The new Palisades Tahoe trail map looks a bit different this year. There are two new lifts, and a new difficulty designation has been added to multiple trails. PeakRankings reports that Palisades Tahoe is adding double-black diamonds to both the Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows sections.
The Olympic Valley side, which used to be known as Squaw Valley, has never had double black diamond designations. Their most challenging terrain would usually have experts-only signs set up by ski patrol, but they weren’t designated as such on their extensive trail map. The Alpine Meadows side is also adding double black diamond trails, which they did have beforehand up until 2012. That year was when it merged with Palisades Tahoe
The new trail map, which is pictured below, features the new double black diamonds and lifts. The new trail map is currently available only on the Palisades Tahoe app.
Some resorts don’t have double black diamonds, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. At some smaller mountains, just a single black diamond as their highest designation is sufficient based on their steepness.
At other ski resorts, having an additional designation seems important.The two that come to mind are Alta and Cannon Mountain. Their difficulty ranking only goes to single black diamonds, in spite of featuring some of the gnarliest terrain in their respective regions. At Alta, there’s a vast difference between Lower Sunspot and Devil’s Castle, which are black diamonds. At Cannon, there’s a monumental difference between the Taft Training Slope and DJ’s Tramline. My thighs and knees can certainly attest to that based on the one time I did DJ’s Tramline in 2014.
The point of bringing up the classifications of these two great ski resorts up is to show that I believe it’s good to have double black diamond classifications, as they point less experienced skiers towards avoiding them if they can’t scope out the line during their ride up the lifts.
On a side note, go subscribe to PeakRankings on Youtube. I’m personally a big fan of their video ski resort reviews, and their content is super informative for ski bums like me.