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 O
VERSEAS SKI SLOPE RATINGS: Green, Blue, Red, Black 

by Bill Jones, Ski Instructor

Certified Professional Ski Instructor (Registration #110478), Level III
private ski lessons at Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, other areas

Information below is from www.skilikewoman .com:

The grading of pistes (or trails) is not the same in Europe and North America. Also, shapes are combined with colours in North America, and red runs do not exist there.

Green runs correspond fairly closely (although they are not found everywhere in Europe). Blue runs are similar, but American blues include some tougher intermediate runs that would be graded as red in the Alps. Single back diamond runs correspond to steeper European reds and the easier European blacks.

Europe
Green: Beginner
Very gentle gradient, for the first time skiers..
Blue: Easy (Novice/early intermediate)
Improvers area. .Able to snowplough turn confidently, and parallel slightly.
Red: Medium (Advanced intermediate)
Able to link together short radius parallel turns. Some parts of red runs will have a steep gradient.
Black: Difficult (Advanced/Expert)
Able to link together consistent short radius turns and vary speed and direction with ease. These slopes will be consistently steep and often have moguls on them.
   
North America: Canada and United States
Green circle, white centre: Beginner
First time skiers, or those who cannot make turns or ride lifts.
Green circle: Novice
Comfortable on easy, groomed terrain.. Able to stop and turn in both directions.
Blue square: Intermediate
Confident on more difficult groomed and unpacked terrain. .Rhythmical movements and can control speed and direction.
Black diamond: Advanced
Can easily adapt to changes on varying terrain and in all snow conditions.
Double black diamond: Extreme skiing
Use extra caution.

These symbols comprise the standard international trail marking system. They describe only the relative degree of challenge of a particular trail COMPARED WITH ALL OTHER TRAILS AT THAT ONE SKI AREA. Also, gradients and difficulty vary within each trail.

Therefore, it is always a good idea to start off on the "Easier" trails when visiting a new ski area; then, if you wish, progress to the "More Difficult" and "Most Difficult" as you get a feel for the area's general degree of difficulty. Snow conditions, visibility and the number of skiers can make a trail more difficult to ski than its rating may indicate.

The above is from www.skilikewoman .com.

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