Think ‘skiing’ and the French Alps are bound to come to mind. The huge, high-altitude ski areas are home to some of Europe’s prettiest, most challenging and most enjoyable runs. Here are five of our favourites to try…
L’Aiguille Percée — Tignes
Cruise down a wide blue that’s full of photo moments. Start with a snap of the famous Aiguille Percée, the eye-of-the-needle rock that dominates the skyline up at 2,300m. Trace through the treeline, carve by an ice cave and skirt the dam at the run’s end. If you’re feeling confident, cut over onto the Sache black run – it rejoins the blue at the bottom.
Sarenne — Alpe d’Huez
Get ready to take on the longest black run in Europe. But don’t be too intimidated. The Sarenne is well-groomed, sunny and not too steep – the real challenge is in its length so just pace yourself. Pause at the top to take in the views of famous peaks like Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and the Meije.
Combe de la Saulire — Courchevel
Get past the steep start of this one and you’re rewarded with spectacular views of Courchevel’s famed couloirs. The run is marked as red because of the sharp drop-in, but it soon opens out into a wide, open piste. Head up first thing and delight in the quiet piste and crisp corduroy.
Pointe du Bouchet — Val Thorens
Difficulty: Blue + red
Wrap up warm for the ride to the top of the Pointe du Bouchet peak – it’s the highest point of the Three Valleys at 3,420m. On clear days, you can spot Mont Blanc, the king of the Alps, in the distance. Take your pick from several quiet slopes, like the Fred Covili red run or Vallons blue. For the best snow, head to the Mauriennaise red in the late morning.
L’Aiguille Rouge — Les Arcs
Difficulty: Red + black
Ski from the windswept heights of the Aiguille Rouge, up at 3,226m, all the way to the hamlet of Villaroger. The top section is a demanding black for experts only. Confident intermediates can join in halfway down, where it turns into a slightly mellower red.
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