The piste map rears its ugly head again!
A piste map designed for nervous skiers by nervous skiers
Colours of pistes, are they gospel, can you trust them, do they cause confusion?
This is a revamp or add on to previous blogs (The colours of fear) but this problem comes up almost every week, so I’m in the process of redesigning the article but also trying to make it either downloadable and or easier to read so if you’re visiting Les Gets, Morzine or Avoriaz you can look quickly at the names of the runs and decide where to go. you can always make it easy on yourself and book a lesson or guided session and do this “live” with an instructor.
If you are a confident and accomplished skier then there is generally no problem, “all runs become white”, so no need to read further unless interested.
Over the last few seasons I’ve been asking colleagues but more importantly clients who describe themselves as nervous or weaker skiers what they think the runs we ski should be marked as!!!
When I first came to Les Gets in 2000 the Reine des Pres (light blue above) run was marked on the piste map as a green run, then around 2006/7 it rightly, suddenly changed to blue!
In my opinion and many others it is arguably green or blue depending on which part of it you’re on. Campanule (dark blue) beside is way steeper).
Without knowing what the criteria is (none of us know) it is a very hard task to mark the runs. Do we measure it backwards from a black run or forwards from a green? From whos perspective is this measured? An experts or nervous beginners or somewhere in between? Surely it has to be from a beginners!
So what follows is a list of runs – go to the resort you are visiting – which will have the “official” colour marked and what the general consensus of clients have voted for it to really be (Bold), they also will be in an order or progression from easy to harder.
If you are on the nursey area I hope you’ll be with an instructor if not, then please realise that the “magic carpets” are steeper than the rope tows.
Use an inventive mixture of these over your 1st hour/day or 2.
To progress from here you will need to learn to use either the drag lift at the end of the long rope tow or the Croix chairlift.
If using the draglift there are 4 choices at the top;
- Turn immediate right, Les Trappeurs “Green” – Blue
- Lazy right, Piste des Indiens, Full of animals and fun things and mainly for children, use as easier than Trappeurs Green
- Immediate left, Piste Mauve (Milka run) easy straights with steeper banked bends, Blue
- Lazy left and my pick of the bunch for nervous folk; follow the path that then joins Gentiane “Blue”, look for white cross and head across the 2 button lifts and through a big gap in the trees ad you’ll be on the bottom of Piste 64 Green
I using La Croix chair there are 4 choices at the top;
- Turn right and then head left down a little track under the 6-man chair above you, then hairpin back on yourself and follow Gentiane “Blue” down passing the exit from the button lift in 4. above, passing white cross and piste 64 as above (this is known as easy street).
- Turn hard right and enter Gentiane going under the 6-man chair, this adds a short steeper, narrower Blue section that then joins as above and best of all can be viewed before you try it.
- Turn left and descend with the chair on your left Bruyere “Blue” Blue, it joins Gentiane at the white cross. There is a variation where you can cross from Gentiane to Bruyere where the freeride camel humps are.
- Violets “Blue”, this accesses the Bowl area, It is quite steep and slopes off to the right making it harder than it might be so is Blue/Dark Blue bear in mind that this run crosses at least 3 red runs so can be intimidating to the nervous skier. However at the start there is a small green track off to the left through the trees which cuts out the steepest part.
Gentiane “Blue” is one of the longest runs on the mountain so depending on where you access it, Ranfoilly chair for example is best avoided as at the top it is arguably Pink/Red. It then becomes a narrow path with a drop off to the right but is more Green now and does have a short climb to get back to Les Gets. This is where you would be accessing it from the Nauchet chair, where for a 50 metre section it is Blue then Green back to La Croix.
Bruyere is another long “Blue” run and it and Gentiane, carry on to the village from the beginner area explained. From here they both have sections that would definitely be considered steep Pink/Red.
Before exploring ski everything in this area, including all routes down from the white cross and Fougere “Blue” Pink at the top of the button, post 8 and Blue from post 4.
From here I’ll just list the runs, colours and clients suggested colours.
Bleuet “Blue” Blue in places but a lot of this is Green
Choucas “Blue”, Green although narrow and you have to be confident to get there and back on blues.
Rhodos “Red”, dark Blue the 1st red I take people on and less steep than; Campanule “Blue” Pink/Red.
In the picture above (of a different part of Les Gets) I’ve drawn in the main piste colours of the runs but added others to show how every run has easier and harder sections including the blacks. It’s not totally accurate but gives the idea.
Vorrosses/Renardiere “Blue” dark Blue/Pink when Vorrosses goes out of the picture it turns Red later
Melezes/Belle Mouille “Red” both of these have steeper Purple sections, purple is a steep red, Black runs are Black
There is one blue on the Mt Chery side, Ourson “Blue” dark Blue/Pink everything else is RED or Black.
The beginner covered carpet in Morzine is excellent in gradient and width with the only negative being the walk up hill to get to it. You will have to descend this on your way back to get to the gondola or to proceed. Once conquered the next step would be to pass the large radio mast, head toward the trees to the left and go around them to the Nabor chair. As you ascend the lift look about you and you can see a number of different ways down;
- Turn left and you’ll see the cover of the carpet, follow this down and repeat the above
- Turn right and follow the signs to the Penguin run, you can see this on the way up
- Pass the Penguin and either stay high and push or go fast to return to the bottom of the carpet. Or carry on, on the slightly off camber wide run that will take you near the bottom of Nabor. Or pass the penguin and head down the narrower run that takes you to Nabor.
- If you look about there are lots of short steeper off shoots you can test yourself on
Once you’ve exhausted the options in this area;
Piste B “Blue” Blue although daunting 1st time
Daim or the chemin de Zouzou “Blue” Blue in places where it rejoins B Green
Chardon Bleu “Blue” Blue between post 14-12 Green great for accessing Les Gets
Piste D “Blue” Pink/Red
Note; where B & D meet at post 26 it is wise to change onto D and head towards the Mouille chair as this is shallower than the continuation of B. You can also look at how much steeper D is if you look up it from here.
Piste C (Corbeau) and G (Grizzli) “Blue” these are at least Pink as they cross red and black runs and just seeing those signs can intimidate people.
Granges and Crocus “Blue” Pink
Blanchots/Chamois “Red” Red/Purple-ish.
Paquerages/Raverattes “Blue” dark Blue/Pink
Lievre “Blue” Green through the trees Blue in places
Tetras/Zore “Blue” dark Blue/Pink.
Seraussaix “Blue” Green
Premier Glisse “Green” Green although you can miss it and end up on,
Proclou “Blue” Green/light Blue.
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.
Bleue du Lac/Bleue de Arare/Bleue du Fornet/Bleue du Chavanette “Blue” Pink/Red in places.
Prolays “Blue” Red.
Parchesse/Grand Plan/Combe du Floret “Blue” Pink
Piste colours Avoriaz
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 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 . ATB Joe