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This page summarizes the whole set of tags describing  pistes in the broad sense, from downhill skiing through cross-country skiing to sleds – and the typical related infrastructure like lifts. Formerly, there were few possibilities to map a ski resort. Even though a voting never took place (see e.g. Talk:Piste Maps#Approval), these keys and values have been accepted de facto by the community (see the numbers provided by taginfo) and many are supported by mapping tools like JOSM.

Some mapping efforts are tracked in WikiProject Piste Maps.

Tag prefix

Piste map-specific tags use the piste: namespace to avoid conflicts with similar tags used in other contexts (e.g., capacity, speed, classification). The term  piste comes from the French word for track or trail and means a marked path or run down a mountain.


Ski lifts

For the lift itself, draw a way way along the route of the cable, and set the aerialway=* tag on this way. Some lift types imply oneway=yes (drawn upward), while any two-way lift should be tagged oneway=no. Besides this shortened overview, aerialway=* describes the values in more detail and also further values like zip_line that are uncommon for winter sports.

Key Value Element Description Example Icon
aerialway cable_car way A  cablecar or tramway. Just one or two large cars. The cable forms a loop, but the cars do not loop around, they just move up and down on their own side. Cable car.png
gondola way A  gondola lift. Many cars go around in a circle on a looped cable. Gondola.png
chair_lift way A  chairlift. Looped cable with a series of single chairs or benches without closed cabins but exposed to the open air or having a bubble protecting only a part of the body. Implies oneway=yes; where passengers can be carried in the reverse direction, tag with oneway=no.   Chair lift 2.png Chair lift 4.png
mixed_lift way A mixed or hybrid lift, containing both gondolas and chairs. Mixed lift.png
drag_lift way A surface lift with tow-line, usually around 4 meters overhead of skiers and riders. Better use one of the more specific values t-bar, j-bar or platter if possible. Tbar lift icon.png
t-bar way A  T-bar lift with carriers for two persons. Implies oneway=yes and aerialway:occupancy=2. Tbar lift icon.png
j-bar way A J- or L-bar lift, like T-bar but just on one side thus single-person only. Implies oneway=yes and aerialway:occupancy=1. Tbar lift icon.png
platter way  Platter lift, similar to a J-bar, but with a disc instead of a bar. Single-person only. Implies oneway=yes and aerialway:occupancy=1. In discussion whether a platter lift is an aerialway or not. Alternate tag piste:lift=platter can be used instead. Tbar lift icon.png
rope_tow way A  rope tow with a line that passengers hold by hand or tow grabbers. Implies oneway=yes.
magic_carpet way A  magic carpet. Implies oneway=yes.
pylon node Supporting tower for an aerialway. May be numbered with ref=*.
station node For stations where passengers can enter and/or leave the aerialway. May be in the middle of a way (mid), shall be at both ends of the lift's way (top and bottom). Combine with ele=*

Railways going up a hill are discussed and proposed separately: railway=incline.

Aerialway attributes

The start and end nodes of a way tagged as a lift are assumed to be a station. These nodes may have their elevation documented with ele=*. Additional information should be tagged on the way (of the lift). Access may also depend on transport type (ski/foot/bicycle/etc.):

Key Value Element Description Example Photo
Wired ways
aerialway:occupancy People in each carriage (car, chair, etc.); numeric. way aerialway=j-bar, platter and rope_tow imply aerialway:occupancy=1 and aerialway=t-bar implies aerialway:occupancy=2.
aerialway:capacity People per hour; numeric. way aerialway:capacity=2600
aerialway:duration Minutes; numeric. way Average/typical time for journey on that lift.
aerialway:detachable yes
way Specifies whether the aerialway has a detachable grip (yes) or a fixed grip (no). Especially significant for [W] chairlifts. By default, aerialway=gondola, chair_lift, and mixed_lift imply yes, while cable_car, t-bar, j-bar, platter, rope_tow, and magic_carpet imply no.
aerialway:bubble yes
no (default)
way If each carriage has a (retractable) transparent cover to provide weather protection. Only common for aerialway=chair_lift.
aerialway:heating yes
no (default)
way If each carriage has heating.
aerialway:bicycle yes
way If bicycles are allowed in carriages: all year round; in summer, or not at all. By default, aerialway=cable_car, gondola, and mixed_lift imply yes, and chair_lift and t-bar imply no. Sesselbahn Marchner.jpg
aerialway:access entry
Main article: conditional restrictions

