A Piste Map, the most valuable skiing accessory
If you are a first time skier then before you set off you should have a look at the types of runs that are available in the area you are going. Normally, in Europe, there are four different colours of runs, ranging from beginner to expert. Here they are:
Green – Learner/ For the first day
These tend to be quite rare and are often situated in the learner area of the slope. They are where you would normally get your first experience of skiing. They tend to be almost flat and cover a big area to allow plenty of room to manoeuvre around.
Blue – Beginner/ For the relaxed
The first of the ‘big three’. A blue run will normally consist of a medium to long length slope with plenty of room for big sweeping turns. A great way to get your confidence up if your a first timer or simply haven’t been on a slope in a while. They are also good for long, leisurely trips looking at the scenery.
Red – Intermediate/For the more confident!
Now they start to get a little more tricky. Red runs, I find anyway, can often be quite varied. Some can only be a small step up from blue runs, while others can be downright tough. They are often narrow and can be very winding, however the steeper ones tend to be wider to allow for more turns. Once you master the red run you should be able to explore the majority of the resort.
Black – Experienced/ For the very daring
Black runs are the toughest in Europe and can be found in nearly all resorts. They are often quite small, narrow and very steep. Sometimes they are full of moguls, small bumps of snow, and this causes them to be difficult to successfully manoeuvre. Black runs are great for a rush of adrenaline and to really show how far you have come.
Note : Runs normally have more than one way of getting down, so if your going with a large party and some feel more confident than others then don’t worry. A few can attempt a black while the other can go down the red or blue.
Unmarked or Off Piste – For the adventurous
Not all parts of the mountains are marked runs, many often have areas which are not flattened by the Piste bashers, the large tractor like vehicles which compact and spread out the snow. These unmarked runs are normally full of thick snow and can be difficult to plough through. However you do get to see a less touristy version of the resort and there can be some stunning scenery to be had when your skiing through the trees.
Heading off piste?
So there is plenty of choice, for whatever level you think your at. Just work your way up and your confidence will build. Enjoy!