Finding your way around snowboarding resorts, especially the larger ones, can
often be a daunting and confusing experience for the average beginner. We've
compiled some basic information common to most resorts which should assist you
in getting used to your surroundings.
Large resorts usually consist of dozens of trails for all levels of skiers
and snowboarders. To make sure you know where to go and don't end up in a
dangerous double black diamond run when you're not ready for it, get your
hands on a trail map which are usually provided by most resorts.
Depending on the region you are in, each resort will have their own colors
and codes used in signs to represent different situations.
The most common signs you will see are those which use a symbol to signify the level of
difficulty of a particular run. The symbols recognized internationally for runs are:
- Green Circle for easy beginner runs.
- Blue Square for intermediate runs.
- Black Diamond for difficult runs.
- Double Black Diamond for very difficult runs used by the most advanced riders only.
Other signs you may wish to look out for are:
- Crossed Skis placed into the snow to alert riders and the ski patrol of an injured person.
- Area Boundary which is usually a red or yellow disc hanging from a rope. The regions
outside of this boundary are beyond the control of the resort and are used purely at your own risk.
- Danger Signs which may vary from resort to resort but should be clear enough for you
to understand regardless of the symbols they use.
If you mainly ride on runs provided by the resort, you'll inevitably use their lifts to
get around the place, or more specifically, to get up the slope for another descent.
The types of lifts you may or will encounter include:
- Chair Lifts which are the most common types of lifts found in virtually every resort.
As the name suggests, you basically sit in a chair as it carries you up the slope.
- Surface Lifts which include T-bars, J-bars, pomas and rope tows. These are used
over shorter distances and gentler slopes. These lifts pull/tow you up the hill while
you hang on to the lift handle.
- Trams and Gondolas are vehicular lifts which you can just walk into at the
base of the hill and straight out again at the top. You can remove your board and
carry them inside or place them into a holder outside if one exists.
General Guidelines and Rules
Some guidelines you should follow to ensure the safety of others and also yourself include:
- Staying in control at all times by riding within your abilities. Before riding at
breakneck speed, make sure you have mastered the necessary skills to navigate through
the slope so that you can avoid objects and especially other snow users.
- The rule for using the slopes is that it is the responsibility of the rider uphill
to avoid any slower users below them.
- Before starting a run, always check uphill or behind you for any oncoming users
and allow them to pass before beginning your descent.
- Try not to stop or rest in the middle of a trail but if you must,
keep out of traffic as much as possible.
- Respect learners and give them room to work on their skills especially on green runs.