Here, we’ve listed the best European ski runs for beginners and pros to make sure you select the perfect skiing holiday destination…
This Italian run is ideal for skiers with beginner skills and those that are more advanced. Ventina has a 1,430m descent and offers you an amazing, fast-changing landscape of views as you journey downwards. What you get with the Ventina piste is a long descent and shallow gradient that allows you to truly take in the incredible mountainscape around you — but beware, the length and duration of this descent may leave your legs feeling very tired.
Even the documentary film made about the Streif in 2015 couldn’t truly depict how exciting this exhilarating run is. One of the most feared runs in the world, the Streif is found on the Hahenkamm mountain and hosts one of the most hazardous races in the World Cup.
With a 3.3km descent, this run should only be attempted by the most skilled and fearless of skiers. Remember to compose yourself quickly when you start your descent, as you’ll be forced to navigate maximum 85% gradients at a speed of around 84mph.
Pas de Chavanette
Based at the border of France and Switzerland, Pas de Chavanette — or the ‘Swiss Wall’ — is a spectacular run reaching 200m. Ski here and you’ll experience an ungroomed run — although the level of difficulty depends on the time of year and conditions.
With drops and a range of steep declines, Pas de Chavanette offers an unforgettably exciting experience. However, you should try it on a decent layer of snow so that you can weave and glide effortlessly. Beware: when the run is icy and bumpy — expert skills and emergency stops will be required.
The 3,329m Mont Fort is a true test of skill and bravery. Found in Verbier — one of Europe’s most luxurious resort — Mont Fort provides a 1,300m run from top to bottom and is generally considered the most challenging of Verbier’s pistes.
Spectacular glaciers await you once you step off the four cable cars you need to take to reach the summit — we also recommend skiing at dawn to enjoy the sunrise over the mountaintops! Peppered with moguls to dodge and memorably steep, you’ll need at least intermediate skills to handle Mont Fort.
Also known as the ‘Red Needle’, this 7km run offers a descent of more than 2,000m. Although classed as black at the top, you hit the red section of this run once you reach a third of the way down. This destination is ideal for people who love skiing adventures and stunning views. In fact, one of the greatest draws of the Aiguille Rouge is the panoramic views of the Italian Alps and extraordinary Mont Blanc.
Even the most skilled and daring of skiers may be cautious when it comes to tackling the Lauberhorn. Supposedly the fastest run in the World Cup, you start from the 2,500m summit and travel 4.5km in just two and a half minutes.
If you get lift passes for the Lauberhorn, prepare to reach speeds of nearly 100mph as you descend the mighty Lauberhorn. On your way down, there’s also a 130-foot jump that catapults you into the air to contend with. However, it’s an exhilarating experience — if you can handle it.
If you fancy something that offers an easier pace and descent, consider Grand Couloir. Although it’s the broadest and easiest of the three Courchevel couloirs, Grand Couloir is the only one classed as a run on the piste map.
Large moguls make the very beginning of your journey here more challenging than the rest. 900m in length with a maximum slope gradient of 85%, you must navigate the steep path leading from the cable car station in La Saulire — especially perilous if the conditions are icy. Once you’ve tackled these tricky snow bumps, the slope will open up and the remainder of your descent should be a smooth delight.
"Mont Fort provides a 1,300m run from top to bottom and is generally considered the most challenging of Verbiers pistes. "
Feel like you’re miles away from everything as the Dolomite peaks tower over you on the Hidden Valley run. Hidden Valley begins at the peak of Lagazuoi (2,750m) and features a gentle descent scattered with sights of frozen waterfalls and riverbeds. An excellent run for novices and one of nature’s best stress-busters.
Based at the Swedish Riksgränsen ski resort, Piste 4 is an unforgettable run that takes you into two countries! Based in the Swedish Arctic Circle, the lack of sun means you can only ski here between mid-February and mid-summer. However, if skiing under a midnight sun sounds like your thing, Piste 4 is where you need to head. Ski here and you’ll even glide into and out of Norway as you loop around!
Named after the samurai ritual of suicide, even the title of this run can spark caution. However, if you have the skills and confidence, the Harakiri is a run that’s not to be missed. Found in the resort of Mayrhofen, the Harakiri piste is the steepest groomed slope in the world with an average gradient of 78%. At 1,500m in length, this Austrian piste is often icy in the centre, with easier-to-grip snow around the edges.
Make sure you pack in plenty of practice if you’re going to attempt the Harakiri. Apparently, the start of your descent is the worst on the Harakiri and it’s advised that you keep your weight on your outer ski and try to slow down when possible to reach the bottom upright. Also, don’t be surprised to see skiers tumble down the entire run.
Check out the opportunities available to you when skiing in Europe online before making your final decision.
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