Do you feel like testing yourself this winter? Some ski resorts have runs that definitely stand out from the rest and can truly tickle your nerves. They are famous for the soaring cliffs, unbelievable moguls, crazy length and terrifying crevasses. Here is a list of some of the best ski runs in the world.
Harakiri (Mayrhofen, Austria)
With an average incline of 78%, the Harakiri is the steepest slope in Austria. It’s so legendary that it draws a large cheering section of ski enthusiasts who watch the more extreme skiers tackle the run from the comfortable six-person chairlift, Knorren, where many often tumble down the length of the run. Named after the Japanese ritual of suicide by samurai, Harakiri is considered the world’s steepest groomed slope. Its length is 1300 m. Harakiri ski run is a real challenge for experienced skiers and snowboarders.
The Streif (Kitzbühel, Tyrol, Austria)
This spectacular downhill ski track brings the best skiers from every corner of the world together in an almost gladiator style fight for the honor of victory on the Streif. Vertical drop length is 860 m. The Streif’s average gradient is 27 percent, and racers can reach 90 miles per hour. Making matters worse, the course ends with the Mausefalle – a final jump that can throw you over 250 feet further down the hill. In downhill ski racing, the Streif, is regarded as the ultimate challenge because of the diversity of its terrain. All the elements of a classic downhill course can be found on the Streif, high speed breathtaking jumps, steep slopes, flat out gliding sections, curves, compressions, spectacular bumps and even a short uphill section just before the Seidlalm jump. The Streif has it all.
Corbet’s Couloir (Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA)
It’s known as North America’s scariest slope. Even though it is only around 150-200 m long, Corbet’s Couloir is a huge test for skiers. The standard entry is a drop off a cornice that can be as tame as two metres or as fierce as nine metres, depending on the snow. The landing is steeper than 50 per cent, so unless you start turning very quickly you'll crash into the cliff-like walls of the Couloir. This isn't even the hardest run on the mountain, which claims the most extreme lift-served skiing in the continent; it's just the toughest one with a name. This scary ski run is named after renowned local ski instructor and Everest conqueror Barry Corbet. As soon as you land, you must immediately throw all your weight forward and make an instant right turn around a rock.
Tortin (Verbier, Switzerland)
Tortin will keep your joints jackhammering for about 3,000 vertical feet. Access to the run is via a traverse from which you must pick your spot and take a left turn onto a wide but steep slope. It may seem tame enough in the right conditions, but when the snow is scarce or icy it will fill you with alpine dread. Tortin is not avalanche controlled and when it’s icy, which it usually is, you need razor-sharp edges and a strong nerve. Most probably, you’ve never before encountered moguls quite like these in size and shape – more than 4x4. A fall can result in being tossed down the hill like a rag doll.
Ventina (Cervinia, Italy)
The joy of Ventina (just humble number 7 on the resort’s piste map) lies not in its gradient, but in its extraordinary length. From the top of the cable car at Testa Griglia (3 480m) to the bottom lift station in Cervinia you travel an astonishing 8 km with a vertical drop of 1 430m. The Ventina slope offers a great panoramic view over the Aosta Valley and the south-western part of the Alps. You also see the south face of Cervino.
Are you ready to take a challenge? Be sure, these runs provide an excellent skiing experience, a thrill of achievement and an unforgettable blast of adrenaline.