Published on Thu 13 Dec, 2018
The Best Ski Runs in Europe According to Ski Instructors
'The Best Ski Runs in Europe' - in honesty, deciding this is a hopeless task seeing as within Europe there are 3,625 resorts in 41 countries, and... I'm not even going to attempt to count the number of runs, sorry. Everyone has their opinion of the best ski run, but to formulate a list of the best throughout Europe we asked those who ski more than anyone, the Instructors and Guides, to share their thoughts. You may agree. You may not. It's very subjective.
Best Ski Runs in the Three Valleys
Andy - Local Ski Instructor
Here in the Three Valleys, the largest ski area in the world, we are spoilt for choice for terrain and so trying to decide on which is our best ski run is nigh on impossible. So, not in a bid to cheat the question, but to be sensible, I have decided to narrow down the area and concentrate on the Courchevel valley. And give two options. Sorry not sorry.
Our first choice for the best run in Courchevel is a piste that is just perfect for teaching, Biollay. Without doubt one of the best pistes in the Alps, it gives clients’ the confidence to try new skills and techniques without the worry of it being too daunting.
The top is on the ridge and so provides brilliant views which, on a good day, extends all the way to Mont Blanc! Biollay maintains a decent width to the end and the differing gradients make it the perfect ski run for all to start to understand how to use the arc of the turn to control speed. The middle is the widest section and relatively flat so you can really open up those longer sweeping turns and hold an edge all the way. Finally, with your confidence at an all time high, the lower steeper section is great for refining your short radius turns!
Combe des Pylônes
Our second chosen best run in Courchevel, Combe des Pylônes could be classed as a ski run for intermediates but it’s more suited to the more advanced. Here at SnowLimits, when we get time to ski together, it’s where we normally head to because for us it’s the best black run in Courchevel.
When you arrive at the top of the Vizelle lift you have a number of testing options and often Combe des Pylôns is over looked as the crowds tend to ski onto the popular ‘M’, ’Suisses' and ‘Combe Saulire'.
The Combe des Pylôn is steep and wide which, when found freshly groomed by the piste bashers, invites you to really push and test your short radius carve turns. Alternatively, if it has recently snowed or the piste bashers haven't been yet, it can be the ideal run to test and refine your powder and mogul technique. Either way, you’ll need to attack it with confidence to get it right, but when you do it’ll make your holiday.
Best Ski Run In Espace Killy
Dessi (Local Ski Instructor)
Oreiller-Killy - OK
Having to choose one out of the 150 pistes in Espace Killy isn’t the easiest choice. There is something for everyone within Val d'Isere and Tignes and so very many options! With that said, and after a lot of thought and deliberation, I will say that my favourite ski run is the 'Oreiller-Killy - OK'. Used as the downhill course on the world circuit, if you visit in early December you can watch skiers like Lindsey Vonn and Lara Gut charging the full length competing for podium spots.
'OK' is a red run that starts from Rocher de Bellevarde and ends in La Daille. For us mere mortals it provides a happy mix of steep and gentle sections, perfect for practicing technique, linking carving turns and pretending to be a world cup downhill skier.
You can try to ski all the way from the top into La Daille without a rest but it’s tough - if the lively La Folie Douce doesn't entice you in for a Vin Chaud at the mid-way point, your legs will need to be made of steel to keep you going all the way.
Best Ski Run In Les Gets
Glenn (Local Ski Instructor)
Picking my favourite Les Gets ski run is tough. I have my quiet, hidden gems – also, my favourite confidence-building teaching runs.
The red 'Rhodes' typifies both: as an introduction to red runs, it’s rewarding for both student and instructor, and great for stronger skiers wanting to warm up their legs making grippy carving turns. The hill has three good rolling pitches: each perfect for a pause to take in the views of Mont Chery and discuss progress.
Standing next to a red piste marker looking down this long rolling hill for the first time can be a little unnerving: choose the wrong spot and the run looks steeper and more challenging than it really is. For me the pleasure is in coaching the student – using our techniques and learning tools – on how, with clarity of thought, they can calmly set up the first curve.
Insider information: If you need a steadier build-up to skiing this run there is a secret track fed from a nearby blue run that joins about halfway down. Knowing you have comfortably skied the lower half can quell any anxiety and de-mystify the run.
