The longest ski runs in the Alps; carve ’em up this year

Newsroom Best Of Topics The longest ski runs in the Alps; carve ’em up this year

Carve long and hard this winter: explore some of the longest ski runs in the Alps.

Longer descents allow you more time on the slopes and less time queuing for lifts. But that’s not all: they start high, usually with awesome views, and take you on a journey through some of the most diverse terrain on the mountain.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite longest ski runs in the Alps, with an epic descent for all levels.

Longest ski runs in the Alps

Alpe d’Huez, France

16-kilometre black run

The Sarenne piste stretches from Pic Blanc at 3,330 metres to Alpe d’Huez at 1,860m. At 16 kilometres it comes first place on our “longest ski runs in the Alps”. It consists of two sections: initially a fairly steep series of pitches which can get a bit mogulled, then a long flatter section along the valley. It is primarily a black ski run, but this is a point of contention, some argue it should be a red.

Furthermore, you can avoid the really steep section at the top by skiing off from the Marmottes 3 bubble instead. On a powder day, the run can take quite some time with waist-deep snow to wade through in the flatter section.

» Check out lodging options in Alpe d’Huez.

Sarenne Piste at Alpe dHuez.
The top of the Sarenne Piste at Alpe d’Huez is the start of one long run ©Chris Parker

Ischgl, Austria

11-kilometre red/black run

The ‘Eleven’ piste is, as you may imagine, an 11-kilometre-long ski run deserves second place on the ‘longest ski runs’ list. It starts from the Greitspitze at 2,872m, the highest skiable point in the Tyrol, and descends to Ischgl at 1,400m.

The first part of Eleven is black, then the piste is consistently red. The medium part of the ski run takes you past the Idalp and on to the town centre of Ischgl. The best way to access the starting point of Eleven is by the new Lange Wand C5 or by the Greitspitz lift B4 or by the Greitspitz mountain railway O1.

» Check out lodging options in Ischgl.

Les Arcs, France

Eight-kilometre red/black run

Ride the cable car up to the highest peak in the resort, the Aiguille Rouge (Red Needle) at 3,226 metres. From here, ski the Aguille Rouge run down to the hamlet of Villaroger at 1,200 metres. This ski run is notable for its length (8km) and vertical descent (over 2,000m).

It is classed as black at the top, then about a third of the way down changes into a red, but is still very demanding. The Aguille Rouge is best tackled at the beginning of the day. This is because queues to get on the cable car form quickly and the slope can become crowded.

Good quality snow can almost always been found on the Aguille Rouge. The upper half being above 3,000 metres while the lower half is north-facing so holds the snow well.

» Check out lodging options in Les Arcs.

Aquille Rouge Run
Try this 8km Aquille Rouge Run at Les Arcs. ©Les Arcs Tourist Office

Cervinia, Italy

20-kilometre red run

Access one of the world’s longest ski runs from the Klein Matterhorn, also known as the Piccolo Cervino. Europe’s highest cable car whisks you up onto the Klein Matterhorn over gigantic glacial crevasses. From its lofty height of 3,883 metres, take an epic 20-kilometre descent.

It takes you down red runs to Valtournenche at 1,524 metres, Cervinia’s lift-linked neighbour. Alternatively, from the Klein Matterhorn, you can ski the 13-kilometre descent down into Zermatt, Switzerland. Whichever direction you choose – Cervinia or Zermatt – this is one heck of a run which begins with enormous glacial fields and drops into steeper mogulled terrain.

Due to its altitude, the ski runs from the Klein Matterhorn are consistently skiable from late November to mid-April. For something slightly shorter, try Cervinia’s red Ventina piste, an 11.5-kilometre descent from Plateau Rosa.

» Check out lodging options in Cervinia.

Flaine, France

14-kilometre blue run

The Cascades piste is renowned for being the longest blue run in Europe. Start at the top of Les Grandes Platières in Flaine, at 2,500 metres, and ski all the way down to Sixt. Experience the 1,800-metre vertical and take in the spectacular scenery along the way and not a single ski lift in sight.

Be sure to make a stop at the Gers lake restaurant, a popular place to sit, enjoy a meal and admire the scenery. On arrival in Sixt, take the free shuttle bus back to the GME car park in Samoëns.

» Check out lodging options in Flaine.

Cascades Piste at Flaine
Take this long smoothie – the Cascades Piste – at Flaine ©Simon Frost

Val Cenis, France

10-kilometre green run

The 10-kilometre L’Escargot is the longest green ski run in Europe. It is ideal for beginners who are getting sick of the nursery slopes. L’Escargot gives them a chance to stretch their legs with the big boys.

It starts at 2,050 metres and winds its way down to 1,398 metres, most of which is in pine and larch forest. From the top, views aren’t at all shabby – you’ll see the Dent Parachee, the Pointe D’Andagne and even the Grand Paradis. Snowboarders may not appreciate it quite as much as skiers, as parts of the run are quite flat.

» Check out lodging options in Val Cenis.

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