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Can we please use the correct difficulty for europe, maybe even forget the american system for europe and just use the color codes actually used by the ski area.

I have never ever seen an orange piste. Well that is some offpiste routes might be marked on the map with a different color and line.

doubleblack is black but a black does not have to be a double black black is red but the easiest red might not qualify for black blue is blue green is green

Inclination values in degrees are not right

The values shown for the inclinations can be stated in degrees or %. The values on the page do not seem to be correct for either, but certainly NOT for degrees!

Please see:


I.e. The steepest Black runs start at about 35 % = 22 degrees or more with the most extreme typically being around 78 % = 38 degrees.

So saying that European Blue runs are 30 to 35 degrees is wrong. They are typically upto 25 % = 14 degrees.

Can someone please update this Wiki page accordingly and let me know? - I am not familar with the process or method, etc. to update/review/etc.

Regards Henry

very late to this. The table is hugely confusing: the inclinations refer to ski touring and not standard alpine or backcountry skiing. I've just been puzzling over this because 'freeride' is more of a concept than a difficulty standard, but which should not be attempted except by experienced skiers. SK53 (talk) 15:48, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

For ski tour, inclination seems correct from the SAC document referenced. yvecai

Do we want piste:difficulty on route relations ?

According to route=piste, we don't.
Also, as a data consumer at, I wouldn't dare send someone on an 'easy' route to figure out an 'expert' member way was worth to be mapped as such later on.
See also this diary entry --Yvecai (talk) 04:26, 4 April 2021 (UTC) After comment on JOSM's Trac and the diary quoted above, page have been edited to document all uses (areas, relations, etc ...)--Yvecai (talk) 09:13, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

According to operators, yes ?
As far as I know, they only give an average difficulty.

Like hiking trails, they could be rendered by SAC scale (in each sections) or by OSMC (usually for the route, so for all the ways).
MTB scale is used both on ways and on relations.

For a vector style this is easy to render i.e. a nordic piste according sections or route difficulties.
But I understand that it's more complicated for a bitmap rendering.
--Pyrog (talk) 14:58, 23 December 2021 (UTC)

Re-format Table

I propose to split the big table by practice for better readability, see below.

Downhill / Alpine

Value US/Canada/Oceania Europe Japan
novice "bunny hill" green
easy   green circle blue green
intermediate   blue square red red
advanced black diamond black black
expert ♦♦ double black diamond orange (Alps),

double-black (Scandinavia)

freeride   orange oval yellow

Nordic / Crosscountry

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

Value Nordic (crosscountry) Nordic (crosscountry), Europe
novice Strictly flat terrain, no effort needed
easy Soft hills, short steep sections blue
intermediate Steep sections are present in the piste, or short narrow on average slopes. User gets away with sweat. Used for the relevant sections only red
advanced 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 black
expert 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 Not relevant
extreme Not relevant


Value Skitour
novice L: inclination <30 degree, no sliding, soft hilly terrain, no narrow passages
easy WS: inclination 30-35 degree, short sliding areas, open terrain with short steep passages and easily avoidable obstacles, short narrow passages
intermediate ZS: inclination 35-40 degree, longer sliding areas, terrain with steep passages that cannot be avoided, short narrow but steep passages
advanced S: inclination 40-45 degree, long sliding areas with scarps below (life danger!), steep terrain with many obstacles, long narrow passages (short swings still possibe)
expert 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
freeride AS: inclination 50–55 degree, very exposed terrain, no spot to rest during descent, narrow passages require many crossjumps. (e.g. off-piste).
extreme EX: inclination >55 degree, extremely exposed terrain, need to use ropes to go downhill. Climbing equipment required.


