I’ve never been skiing, it’s one of those holidays that I’ve never really considered before. However, there are a lot of options close to home that can get you into the thrill of snow sports, of which cater to varied skill levels. I’ve always been too worried that I’ll injure myself as I’m so accident prone, Beginner lessons are available for your first time hitting the slopes and for those with a bit more experience, a lift pass will be more for you. But what are our top recommendations when it comes to hitting the mountains for real?
If you’re planning your first skiing holiday and don’t want to travel far, Europe may be the perfect option! I know a lot of people who go for skiing holidays to France or Switzerland. Not only is it a short journey away, but Europe is also home to some of the world’s most amazing runs.
This ski run in particular is considered place where Alpine skiing began. After your short journey on the funicular railway, you go up to the 2,662-metre Weissfluhjoch and begin your amazing descent past forests and quaint huts before reaching the valley in Kublis again for the train home.
This classic ski run offers you a brilliant range of landscapes, sights and gentle terrain and with a maximum gradient of 26%, it is perfect for those who are slightly more familiar with the slopes.
Apparently, the longest black run in the Alps is ten miles in length, you get around 90 minutes of intense and continuous skiing starting from the 3,330-metre Pic Blanc. Before you begin your descent, make sure to check out the stunning peaks of the Parc National des Ecrins.
Taking on this drop of 2,000 meters is one for the more experienced thrill-seekers. However, be sure to watch out for the launch — it’s very steep!
Austria: The Streif
A word of caution, don’t try this if you’re a beginner! The Streif is found on the Hahenkamm mountain and hosts one of the most hazardous races in the World Cup — essentially, this is one of the world’s most feared runs!
At the starting gate, get ready to nearly freefall as you begin your 3,300-metre descent at the top of the Streif. In an instant, you’ll have 85% gradients to contend with at a speed of around 84mph! Overall, the course is about 3,312 metres in length with an average gradient of 27% — so perhaps consider some private lessons before you take on this mammoth challenge! The Streif is so famous that a documentary film was made about it in 2015 — Streif: One Hell of a Ride.
Sweden: Piste 4
Some of the most amazing skiing adventures can be found in Scandinavia. Piste 4 at the Riksgränsen ski resort is one of the most popular runs found in the Swedish Arctic Circle. If you want to experience long days, midnight sun and a top terrain for freestyling, a visit during spring is a must! Skiers love launching off the natural bumps of the Riksgränsen slopes. But head to Piste 4 — the most famous here — and you’ll glide into Norway before looping back around during your descent! How amazing does that sound?
France: Aiguille Rouge
France is home to some amazing ski runs and it’s one of the most popular countries to go to in Europe. one of the best ski runs in France is Aiguille Rouge — the tallest peak in the Les Arcs resort. At 3,226 metres in height and with a vertical descent of over 2,000 metres, this run is classified as black at the top and red a third of the way down.
Italy: Sella Ronda
The Sella Ronda run is situated in the Dolomites and holds the most amazing views of the Alps. Views of limestone cliffs and open pastures during your descent, this long-distance slope offers a breath-taking experience for beginner and season skiers.
Essentially, the Sella Ronda run is made up of around 14 miles of runs looping around a huge crag that are linked by lifts. It’s the ideal spot if you want to catch a glimpse of several villages along the way, and you can do the run easily in a single day — although, it’s recommended that you try it in both directions!
Maybe adrenaline-pumping runs are your thing and you’re looking for a challenge with your next ski holiday. If so, test your skills on the Lauberhorn. Here, you’ll begin from the 2,500-metre apex and descend 4,500 metres in just 150 seconds! Supposedly, the Lauberhorn is the fastest run in the World Cup. However, there’s much more to contend with than steepness — there’ll also be a 130-foot jump that catapults you into the air and speeds of nearly 100mph — enough for g-forces to come into play. Probably not the best one for beginners but one for the thrill seekers!