The access allowed to carriages at this node, entry means it is possible to board the lift here, exit means it is possible to disembark, both means both are possible (often the case for aerialway=cable_car and gondola), and no means neither are possible (useful for beginning and ending nodes if the implicit assumption of being an entry or exit station is incorrect). Add :summer or :winter subkeys where seasonal rules apply (often, in winter, only ascending is allowed).

node The access as above, but only during "summer". Similarly for "winter". Use no in all stations if the aerialway is not operated at all during summer.

This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.

Tags to use in combination:


A piste may be a route through a variety of different terrains. It might consist of a meadow or a mountain road or part of a glacier. Therefore piste mapping has two levels.

  1. Underlying elements: meadow, mountain road, part of glacier, etc. These might be defined as ways way or areas area. When using areas, it is usually best practice to map pistes with both areas and ways (in analogy to what is done with rivers and riverbanks). The way is useful for e.g. routing applications, while the area provides further details as to the actual surface occupied by the piste.
  2. The underlying elements are grouped together by a relation relation route=piste. Please notice that only ways can be members of a route=* relation.

In this way one piste can consist of multiple elements and one element (road, etc.) can belong to several pistes (relations).

Below, there will be discussed the tags applicable to the underlying elements. For more information on the piste relation, see route=piste.

Survey of some piste types like Nordic or skitour leave considerable freedom of judgement to the mapper of what a Nordic/skitour is. It is suggested to tag recommended routes by some tourism authority and pistes used by many people during a season. But do not add pistes that are only used by very few people (e.g. only yourself), or that are dangerous (avalanche, etc.). Keep in mind that adding a piste is a recommendation to other people for using the piste.


The piste:type=* tag can be used on any existing or new way. Specifically it is very useful for marking a piste that uses an existing way, like for example a track. This is very useful (e.g., in the Alps) where forestry tracks can be used in Winter for hiking, sledding, skitouring and Nordic skiing.

Key Value Element Description Example Icon
piste:type downhill area way An alpine/downhill ski route. ways should be use for trails connecting the routes. This automatically implies oneway=yes. The direction of the way should be the downhill direction.
nordic way A Nordic/cross country ski trail (also see #Style or kind of grooming). The direction of the way should be the preferred/compulsory skiing direction (see piste:oneway below). Nordic pistes are circular ways if the first and the last point are the same and cannot be rendered as areas. Currently implemented in this way by Osmarender. Nordic Icon.png
skitour area way A recommended ski tour way or area that is generally used by many skiers during a season for the purpose of a Nordic ascent and a downhill descent in the backcountry. Generally the descent is recommended near the ascent route for safety and terrain judgement and the descent is not mapped. To map an alternate descent, use piste:type=downhill with piste:grooming=backcountry. Implies piste:grooming=backcountry. Also defined in  Ski_touring. Rendered as area if first and last point are the same. If a circular way is needed, do not close the way (first and last point is not exactly the same). Skitour icon.png
sled area way Use this tag exclusively for a sledding piste (AKA toboggan hill) or add this tag to a way or tack that is prepared for or commonly used by sleds to go downhill. Sleds are smaller vehicles that are pulled by a human or propelled only by gravity. Use piste:oneway=yes if the piste has a do not walk uphill sign. If the way is used also for ascending to the top (e.g., by foot) use piste:oneway=no. The combination with piste:lit=yes indicates sledding tracks with lighting that is only turned on in winter. Implied grooming is piste:grooming=classic for natural luge track grooming, but alternatively one can use piste:grooming=backcountry for ungroomed or badly groomed trails. Sled Icon.png
hike way A piste for Nordic walking or hiking in winter (Winterwanderweg) that is usually announced by a tourism authority. A classic groomed piste (piste:grooming=classic) can be hiked with simple boots or can be used for running (default if grooming is absent). A piste:grooming=backcountry groomed piste requires snow shoes.
sleigh area way A piste exclusively for not self propelled sleighs. This might be horse/husky drawn sleighs (Santa Claus style). Definition: A sleigh is typically a partially enclosed vehicle with seats for passengers that is drawn by animals and slides on runners.
ice_skate area way A piste exclusively for ice skating. Ice skating icon.svg
snow_park area A funpark with rails, quarter pipes, etc.
playground node area A ski playground is a designated location which has been developed or set up to assist children to learn to ski naturally, and which provides a variety of skiing discoveries. Skiing-playground-icon.png
ski_jump way area A  Ski jumping hill. Skiing-skijump-icon.png
fatbike way A piste for riding with a  Fatbike in winter that is usually announced by a tourism authority. Fatbiking is on the rise as a winter sport and very often in mountain biking areas. A classic groomed piste (piste:grooming=classic) is made of compacted snow and maintained with a machine such a  Snowmobile or a snowdog. A piste:grooming=backcountry groomed piste is not maintained and will rely on hikers or snowshoers for compaction.
Fat Bike Lioran.JPG
snowkite node area Location for launching a kite, or area suitable for  Snowkiting.
man_made piste:halfpipe way area A halfpipe. This automatically implies oneway=yes. Halfpipe.png

