The Perfect Piste

With the ski season fast approaching we have picked the brains of our specialist ski consultants to discover their insider tips and favourite slopes across our Original Skiing programme in Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Japan. Whether you are more inclined to attack a steep black diamond or swoop down a cruisey blue, we have the perfect piste for you to ski your way this winter.

Lavadinas Porsche Lift, Flims

Lavadinas Run, Flims

Grade: Black

Best for: escaping the crowds

Ski from the top of the Vorab Glacier that gives Flims its reliable season-long snow and descend over 1,000m in one of the longest runs of the ski area. Piste black 35 is only accessible by a drag lift which takes you up to the height of over 3,018m where you can enjoy views over the mountains for miles. The initial pitch of the slope is steep before the run opens out and winds its way through the mountains. The views are amazing throughout and you can either pick up speed or go at your own pace. You are greeted at the bottom by the Lavadinas bar which is a great suntrap in which to enjoy a short breather accompanied by a coffee, beer or bratwurst. Jump on the Lavadinas chair back to the top, which is otherwise known as the Porsche Lift, which rotates by 45 degrees to offer mountain goers views over the slopes. 

Early morning on Red 10, Arosa

10 Weisshorn, Arosa

Grade: Red

Best for: wide, open pistes

This run really comes into its own first thing in the morning with the empty, freshly groomed slope awaiting you. Red 10 is the longest run in Arosa, covering 4.5km with an elevation difference of 914m. Two cable cars transport you from the town centre to the summit of the Weisshorn, the highest point in the ski area at 2,652m with panoramic views over more than 400 peaks of the Grisons and surrounding mountains. You can enjoy the views at the Weisshorngipfel summit restaurant or pause half-way down the descent where Sattelhütte offers a great outdoor terrace to stop for a coffee with another scenic view. Sundays are the perfect time to check out the piste with the cable car starting up before dawn, ensuring you can snag the chance to lay the first tracks on the mountain.

Off-Piste Powder Skiing, Niseko

Stairway to Heaven, Niseko Japan

Grade: Red

Best for: powder skiing

Whilst Niseko is famed for its powder skiing, our favourite pisted run, aptly named stairway to heaven, is located in the Hanazono ski area neighbouring Hirafu. This follows nicely on from the Youtei Sunset run and you can spruce up your jumping technique at the bag jump halfway down the slope before you snake back down to the Hanazono base station. The back bowls from the top of the Hanazono ski area are packed with over 150m of powder throughout the ski season for some of the best off-piste. Niseko is also famed for its excellent and extensive night skiing in the centre of the ski resort.

Off-Piste on the North Face of the Valluga, Arlberg

The Valluga North Run, Zurs + St Anton

Grade: Off-piste

Best for: thrill-seekers

The infamous Valluga North descent is only accessible from the very top of the Valluga II cable with an experienced mountain guide. At 2,811m you are at the highest peak of the Arlberg ski area, with spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. After taking in the scenes at the observation deck you can take the north route down the mountain. The initial pitch of the slope is steep, but you are rewarded with an empty valley, near-endless powder and plenty of room to manoeuvre. Once you reach the foot of the Roggspitze you are on the home straight back into Zurs. 

View from Chez Vrony, Zermatt

7 Sunnegga, Zermatt 

Grade: Blue

Best for: a great lunch spot 

The cruisey blue 7 is easily accessible from the Sunnegga funicular from Zermatt, taking you just 4.5 minutes to ascend. Offering an undulating and wide piste, the run is perfect for families with little ones or beginners looking to tackle a run off the nursery slopes. The real draw of this run is that as you approach Findeln, you reach a cluster of first-class mountain restaurants. Take your pick from Chez Vrony, with unique cuisine such as Bloody Mary Soup on offer, to Findlerhof which offers up the Swiss specialities that Zermatt is so famed for. 

Skiing down the Schilthorn, Grindelwald

‘Steilste’ Schilthorn to Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald

Grade: Black

Best for: long and winding 

Beginning at the revolving Piz Gloria restaurant of James Bond fame, the Steilste (steepest in german) run boasts breathtaking views over the Eiger and Jungfrau peaks from start to finish. This valley run starts at 2,970m and is peppered with cosy mountain huts over 16km of perfectly groomed spacious piste, where you can rest and recharge before continuing your descent winding through the forest and ending in Lauterbrunnen at 795m (around 2,175km of vertical drop in total). For jump fanatics, there is also a brand new Snowpark near the top of black 17 with all the classic features and a few novelties to try your hand at.

Dolomiti Ski Area, San Cassiano

Sella Ronda Circuit, San Cassiano

Grade: Intermediate (mixed reds and blues)

Best for: scenic views

Allow around 6 hours for this 26km circular route which takes you through some of the best slopes of the Dolomiti superski area all surrounded by awe-inspiring mountain and forest views at every twist and turn. You can go clockwise or anticlockwise around the circuit, with both directions comprising of mostly intermediate runs. The clockwise route has a wider variety of pistes but tends to be slightly busier. There are plenty of places to enjoy some indulgent South Tyrolean cuisine around the circuit, we recommend the Salei hut for a midway pit stop. At the finish be sure to stop off at Piz Boe Alpine Lounge which offers an incredible wine list and unobstructed panoramic views over the Dolomites.

Skiing through the trees, Flims

La Siala to Flims

Grade: Red and blue

Best for: skiing through the trees

Enjoy 12km of uninterrupted skiing from La Siala at 2810m all the way down to Flims, a run known locally as the ‘stretch’ covering red 10, blue 12 and red 18. The run starts above the treeline, slowly meandering into the depths of the trees before you arrive at the bottom talstation. Be sure to check-out Legna, the wood-decked après-ski bar which plays host to live djs.

Red 144, Zurs

144, Zurs

Grade: Red

Best for: home straight

Red 144 is a perfect run for the end of the day, just two short chair lifts from Zurs, the run follows a natural line between the neighbouring peaks of Flexenspitze and Häsenfluh, offering sweeping alpine views. Ski the wide and open slopes at your pace before skiing the last steep decline which flattens out to a schuss. At the bottom, Flexenhäusl is a great place to refuel with specialities such as fondue Chinoise or juicy ribs on offer. The run can also be slotted in as part of the White Ring circuit through the Arlberg ski area. 

From winding runs to scenic slopes and everything in-between, your journey on skis begins here… Speak to our specialist ski consultants and discover how to incorporate the perfect piste into your next ski holiday.