Delirium Dive Banff P Dan Hudson

Hardcore skiing doesn’t begin and end with trekking miles off-piste or emptying your wallet for a trip in a helicopter.

If you’ve mastered the reds and think you’re pretty hot on moguls, there’s still plenty of crazy challenges clearly marked on your piste map.

We’ve flagged up the biggest and best of them so get out there and test yourself...

CorbetsCouloir P ski

No rundown of terriyfing ski runs is complete without mentioning the infamous Corbet’s Couloir in Jackson’s Hole, Wyoming.

Skier Magazine named it as the number four on their list of '50 Things To Before You Die'

The hardest section is the drop in - a 20ft freefall off the cornice into a narrow couloir, surrounded by rock on three sides. The less hardy can drop in further down, where it opens out into an expert black run. 

It was famously named after ski instructor Barry Corbet who spotted the funnel-shaped crease and said "Someday I will ski that". It was in fact local ski patroller Lonnie Ball who was the first to conquer it in 1967. 


You've probably heard of this one - it's known as the Swiss Wall. You’ll quickly realise why as you journey up the Chavanette chairlift.

Once you’ve navigated your way through huddles of nervous school kids, you'll find yourself at the top of a pretty monster run.

The first 50 to 100m is the most troubling segment with a 55% gradient and covered in moguls deserving of their own drag lifts. This is definitely a no-fall zone, as once you get going you won’t stop 'til you hit the base. 

It lies on the border of France and Switzerland in the Portes du Soleil. So you begin in France and get a stiff drink at the bottom in Switzerland.

Harakiri P

This is one infamous. The word 'hara-kiri' comes from the term for a ritual suicide method favoured by Japanese samurai.

It's generally regarded as the steepest piste in the Alps with a whopping 78 per cent gradient, running for a thigh-burning 1.5km. Not only that, it tends to be pretty icy. Not generally advised for beginner skiiers.

Grand Couloir P

This run is hard enough to get to, let alone ski. The piste is reachable by cable car, that’s fine, but the entrance to the Grand Couloir is at the end of 200m long ridge, little more than a few metres wide and often iced up.

Once you’ve braved that you’re faced with a steep, testing mogul field down to the bottom. To say that it's treacherous when icy is an understatement. 

The Grand Couloir is the only one marked on your piste map but is actually next to two even more difficult couloirs – the Sous Pylons and the Emile Allais. Come back for those after conquering the Grand Couloir.

Delirium Dive Banff P Dan Hudson

The equation for Delirium Dive, one of the most famous runs in North America, goes something like this. Steep + rocky + narrow = highly avalanche prone. 

It starts with a hellish rock-strewn descent that funnels into a tight channel at a pitch of 50 degrees. It's so sketchy that riders are only allowed through the special access gate if they've got a transceiver strapped to them. 

Desperate to conquer the Dive? Sign up to a guided private lesson with Sunshine Village's ski school. 

le tunnel P

La Sarenne is the world's longest ski run at 13km, but the gnarliest in Alpe d'Huez has got to be Le Tunnel. 

You can see exactly what you're in for from the cable car. Think vertical drops and icy death descents starting at 3,300m. It starts with a narrow steep tunnel that quickly spills out onto a side-slipping mogul field.

Snowboarders in particular will despise Le Tunnel. In fact so will skiiers. But if you're looking for a challenge, then you know where to head... 

Body-Bag-and-Dead-End-Chutes-0 P

With a name like Body Bag, you know it's hardly going to be a cruisy blue run. 

The approach is truly terrifying. All can you see is the horizon, before looking down the drop off. It's a stomach-churning 275ft vertical descent at 50 degrees. 

This run forms one section of the Freeride World Tour, which just goes to show that if it's gnarly enough to host this comp, then it's probably too gnarly for you. 

Watch out for nasty tree trunks, narrow chutes and cliff drops. If you take a tumble, then you're looking at a seriously long (and rocky) snowball down to the bottom.

la-grave P unofficialnetworks

If you're looking for something to boast about when you get home, get a photo of yourself shredding La Grave. But only if you've got a guide with you as this area is an avalanche hotspot. 

It's a famously unpisted area with ski patrollers but no avalanche control, hence the risk. But the descents are truly jaw-dropping.

It's not only the home to the gnarliest terrain in the Alps, the peak - the Girose Glacier - is also pretty damn difficult to access. Les Deux Alpes is the nearest resort but a 2km slog with your gear is in order to make it there.

christmaschute P

Take Chair 6 in the Alaskan resort of Alyeska and you'll find yourself peering down Christmas Chute. It's a 45 degree drop into a mist-covered couloir with walls of rock shooting up either side of you. 

Why is it called Christmas Chute? Maybe because there's a strong chance you won't make it to next Christmas. 

Once you've tackled the steep chute, the run opens out into a pristine pow field, that's best ridden after a huge dump. Which is highly likely because Alyeska is known for having the highest annual snowfall of any North American resort. 

Even more appealing is the fact that you don't even need a helicopter to access it. Just one long ride up the chairlift. What are you waiting for?

tortin switzerland

In typical European style, Tortin in Verbier is only rated as an intermediate piste despite being considered one of the sketchiest runs on the continent.

Make sure you go on a powder day. The snow absorbs the shock on the way down and won't leave your legs feeling too destroyed after the bumpy descent. 

You can access the run by following a traverse and then picking your own drop in. Be warned - the descent does not get easier as you ride down. The moguls get gnarlier and more mountainous the further you go.