Big Sky Resort in Montana has released its new trail map, which includes a number of double blue square runs.

Why do you need to re-classify these runs, you ask? Big Sky says that some of the green-rated runs on the mountain had tricky, steep headwalls and were more indicative of a blue rating. So these runs were changed to blues, knocking the rest of the ratings up a notch. The new 2023/24 Winter Trail Map shows that approximately 15% of the resort’s terrain is now rated double blue.

The concept of introducing an advanced intermediate rating for ski resort slopes is not a new one; it has been in use for several years, although it remains relatively uncommon. Resorts such as Winter Park in Colorado and Telluride, also in Colorado, have already implemented a similar system using blue/black designations to signify trails that fall between the traditional blue squares and the more challenging black diamonds. This approach aims to provide skiers and snowboarders with a more precise understanding of the terrain’s difficulty, enabling them to make more informed choices when navigating the slopes. By acknowledging the need for nuanced skill progression, these resorts ensure that their guests can confidently select trails that align with their abilities and preferences, ultimately enhancing the overall skiing experience.

Big Sky Resort’s introduction of the double-blue trail rating is not the first instance of the resort innovating its trail rating system. In a previous development in 2019, Big Sky took a proactive approach by designating specific trails as “triple black diamonds.” This decision aimed to serve as an educational tool and raise guest awareness about the unique challenges and risks associated with skiing in high alpine, high-consequence terrain.

The relabeling sought to convey to guests the presence of factors above and beyond your typical double black diamond run. By incorporating these elements into its trail rating system, Big Sky not only provided advanced skiers with a more accurate understanding of the challenges they would face but also prioritized safety and informed decision-making on the slopes.

This forward-thinking approach demonstrated Big Sky’s commitment to both enhancing the skiing experience and ensuring the well-being of its guests. It served as a valuable educational tool, allowing skiers and snowboarders to assess their abilities and make informed choices about which trails matched their skill levels and comfort zones. Big Sky’s dedication to improving trail rating systems underscores its mission to provide a safe and enjoyable skiing environment while promoting education and awareness among its visitors.

We are all for communication and feel that the new trail rating will give skiers and riders an even better depiction of what terrain a skier or snowboarder can expect.

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