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Piste Maps

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I might regret asking this but why is it that European piste maps are not normally orientated with North at the top and West to the left?

The 3Vs map has Courchevel 1650 on the left and Orelle all the way to the right. The PdS map has Champery all the way to the left and Les Gets all the way to the right.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Because they aren't normally shown top-down? They are more interpretive maps than navigationally accurate - so they're oriented to be more useful to the casual observer than someone with a compass
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Because that's only going to work if you have a south-facing resort. Also, piste maps, like tube maps, are drawn for information clarity rather than accuracy. Your milage may, very much, vary.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@franga, because they are topological maps not topographic maps. If you want topographical maps vist a site such as https://openskimap.org/ . I think these maps can be loaded into mobile telephone applications such as Outdooractive. I think you may find them a bit harder to use than the typical topological map.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@franga, the reason is simple, it is to make the direction of lifts upward on the page and the direction of pistes downwards. Given that very few ski resorts are south-facing, the top of the page is rarely North.

As one who started skiing as an adult already accustomed to standard maps for hiking etc, it took me a long time to feel comfortable with piste maps. I got there in the end, but still occasionally get caught out by distortions of scale.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
As someone trained with topographic maps I dislike most of the perspective-type maps of larger areas because of the foreshortening effect on opposite-facing slopes. They're fine if most of the ski area faces the viewpoint, but not if segments of it face away. Compare the plan (topographic) map I did for our clients:



with the perspective/elevation view version on the official ski map:



Which is fine, but it significantly foreshortens the segments that aren't facing the viewpoint directly. I'd prefer the latter if they did multiple maps from different viewpoints, covering different areas, rather than try and fit everything onto one.

So to answer the OP, putting north at the top wouldn't work for many perpesctive/elevation maps because some pistes/lifts would end up behind ridges and it would introduce such bad foreshortening that it'd be useless as a guide.

An example of the foreshortening problem is at the bottom right of the ski area, between the summit of Savoleyres and the major Verbier chairlift at Mayentzet, just past the Carrefour bus stop. On the top map, it's clear that if the avalanche gate is shut you have something of a trek across the road, down into Verbier and back up on the drag lifts. On the bottom map, the avalanche gate is pretty much lost in the foreshortening and it's very unclear where you go if it's shut.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Tue 9-01-24 16:00; edited 5 times in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Because they are (nearly always) in elevation view, not plan view.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
There's also the fact if you move the 'up' direction you can make the 'map' fit better onto a piece of paper. I mean who wants their map to be portrait, just because the resorts along a north/south ridge? Or full of empty space and "L" shaped because while most of the resort runs east/west there's a second mountain off to the north at the west side of the resort? Use a diagram rather than a map and you can 'bend' geography and get everything into a more managable (and cheaper to print) format.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Thanks all - very interesting. It makes sense now. @LaForet big kudos for your mapping skills.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Fatmaps is your friend for really understanding the ski area/ terrain. All lift and run info with lengths, elevations, direction of piste in a Google earth type interface .


Www.fatmap.com
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