It’s time to paint it black – nothing on piste is sure to turn a skier or snowboarder whiter than a steep black run covered in car sized moguls. To celebrate Black Friday, we’re reflecting on our favourite non-colour and looking at the best black runs on the mountain.
The Aiguille Rouge, Les Arcs
Half the challenge with this exciting black run is getting over the edge of the mountain at the top of the piste. The Aiguille Rouge begins at an altitude of 3,225m and the narrow, busy start to the piste descends steeply with uneven terrain. We imagine a significant number of skiers have bottled it at this point – returning down the mountain on the Varet gondola.
Make it over the edge though, and it’s an exhilarating experience. The run provides some epic challenges and outstanding mountain views, before blasting onto the equally rewarding red run stretch to Villaroger or the Génépi, an ungroomed black run to Arcs 2000. Highly recommended!
The Lauberhorn, Wengen
You know the name. The record-breaking World Cup Downhill run is the most famous piste in Wengen (and possibly Switzerland). It is a must-ski piste for any visitor to this charming resort. Keep an eye out for iconic landmarks, such as Hundschopf and Canadian Corner as you make your way down the mountain.
An easier run than we expected, the Lauberhorn is one of the few black runs we’d happily end the day on as we use it to ski back to our hotel. That said we’re not trying to break the latest World Cup Record as we descend the mountain!
The Sarenne, Alpe d’Huez
Most online lists of the best black runs will feature the Sarenne – so we’re not expecting points for originality here! However, at 16km in length, the Sarenne is the longest black piste in the Alps. For that reason alone, it deserves its place on this list.
The Sarenne starts at the top of the Pic Blanc and drops an impressive 1,800m. The views from the top of the run are incredible and, for a truly magical experience, you can enjoy the view at sunset. Once a week local guides offer night skiing tours of the Sarenne – definitely a ski holiday experience to remember.
Delirium Dive, Banff
We’re big fans of the names Canada gives to its black runs. From Dynamite in Mont Tremblant, to Couloir Extreme in Whistler, and the Ultimate Steeps in Lake Louise – all have a fantastic way of inspiring an equal sense of dread, curiosity and adventure in us. But the most eye-catching name of all must surely go to Banff’s Delirium Dive – a double diamond black run in Sunshine Village.
Delirium Dive is so treacherous – it has a 40-degree average gradient – that the ski patrol forbid riding it without the proper avalanche-safety equipment, and an experienced ski guide is strongly recommended.
The Harakiri, Mayrhofen
If you’re going to name a ski run after the Japanese word for ritual suicide then you had better have a good reason. Fortunately, whoever named the Harakiri in Mayrhofen had one very good one – the piste is the steepest in Austria! The average gradient is 38-degrees and when the weather gets icy, this black run provides a formidable challenge.
Have you got a favourite black run? Share your favourite pistes in the comments section below.