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Ski trail ratings: green circles, blue squares, and black diamonds

Ski trail ratings: history and overview Signs and maps bearing green circles, blue squares, and black diamonds are the main way that U.S. resorts communicate their ski trail ratings. In an ideal, harmonious world, all ski resorts would use the same classification scheme and trail difficulties would be comparable. In reality, other countries use their own systems [...]

By | 2016-07-26T19:58:32+00:00 July 26th, 2016|Skiing, Snow, Terrain|0 Comments

What is sastrugi (aka zastrugi)?

What is sastrugi (aka zastrugi)? It's not easy to ski or snowboard, but sastrugi is a beautiful feature of the winter landscape. Also spelled zastrugi, this type of wind-blasted snow resembles frozen waves. It's often found on ridges and mountaintops. As the wind erodes snow from the windward side of a ridge or other obstacle, [...]

By | 2016-12-06T20:16:22+00:00 July 14th, 2016|Avalanche, Snow, Terrain|0 Comments

Snow cornice: beautiful but potentially deadly

What is a snow cornice? From the Italian word for "ledge," a cornice is a mass of overhanging ice or snow, typically found on a ridgetop or edge of a cirque. A snow cornice is both a launching pad for hucking jumps and a potentially deadly avalanche risk if the formation collapses underfoot.   Cornice etymology If you're [...]

By | 2016-11-22T19:45:03+00:00 May 11th, 2016|Avalanche, Backcountry, Terrain|0 Comments