If you like a challenge there are plenty of steep slopes to explore in many ski resorts around the world. Whether it’s an off-piste route or a beast of a black run, there’s a list to tick off if you’re an advanced skier. Our ski experts have created a guide to the steepest ski runs in Europe and the world.
Named after Frederick Roberts, the Earl of Kandahar, this ski run has a long history with ski racing. Since 1954 this run has been used for ski racing and is still a regular stop on the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in Garmisch Partenkirchen. The Free Fall section has an insane gradient of 92% that even the best skiers in the world find frightening. The top speed record is 140km/h (86mph) with jumps with a landing of 60m long. A true test of ski racers’ grit and determination. It is one of the steepest ski runs in Europe.
The Grand Couloir is a legendary off-piste route in Courchevel. The top section is ridiculously and you can feel it on your legs even on a powder day. Even getting to slopes is tricky with a narrow path from the cable car station at La Saulire. If it hasn’t snowed in a while the run gets tracked out completely and moguls form everywhere along the route. It is a 692m long slope with a 350m descent. It is definitely the most challenging ski run in the Three Valleys.
Arguably the most famous ski run in the world, let alone the steepest ski runs in the world, the Streif is a truly extreme slope. Ski racers around the world each year head to Kitzbühel to compete in the Hahnenkamm ski weekend. Racers can hit 120–130 km/h (75–80 mph) in a death-defying run with jumps and steep sections. No wonder thousands of fans around the world head to Austria to watch the race. If you’re visiting the area during the season you can ski some sections of the track.
Another ski race classic is the Lauberhorn in Wengen. The Swiss fans create one of the best atmospheres on the mountain to watch the world’s best tackle one of the longest tracks on the FIS Alpine World Cup Circuit.It is one of the steepest ski runs in Europe. French ski racer Johan Clarey broke the speed record on the track by clocking 161 km/h (100mph). The public can ski some sections of the course too throughout the season.
The Lange Zug is one of the steepest ski runs in the world that the public can try throughout the season. Located in the Arlberg ski area near Lech and Zürs, this challenge starts at 2,049m high near the Rüfikopf panorama restaurant. The first section is the most demanding with an 80% gradient. The whole run is 852m long but is a real thigh burner throughout. Speed skier Harry Egger did an event to set a new world record on this slope and achieved 284km/h.
Named after a Japanese term referring to samurai suicide, the Harakiri is considered a real on-piste challenge for advanced skiers. It is 1500m long and has a vertical drop of 376m, so it’s a real thigh burner. The groomers of Mayrhofen prepare the slopes expertly so it isn’t left to rut and mogul all season long. Piste bashers head to slopes just before lifts open to maximise conditions. It was opened during the 2003-204 season and has since attracted skiers around the world to try it. It is one of the steepest ski runs in Europe that the public can ski in its entirety.
Situated in the Four Valleys ski area, Mont Fort is the highest point in Verbier. At the top of the peak, you can admire the iconic mountains the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc on a bluebird day. The black run descent is a great test of ski skill. Throughout the season it’s usually a mogul field with a steep gradient. The right-hand side is steeper than the left section but is a good test of fitness. Afterwards, you can reward yourself with a drink at the Farinet bar.
You can approach the Swiss Wall from the French side of the Portes du Soleil ski area via Avoriaz. At the top, many signs are warning you of the dangers of the slope. The top is the steepest section but the big moguls are the toughest part of this challenge. The bumps are relentless and uneven, so you have to stay concentrated throughout. The run finishes on the Swiss side of the ski area in Les Crosets and Champéry.
To reach the top of the Gamsleiten 2 black run you have to take a double chairlift to the highest point of Obertauern at 2313m high. There are impressive panoramic views to enjoy of the Radstädter Tauern mountain range. The run itself is a massive mogul field with a usually icy upper section to navigate. The bumps keep on coming throughout the journey so make sure you’re up for some serious mogul skiing.
Located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Corbet’s Couloir is one of the steepest ski runs in the world. Named after mountaineer Barry Corbet who spotted the narrow couloir in 1960, it is considered a real challenge for professional skiers let alone advanced skiers. It was first skied by local ski patroller Lonnie Ball in 1967 and has since become a place for exhilarating off-piste events. The main event sponsored by Red Bull is the Kings & Queens competition where the world’s best skiers try tricks on the Corbet’s Couloir.
To find out more about the steepest ski runs in the world, please call our ski experts on 0207 471 7700.
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