Our quick guide to piste classifications.

It is important to be aware of how pistes are classified in terms of their difficulty. This will help ensure you don’t get into a tricky situation!

Piste Classifications:


  • European Piste Classifications:

Green

Easy

Blue

Moderate

Red

Intermediate

Black

Difficult

 

  • North American Piste Classifications:

Green

Easiest

Blue

More difficult

Black (shown as single black diamond)

Most difficult

Black (shown as double black diamond)

Expert

 

  • Australian and New Zealand Piste Classifications:

Green

Beginner

Blue

Intermediate

Black

Advanced

Black (Shown as double black diamond)

Expert Only

 

  • South American Piste Classifications:

Green

Beginner

Blue

Intermediate

Red

Advanced

Black

Experts

 

  • Japanese Piste Classifications:

Green

Beginner

Red

Intermediate

Black

Experts

 

There can be variations in the above classifications, for example Austrian resorts tend to use blue (easiest), red and then black (most difficult), so it does not use the green grading of many other European countries.

In Japan the piste classification can change between different resorts. The table above is most common at tourist resorts, but don't be surprised to see the North American color coding system used too.

Also, be aware that piste classifications vary in different ski resorts and countries - for example, a blue run in Val d'Isere, France, may be classed a red run if it were in Seefeld, Austria. Likewise, piste conditions change hourly, and what was a cruising blue run mid morning, could be become hazardous and difficult red run by late afternoon

You may also come across itinerary runs. These are runs that are marked on the piste map but are not groomed. Skiing these routes is comparable to skiing off piste, so the necessary skills are required.

There can be local and national variations in signs, rules and regulations. When you arrive in a resort, you should check the piste/trail map of the area.

Remember that off piste areas are:

  • Not groomed
  • Not patrolled
  • For experienced skiers only
  • Normally marked by a yellow or dayglo orange sign (dashed line on piste map)

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