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American grades vs French grades

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi (now for some stupid questions),

Logically a lot of the ski experience is related to the difficulty of the run. Since I have only skied in France so far sometimes it is hard to imagine what levels you are talking about. I read one explanation (which said for instance a french red is between a difficult american blue and an easy black), but it seems to be slightly of. At least from a lot of stories the american runs seem more difficult, or are americans maybe a bit more careful in general? Can anybody explain this a bit more. I believe the austrian runs are comparable to the French, but maybe a bit easier since austrians don't have greens.

Something else I am curious about is how the levels work. For instance I am a beginner coming down a french blue with ease but sometimes messing up when I am tired. An easy french red (so, a hard blue maybe?) I manage without fear of falling and fairly paralel, but not in great speed or style. What level is that approximately? In french ski schools there are only four basic levels I believe (0, 1, 2, 3) and I am at about level 2-3. Above that they have bronze, silver and gold, but I have no idea how good you have to be for that. Are there any level charts on the internet? The French levels are nicely explained here: http://www.esf2alpes.com/english/site/index.html (under Activities -> Adults).
post #2 of 6
In Canada, and also at Jay Peak the levels pretty much vary by location. A black at a small hill like http://www.skichicopee.com/ would be called a blue at a larger hill like http://www.calabogie.com/pages/winte...e-mountain.php They base their level relative to the other runs on their hill.

There is also a disparity between East and West in Canada. After skiing http://mountwashington.ca/winter/def...alpine_terrain
ALL the blacks at http://www.tremblant.ca/index-e.htm seemed like Blues to me (except they have ice in the east).

The biggest difference between the difficulty of trails between Europe and the US I think, and this is only my impression, is the American's tendency to exaggerate.

I remember once reading on these forums a rating system that incorporated slope angle. Maybe it was for climbing.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
So basically we might as well not say what kind of slopes we are skiing . Makes it a bit harder to give advice really.

But I do agree with you there are differences from area to area, the easier will always be green, the hardest always black (with diamonds for you I believe). Ofcourse grades are subjective. To an absolute beginner a red is just as impossible as a black and Bode Miller probably thinks every run for the general public is easy . In my case I prefer a red that is just steep to a red with a lot of bumps, even if that one is less steep. For someone with better technique but more fear of heights it might be the other way around.

Having said this, I still hope to gain a bit of an idea. Levels might be nice for showing of as well, but I care most about compairing (since 80% of the skiers are better anyway, and on this forum a much greater number).
post #4 of 6
From my limited experience, European reds (Italy, Andorra, Russia, etc.) would be on the average comparable to American black (single diamond).
Individual differences between the resorts matter more.
post #5 of 6
That French girl in "Better Off Dead" had absolutely NO trouble skiing the K12. Based on that I'd say their runs are much steeper than US runs on avarage.:
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
That French girl in "Better Off Dead" had absolutely NO trouble skiing the K12. Based on that I'd say their runs are much steeper than US runs on avarage.:
Hard to say from the real good ones really. The best skier in the world is now American, the two before were from Europe, and that tells us... well, nothing...
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