How steep is that trail, anyway?

by Bob Truman on February 9, 2015

in Beginner skiers, Guest post, Trail information

Graph provided by Ray Perrott. (click for a larger image)

Graph provided by Ray Perrott. (click for a larger image)

Steepness listThis is a post which you might want to bookmark and use for future reference. It’s especially relevant and useful for new skiers, or when you’re considering skiing on one of these trails for the first time.

You’ve read Ray Perrott’s trip reports on this blog, but I should point out that Ray keeps meticulous records of trail distances, elevations, and other pertinent data. Better yet, he knows how to process this information into useful and easily-readable graphs.

When looking at this, take note that overall steepness of a trail can be a bit misleading. For example, Moraine Lake Road over the entire 8.9K distance is only a gradient of 2.7% which isn’t too daunting. Look closer, however, and you’ll see that Moraine Lake Road hill is 5.2% which is quite steep, and more than a raw beginner would want to tackle.

The first trail mentioned on the graph, Lookout south(Kananaskis Fire Lookout in PLPP) has a section which is 1K long and has an average gradient of 14.7%. That is very steep and is one solid kilometre of herring-boning.

Thanks to Ray Perrott for the graphs

Thanks to Ray Perrott for the graphs

If you have any questions about the ski hill gradients, leave a comment. I’m sure Ray would be willing to answer any inquiries.

I like showcasing the extraordinary talents and abilities of my readers. We gain a lot of knowledge and insight which would otherwise remain hidden from our inquiring minds and I am appreciative of everyone who has graciously given their time and knowledge to enlighten us.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elaine February 15, 2015 at 9:35 am

Great information from Ray. Would love to see an addition to this website of Ray’s data re distances and elevations. Bravo

I’ve added it to the main menu under “Resources.” -Bob


2 Barb February 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Yes pretty neat , however as u said a bit deceptive. Redearth has a couple hills that are quite steep -for a short distance steeper than cascade hills. But this doesn’t reflect this.grade must be averaged over distance!
I think a beginner skier would fair better on cascade that Redearth.
Just saying.


3 Mike B February 10, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Very cool! Thanks for the summary! This will be handy.


4 Chuck February 9, 2015 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for this valuable information, and I suggest it be permanently available under the resource tab also.

Good idea, it’s on there now. -Bob


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