Non-Stop Ski Challenges to Try in the Alps

(2017-02-28 10:35:37)


Spring is ticking round in the Alps and the biting cold of winter is giving way to bluebird skies and sun-kissed peaks. The sun is up and the days are longer — time to test your endurance and get that burn in your ski legs.


We’re not talking speed tests here (don’t be racing), but endurance challenges — starting at the summit of your choice and skiing non-stop to resort-level in one go. Across the Alps, you’ll find soaring peaks leading down to low base-villages with over 1,000 metres of vertical drop; ideal for athletically-minded skiers and snowboarders looking to put their snow-legs to the test.


If you want to track your progress as you go, there’s a great selection of downloadable tools available to do just that. Apps such as Ski Tracks, for example, make it easy to keep tabs on the distance and vertical drop you cover.


Three Valleys, France


First up, the Three Valleys — one of the largest ski areas in the world. Skiers here have a wealth of long-distance runs to choose from, but there are a few that stand out for distance and scenery.


Try hitting the route from the Saulire peak (2,738m) down through Méribel’s Altiport to Méribel Village (1,400m), and stop for a well-earned drink at the Lodge du Village bar. Alternatively, tackle the route from the Saulire peak via Courchevel 1850 to the base village of le Praz (1,300m). Both runs begin way above the tree-line and offer beautiful scenery along the way.



The corduroy pistes and bluebird skies of spring in the Alps


Portes du Soleil, France


The Coupe du Monde is a black run in the Portes du Soleil ski area, which starts way above Avoriaz (2,280m) and runs down past resort-level to the base of the Prodains lift (approx 1,100m.) Along the way you skirt the side of the enormous cliff that Avoriaz sits on, and the views are breathtaking.


Hardy skiers tackling the descent in one go will reach the bottom and basically fall to the floor — legs pumping — but the thrill of taking on such a varied and exciting descent makes it worthwhile.


Aosta Valley, Italy


The resort of Cervinia sits on the border between Italy and Switzerland, with lift-access over to neighbouring Zermatt. With a top-elevation of 3,480m, it’s the perfect place to tuck in the miles on your skis.


Starting at the Plateau Rosa (3,480m) it’s possible to ski down past Plan Maison and Salette to Valtournenche (1,524m) — a dizzying 2,000 metres' vertical drop. For a strong skier it’s a run of around 15 - 20 minutes of solid descent over a distance of approximately 11 kilometres. A well-deserved beer awaits at the bottom. 


The softer spring snow and bright sunshine also mean ideal conditions for park-loving freestyle skiers. For a little inspiration on some of the best freestyle-friendly resorts in the Alps, check out our blog on freestyle challenges in the snowparks of Europe.


If you’re keen to tackle a few of the runs mentioned in this blog and enjoy a little spring sunshine on the slopes, get in touch on 0203 0800 200 or share your requirements via our online chat service. Prices have already been released for the 2017/18 ski season, with many holidays available at early-bird rates.