Activity Rating System: Backcountry Skiing

Appalachian Mountain Club
AMC activities are rated using a scale of six levels. Consult the participant information or trip posting for details including the intended group pace and equipment requirements.

Activity Levels

  1. Accessible: Suitable for stroller, wheelchair, or other wheel-assisted travel. Paved, hardened gravel or ADA-listed terrain or approach. The distance traveled and anticipated timing of the activity are detailed in the activity description. This rating is employed across activities and is not broken out in the table below. Please direct any inquiries for reasonable accommodation to the trip leader in advance of the trip.
  2. Relaxed: Suitable for most active participants with full mobility and participants new to the activity described. Expect to be actively on the move for about 3 hours per day. You may be on the trail, slopes, or water for a longer time, but there will be plenty of rest breaks.
  3. Easy: Reasonable fitness for the expected activity is needed, but the trip is designed for those new to the activity. Expect to be active up to 4 hours per day. A bit more active time than the relaxed rating, but with generous breaks.
  4. Moderate: Fitness level and/or past experience to sustain the activity at a moderate pace is required. Expect to be active up to 4-6 hours per day. Reasonable breaks in the action.
  5. Vigorous: Suitable for those with recent similar experience and/or demonstrated proficiency, such as being active in sports or often (regular) engagement in vigorous physical activity. Ability to perform at the expected level for back-to-back days for multi-day trips. Expect to be active up to 5-6 hours per day, with brief breaks.
  6. Strenuous: Most physically demanding. Fitness for the specific activity is required with direct experience in the activity highly recommended and potentially mandatory (see the activity description). Expect to be active 6+ hours per day for back-to-back days if it is a multi-day trip. Breaks will be shorter/fewer than for other levels of trips.
Activity Level Moving Time
(up to x hrs)
(up to x km)
Average Moving Speed
(x kph)
(up to x m)
(x m/km)
(2) Relaxed 3 3 1.00 300 100
(3) Easy 4 5 1.25 500 100
(4) Moderate 4 8 2.00 1000 125
(5) Vigorous 5 12 2.40 2000 167
(6) Strenuous 6 15 2.50 3500 233
hr=hour | km=kilometer | kph=kilometers per hour | m=meter


An individual activity may be rated higher by the leader than the tables indicate for several reasons, such as a short distance but very difficult conditions (terrain, steepness, or exposure) or a much longer distance over easier terrain. Activities may also be rated lower at the leader's discretion if instruction in the activity discipline is among the objectives of the program.
Some direct experience in the trip activity is required for vigorous and strenuous levels, especially if there are technical skills needed for the activity. This experience threshold may be met at the leader's discretion for hiking and backpacking programs if the participant is able to provide examples of recent similar experience and adequate fitness to participate in a group activity.
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