Recently, as we were plowing a trench through 60 cm of storm snow on the way to North Evening Ridge we came up with the five point trail breaking scale which I have reproduced in its entirety for your edification.
- Wussy = your grandmother, with her walker, could break this trail. Your fellow skiers will actually volunteer to break trail. Average depth is toe nail top.
- Modest = pretty average conditions, some of your fellow skiers will volunteer to break trail. Average depth is boot top.
- Robust = almost, but not quite burley, your fellow skiers will break trail for short distances if coerced. Average depth is knee deep.
- Burley = beyond robust, your fellow skiers are lagging far, far behind, and strangely, never seem to get any closer no matter how slow you go. Average depth is above the knees.
- Industrial = movement has slowed to a crawl, you have no fellow skiers as they have all gone to the ski hill. Average depth is mid-thigh and/or the snow has the consistency of wet cement.
This scale does not apply to trail-breaking in isothermal snow in the Rocky Mountains in spring which stretches the bounds of any trail-breaking scale and is, in fact, an exercise in futility.
Spring trail breaking in the Rocky Mountains