Do Most Advanced Skiers Ski Black Diamond Terrain Exclusively? 

by Laura Penrose | Updated: October 27th, 2022 |  Skiing Articles

Black diamond ski terrain can be some of the most exhilarating runs for advanced skiers to enjoy on a typical day. However, have you ever wondered if advanced skiers only spend their time riding black diamond terrain or do then enjoy other runs too?

Advanced skiers don’t exclusively ski black diamond terrain. Most advanced skiers will spend their time riding a variety of terrain difficulty, depending on the day, who they are skiing with, and what the weather is like, for example. 

ski black diamond terrain

We are reader supported. We may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.


What Is A Black Diamond Run?

Have you ever looked at a trail map, seen the black diamond runs, and thought, “What exactly is a black diamond run?” Well, the answer is that a black diamond run is for experts or advanced skiers only. However, the definition of what constitutes a black diamond run can vary from place to place.

Around the world, ski resorts have, for the most part, agreed on a grading system to define how difficult each run is. There may be a slight variation but, generally, a green circle signifies the easiest runs for beginners, a blue square signifies intermediate runs, a single diamond black is for advanced skiers, and a double black diamond signifies expert level runs. 

black diamond run

In some locations, such as in Europe or New Zealand, you may come across runs signed as red. These are classified as advanced runs and they are generally well-groomed, with a difficulty between blue and black.

Black Diamond Runs

Black diamond runs have a gradient of 40% or steeper and are consequently for advanced skiers. There is some variation in the classification of runs, so some black diamonds will be a bit more difficult than harder blue runs, while others will be more challenging. Some will be groomed, while others won’t be. 

Before you start attempting black diamond runs, you should ensure that you are completely confident skiing all blue and red runs. When it comes to choosing your first black diamond run, have a chat with the resort staff, so that they can suggest one of the easier ones.

Double Black Diamond Runs

backcountry skiing

Double black diamond runs are the most challenging and dangerous types of run on the mountain. They are often steep and may also have other hazards, such as being narrow, or with trees, or cliffs. 

The double black diamond runs are reserved for advanced skiers that have an exceptional level of skill. Before even thinking about skiing a double black diamond run, you need to be fully confident in skiing a good number of black diamond runs.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to achieving the level of skill you need for black diamond and double black diamond runs. You have to put in the hours and learn from an expert skier.

Black diamond runs are rarely groomed, partly because they are too steep or narrow, and partly because skiers on black runs don't want them to be groomed. So, if you're looking for an introduction to black runs, then build up some practice on off-piste terrain to get comfortable on un-groomed areas. 

Do Advanced Skiers Only Ski Black Diamonds?

Ski Black Diamonds

Simply put, no. Advanced skiers don’t only ski black diamond runs. In fact, advanced skiers enjoy skiing on all different types of terrain. 

As an advanced skier, various factors will affect which runs you choose on any particular day. These are some of the factors that will affect the decision on where to ski. 

1.  Weather/Climate

On days when the visibility is poor and you can’t pick out obstacles, such as rocks or cliffs, then most advanced skiers will stay away from the more difficult slopes

2. Snow

france snow ski

Similarly, if there is a lot of ice or it is early in the season, and the snow coverage is poor, skiing on black diamond slopes isn't a good plan. Additionally, these more difficult, technical slopes may be closed sporadically for issues, such as avalanche risk, fallen trees, or other perils. 

3. Who Are They Skiing With? 

Most people enjoy going skiing with their family and friends, however if the people in your party don't have your level of skill, then it's a bad idea to take them down more challenging slopes. Similarly if you are teaching someone to ski, you’ll stay on the beginner slopes with them. 

4. Ski Racing or Carving

If ski racing is your thing, some of these slopes may be classed as black diamonds, but others may not. 

man carving

If you are looking to improve your carving technique, for example, then skiing down a black diamond run isn't going to be the best option. Skiing isn’t always about speed or the steepest slope. Sometimes practising on easier runs, where you can work on your technique is just as satisfying. 

5. Exhaustion Or Fatigue 

Judging your ability on the day can easily save you from getting into trouble later. As an advanced skier you need to recognise your limits. So if you're feeling tired, recovering from injury or just not really in the mood then it's best to avoid real challenges until you feel better.

Berthoud Skiing
Photo by Owen Richard licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A good rule for skiers, from beginners to expert, is that as you get tired towards the end of the skiing day don't be tempted to cram in more difficult runs. It's very easy to get caught out and get injured.

When you start to get tired, you begin to make more mistakes which can lead to injuries. So, when you get tired, choose easier runs or call it a day. 

Should You Ski A Black Diamond If You Aren’t Advanced?

As you improve your abilities as a skier, it is good to keep pushing yourself once in a while. Naturally the time will eventually come when you must ski your first black diamond. However, there is no rush. Take your time and progress at a rate that feels comfortable for you.

Before you even start looking at black diamond runs, you must be confident skiing all of the blue runs and also parallel skiing (also known as skidded turns). Skidded turns are a must for black terrain. 


Black diamond terrain isn’t easy but that's why skiers enjoy the challenge. You need to keep in mind that not all black diamond slopes are of the same difficulty, and that the difficulty of each black diamond run varies from day to day.

Depending on where you ski, some black diamond runs will be groomed, and others will not. If you have the choice start with a groomed black diamond run. Groomed trails tend to be easier, so you can build up to the more complicated off-piste runs. 

How Can You Learn To Ski Black Diamonds?

Winter Ski
Photo by Zach Dischner licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you haven’t skied a black diamond run before then take an experienced friend or professional guide who can guide you. Having the support of a friend to help you with skiing black diamonds can be a great way to boost your confidence. 

Also, call on the knowledge of the resort staff about which black diamonds are best to start on and which to progress to.


Advanced skiers don’t always ski down black diamonds exclusively. Although they can be a great deal of fun, depending on a variety of factors, you don’t always need or have to be skiing black diamonds to have an enjoyable day. 

Advanced skiers enjoy all types of skiing and runs. This can range from having fun with friends or family on easier runs right through to the most difficult challenges out there.