The continent of Europe is a popular place for skiing, due to its diversity and scenery. But with countless dramatic inclines, high-speed descents, gentle slopes, and incredible snowscapes to choose from, how do you choose the best ski run for you and your group’s skillset and preferences?
Join Chill Factore — home to the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope and a range of snowboarding lessons — to find out the best European ski runs in Europe to inspire your next holiday and hone your skills.
The Ventina run is ideal if you’re going skiing with a group of people with varying skills. 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.
With stunning views, a steady descent and a pleasant winding route spread across a drop of 1,430m, Ventina makes a wonderful skiing holiday for families and friends.
The Streif, Austria
A word of warning: don’t try the Streif if your skills are strictly beginner! 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.
The Streif features a 3.3km descent from the top and is not one for the faint-hearted. Make sure to compose yourself quickly after you set off, as you’ll be forced to navigate maximum 85% gradients at a speed of around 84mph. This run is a great choice if you want a challenge. Interestingly, a documentary film was made about it — Streif: One Hell of a Ride — in 2015.
Mont Fort, Switzerland
At 3,329m in height, Mont Fort demands excellent skills and plenty of experience from its skiers. 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.
Be prepared to take now fewer than four cable cars to reach the top of the mighty Mont Fort. From here, you’ll experience panoramic views of glaciers and dramatic descents. Although, if you really want to take advantage of this breathtaking landscape, try skiing at dawn to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over the mountaintops.
Very steep and littered with moguls, intermediate skills are necessary on this run!
This piste in Austria is 1,500m in length and based in the resort of Mayrhofen. Named after the samurai ritual of committing suicide, this run is one for the bold and skilled — especially considering it’s apparently the steepest groomed slope in the world with an average gradient of 78%.
Getting the right positioning from the onset is critical if you’re tackling Harakiri. Also, don’t be surprised to see skiers tumble down the entire run. In other words, make sure you have plenty of skiing lessons before you attempt the Harakiri.
Aiguille Rouge, France
Translated to ‘Red Needle’ in English, Aiguille Rouge is the highest peak in Les Arcs. With a length of 8km and vertical descent of over 2,000m, this run is classified as black at the top and red once you reach around third of the way down.
Here, you’ll descend 3,226m while taking in spectacular views of the Italian Alps, Pierra Menta, Mont Pourri, and Mont Blanc!
Pas de Chavanette, France
Famously referred to as the ‘Swiss Wall’, this 200m run is found at the center of Portes du Soleil on the edge of France and Switzerland. One of the most exciting runs in the world, Pas de Chavanette features rapid drops, with some angles being so steep that you might struggle to see what’s hurtling towards you as you descend.
The difficulty level at Pas de Chavanette depends on which time of the year you visit. On a fair amount of snow, you can weave and glide effortlessly. However, when it’s icier — expert skills and emergency stops are vital.
The Lauberhorn run is the place for you if you’re an experienced skier with a thirst for a challenge. 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.
With a 130-foot jump that throws you into the air and speeds of around 100mph this is an exhilarating experience that you won’t forget.
Hidden Valley, Italy
Hidden Valley offers those on a skiing holiday the chance to enjoy an exciting skiing experience as well as a beautiful environment — skiing here will make you feel completely isolated from the world as the Dolomite peaks tower over you.
Starting at the top of Lagazuoi, this run involves a gentle decline filled with frozen waterfalls and riverbeds. An excellent run for novices and one of nature’s best stress-busters.
Grand Couloir, France
Grand Couloir is 900m long with a slope gradient that can reach 85%. Here, your first step is to navigate the steep path leading from the cable car station in La Saulire — especially perilous if the conditions are icy. Once you arrive, you have potentially huge moguls to contend with, which can make the beginning of your descent the riskiest part of your experience. Once you’ve tackled these tricky snow bumps, the slope will open up and the remainder of your descent should be a smooth delight.
Piste 4, Sweden
Timing is everything at this Swedish run. Based in the 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.
The natural bumps of the Riksgränsen slope makes this an exciting spot to test your skills. Plus, Piste 4 allows you to ski into Norway before looping back around and returning to Sweden during your descent!