The system used to classify and signpost cross-country skiing trails in Tirol is similar to that used on the region's ski pistes. However, as well as the colour-coded signs there are a few more important symbols you should be aware of.
Blue for easy, red for intermediate, black for difficult – these colours are used on cross-country skiing trails throughout Tirol to give skiers an indication of what awaits them. As well as these three colours there are also orange signs, which indicate ski hiking trails. Signs and poles in the respective colours can be found to the right of the trail at least every 500 metres as well as at points where trails cross or divide. The signs also contain information about which cross-country skiing technique (Classic or Skating) is permitted on the trail. In many resorts the trails are groomed in such a way that Classic and Skating are both possible.
All marked trails are safe from avalanches. Other dangers such as steep slopes and cars as well as any closed sections are indicated by black-and-yellow signs containing symbols indicating the danger ahead.
- Blue (easy): Beginners and children who are trying cross-country skiing for the first time should start on blue trails. They are mostly flat and rarely have gradients of more than 10% (uphill and downhill). Any downhill sections on trails designed for the Classic technique do not have blind corners, meaning the whole descent can be seen from start to finish when standing at the top of the hill.
- Red (intermediate): Cross-country skiers wishing to ski on red trails should have at least a little experience. These trails are characterised by a rolling profile with ascents and descents of up to 20% gradient or more in open terrain. Downhill sections on trails designed for the Classic technique may have blind corners and sharp turns.
- Black (difficult): These trails are for advanced and expert skiers only. Gradients both uphill and downhill may be well over 20%.
- Orange (ski hiking trails): Unlike cross-country skiing trails, these are designed for ski touring (i.e. skiers with alpine skis and not cross-country skis). As such they are not specially groomed but are kept safe from avalanches.