We know that some of the ski areas around Europe are so big you will probably not ski all of it. If you already have an idea of which slopes you want to hit then you can make a better plan and ask your instructor in advance to take you there. We have already talked about the toughest slopes in Europe for those of you who really want to take your skiing/snowboarding to the next level, and today we’re going to talk about some of the longest ski runs in Europe. For those bluebird days when you really don’t want to leave the slopes, venture to any of these and it will feel like there is no end to the piste. Here are some of Europe’s longest runs:
Vallée Blanche - Chamonix
Jump on the Aiguille du Midi cable car which will take you all the way up to 3,482m where you will start your journey back down to Chamonix at 1050m. Vallée Blanche is considered one of the longest off-piste routes in Europe with a length of over 21km and intended for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. First thing you’ll encounter is a descent on foot from Aiguille du Midi to the start of Vallée Blanche, every year a clear track is marked and lined with safety ropes to which you will be attached and use as guidance for your descent.
Once you reach the bottom of this path, you can start your off-piste experience. The whole piste from top to bottom will usually take 4 - 6 hours to ski, so it’s also important to be honest with yourself about your physical fitness and make sure you’re capable of taking on the descent. Regardless of your skiing experience it is always recommended that you take a guide with you, unless you or anybody from your group already knows the terrain. An instructor will know the right path to take you on depending on your skills, and most importantly will know when the conditions are right. Skiing such a piste in the wrong conditions can not only be dangerous, but you will also miss some of the greatest views of all of Chamonix!
La Sarenne - Alpe d’Huez
Crowned as the longest black run in Europe, if you're looking for a thrill that will last a while, definitely try taking on La Sarenne. To reach the start of this thrilling piste simply take the Pic Blanc cable car up to 3,330m which is also the highest point in the ski area and get ready to ski from Pic Blanc to Gorges de Sarenne. This piste runs for about 16 km and as we previously mentioned it’s considered a black run, so you must be an advanced skier or snowboarder to take this on. The start of the piste is quite steep and often icy given its high altitude and in addition to the icy terrain the start of La Sarenne is full of moguls! Don’t worry, as you start to get closer to Gorges de Sarenne, the slope does start to flatten out and you will be able to cruise past wonderful views such as icy rivers and mountain tops covered in fresh white powder.
Fun Fact: it is said that you can actually see ⅕ of France from the top of Pic Blanc. In fact, on a good weather day you can see les 2 Alpes resort, Pic Bayle, Meije, and Aiguilles d’Arves and even Mont Blanc!
Les Cascades - Flaine
Imagine you just spent your first week learning how to ski or snowboard and on your last day at the resort you want to celebrate this great achievement…why not do this by skiing the longest blue run in France. Starting at 2,480m of altitude, Les Cascade runs for 14km finishing in the village of Sixt where there’s a free shuttle bus back to the Grand Massif Express gondola to take you back towards Flaine.
Les Cascades is not only for beginners, even if you are an advanced or even expert skier, you might enjoy this 14km piste that runs through the Sixt-Passy nature reserve, where you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views like frozen waterfalls and if you’re lucky enough you’ll even spot some of the wildlife like a mountain goat. Another great thing about Les Cascades is that it’s not too busy so you might even find yourself enjoying a peaceful, quiet alone time, or taking advantage of enough space to practice your turns without others around you.
Zermatt to Valtournenche
Considered one of the longest on-piste runs, and the descent from Europe’s highest lift, the run that will literally take you from one country to another as you’re on skis. Grab the lift to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise at an incredible altitude of 3,883m and prepare to change countries as you ski down the other side towards Valtournenche in Italy. With an altitude drop of around 2,300 m and covering a distance of almost 20 km it will be quite a workout for you but we promise it will be an unforgettable experience and you’ll be able to enjoy truly breathtaking views.
Fun fact: Matterhorn glacier paradise is actually connected to Breuil-Cervinia/ Valtournenche and Val d’Aosta. How many times will you be able to say you skied to another country and back on the same day!
These are only four of the longest runs in Europe, of course there are many more for you to choose from and for any type of level. We always recommend hiring an instructor to guide you down these long runs and make sure you find all the hidden spots and enjoy them to their fullest without getting lost. Find the longest run in your resort and book an independent instructor today!
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