Home to huge mountain ranges and jagged peaks, millions of skiers flock to European ski resorts for an unforgettable snow experience.
But how do you know which is the ideal skiing spot for you? Depending on your preference and skills, there are many choices. So, we’ve selected the best ski runs in Europe to help you choose the perfect skiing holiday destination for you:
Pas de Chavanette
Found at the centre of the Portes du Soleil ski area on the border of France and Switzerland, Pas de Chavanette — also referred to as the ‘Swiss Wall’ — is renowned for its 200m run.
Ski here and you’ll experience an ungroomed run — although the level of difficulty depends on the time of year and conditions. Pas de Chavanette delivers an exhilarating experience packed with sudden drops and steep angles, but try it on a decent layer of snow and you can weave and glide effortlessly.
Beware: when the run is icy and bumpy — expert skills and emergency stops will be required.
Regardless of your skills — whether you’re new to skiing or a seasoned pro — you’re sure to enjoy Ventina in Italy. 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. Although, your legs might feel like spaghetti after tackling the 11km run. Over the course of this run, you’ll descend around 1,430m and enjoy amazing views on the pleasant, winding journey.
This ski run is famously tricky, but massively exhilarating, and there was even a documentary film made about it in 2015. 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. Even from the starting gate, your skills are put to the test as you begin your 3.3km descent.
But you’ll have to compose yourself quickly, as you’ll be forced to navigate maximum 85% gradients at a speed of around 84mph.
A startling 3,329m in height, Mont Fort is not for the faint-hearted — agility, fitness and courage are vital, too! Found in Verbier — arguably the continent’s most luxurious and party-
centric resort — Mont Fort provides a 1,300m run from top to bottom and is generally considered the most challenging of Verbier’s pistes. Here, you’ll need to take four cable cars to the top, where you’ll be bowled over by the stunning glaciers and descents. We 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. There are two major types of ski passes for this area, but make sure you buy the lift pass for all four valleys if you want to enjoy Mont Fort and its neighbouring delights!
Interestingly, this ski run was named after the samurai ritual of suicide. 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. You won’t be surprised to read that plenty of skiing lessons are required if you want to attempt the daunting 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.
This French run is the highest peak in the Les Arcs resort and is called Red Needle in English. With a length of 8km and a vertical descent of over 2,000m, this run is classified as black at the top and red once you reach around a third of the way down. If you adore long, stunning, natural views; then the Aiguille Rouge is for you. With a 3,226m descent, one of the greatest draws of the Aiguille Rouge is the panoramic view of the Italian Alps and extraordinary Mont Blanc.
Don’t misjudge the Lauberhorn — it is a challenge for even the more adept skier! 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. Be prepared 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.
For a less extreme experience, why not give Grand Couloir a go? 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. The start of your descent will potentially offer the most challenges, as you have large moguls to overcome. 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.
Hidden Valley is heaven if you love idyllic views and tranquil surroundings when skiing — you’ll feel completely isolated from the world as the Dolomite peaks tower over you. 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
Timing is everything if you want to tackle Riksgränsen ski resort’s Piste 4. 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
Hopefully, you’ve found a ski run for you in the list above — check out more online before
you book though!