Throughout Europe there are some immensely intense ski slopes to be found. Here is iSki's guide to the best of the best.
Grand Couloir, Courchevel, France
From the Sommet de la Saulire in the French Alps, you can ski the infamous Grand Couloir off-piste run. The beauty of the Grand Couloir is the contrast of difficulty between the first and second half. The slope can be quite narrow at times, especially if the moguls have had a chance to build up, but coming out of these gaps you find yourself on a glorious and relatively easy descent through wide fields of powdery snow.
If you like the feeling of a challenge with a chance to also relish your success, then skiing the Grand Couloir is for you. The best place to stay for the Grand Couloir is Courchevel, which offers plenty more advanced skiing options, with over 50 black runs throughout the region.
Back Side of the Valluga, St Anton, Austria
St Anton is famous for its advanced skiing opportunities, and perhaps none so much as the Back Sside of the Valluga. This is almost 3km of off-piste skiing, with multiple routes for you to explore, giving you plenty of opportunities for intense skiing. You do have to be accompanied by a guide, but at least the slope is accessible by ski lift, so there are ups and downs. The mountain itself offers plenty of downs, of the gut-wrenching, almost cliff-like variety, so choose a direction and follow your guide for some of the best off-piste skiing in the world.
Tortin, Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier, in the 4 Valleys ski area of Switzerland, is always going to be a busy place to visit, but you can console yourself with the fact that it also offers access to some of the most difficult and intense skiing opportunities in Europe. Of the specialist off-piste High Mountain Ski Tours, Tortin is perhaps the most dangerous, depending on the snowfall. It gets tracked out pretty quickly, and the moguls are what makes this slope so intense, so it's best to avoid if you have a history of knee injuries. If you think your legs can cope, though, then get ready for a bumpy descent down one of the scariest ski runs in the world.
La Chavanette, Avoriaz, France
Le Pas de Chavanatte is also known as the 'Mur Suisse', or Swiss Wall in English, because of its incredibly steep descent from the French-Swiss border at the top of the mountain, down into Switzerland. It's easiest to reach this particular slope from Avoriaz in France, which has plenty more skiing opportunities besides.
Much like the Grand Couloir, the Swiss Wall starts off narrow with potentially huge Moguls, and opens out into the a wider, safer slope on the left. Or you can choose to take the direct path, leading through incredibly narrow, rocky areas, before both paths re-join for a flatter, less bumpy experience.
Harakiri, Mayrhofen, Austria
You know that a slope has to be pretty intense in order to earn a name like "Harakiri", a Japanese term for ritual, and painful, suicide. This 'slope' has an incline of 78%, steeper than the initial trace of a ski jump, making it almost a vertical drop. Still, that doesn't stop plenty of skiers taking the opportunity to throw themselves at it, or off of it as the case may be, and the slope is groomed for skiing.
To test your mettle at Harakiri, you'll want to visit Mayrhofen, where we can find you a number of ski chalets and ski hotels, as well as recommend a number of alternate skiing opportunities for the rest of your trip.
The Lauberhorn, Wengen, Switzerland
The Lauberhorn is host to a famous World Cup Downhill run, and is the longest in the series, so you know it's going to be tough. Top speeds have been known to reach almost 100mph (with the highest measured at 100.6mph) and every part of this course is a challenge even for world renowned skiers.
The Lauberhorn is a great challenge for expert skiers who want to show off what they're capable of, but certainly isn't for the faint-hearted, or for the skier who is unsure of their ability. You can ski the Lauberhorn from both Wengen and Grindelwald resorts, and we have options for ski hotels in both. Read more about ski hotels in Wengen and ski hotels in Grindelwald.
For more information about any of these slopes, the nearby resorts or the best skiing opportunities and holidays in Europe, call us on 0203 7780 123, where we're always happy to talk about skiing. Alternatively, email us at [email protected].Share on Twitter Share on Facebook