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It is always stated on the map that the trail ratings are relative to
other trails at the same area and are not to be compared with other areas.
 I think this is a bad idea.  Here in MASH we have any number of "double
diamond" runs.  I work with teen groups and any 14 year old of average
athletic ability with 2 or 3 days on skis can manage to get down these
runs on his feet (this kind of stupidity being primarily a male trait).
This fact is then triumphantly related to all his friends who rush to do
the same thing.  They all proclaim themselves to be experts.  Then,
sometime later they go to northern VT or the west.  The rest is left as an
exercise for your imagination.  MRG does not have any double diamonds.
Within my memory Alta and Mammoth didn't either.  The latter two have now
capitulated to grade inflation.

A "mature adult" friend and fellow instructor has argued with me for years
that every double diamond run ought to be groomed.  Once he absolutely
insisted that an average skier has a _right_ to have every ski trail on
the mountain made accessible to him.  The idea being, I suppose, that he
ought to be able to buy a double diamond with the price of his lift
ticket.  It would appear that the area management often agrees.  Sometimes
on a first day at a western mountain I will take the hosted tour.  Usually
there will be a middle aged woman in a very expensive one piece suit who
announces that she is a really expert skier but she doesn't do x (x =
bumps most of the time).  Well I have no problem with that if she signs up
for the appropriate level tour.  It never happens that way; she will
insist on joining the top level.  Then the level of the tour will be
dropped to the lowest common denominator, ruining it for everybody else.
If this happens you pick the guide's brain on the chair, then bail.  It's
all part of McCulture.  Hard won skill is an outdated concept.

I deplore all of this.  Rant over.  Thanks for listening.  Flame shields
up.

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