Frequently, ski pistes are used for several practices. For instance groomed Nordic tracks used as hiking tracks and sledding tracks for skitouring and hiking. There is two way to map several use of a piste when they are official: either use semi-colon separated values on the way (piste:type=downhill;sled), or create several route=piste relations, one for each use.


This tag is seldom used for piste:type=nordic in some countries, including the Nordic countries.

Note: For showing signposting color of pistes (notably for crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing), you may want to use the Tag:route=piste with a key:colour, and keep the difficulty tag to give information on the actual difficulty of the way.

Key Value US, Canada, and Oceania Europe Japan Skitour: [1] Nordic (crosscountry)
piste:difficulty novice "Bunny hill"      Green L: inclination <30 degree, no sliding, soft hilly terrain, no narrow passages Strictly flat terrain, no effort needed
easy      ● Green circle      Blue (applies to Nordic, downhill, sled)      Green WS: inclination 30–35 degree, short sliding areas, open terrain with short steep passages and easily avoidable obstacles, short narrow passages. Soft hills, short steep sections
intermediate      ■ Blue square      Red (applies to Nordic, downhill, sled)      Red ZS: inclination 35–40 degree, longer sliding areas, terrain with steep passages that cannot be avoided, short narrow but steep passages. Steep sections are present in the piste, or short narrow on average slopes. User gets away with sweat. Used for the relevant sections only
advanced      ◆ Black diamond      Black (applies to Nordic, downhill, sled)      Black S: inclination 40–45 degree, long sliding areas with scarps below (life danger!), steep terrain with many obstacles, long narrow passages (short swings still possible). Steep sections are present in the piste, with narrow steep passages or sharp turns in steep passages, often icy pistes. Used for the relevant sections only.
expert      ◆◆ Double black diamond      Orange (Alps)      Double black (Scandinavia) SS: inclination 45–50 degree, long sliding areas with scarps below (life danger!), steep rocky terrain with many obstacles, narrow passages may require some crossjumps. Steep sections are present in the piste, with narrow steep passages or sharp turns in steep passages, often icy pistes. Dangerous terrain surrounds the piste. Used for the relevant sections only.
freeride (e.g., off-piste)      Yellow AS: inclination 50–55 degree, very exposed terrain, no spot to rest during descent, narrow passages require many crossjumps. Not relevant
extreme Climbing equipment required EX: inclination >55 degree, extremely exposed terrain, need to use ropes to go downhill. Not relevant


Intended for use with piste:type=nordic, piste:type=downhill (classic, mogul, backcountry), or piste:type=sled (classic, backcountry) to describe the style of piste preparation.

Key Value Description Pictogram Suggested rendering
piste:grooming classic Groomed for classic style Nordic or downhill skiing. If omitted for sledding runs (piste:type=sled) it implies groomed as "natural luge(sled) track".

