Piste colours – are they gospel part 2
Piste Colours – can you trust them 2
Part 2, this carries on – with piste colour information – from where part 1 left off in Les Gets and then moves onto Morzine and Avoriaz. The official piste colour is in (brackets) and the consensus opinion of clients, colleagues and myself on the piste colour is Bold.
Campanule/Vorrosses/Renardiere (blue) Dark blue/Pink these blues are steeper or at least equal to Rhodos and Chevrelles (reds). Sometimes people can just be afraid of the colour they see, so we sometimes use these as transitional training runs to help people overcome their fears of reds. Chevrelles has two entrances one easier than the other.
Belle Mouille (red) Purple. There are some easy sections to this run but it winds and twists and is challenging in at least one section.
Before we move on to other areas; the blues are the main problem as less confident people may venture onto them for many reasons. I’ve included reds though to show that the problem doesn’t stop at blues. Of course many people who are thinking of venturing onto reds shouldn’t have a problem however, many do. There are many factors that impact and we’ve mentioned some of them; weather, snow conditions, width is sometimes more of a problem than just steepness and a narrow piste having an edge (giving the impression of a cliff or drop off) can be the greatest fear.
Arbis (red) Purple/Black. This is located up the Chamoissiere chair, at the top you have the choice of Arbis or Les Creux (black). I honestly believe if both are pisted, Arbis is harder however Les Creux is normally full of bumps!
Granges/Crocus (blue) Dark blue/Pink. Crocus leads you to “horrible hill” on Bruyere that takes you to Les Gets, covered earlier in part 1. Granges is challenging, twisty and narrow in places. Alternately there is an easier way, Chardon Bleu that starts from the bottom of the penguin run (Nabor) and although narrow has only one short challenging part.
Les Trappeurs (green) up above the Pleney beginner plateau.
Piste B (blue). This is a very long run that has many aspects and can involve Les Trappeurs and Piste N above it and the Tapis (Magic carpet/beginners area). From the Tapis it changes to dark green (it’s the run you walk up as a beginner to the magic carpet) and down to Belvedere chair isn’t too intimidating or long and is quite wide. The Belvedere chair enables you to access the easy terrain above.
If you blindly follow the B signs you can encounter problems, however; The BEAUTY of the Piste B/Nabor area is that you have CHOICES!
If you descend from the meeting point and pass the Pistuers (rescue paramedics) hut; it gets dark green for a short section (20 mts), then flattens for 100 mts, then steepens again for 30 mts leading you to the Nabor chair that accesses the nursery area and various other light green – dark green – blue terrain that you can view on the way up. There is a way of cutting right, past the small race start hut hugging the trees to your left shoulder that has music coming out of them which is easier than the above. From here we’ll examine later.
Piste D, C and G (blue) these are all accessed from Piste B/Belvedere chair environs however, they bear no relation to what you’ve encountered so far and are a mixture of dark blue, pink and red. Build up confidence and ability on B to all routes on Nabor before venturing further.
Getting to the village (blue); from Nabor, B starts shallow light blue but will vary between both shades of blue until you reach where it comes alongside the steeper D.
To recognise where this is: over to the right is the finish hut to the start hut mentioned above and the run obviously widens massively. This is important if nervous or 1st time down here; head right onto D past and above a big clump of trees in the centre. Why? B now steepens to red but D shallows gradually to green. At the end of this flatter section it dives (blue) toward the main red Piste N which you can use to slow you down as you eventually turn left and fly as fast as you like to the Des Mouilles chair that returns you to the bottom of the nursery/meeting area.
If you’ve built good technique and confidence and want to go all the way form here B will be varying blue/pink all the way however, there is an easy choice to the left of the restaurant there is a small path going past a couple of huts after about 200 mts you’ll see a big banner “the zoo run” basically a light green children’s path with animal sculptures all the way down it. This cuts out some of the more challenging sections but you will have some achievable challenges once it finishes and you’re back on B to the bottom.
Blanchots/Chamois (red) Red/Purple-ish.
Tetras/Zore (blue) Dark blue/Pink.
Seraussaix/Proclou (blue) Light green/dark green/light blue. There’s a new option of a real light green run on Proclou now. These if you can get to them are great confidence building runs for nervous or less confident people, also fantastic for learning new tricks like skiing backwards for example.
Bleue du Lac/Bleue de Arare/Bleue du Fornet/Bleue du Chavanette (blue) Pinky/Red in places.
Prolays (blue) Red.
Parchesse/Grand Plan/Combe du Floret (blue) Pink at least.
Same as the picture on Les Gets; showing how runs marked can get harder and easier at certain points, once again not totally accurate but just to give an idea.
I hope this helps and hasn’t been too negative or put you off, it hasn’t been written to scare anyone but we believe it’s important to get accurate info from someone who either knows or you can trust to tell you the truth. This isn’t just a PdS anomaly I’ve seen it in Lots of resorts/Countries. We hope that it may prove a useful resource when trying to plan yours or your partners day in the mountains, which piste colours are appropriate and which are not.
Also it is not an attack on the mountain; the companies that run the various resorts in the PdS do some fantastic work, in and out of the winter.
- The actual piste-ing (manned, machines that flatten and groom the snow every night) is awesome
- Re-grading the actual ground with diggers in the summer for one example
- Up-grading lifts, improvements
- The rescue/paramedics (pistuers), Avalanche patrol, maintenance crews and lifties all deserve a round of applause
When researching this I had to look at piste maps – as ski/teaching professionals we have the map in our heads – I knew this but re-reading the description left me speechless:
Green – Tres Facile, very easy
Blue – Facile, easy
Red – Difficile, difficult
Black – Tres Difficile, very difficult
There are probably people out there thinking “what’s wrong with those descriptions?”. Well, very easy or easy in comparison to what? I wonder how many people out there that remember being a beginner and who have been down some of the blue runs, just pick one, Prolays/Bleu de Arare/Campanule would describe them as easy?
Tip; when the weather or snow conditions change for the worse (white out or icy) every classification should change up the scale – blue run yesterday, red today. The same might be said the other way round but YOU make the decision not some person you’ve never met.
Another Tip is timing; if you’re going to try a new run, do it after a good warm up run that has a steeper section on it and while the piste-ing is still in good condition, not 3pm when bumpy and tired. Pick a run that has the same aspect to it – faces the same direction – so the snow conditions are going to be similar. .
If any of this relates to your experience we at ALC can help you overcome your fears and problems with tactics and helpful lessons. Get in touch or read our blogs #ALCblogbook or website for more info.