Double Black Diamond Ski Definition

Alpine skiing, also known as downhill skiing, is a popular winter sport. It involves the use of skis while sliding down snow-covered mountains or hills. There are different types of ski trails and difficulty ratings, one of which is the double black diamond trail.
Double Black Diamond Ski Definition

Double Black Diamond Identification

The double black diamond is the symbol used to designate very advanced ski trails. Its level of difficulty is rated as expert. Only very advanced skiers should consider trying it.



Double black diamond trails are very challenging. Their slopes are exceptionally steep, and are coupled with other hazards such as drop-offs, strong exposure to winds, narrow terrain (such as tight rock walls), and other difficult conditions.


Typically, a double black diamond run is rated as more than the 40 percent steep grade of the average black diamond ski slope, the ski level before it. This makes the double black diamond slope very steep and difficult to tackle.

Trail Ratings

Ski trail difficulty ratings in North America, from the lowest to highest level of difficulty, are green circle, blue square, black diamond, double black diamond, and triple black diamond. A sign desigating the difficulty rating is is posted at the top of every ski run.

Video Examples of Double Black Diamond Slopes

Many popular ski destinations are home to double black diamond slopes. A few examples of doubl black diamond ski runs in the U.S. include:

Corbet's Couloir (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming)

Key features: 20-foot drop near the beginning, close rock walls


Rambo (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado)

Key features: full-length 55-degree pitch; manmade (North America's most steep manmade run)

Warning: Ski Slope Ratings Are Relative

As each ski resort determine its own terrain difficulty, there is not a single standard that applies to every trail rating. The levels of all alpine trails are relative to each other. For example, a beginner level trail (green circle) at a steep ski mountain may be markedly more difficult than an intermediate level trail (blue square) at a vacation ski resort.

Be Prepared

Only attempt to ski slopes with this difficulty level if you are certain that you know how to ski double black diamond slopes and can do so safely. If you're sure you're ready, plan a trip to a ski resort with trails for expert skiiers. Make sure you have the proper equipment and apparel, and consistently observe all safety rules. Check with your chosen report before traveling to ensure that snow conditions are right for the kind of skiing you want to do.  

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.

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