Have you ever wondered how the trail rating system came to be? What distinguishes a black diamond from a double black diamond?

In Peak Rankings’ latest video, they broke down the history of the terrain ratings in the United States, and what goes into factoring a trail’s difficulty.

Back in the early 1960s, U.S. ski industry officials met at the National Ski Areas Association convention to discuss the need for a trail difficulty system. The North American terrain levels were finalized in 1968 thanks to a surprising leader: The Walt Disney Company. Disney, which is known for its innovations in the theme park industry, actually created the ski trail rating system that we all know today.

This was due to Disney’s planned development of Mineral King Valley into a massive ski resort. For more on Mineral King, I’d recommend reading Dawn at Mineral King Valley. It dives into the ski resort plans in depth and the resistance from environmental groups that ultimately derailed the efforts.

The video is below. For a more thorough breakdown, read Peak Rankings writeup here.

Image Credits: Peak Rankings (Featured Image), Ian Wood

Video Credits: PeakRankings

Have any post ideas or corrections? Reach out to me: ian@unofficialnetworks.com.