Image credit: Val Thorens
There are certain ski pistes that take on a quasi-mythical status, sometimes because of the challenge they offer, other times simply for the unbeatable views. And while every ski piste is special in its own way, some of them are so amazing that they become the subject of international renown. Today, we’re looking at five ski pistes that are the stuff dreams are made of, ski pistes that should be on everybody’s bucket list, from France to Scotland. Why not seize the opportunity to visit one of these extraordinary pistes on your next ski holidays?
Located in Les Arcs, l’Aiguille Rouge is one of Europe’s longest pistes, a 7km long descent over a varied terrain. The glorious piste starts from an altitude of 3226m with a spectacular view of the Swiss, Italian and French Alps and takes you all the way down to Villaroger, at just 1200m above sea level. L’Aiguille Rouge is marked as a red piste but the first part is a little challenging – an exposed trail along the glacier. But pretty soon you’ll find yourself down at the treeline, where you can choose from moguls or opt for smoother sailing.
Spectacular views from L'Aiguille Rouge
For a pure, uninterrupted trip down the mountain, look no further than La Sarenne at l'Alpe d'Huez. This piste measures an impressive 16km and covers an altitude difference of 1830m, from the summit of the Pic Blanc at 3330m down to the Gua. La Sarenne starts with a steep bit before plateauing into an easier slope. But it’s the longest black piste in the Alps and can take almost an hour to finish – a welcome break from lift queues!
Challenging skiing at La Sarenne
This pretty tree-lined slope at Chamonix is the only FIS Men’s World Cup-approved slope in France’s Haute-Savoie region. The world’s best skiers devour La Verte des Houches in just two minutes. But don’t underestimate the tricky jumps and vertiginous drop-offs!*
La Verte des Houches, FIS slope
The Savoie in France is home to some of Europe’s most beautiful ski areas. Among them is La Face de Bellevarde at Val d'Isère. La Face is popular run in both the Winter Olympics and the World Cup. Just 3km long with an altitude drop of 960m, this black piste is best known for its winding turns and terrifying steep parts. The average gradient of this slope is 32% but reaches up to 71% in some places!
Steep skiing at La Face
The White Lady is Scotland’s most iconic piste, with incredible views of the Cairngorms National Park. The origins of this red piste date back as far as the 1960’s, when it used to host numerous ski races. Beside it you’ll find the East Wall of the White Lady, an exhilarating freeride descent for off-piste lovers.
Fresh snow at the White Lady © Keith Sharples Photography
Do you prefer a challenge or are you more into savouring the views? It's impossible to cover all the best ski pistes in one article. Which ones have we missed?
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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