression is that in North America you are expected to take a lot more responsibility for yourself. My local hill was Whitewater where Black Diamond generally = forest on a mountain, and double black = forest with cliffs. Speeds need to be slower and everyone needs a whistle.


What he said ..... Very Happy
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Agree with people saying they are not comparable. Kicking horse double blacks include two faces used for world freeride tour! Can't see any of the euro blacks being used for that. Double black can mean cliffs, tight chutes, serious steeps, cornice drops, thick trees, and never pisted.
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This all sounds good I’m off to Canada next season for the first time it’s just a case of how long for and where I’m going to go.
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FoofyNoo wrote:
... I would highly recommend BC to everyone but suggest you respect what you are getting into.
If you love piste skiing, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, save your money and don't put BC high on your list as you will probably enjoy other places more...
I did read all that - interesting, and I think you're right if people want massive motorway pistes and nothing else.
I think those people may work that out from the piste maps though, and go to the bigger places - Whistler for example.

I can still remember learning how to ride trees in Le Fornet Val d-Isere one holiday when it just dumped and dumped.
Doesn't everyone head to places like that in poor visibility?
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@philwig, a lot of your average holiday skiers don’t even go out in poor visibility because they don’t like it or can’t ski in it or both! It’s been very quiet around here on snowy cloudy days, it’s the best time I reckon!
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FoofyNoo wrote:
motdoc wrote:
My impression is that in North America you are expected to take a lot more responsibility for yourself. My local hill was Whitewater where Black Diamond generally = forest on a mountain, and double black = forest with cliffs. Speeds need to be slower and everyone needs a whistle.


What he said ..... Very Happy


Isn't it kinda the opposite though?

In NA everything inbounds is 'safe' (avi controlled), so as long as you yourself don't mess up all will be good; or it will closed and roped off.

Ski anything ungroomed (not anything, but 99% of ungroomed terrain) in Europe and you're completely on your own and have to take responsibility for everything. No one to tell you if it's safe or too dangerous in the given conditions.

Don't get me wrong there's a whole bunch of clear advantages to having a lot of safe inbounds ungroomed terrain - but surely if anything is sanitised, it's that, not the wild stuff no-one controls?
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clarky999 wrote:
FoofyNoo wrote:
motdoc wrote:
My impression is that in North America you are expected to take a lot more responsibility for yourself. My local hill was Whitewater where Black Diamond generally = forest on a mountain, and double black = forest with cliffs. Speeds need to be slower and everyone needs a whistle.


What he said ..... Very Happy


Isn't it kinda the opposite though?

In NA everything inbounds is 'safe' (avi controlled), so as long as you yourself don't mess up all will be good; or it will closed and roped off.

Ski anything ungroomed (not anything, but 99% of ungroomed terrain) in Europe and you're completely on your own and have to take responsibility for everything. No one to tell you if it's safe or too dangerous in the given conditions.

Don't get me wrong there's a whole bunch of clear advantages to having a lot of safe inbounds ungroomed terrain - but surely if anything is sanitised, it's that, not the wild stuff no-one controls?


I get your theory, but patrolling a piste is a lot easier than 100 sq miles of forest. You just can't avi control/patrol even a small percentage of it.

It's like saying your safer in town rather than the country because there is a better police coverage in town .... Try to find a policeman when you need one.
You are in just as much sh**t if you are attacked by a madman.

If you are in the middle of a steep forest in BC, even in-bounds you are pretty much totally on your own.

On my last trip, for the vast majority of runs I saw absolutely nobody let alone a ski patrol.

In BC this would be simply normal skiing with trees/cliffs etc ... this would be an off-piste choice in Europe.

So when skiing conventionally ... you are in much greater danger in BC than Europe.

I hope that explanation at least made some sense .... ?
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FoofyNoo wrote:

...
So when skiing conventionally ... you are in much greater danger in BC than Europe.
...

Not sure I agree with that. The danger is different. If you ski the BC tough stuff, you'll be with a mate unless you have a death wish. If you get into trouble, you have someone to call for help.

Cliffs and tree wells excepted, you will rarely come to harm if you fall on a BC double black. The powder is so deep and soft, you'll simply come to a halt in a few yards.

By contrast, on a run like Face in Val, if you start to slide you can pick up an enormous speed. Even on a blue run, a small slip at the speed many skiers pick up can be very nasty. And then there's the risk of someone crashing into you.

I have always felt safer on the BC double blacks than on a crowded icy piste.
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Jonny Jones wrote:


I have always felt safer on the BC double blacks than on a crowded icy piste.


Absolutely! I am totally terrified piste skiing in Europe!

I was with a group of people in Sauze a couple of weeks ago and two of our group were injured by idiots skiing into them. I get very little joy from crowded piste skiing .... that's why I don't ski much on pistes.
But if you fall over on the Face you will get help pretty quickly ... in BC it will probably be hours .... in Japan maybe never.
If you took 90% of people you see sliding down the Face and put them on a tree run with the same steepness as the Face in not great snow ... which the actually do have in BC ... most would be severely damaged with help pretty far away.
If the snow is good the Face is pretty easy. BC is still a serious level more difficult.
I'd rather hurt myself on the Face than in the middle of some forest in BC.
It is far more risky.
You can be seen on the Face. If I was skiing with a non-local in BC I definitely would struggle to find an injured friend again in the middle of a forest.

I was skiing in Furano Japan earlier in the year and got injured [ski in the mouth - don't ask]. Massive cut .... blood everywhere, literally everywhere. Needed to get to hospital but I was in the middle of nowhere on a steep run with tight trees. I had to ski out and down which was a major struggle and it took a couple of hours to get to hospital to get stitches. I know Japan isn't Canada but the same principles apply.
If I had been unable to ski I would have been in major trouble. There would have been absolutely no quick or easy way out. Certainly not by helicopter.

You are infinitely safer having an accident on the Face than in the middle of a forest in BC.
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@FoofyNoo, I think we're in violent agreement. A severe injury in BC will lead to a much slower and more difficult evacuation; I just think that it's less likely to occur on the first place. And I say that whilst agreeing with you that there are very few, if any, European pistes, including itineraries, that come remotely close to the difficulty of a North American steep, deep, glade.
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