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Frequently Asked Questions About Piste Maps

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Piste Grading

Pistes are graded for difficulty.

In Europe piste grading goes from blue, easiest, to red, hard, to black, hardest.

France also includes green, really easy.

In the USA and Canada piste grading goes from green to blue to black, with addition of shaped symbols (circles, squares and diamonds). With the hardest being double black diamonds and very occasionally triple black diamonds.

However in all resorts the grading systems are relative. For instance an icy red in poor condition can be much harder and dangerous than a freshly groom black piste in good condition.

Additionally difficulty, can and does vary from resort to resort and especially from country to country. While the steepness of the piste, is to a large extent, dependant on the steepness of the mountains themselves.

Piste Grooming

Most pistes are groomed by tracked bulldozers, known as 'Piste Bashers' which pack down fresh snow and smooth out bumps and moguls in old snow.

What is High Altitude?

High Altitude is defined as being between 8,000 and 12,000 feet, or 2,438 to 3,658 meters.

There are no specific factors, such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with a susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some people get it some don't. Most people can go up to 8,000 feet with minimal effect. If you haven't been to High Altitude before its important to be cautious.