UCPA Ski and Snowboard Ability Levels

A large majority of the UCPA course options require you to be at a minimum standard.
Detailed below are the descriptions for the various ability levels.

The French Piste Grading System

Green Pistes
Learning or Beginner slopes. These are usually not marked trails, but tend to be large, open, gently sloping areas at the base of the ski area or traverse paths between the main trails.

Blue Pistes
An easy trail which are almost always groomed, or on so shallow a slope as not to need it. The slope gradient shall not exceed 25% except for short wide sections with a higher gradient.

Red Pistes

An intermediate slope. Steeper, or narrower than a blue slope, these are usually groomed, unless the narrowness of the trail prohibits it. The slope gradient shall not exceed 40% except for short wide sections with a higher gradient.

Black Pistes

An expert slope. Steep, may or may not be groomed, or may be groomed for moguls. Black can be a very wide classification, ranging from a slope marginally more difficult than a Red to very steep avalanche chutes like the infamous Couloirs of Courchevel. France tends to have a higher limit between red and black.




You are discovering the sport for the very first time or your experience is too poor to ski on your own.


One to three weeks of skiing. You can go down green slopes with confidence and certain blue slopes. You begin to master your speed and control your skis.


You master your speed and control your skis on blue slopes. You can go down red slopes when they are even but have difficulty when there are moguls.


You can ski confidently on any kind of slope of the ski area, even if you feel a bit less at ease on difficult slopes (moguls, ice, powder)


Your experience permits you to adapt your technique according to all situations; steep slopes, moguls, different kind of snow, off piste...You can link carving and big turns on any kind of terrain.

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