Top 5 Challenging Ski Runs
A blog by Conor…
Looking to take your skiing to the next level? If red runs are becoming a breeze for you then keep reading as we explore the most challenging black runs from around the world.
It’s a tough question to decide which is the most challenging ski run in the world as everyone has a different style and skiing technique. I’ve put together this list using a few deciding factors that include the gradient of the slope, the risk of falling on the terrain, how exposed you feel on the side of the mountain, and of course how much of an adrenaline rush you will get, so you might (or might not) want to try one of these on your next ski holiday.
Corbet’s Couloir – Jackson Hole, USA
Arguably one of the most famous couloirs in the world! It’s in full sight of the Ariel Tram which ferries 100 people up the mountain every 10 minutes meaning that you will have an audience to watch you drop in and (hopefully) ski it all the way to the finish.
Stand about at the top and you can watch people brave the steep entrance, you may even see a local backflipping into the couloir! After the initial drop, it’s a reasonably fun ski back to the pisted run area.
Corbet’s collects snow in the couloir as it is protected from wind and is skied by relatively few people, this means it’s the perfect powder stash for expert skiers to take advantage of.
Le Tunnel – Alpe D’Huez, France
Le Tunnel is a steep black run that starts at Pic Blanc with a 60m horizontal passage through the rock which by itself can be quite unnerving. When you emerge from the end of the tunnel an almost vertical slope is revealed and this is where the fun (or panic) really begins. Depending on the snow conditions you will experience large icy moguls proving a tough challenge even for a seasoned skier. Should you fall now, you can expect to slide all the way down the face, tumbling and unable to stop. If you really want a challenge and a real test of your skiing abilities, then this is the run for you.
On the topic of Alpe d’Huez, an honourable mention goes to the Sarenne, the sister slope of Le Tunnel, which is a huge 16km black run and the longest in Europe. Make sure you warm up though as this one is a real thigh burner.
Delirium Dive – Sunshine Village, Canada
For a truly epic experience, Delirium Dive in Sunshine Village is one to add to the bucket list. Accessed via the Great Divide chairlift this double black diamond ski area offers adventurers a taste of backcountry skiing with the safety of staying in resort.
This huge freeride area is regularly monitored by ski patrol who check the snowpack and set of controlled avalanches to keep riders safe, however, to enter you must either have your own avalanche beacon and gear or be with a ski instructor to enter.
After a short hike from the chairlift, you pass through an exit gate and the sheer size of the Dive is revealed, a large bowl with steep 50-degree slopes provides access to challenging couloirs and deep powder fields. You can test your nerve and drop off the top cliffs and cornices into the bowl or take the stairs to hike along the ridge to ski the freshest snow.
Grand Couloir – Courchevel, France
A well-known run in Courchevel, which although unpisted is patrolled and avalanche protected giving skiers the ability to attempt this stunning couloir with a certain peace of mind. Although this wide-open run can provide unbelievable powder turns on a good day, its easy access and popularity leave it tracked out and challenging.
Featured by Graham Bell on Ski Sunday he notes that at the end you must perfect your technique to impress the bystanders on piste who are watching your every move from below.
Vallee Blanche – Chamonix, France
The Vallee Blanche is one of France’s famous off-piste ski areas and is accessed via a cable car that takes you to the Aiguille du Midi ridge. From this point, you must leave the safety of the resort behind and exit through a gate leading to a narrow ridgeline with harrowing drops on either side. Once you overcome your vertigo you can choose your own route down, with ice caves, crevasses, and couloirs, there is enough dangerous terrain to keep your adrenaline level high until you finish the 2800m vertical descent.
A guide is strongly recommended for this undertaking as it is easy to get lost in the backcountry and following other skiers tracks is never a good idea. With stunning views and Mt Blanc looming overhead this is both a challenging ski run and an adventure that you will not forget.
Looking for more…If you want more information about these runs or require help booking an adventure holiday, call me on 02921 880022, you can also send us an enquiry online.
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