This week the Kaunertal Glacier opened what is said to be the steepest slope in Austria. The "Black Ibex" has a slope of 41.3°, or a gradient of 87.85%. If these measurements are correct, that would make it even steeper than the legendary Streif, home to the Hahnenkamm races.
Spokespeople for the Kaunertaler Glacier claim the mere thought of this slope is enough to make your blood curdle! For years there has been a fierce competition amongst ski resorts in Austria to determine who can actually claim the steepest slope. The names of the contending pistes speak for themselves: the Harakiri ("suicide") in Mayrhofen, the Lange Zug in Lech and the Black Scorpion in Silvretta Montafon.
It took a while before the slope could be opened, because it requires masses of snow. The circumstances this week were finally such that the slope could be safely opened. The Black Ibex is 3 kilometres long with an altitude drop of 363 metres. The steepest part is around 500 metres long. According to the Kaunertal Glacier lift company, the Black Ibex beats out the Streif for top place in Austria's steepest-piste competition. The steepest part of the Streif has a gradient of 85% to the Black Ibex's 87.5%.
Looking for a challenge? Here are 7 of the best black pistes in the Alps >
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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