You’re an avid skier or snowboarder who spends every winter weekend shredding your way down a different mountain. After tackling all the green and blue slopes at your favorite resorts, you are ready for more of a challenge. At most ski areas across the United States, that means taking on a black-diamond run.
WHAT MAKES A SKI SLOPE A BLACK DIAMOND?
Ski resorts don’t have a standardized rating system but use certain colors to categorize the courses at their ski spot – green signifies the easiest runs, blue means they are intermediate, and black, and in some places double black, represents the most challenging trails on the property. Because there are no set specifications for each color, some blue slopes may be equivalent to a black course at a different resort.
A black-diamond run is the steepest in the ski area, rides more narrow than other surrounding slopes, and may have more hazards, such as trees, cliffs, high winds and rocky areas, throughout the trail. These tougher rides also might include tighter and faster turns, making them more suitable for experienced skiers and snowboarders who have better control, as well as basic knowledge of techniques that may help them avoid serious injury.
At some resorts, there are also double-black-diamond trails, which are the most difficult to maneuver through and often aren’t even maintained, or groomed, making them somewhat risky for anyone but extremely advanced skiers. But if you are a frequent, long-time skier and want to challenge yourself in a new way, a black-diamond slope can be fun and exhilarating. So how do you know which black diamonds are going to give you the biggest and best thrill?
Below are eight of the most terrifying black-diamond ski slopes in the world. If you are ready for the next level of difficulty, start planning your trips out to these exciting ski spots.