The best off piste runs in Europe – the Pure Powder guideJuly 10, 2012 8:43 am
When dreaming of powdery mountain skiing, it is easy to get swept up in visions of heli skiing in Canada and Alaska and other faraway places. Consequently, it is easy to forget about the lift-accessible powder playground sat right on our doorstep. As a result, the heli skiing and off piste experts that make up the Pure Powder team have put together a list of our personal favourite off piste runs in Europe, to get your brains ticking for next season…
Favourite off piste: Back bowls of Triftji
Here you will find an infinite variety of North facing slopes available, where you can find untracked snow from top to bottom even several days after a snowfall. To top this off, there is over 1000 vertical metres from the top of the Trftji T bar to the Gant cable car station.
Tips: Don’t forget to stop to take in the sensational scenery.
Favourite off piste: Banane couloir
Location: La Grave
One of the last wilderness skiing areas of Europe, Banane coulouir sits in the shadow if the 4,000 metre Meje peak which dominates the La Grave panoramic, and is nestled between a series of steep couloirs in an area called Chancel. Sometimes it’s good to get the heart beating just that little bit harder and this is one of those runs that does just that. Shaped like a banana this couloir offers up steep, narrow skiing where you need to be right on your mettle. It’s not quite your free-flowing deep powder run, but I love it all the same!
Tips: This run requires good controlled technique… Be sure to bring your A-game.
Favourite off piste: The Direttissima
This off piste run is reached from the back of the black run, Weissfluhgipfel. When conditions are good, don’t let your nerves put you off as it makes for excellent skiing (guide necessary of course!) With views of Arosa in the distance, you will ski down through an old ghost village with remnants of ski lifts used years ago. You then have 1 ½ hours of skinning up to Drimachenspitz whilst you take in the views and the peace and quiet. You can then ski down to Kublis – through endless expanse of powdery meadows all to yourself – before hopping on the train back to Klosters
Tips: Touring bindings and skins needed.
Favourite off piste: Valle Blanche
The most challenging part of this run happens before you’ve even put your skis on. The infamous arête from the Aiguille du Mid cable car might make your legs wobble a bit but don’t let that put you off. Your reward? A descent over 2,000 vertical metres long. If you are up for a more challenging route than the classic path down, where you will find most of the punters will take their leave, you could try the Grand Envers du Plan, which is much more steep and, in my opinion, a more scenic route. With breath-taking views of Mont Blanc, it’s one not to be missed.
Tips: Best skied mid-week to avoid the crowds as it’s a favourite for weekend excursions.
As ever, we highly recommend that you ski off piste with all of the correct gear, and ideally with a fully qualified mountain guide. Please contact us for more information on how to find an off piste nirvana next season.