A piste is a marked ski run or path down a mountain for snow skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....
Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set onto mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing and skiing. It was developed in the U.S.A...
, or other mountain sports. The term is European, from the French
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...
for trail or track, synonymous with trail, slope, or groomed run in North America.
Increasingly, North Americans employ its common European antonym, off piste, to describe backcountry skiing
Backcountry skiing is skiing in a sparsely inhabited rural region over ungroomed and unmarked slopes or pistes, including skiing in unmarked or unpatrolled areas either within the ski resort's boundaries or in the backcountry, frequently amongst trees , usually in pursuit of fresh fallen powder...
, especially when referring to skiing outside officially approved areas of a ski resort
A ski resort is a resort developed for skiing and other winter sports. In Europe a ski resort is a town or village in a ski area - a mountainous area, where there are ski trails and supporting services such as hotels and other accommodation, restaurants, equipment rental and a ski lift system...
Individual trails on pistes are graded by difficulty using ski trail ratings.
Piste maintenancePistes are usually maintained using tracked vehicles known as snowcat
A snowcat is an enclosed-cab, truck sized, fully tracked vehicle designed to move on snow. Snowcats are often referred to as 'trail groomers' because of their use for grooming ski trails or snowmobile trails...
s to compact or groom the snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...
to even out trail conditions, remove moguls, and redistribute snow to extend the ski season. Natural snow is often augmented with snow making machines early in the season or when the snowpack is low.