Best Ski Run In Morzine
Glenn (Local Ski Instructor)
Red Piste 'A'
Red Piste 'A' is a hidden gem sitting on the front face of Morzine, next to a more adventurous Black run. Access to the Red Piste is possible from the top of the Pleney Telecabine. However, return is by the rather lethargic three-person Atray chairlift that exits just to the side of the Viking hotel overlooking the Morzine valley. At the chairlift base station is a lovely traditional crêperie.
The slow-paced chair does have its virtues: it allows you to recover your breath after a high-cardio activity run, and it offers an instructor great coaching opportunities as it travels along the length of the piste. There is ample time to explain tasks and tactics in detail whilst picking out good visual examples of skiers below.
The slow chair and the steeper gradient may be the reason this run is so under-utilised. If you stick to the piste it’s a great run on which to practise some short turns that challenge rhythm and speed control. It’s a fantastic run that invites confident intermediate-level skiers to dip off the side to explore some off-piste techniques in a controlled area that’s reassuringly close to a main piste.
Best Ski Run In Avoriaz
By Glenn (local ski instructor)
My favourite ski run in Avoriaz is a less-obvious choice, and is actually located in the Super Morzine ski zone. The 'Zore' is a delightful, long and extremely wide blue run, bounded top and bottom by great, tucked-away traditional restaurants with stunning views.
This run is, quite surprisingly missing from many skiers’ itineraries, probably because they bustle to get above the tree lined slopes to the bright lights, steeps and the famed snowparks of Avoriaz Central. Their rush is our gain: it gives us a chance to safely open up on this low-traffic run and blast away the cobwebs, laying deep and fast big-angled carving turns with acres of space to spare; or cruise on the frequent 'hero' snow – soft and grippy, feel-good snow where everyone skis like a hero!
This under-appreciated blue run is served by a fast and sociable six-person lift that is perfect for relaxed chairlift-coaching – and swapping bad jokes. The chairlift starts just outside the exit doors of the Super Morzine Telecabine that runs from the centre of Morzine Town. Turn left off the chair to enjoy the run, or right to follow the hoards to Avoriaz Central.
Best Ski Run In Les Arcs
By Sian (local ski instructor)
My run of choice in Les Arcs has to be the red “Combe” in Peisey Vallandry. Accessible from the top of the Peisey chair it is nicely tucked away on the far edge of the Paradiski area away from any crowds - therefore especially sought after during the school holiday weeks. It’s also served by a relatively steep drag lift which further reduces it’s attraction to most. However, you can also get back up the mountain via a gentle track which takes you to Plan Peisey and the comfort of the G1 chairlift.
So why is it on my 'A' list of runs? Combe is a piste for all weathers, lined with trees from top to bottom it makes for a very pretty descent, particularly in fresh snow. When visibility is low there is definition with the trees so you can make out the lumps and bumps. The terrain is undulating with rollers and cambers so it’s a challenge. It winds its way down to a lovely peaceful picnic spot and on a sunny day the piste opens out and reveals spectacular views of the North face of the Bellecote over on the La Plagne side of the valley. In springtime the imposing pine trees shade the piste enough to keep the snow from getting too slushy, it’s a win win all round but shhhh don’t tell everyone!
Best Ski Run In Verbier
By Tom (local ski instructor)
My favourite run is the Piste d'Ours in the Verbier 4 Valleys ski area. Apparently Bears used to roam here in the dense forest of Switzerland. It's now home to super-fast skiers with 3.3km's of steeply changing gradient through the trees. It's such an entertaining run and has been home to many Alpine Ski racing World Cups, in fact, Honoré Bonnet (ex-French Team coach) described it as "the most beautiful track in the world". Personally, I love it because it constantly keeps you guessing and has large drop aways and fun corners. Being part of the Verbier 4 Valley ski area you have many kilometres of superb skiing to choose from as well as some of the best lunch spots in Europe!
Best Ski Run in Serre Chevalier
By Mel (local ski instructor)
My absolute favourite run in Serre Chevalier is the Cucumelle which is reached via the Vallons chair from Villeneuve or the Cucumelle link lift from Monêtier (located to the right on the Serre Chevalier piste map). Drop into Cucumelle's steeper pitch at the top with some snappy short turns. It then levels out offering wide and cruisey terrain for what feels like forever - test your carvers with some long and fast turns here, it's immense fun reading the terrain and adjusting your skiing from top to bottom. At any point you can jump off the piste and immediately enjoy Cucumelle's 'vallons' (rolling gullies) in the powder. Fresh tracks are almost guaranteed in any week other than the traditional holiday weeks. Grab an indulgent hot chocolate at the Pï Mai resto too!