Default value is assumed if piste:grooming is omitted.

|| Pistegroomingclassic.png
mogul A piste:type=downhill groomed for  Mogul skiing (Buckelpiste).
skating Groomed for free style or skating. \/ Pistegroomingskating.png
Both classic and skating. (Note that classic+skating is not standard OSM notation.) Pistegroomingmulti.png
scooter Classic style groomed by a smaller snowmobile, which means that the piste is often much looser and single lane. ! Pistegroomingscooter.png
backcountry Off-piste cross-country skiing, often referred to as "backcountry touring", where tracks are made manually by skiers.

Use with marked, cleared, ungroomed ski trails.

Use with often used, ungroomed sledding trails.

!! Pistegroomingbc.png

Many providers of ski preparation data draw a line between tracks groomed by  snowmobile, and larger  snow grooming vehicles that produce cross-country ski-trails conforming to FIS standards (reference needed).

Other features

Key Value Element Description Pictogram Suggested rendering
Nordic Downhill
piste:name Name as a piste; text. wayrelation Alternate name for the piste. Use as alternate name if the piste is a track or way that has a name already and has a different piste-name. N/A Rendered as name if no name tag exists; rendered by pistemap renderers only if name and piste:name exist.
piste:ref Number or letter; or a combination. wayrelation Number or letter used to identify the piste on ski maps or signs at the ski resort. Avoid using ref=* if the way is also a highway.
piste:status open/closed Any piste Use for pistes if they open for the season and set to closed during summer (this is most useful for single type pistes; e.g., sled). Use for live data feeds to OSM in the future. Do not use tag if data is guaranteed to incurrent (does not receive regular/live updates). There is no default. N/A Render always normally on general map. Summer sport specific maps may ignore closed pistes. Winter specific may use some special marking. Remember that data is probably only valid for some specific pistes that receive live updates.
piste:oneway yes/no area way If you tag a track or way as piste and the oneway specifically applies only if the way is used as piste during winter.
piste:certifications List of certifications; text, comma separated. area way Pistes that are certified for safety, grooming and quality by a local association. The seal of quality must be published by the association. The tag should be not present if no certifications exist. N/A Example: TRV Naturrodelbahngütesiegel 2009 ROT
piste:lit yes area way If you tag a track or way as piste and the lit specifically applies only if the way is used as piste during winter. -o- Pistelit.png Semi-transparent yellow underneath?
lit yes area way Lit for night time skiing. -o- Pistelit.png Semi-transparent yellow underneath?
roller_ski designated way The Nordic track is designated for  roller skiing during summer. Often combined with highway=track, tracktype=grade1 and surface=asphalt.
piste:abandoned yes area way Former, now unofficial and unmaintained ski-trail. : Pisteabandoned.png Dashed version of current?
gladed yes area way Pistes with trees or entire areas of thinned-out trees. See  Glade skiing. ^ N/A? Tree icons?
patrolled no area way Pistes that are not patrolled, though they may be marked and maintained NP The letters, NP The letters, NP
sport biathlon node way area relation Winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting N/A

If a ski trail is ungroomed due to having no-one to groom it (e.g., a permanently-closed commercial ski area), abandoned=yes may be used. The difference between a backcountry, not groomed and abandoned may seem fuzzy: Important difference is that low vegetation can be expected, and lack of clearing could be due to issues with land owners.

Piste grooming priority

Grooming condition and priority: Ski-trails can be marked with piste:grooming:priority=1-5 to indicate the order in which they will be groomed.

As OSM is not directly suitable for live-ski-trail-condition monitoring, this will allow rendering maps that have a static way of depicting ski-trails that will be more likely to be in the best shape under less fortunate snow conditions. One example of a such map in Norway use different line widths for this.

Start counting from first priority and downwards. Assume the priority is relative within each area.

Key Value Description: Expected grooming schedule
piste:grooming:priority 1 Daily, or nearly daily.
2 Daily if snowing. At least weekly, typically before every weekend.
3 Semi-weekly. Probably before weekends. Not when less snow, early/late in the season.
4 Every other week. May be three days or more after snow before groomed.
5 Only when lots of snow, or for events only.


Snow production plants

  • Snow cannon, man_made=snow_cannon, and optionally, snow_cannon (valued, for example, fan or lance)



Amenities and related sports


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  1. Difficulty scales explained by Schweizer Alpen-Club / Club Alpin Suisse / Club Alpino Svizzero (SAC / CAS) : de fr