Most skiers are adventurous by nature. After all, strapping on two planks and propelling oneself down a mountain requires a certain level of fearlessness. Some slopes have more inherent danger than others, though. There are at least five dangerously steep ski slopes that most skiers won’t bother trying without a high level of skill or daring.
Consider these five places and see where they are, what makes them so dangerous, and how steep they are! Keep in mind that these aren’t rated in any particular order, but we’re using the greatest gradient of the slope to measure their steepness.
1. Streif in Austria
|85%||Mount Hahnenkamm in the Kitzbühel Alps|
Streif is probably the slope that most people would include on their list of dangerously steep ski slopes. The Ski World Cup downhill course is found in Kitzbühel, Austria. To be clear, this is a racecourse, not somewhere in a resort where anyone can gain access to it. So, even fewer skiers than normal will touch this course because, well, they’re not allowed on most of it even after the racing season is done.
Still, Streif is a very steep slope that has a gradient that reaches up to 85%. The extreme downhill slope begins soon after the starting gate putting racers at a section called the Mausefalle. In this area, the racers are at a 40.4° decline before they reach the first jump. During that jump, racers can fly over 200 feet through the air. Racers can also reach speeds of over 70 mph during the race!
The race is watched by millions around the world, probably including some jealous skiers that would like to tear down the mountain.
2. La Chavanette in France
|76%||Portes du Soleil Ski Area|
La Pas de Chavanette is a very steep ski run that lies on the border between France and Switzerland. Sometimes, it’s referred to as the “Swiss Wall” due to its location. Unlike Streif, experienced skiers can ski on this slope. In fact, this run can get positively crowded with people.
The run begins amidst a field of moguls, large bumps in the snow that can seriously disrupt the flow of one’s skiing if they’re not prepared for them. These moguls are found throughout the slope.
La Chavanette has a steep entrance path that includes a 76% gradient, putting skiers on a path with a 37° angle. The Swiss Wall is not that long, though, lasting only 0.62 miles or so despite dropping over 1,000 feet during that time.
The run can be dangerous, especially if the area has gotten icy from other skiers or if they take the rocky portion of the path. Also, the run starts in France and takes the skier down the Swiss side of the mountain. It’s best to wear protective gear when traveling on this slope.
3. Lauberhorn in Switzerland
|85%||Wengen-Grindelwald Ski Area|
Lauberhorn is another one of the dangerously steep ski slopes that most skiers won’t bother attempting due to its incredible steepness. The slope is known for being the longest downhill run used throughout the Ski World Cup. This ski run measures about 2.78 miles, requiring professionals to ride the steep downhill for over two minutes.
The maximum gradient on Lauberhorn is about 85%, allowing racers to hit high speeds while tearing through the run. Johan Clarey once reached over 100 mph while racing this course. Thousands of people watch the Ski World Cup activities at Lauberhorn, and some of them stay behind after it’s over.
Unlike Streif, this area is open to the public after the Ski World Cup races end in the latter part of January.
4. Harakiri in Austria
|78%||Ski Zillertal 3000 in Mayrhofen|
The name of this slope should tell you everything you need to know about what to expect from this run. Located at the Ski Zillertal 3000 resort, Harakiri is a rather potent slope with a maximum gradient of 78%. That puts the slope at about 35°, making for a very steep run.
The slope is just under a mile long and experiences a vertical drop of about 1,230 feet over its course. Another thing that makes Harakiri interesting is the fact that it’s the steepest groomed slope in the entire country.
Like many of the other ski slopes on this list, the Harakiri run is open to the public. In fact, it’s a very popular place for visiting skiers to go and test their skills.
5. Corbet’s Couloir in the United States
|75%||Jackson Hole Mountain Resort|
Corbet’s Couloir is a steep slope at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. This resort is located near some of the tallest mountains in Wyoming.
Certainly, this slope is not nearly as steep or dangerous as some of the other slopes that have been included on this list. In fact, it may not even be the steepest or most dangerous in Jackson Hole. Still, its highest gradient reaches 75%. However, the initial jump into the couloir can be anywhere from 10 to 20 feet followed by a steep run down a rocky chute, making the introduction to the run fast and nerve-wracking.
This slope was included because it’s always fun to compare some of the dangerously steep ski slopes in the U.S. to other countries. Corbet’s Coulier is a good example of a steep, potentially dangerous run in the U.S., but it is much shorter compared to other runs on this list.
Other Dangerously Steep Ski Slopes
Although this list showed a few of the most popular steep ski slopes throughout the world, many other great ones were left off. Going by steepness alone, a lot of the list would be of runs in Europe.
Some other very steep slopes that daring skiers try include Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, Huevos Grande near Mammoth Lakes in the U.S., Lange Zug in Austria, and Grand Envers du Plan near Chamonix, France.
These are all some great, steep slopes that could have appeared on the list. Challenging, steep slopes are out there waiting for daring skiers to take them on!
Summary of 5 Dangerously Steep Ski Slopes Most Skiers Won’t Touch
Here’s a recap of the five super steep ski slopes we took a close look at:
|1||Streif||Mount Hahnenkamm in the Kitzbühel Alps, Austria||85%|
|2||La Chavanette||Portes du Soleil Ski Area, France||76%|
|3||Lauberhorn||Wengen-Grindelwald Ski Area, Switzerland||85%|
|4||Harakiri||Ski Zillertal 3000 in Mayrhofen, Austria||78%|
|5||Corbet’s Couloir||Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming, United States||75%|
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