Japan Trail Ratings

Japan uses a color coded method, without shapes, these do not accompany them. Some resorts, principally those catering to foreigners, use the North American or European color coding method, doing more confusion. When in doubt, check the map legend. The usual ratings are:


Beginner slopes. These are normally near the base of the mountain, although some have switchback routes down from the top.


Intermediate slopes. At most ski areas in Japan, these represent the majority of the slopes (40% to 60%, depending on how the slopes are accounted).


Expert slopes. These are the steepest and most difficult slopes at the ski area. The difficulty of these compared to like classified slopes at other ski areas is heavily dependent on the target audience.

Japan has more than 600 ski areas (108 in Nagano Prefecture alone), many of them small and family-oriented, so comparisons between the three slope classifications in Japan and "equivalent" slopes in Europe or North America should be taken with a grain of salt.