What's Your Level of Fitness?

Fitness and Ability Explained

Monday, 11th May 2015  /  By Dan O'Keefe

Fitness Levels

Good / Moderate Fitness
In good general health – able to walk or ski for at least two hours at a slow pace (including breaks) in undulating terrain. Able to carry a light load (25 pounds = 12 kilograms).

Very Good Fitness
Exercise regularly (in gym, mountains, etc.) – have fairly good cardio. Can walk or ski for several hours (including breaks) over several days in diverse mountain terrain at a moderate pace (including up hill and down hill). Able to carry a moderate load (35-45 pounds = 16- 20 kilograms)

Peak Fitness
Follow a routine exercise schedule and may even be training for sports or expeditions. Excellent cardio and good stamina. Able to walk or ski all day at a moderate pace over several days in diverse mountain terrain including steeper uphill and downhill sections. Able to carry moderate loads of (35 to 55 pounds = 25 kilograms). You feel it would be reasonable for you to acclimatize on peaks.


Hiking Levels

Average fitness required. Can walk at an easy pace for 2-3 hours on trails with minimal inclines and declines.

Good fitness. Can hike at an easy pace for 3-5 hours with a backpack on rough trails with some steeper inclines and declines.

Very good fitness required. Can hike at a sustained pace for 3-6 hours with a backpack on rough, sometimes narrow trails with loose footing and sections of sustained or steeper inclines and declines.

Excellent fitness required. Can hike at a sustained pace for 4-7 hours with a backpack on rough, sometimes narrow trails with loose footing. Some exposed slopes and physically demanding components.


General Ability

Suitable for beginner level, no prior experience required.

You have previous experience and a good general knowledge of the sport.

You have very good knowledge of the sport developed from regular practice.


Backcountry Skier Ability Level

Ski/Snowboard Ability

Type I – Beginner
Skis slowly and conservatively. New to backcountry skiing, links parallel turns and able to slide slip more difficult sections. Can stop when desired.

Type II – Intermediate
Skis at a moderate pace. Links parallel turns in powder and can come to a full stop on demand. Able to handle varied ungroomed snow conditions and terrain. Has no problem skiing in trees or negotiating short ski cruxes (difficult sections).

Type III – Advanced
Skis more aggressively, at higher speeds, and able to ski advanced terrain. Can handle different snow conditions. Enjoys more technical terrain. No problem handling short cruxes and steeper sections.

Type IV – Expert
Aggressive and fast, capable of skiing in all conditions. Able to negotiate difficult sections, ski in couloirs and prolonged steep terrain.