Value Europe
easy blue
intermediate red
advanced black

--Yvecai (talk) 09:07, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

Seems like a good idea, especially for skinnier screens which are likely to be used when surveying. Thank you ! --Gileri (talk) 09:45, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
+1 for the approach. As far as I remember the color system is used for nordic piste routes, too, at least in the Alps and Germany. So I see no need in dropping the colors from the nordic section. --Skyper (talk) 14:57, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
I fixed the double-black diamonds (hope so), and kept the nordic colour for Europe. --Yvecai (talk) 04:29, 1 May 2021 (UTC)
Thanks, fixed one typo. --Skyper (talk) 14:18, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

piste:difficulty for track piste:type= with two values

I've met considerable amount of cases where piste:type having two values separated by semicolon e.g piste:type=nordic;skitour piste:type=downhill,nordic piste:type=downhill,sled etc.
This is correct it is real life situation where for e.g. nordic skiers and skitoures both using same section of path. In such scenarios is a problem to tag a piste:difficulty because e.g. difficulty for nordic and skitour are defined very differently.
This topic has been recently discussed on tagging mailing list with interesting suggestion how to solve this issue
piste:grooming:skitour=classic piste:difficulty:skitour=easy
I believe this would be great solution for this problem. --Miramikes (talk) 05:12, 7 May 2021 (UTC)

IMHO this tagging would be OK. Same for having one relation for each piste type (all relations using the same underlaying physical way, e.g. forestry track) so each can have their individual difficulty, website, access,... information and they are clearly seperable. For both approaches, I see pro & con, and I see good chances both will also work fine in the long run - in contrast to the suggestion "dublicate whole way for each piste", because that will result in having the same way many times: The issue of multiple piste will also arise for other means of transportation using the same phyiscal way. All of these "way clones" need to be maintained idenditcal, e.g. width, access, surface,... so we multiply the maintenance work. Because of this I was spending several hours where minutes of editing would have been sufficient. We also make life hard for data consumers like routers (e.g. how do they know it's in reality 1 way, not many?). --Schoschi (talk) 21:51, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
Duplicating ways is not maintainable. I think activity-specific tags are they way to go here, as relations will be less intuitive to maintain and more difficult to render. I think it's better to reserve relations for multi-way routes (which may have varying difficulty along their length). Fundamentally the difficulty is a property of a particular segment/way. I agree with adding piste:difficulty:skitour, piste:difficulty:nordic, piste:difficulty:hike etc as activity-specific override tags. piste:difficulty becomes the default value for piste:difficulty:*, making this proposal backward compatible with existing tagging. However I don't think this approach works for grooming, as there are other issues that still need to be resolved with piste:grooming that are not fixed by this approach. I will discuss this on the Talk:Key:piste:grooming page. ScottNelson (talk) 18:09, 13 April 2023 (UTC)

Honestly, this seems a good idea but remains highly hypothetical unless someone actually use these tags.

Yvecai (talk) 19:12, 13 April 2023 (UTC)

So should I just start using them? ScottNelson (talk) 22:50, 13 April 2023 (UTC)


I am a bit confused: For a skitour, I have only ever seen the ascent mapped. The table on the page though says nothing about it, only about descent. It is completely useless! --Hungerburg (talk) 20:21, 8 May 2021 (UTC)

Hello, you will find the explanation on the piste:type=* page. A reminder of this main piste:type=* tag could be put above each table on the piste:difficulty=* page for clarity. Yvecai (talk) 05:35, 9 May 2021 (UTC)

Not very happy with this, but I see - I knew I had read the codes before - here is the source of the table and here the official link - this should be quoted in the article and the translation improved, best by a native! BTW, there is no known skitour for Eiger-NE, but one for Eiger-W, c.f. - but also Mönch (2nd most difficult) is with ropes and ice axes; this is just ridiculous. Here a picture of Eiger-NE, it is the part in the shade - - if you ever have the urge to ski there ;) PS: Mönch-NE can also be seen, right of center, in the sun… --Hungerburg (talk) 22:54, 9 May 2021 (UTC)

Ah OK, I just removed the reference to the SAC scale appearing on the bottom of the discussion page, but it's still in the piste:difficulty page. I don't understand what it is about the Mönch, I don't see no skitour mapped there in the data.

Hello Yves, I do not know who came up with this table, but to make any sense, the SAC original must be referenced right be its side, not just in a footer or so, otherwise people will not understand it. The Eiger-NE and Mönch-NE are quoted there as samples for advanced (AS) and extreme (ES) difficulty. Picture of Eiger-NE above (there is no tour description to be found on the WWW! Perhaps a typo in the document?) Here description of Mönch-NE - (can be seen on the Eiger picture too.) --Hungerburg (talk) 21:06, 10 May 2021 (UTC)