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How Runs on a Mountain are Differentiated

Posted by Vertical Drop on

If you’re heading to the mountain for the first time, getting all of the gear together can seem like the most intimidating part, but once you get to the mountain you may realize that you’ve got an entirely new set of fears and nerves that have shown up. One of the ways that you can make sure that you’re getting on the right run is by having a general understanding of what each run entails. The team at Vertical Drop Ski & Board has broken down the basics of how runs are differentiated when you get to the mountain, that way you can determine what the best fit for your snowboard or skiing trip is going to be.

What is a run?

Mountain runs are tracks that are intended for skiing or snowboarding, similar to a trail. These runs are broken up into levels of difficulty and intensity based on skill level and what riders are going to want to do during their runs. From trick parks to bunny slopes, these runs offer it all, it’s just a matter of finding which run is going to provide you with what you’re looking for. Below are the levels of runs that most mountains will offer.

Green Circle

Runs that are marked with a green circle are the easiest runs on the mountain. These runs will usually have a wider path on the way down and will have less of a slope. On average, you can expect for these runs to run at a 25 degree, so that you have more control while on your way down and you won’t experience too much of a build up in speed on your way down. These are a great place to start if it’s been a bit since your last trip to the mountains or you’re just getting started.

Blue Square

If you’re looking for a run that is going to be a little more challenging than the green circle runs, this is going to be the next step up. These runs are known as the intermediate runs because they will vary in slope, If you’re considering these runs, you can count on there being anywhere from a 25 degree to 40 degree slope throughout the run. These are usually the more popular runs on the mountain because they offer both easy and challenging parts. What you can definitely expect are a few more bumps than you would see on a green circle runs, which is a great way to start preparing for the next step when it comes to runs, which leads us to our next run, black diamonds.

Black Diamonds

When you’re looking for a run that is going to provide you with a challenging day, you can count on black diamond runs to get the job done. These runs are going to be at a 40 degree minimum, meaning that the speeds that you’ll get up to will be nearly twice as fast as the other runs that you are exposed to. These runs are usually going to have fewer people than the other runs just because of their level of difficulty. This is the place to be when you’ve had more experience with skiing or snowboarding, or if you are feeling a little more confident than the blue squares allow for.

Double Black Diamond

These are the most difficult runs on the mountain. If you have plenty of experience and are pretty great at this craft, then these runs might be the spice that you need to really challenge yourself and enjoy the day. These runs will usually have trees, cliffs, and trick parks because they are specifically crafted for experts. Now, this may not be the case for every mountain, and there may be other runs that have a few trees here and there or maybe even a few different trick parks throughout the mountain, but the double black diamond runs will most definitely be more difficult than the rest and should only have expert level skiers and snowboards on them. This keeps the run safe for all parties on the run.

Orange Oval

These will not be found at every mountain, but they are slowly starting to make their way to resorts everywhere, so we figured we might as well let you know what this sign means. These are a sign of terrain parks, which are usually for individuals who have quite a bit of experience with the sport. The reason that they are marked is because the level of danger does increase when you choose to go onto a terrain park. Between cliffs, loose snow, rocks, and trees, there are plenty of other obstacles that you can expect when you’re out there on the run. This truly is something that is created for people with more experience, and designed to have the right staffing in the case that there is an emergency or accident on the course. If you’re interested in these types of runs, we suggest stopping in and talking to someone that works at the mountain about what you can expect if you do go onto the terrain course.

Now that you know what runs you want to hit, make sure that you’ve got all of the equipment that you need at Vertical Drop Ski & Board. You can count on our online ski shop to have all of the equipment that you need for your big trip to the mountains. Check back soon to see what other fun topics we’re covering in our blog!


Ski ya later!