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Ski tour ratings vary according to distance, elevation gain, and terrain. Snow conditions are an added variable that can change an intermediate tour into an advanced mountaineering challenge. The following definitions assume reasonable snow conditions and are applicable to touring centers and backcountry. In addition to skiing ability and stamina, participants must have the clothing, equipment, and heat management skills to be outside for the duration of the trip. You can find all current Boston Ski Committee trips listed here.

BEGINNER: The beginner needs to develop stability on skis and learn the most basic ski touring skills: the diagonal stride, the herringbone and the snowplow (or wedge). The AMC does not usually offer beginner level trips, but offers the Cross-Country workshop in January to introduce you to skiing.

NOVICE: The novice can ski on level ground, but may not be comfortable on hills. The novice generally needs to practice and improve the basic ski touring skills. Novice trips are on flat or gently rolling terrain and may be up to 6 miles. This terrain is rated with a green circle at most touring centers.

INTERMEDIATE: The intermediate has an effective diagonal striding technique and is able to stay in control on hilly terrain. The intermediate has ability to herringbone up, snowplow down, turn and stop on moderate slopes (similar to blue square runs at most touring centers). An intermediate trip is on hilly terrain and/or is more than 6 miles in length.

ADVANCED: The advanced skier is skilled in all touring techniques and can ski in control on steep and narrow trails. The advanced skier is strong enough to break trail or ski with a full pack. An advanced trip is on difficult terrain (similar to black diamond at resort) and/or is more than 14 mi. in length.

EXPERT: The expert is an all around skier who has mastered all touring techniques and is also very competent skate skier and Nordic downhiller. An expert trip would be on difficult, mountainous terrain (such as Mt. Washington) and/or more than 25 miles.