Do you love to travel? Get to know the different markers and signage around the world! It is important to understand the signage on the hill prior to racing down the slopes as to ensure you are not getting yourself into something too advanced!
We have outlined Piste signage information below and hope you will find it helpful on your next trip! Scroll through to see the different regions we’ve outlined around the world!
Piste signage in North America, New Zealand and Australia
Green Circle – easiest
Ski slopes with this rating symbol are the easiest runs. Typically they are groomed, very wide, and have a slope gradient less than 25 percent. Perfect for beginners.
Blue square – intermediate
These ski runs are considered intermediate with a slope gradient of 25-40 percent. They’re the most popular and crowded runs. This is the next level past green beginner runs. Although blue runs are usually groomed, some may have bumps or small drops great for learning new skills.
Black diamond – expert / advanced
These runs will have a steep gradient exceeding 40 percent and are considered difficult. They are either very steep, full of bumps or both. Depending on terrain they may be groomed.
Double black diamond – expert (only)
This is the most difficult ski slope rating symbol and should be skied by experts only. They may have obstacles such as cliffs or trees; conditions may vary. They are most likely ungroomed.
Orange oval – terrain park
An orange oval means beware—Abominable Border area—also known as the Terrain Park. This is a new one and not used everywhere. Inside the oval there will be a letter rating of S,M,L,XL. These letters rank the difficulty of the feature and should be taken seriously. Remember to look before you leap.
Piste Signs in Spain / Andorra / France / Scandinavia
(This is the one Ratoong uses, see how it compares with those worldwide!)
Green Circle -Learning Beginner
These are usually not marked trails, but tend to be large, open, gently sloping areas at the base of the ski area or traverse paths between the main trails.
Blue Circle – Easy
These are almost always groomed. The slope gradient does not normally exceed 25% except for short wide sections with a higher gradient.
Red Circle – Intermediate
Steeper or narrower than a blue slope, these are usually groomed, unless the narrowness of the trail prohibits it. The slope gradient does not normally exceed 40% except for short wide sections with a higher gradient.
Black Circle – Advanced/Expert
Steep, may or may not be groomed, or may be groomed for mogul skiing. In Austria, Italy and Switzerland black pistes are nearly always groomed, as non-groomed pistes are marked as ski routes or itinéraires (see below). In France, some black pistes are groomed, but most are not. Black can be a varying classification, ranging from slopes marginally more difficult than a red, to very steep avalanche chutes. France tends to have a larger difference between red and black.
Piste Signs in Switzerland / Austria
Piste Circles: Same as above in addition to the following classifications:
Black Circle – Groomed Advanced/Expert
In Austria, Italy and Switzerland black pistes are nearly always difficult but groomed trails.
In a small number of areas, orange is used to mark pistes that are more difficult than black.
Orange / Yellow Square Non-Groomed Ski route,itinéraire, or freeride route
In Austria, ski routes are usually marked with orange squares instead. “This is an additional classification for high complexity slopes, which are often off-piste. Yellow and orange tracks can be found at some ski resorts in Austria, Switzerland (Zermatt, Verbier), and Sweden.”
*”From one country to another the level of run complexity may vary depending on the reputation of the region. So, at the French ski resort of Val d’Isere: which is popular with professionals, blue run levels will be similar to the red level in the Austrian Ellmau, which slopes are known as one of the best for beginners in Europe.”
Red Diamond / Red Diamond with Black edges Non-Groomed Ski route, itinéraire, or freeride route
It is also common to mark very difficult routes with a red diamond or a red diamond with black edges, the latter being more difficult.
Piste Signs for Japan
Green Circle – Beginner
These are gently sloping areas usually near the base of the ski area.
Red Circle – Intermediate
Medium difficulty, these are the majority of the slopes in Japan.
Black Circle – Expert
These are the steepest slopes in Japan.
Japan is known for having unmarked hazards such as cliffs, wells and springs. Make sure you are always vigilant while on the slopes.