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Standards on Color Codes ?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Are there standards for determining the color coding of a ski run ?

I was skiing two weeks ago at Jiminy Peak and was able to ski all of their open blues. They sub-divide their blues into bluegreen, blue and blueblack. Some were more challenging than others but I never felt out of my depth.
Yesterday I went to Windham. After a couple of hours skiing down their only open green run ("what's next" which I believe is their hardest green ), I decided to progress to their only open blue . The guy on the lift said it was a bit steeper but if I had no problems on the green (which I didn't - I was wizzing past most other skiers and always felt in control) I should be able to handle it.

As soon as I got off the lift and peered down the slop I knew I'd made a mistake. This hill was twice as steep as anything I'd skied before. A ski instructor there assured me that I was on the blue hill (and the signs were indeed blue). After attempting to zig zag down very slowly and falling at almost every turn, I ended up walking down halfway to where it became less steep. More like the blue runs at Jimminy peak. I could then ski down the bottom half before returning to the green slope.

So my question is - who decides what constitutes green/blue/black. Is there a national/international standard or does each resort make up their own rules ?
post #2 of 4
post #3 of 4

Colour Codes

There is a general code for grading pistes : green (easiest), blue, black, double black (expert) which I think is used in the US and Canada. In Europe it generally goes green, blue, red, black. I have read about controversy over this issue before yet it is a difficult one to tackle. Even though there is a general coding for piste gradient, most resorts will grade their own pistes accordingly. That said, there are always going to be runs of similar gradient graded differently in other resorts, no matter where you are skiing. However, if you are not comfortable with tackling a run you should nearly always be able to find an easier route down the hill, without having to ride a lift.

Hope this helps (a bit)....
post #4 of 4
In the US, a black (or double black) indicates the hardest trail at a particular resort, green the easiest. A blue trail at most Western resorts is typically steeper than any black trail at some southern Vermont resorts.
Jiminy Peak and Windham are about equivalent in trail ratings. However, last weekend Windham had such limited terrain that only one easier green trail and one of the steepest blue trails were open. The weather is finally turning cold, so next weekend there should be much more terrain everywhere in the East.
If you get back to Windham, look me up. I'll be there almost every weekend until mid-March.

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