Finding the Right Ski Hill for Your Experience Level


Finding the Right Ski HilAre you a green, a blue, or a black?

When you’re first starting out, it’s important to match your current skill level to the hill you’re about to conquer. All, while still challenging yourself to get better.

It’s a lot simper than it looks though and it’s all about of knowing how to read the difference between slopes and measure your own ability.

Shapes and Symbols

Resorts all vary slightly with the way they label their hills and what skills they recommend before you have them but they’re all fairly similar.  If you know how they’re ranked according to difficulty, you can prevent zipping down daunting terrain praying for a safe landing at the bottom.

Generally, hills in North America are rated with colours and shapes:

  1. Green Circle:  These are the easiest runs you can do.  They’ve got a slight incline and well groomed snow.  The amount of things you have to know is basic and it’s a good place to work on your technique.
  2. Blue Square:  These are harder with an increased slope gradient.  Blue hills are for intermediate skiers and make up the bulk of trails at most resorts.  Although there are some areas that are a little rougher and faster, there are still calm parts so you can regain control.  You’ll need to know a little more in terms of turning and stopping to be comfortable on these slopes.
  3. Black Diamond:  You’ve no doubt heard of these before.  These steep hills are definitely rougher and you’ll need to be comfortable with bumps and short turns.
  4. Double Black Diamond+:  Not all resorts go above black diamond but some do.  Expect lots of obstacles, drop-offs, a really steep average slope gradient and intense trails.  It goes without saying you should consider yourself an expert before trying these.

Make sure to understand the skills you’ll need for these trails before you give them a shot.  One good way to prepare is through lessons.

From Student to Master


Taking lessons at your resort is great for getting you up to scratch and graduating from one hill type to the next.  Even if you’re comfortable, take any lessons you haven’t already done.

They’re typically broken up into numbered ‘levels’.  Ask your resort if they correlate hill types with skill levels.  As you move up, you’ll learn certain key moves like adding poles to movement, being parallel and different types of stops and turns.

It’s all about taking it slow and easy.  A great thing to remember is that you’re not alone.

Helping Hands


The best piece of advice in finding the right ski hill is to avoid rushing.  Remember that there are people all around you and resort staff are there to help.  If you find yourself in the chalet or in line with other skiers, don’t be shy to ask.  Better still, ask instructors for pointers.

When you’re skiing, being humble means not regretting the hill you just decided to descend.

Mount St. Louis Moonstone is one of the largest family owned ski resorts in Ontario. It was founded 50 years ago by Austrian Alpine skier Josl Huter.

We’re proud our hill is the go-to choice for beginners and experts across the area. Click here to learn more.

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