Top 5 Extreme Ski Runs in the French Alps

Published on 23rd Oct 2018

Are you pining for an adrenaline-pumping descent? Look no further than the French Alps, where you'll find ski runs of all difficulties and severities that'll satisfy your inner thrill-seeker. From the top of the mountains to the snowy towns below, there's nothing quite like the rush of a black-tier ski run.

For the most daring, we've compiled a list of the top five most extreme ski runs in the French Alps. Those less accustomed to the skis may want to stay at the hotel for these ones, or brush up on their skills back home before the big trip.

La Pas de Chavanette, Portes du Soleil, Avoriaz

Having been dubbed the 'Swiss Wall', this particularly steep descent rests along the Swiss-French border above Avoriaz and will see you rushing toward the town of Les Crosets. A particularly notorious run, you'll often find the Swiss Wall at the top of many people's lists as one of the most difficult and intimidating descents around.

It's 1km long and drops 400 metres, with the top of the slope having an incline of 76%. Expect very large moguls and an intimidating start, with 50m of narrow 40-degree pass.

This is an especially tough run under icy conditions, which can be particularly common, so be very cautious during your trip and only attempt if you're a seasoned skier!

Grand Couloir, Courchevel

The widest of the notorious Courchevel couloirs, and the only one of them marked on the piste map, this is a thrilling and captivating slope.

It's another well-known run amongst ski enthusiasts and provides the on-piste feel without seeming too well kept or groomed. Offering a challenge from the start, you'll be greeted by two large moguls at the entrance that seem even more of a challenge in icier weather.

Further down you'll have to twist and turn to successfully ski without derailing but, once you reach the second half, the gradient widens out and offers a better perspective on the wonderful views. Watch Graham Bell ski this notorios run on behalf of the Telegraph.

Face de Bellevarde, Val d'Isère

This black descent presents those brave enough with a steep cliff face that's as demanding as it impressive.

Having picked up a notorious reputation after its use in the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, Face de Bellevarde attracts expert skiers for its harsh gradient and challenging natural obstacles.

If you do decide to tackle this one, particularly during icier weather, be prepared to dodge many a beginner skier and rocks as you slide down. It's also important to know what level of expertise you're currently at before carving up snow somewhere that may be a bit too challenging.

Skiing Le Face de Bellevarde Val dIsere France

Le Tunnel, Alpe d'Huez

Dropping into Le Tunnel Alpe dHuez France

As with many ski runs across the Alps, this black-tier slope is situated beneath the Pic Blanc cable and offers all the steepness you'd expect from a run of this calibre. You'll want some experience behind you before you attempt to take this one on.

It's made even more difficult under less snowy conditions, with a long and freezing tunnel of 60m to navigate your way through. Once you make your way back out the other side, you'll be greeted to a severe drop to your left and large moguls to avoid as your steer downward.

Keep an eye out for any hazards and make sure you're up for the task!

The 'Flying Kilometre', Les Arcs

Built for the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992, this piste is an extremely difficult one to master, and has previously been the host to numerous world records. It begins with a 76% gradient near free fall on the face of the Aiguille Rouge, and you'll be hard pressed to get access to it outside of competitions.

Still, you can admire it from a distance on one of Les Arcs many other, less intense ski runs. Aiguille Rouge offers plenty of black runs that boast 2000m of vertical. If heights and dizzying scenery is your thing, Les Arcs is definitely worth a look!

Once you've gotten your fix of ski slope insanity, you'll want somewhere high quality to relax, unwind and make the most of your trip. Our friends at Iglu Ski offer a full range of accommodation that caters to your every need. For all of their options, be sure to browse their ski chalets in both Courchevel and Meribel. And, of course, let us know what instruction or guiding you require and we'll be happy to match you to one of our snowsports professionals.

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