As its spooky season, we’re taking a look at some of the scariest places in the world to go skiing.
Le Mur Suisse aka ‘The Swiss Wall’ (Switzerland).
Its proper name is Le Pas de Chavanette, and it’s located on the border of France and Switzerland in the Portes du Soleil ski area. It can be reached via the French resort of Avoriaz, and from the Swiss towns of Champéry and Les Crosets.
Its scare factor comes from its terrifyingly steep start, accompanied by the fact that it has moguls throughout which, depending on conditions, can reach the size of a small car. The first 50 metres is where your fate is normally sealed, a very narrow 40 degree slope with the rocky edge of mountains either side of you. If you are to conquer ‘The Swiss Wall’, this leap of faith cannot be avoided, and unless there has been fresh snow it can also get very icy which adds to the already daunting challenge.
If you’re reading this you’ll probably be well aware of the standard classification that indicates the general difficulty of a ski slope - Green = Very Easy, Blue = Easy, Red = Intermediate and Black = Difficult. Well Le Pas de Chavanette (‘The Swiss Wall’) is rated as Orange, which essentially means it is too difficult to fall into the standard classifications. Our advice for what it’s worth, is to only take on this beast if you are an experienced and skilled skier. And even then, it’s likely to get your heart rate going and give you a freight or two along the way.
Corbet's Couloir (Jackson Hole, USA).
Dubbed the ‘scariest run in the United States’, Corbet's Couloir is located at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. The run is named after former ski instructor Barry Corbet, who famously spotted the unlikely slope and remarked, “someday someone will ski that.” Well he was right, the first person to ski it was local ski patroller Lonnie Ball in 1967.
It has very similar terrifying traits to ‘The Swiss Wall’, which makes it internationally renowned and only advisable to take on for the most expert skiers and snowboarders.
Harakiri (Mayrhofen, Austria).
The name ‘Harakiri’ is a Japanese word, also known as ‘seppuku’ - which is essentially a kind of samurai code of honour, whereby you cut open your own belly as a form of ritual suicide. Yeah we know, pretty grim. But that is the definition, and so without even seeing this slope you can already tell it’s not going to be for the faint hearted.
Located in the popular Austrian ski resort of Mayrhofen, Harakiri is 1500 metres long, with an incline of up to 78% and a vertical drop of 375 metres. It is the steepest groomed slope in Austria and requires unique maintenance due to its extreme inclination, which makes it steeper than the start of a pepper ski jump.
If you’re in the vicinity of any of these ski slopes and fancy adding your name to their list of conquerors, just make sure you know what you’re doing and don’t say we didn’t warn you…oh, and good luck!