Trail Maps, Signs & Terms On the Pistes Snowboarding


Getting a Trail Map is essential before you head out and go Snowboarding. Remember, larger resorts can get pretty complicated and confusing. To make sure that you don’t get stuck or lost in a resort and are able to find your way back before the lifts close, secure a Trail Map. Most Snow Resorts will give you a Trail Map as you purchase your day pass. If you lose your map, head back and get a new one!

On the right side is an overview of the Common Symbols that you might find on any Snow Resort Map and often you will find the same symbols used when you are actually On the Pistes. In Europe you will often find another color coding than in the US or other parts of the world. The International Trail Marking System uses:

  • Green Circle – Easiest Runs
  • Blue Square – Intermediate Runs
  • Black Diamond – Difficult Runs
  • Double Black Diamond – Very difficult Runs

These symbols mean pretty much the same as the green, blue, red and black color system.
Still, be very careful! Between different countries and different resorts there can be various interpretations on the definition of beginner, intermediate and hard. No matter how experienced you are, it is always wise to work yourself up by starting at the easier runs and then slowly making your way to more difficult slopes. When in doubt ask people with more experience in the resort for details on the slopes.

Different resorts use various Signage Systems to signify possible danger. The most common Sign is yellow or orange with exclamation marks, and they often have words signifying either the hazard or the action you must take. Most common danger signs are:

  • Danger – General Danger, slow down and make sure to check why the sign is up
  • Slow Down – Slow Down and look out
  • Cliffs/Boulders/Crevasse – A possible hazard is coming up, slow down and look out
  • Closed – Piste is closed, turn back

Being familiar with Trail Maps, Signs, and Terms should be given prime importance by every Snowboarding beginner like you. Take time studying how to read a trail map and you will not get lost while Snowboarding. Likewise, know the meaning of signs and symbols so that you can avoid possible dangers in the slope.


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