Trip Ratings

All ONC tours are rated as either Novice, Easy, Intermediate, or Advanced. These terms are an approximate guide to the skill and commitment required for the tour. Use the rating guide to select the right tour for your ability and inclination. Please do not attempt a trip that is beyond your ability; you could endanger yourself or others in your party.


Novice: 2–5 miles slow-paced day trips over gentle terrain. These tours are for beginning cross-country skiers with a little prior skiing experience (the ability to do a reasonable shuffle on skis). Leaders will not teach skiers how to ski, but will help them as much as possible.

Easy: 4–6 miles over gentle terrain at a pace comfortable for all participants.

Intermediate: 6–12 miles; terrain flat to long hills that are no steeper than found on a road (maximum 10 degrees); moderate pace; trail turning skills required for hills.

Advanced: >12 miles; terrain flat to steep hills (>10 degrees); moderate to fast pace; strong turning skills required on tours with steeper slopes.


Easy: < 8 miles; 200 ft. per mile elevation gain.

Intermediate: 8–10 miles; 200–400 ft. per mile elevation gain.

Advanced: > 10 miles; 400 ft. per mile elevation gain; steady pace and/or difficult terrain (a workout).


Easy: Mostly flat terrain; 8–10 m.p.h. pace; frequent regrouping.

Intermediate: Moderate terrain with rolling hills (some short steep hills); 10–14 m.p.h. pace; regrouping when appropriate.

Advanced: Difficult terrain with one or more major hills/series of longer, steeper hills; 15–18 m.p.h. pace; regrouping when necessary.