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From Streif to Kandahar - the most spectacular downhill runs

The most dangerous regular ski slopes in the world: 10 slopes to be afraid of

Steep, icy, dangerous: for some, these ski slopes are a nightmare, for others the destination of all winter sports desires. These ten ski slopes demand everything from the skiers: They are almost vertical descents, ultra-fast, curvy, rocky and rugged. ISPO.com presents the ten most dangerous ski slopes in the world.

The most dangerous regular ski slopes in the world
Nur für Wagemutige: Die spektakulärsten Skipisten der Welt

1st Hahnenkamm downhill, "Streif" Kitzbühel - Austria

 

The "Streif" near Kitzbühel is the epitome of extreme skiing. Hundreds of thousands watch the World Cup downhill every January, when the best skiers in the world hurl themselves down the notorious slope.

Top speeds of over 150 km/h are achieved. The steepest section of the course at the "Mausefalle" (mouse trap) has an almost vertical drop of 85 percent. Jumps of 40, 50 or 60 meters are not uncommon here.

It is rare for all ski racers to survive the 3,312-meter hell ride without falling. And while downhill racers like Didier Cuche or Pirmin Zurbriggen celebrated their greatest successes here, others like Klaus Gattermann or Andreas Buder had to end their careers prematurely after falling on the Streif.

If the pros are not at the start, the downhill is open to all skiers.

 

 

2nd Harakiri run, Zillertal - Austria

You have to be very secure on the boards to keep the name from becoming program on this slope: The "Harakiri" downhill in Mayrhofen is steeper than the run-up of a ski jump. A record-breaking 78 percent slope is in store on the 400-meter long steep section that is part of the two-kilometer long downhill run.

Incidentally, normal preparation of the slope is no longer possible in these extreme conditions. It takes a special winch and a 430-horsepower snow groomer to master this slope.

3. "The Wild West" and "Delirium Dive", Sunshine Village - Canada

 

At Sunshine Village, the slopes are jet black, whether groomed or not. And anyone who thinks it can't get any worse can be disabused of their conviction in the demarcated freeride areas "The Wild West" and "Delirium Dive". No one can get in here without avalanche equipment, and only in good weather.

In the rocky terrain, everyone has to find their own personal descent. The higher you go up the ridge, the lower you go down. It is also strongly recommended to book a guide for professionals who are entering the area for the first time.

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4. La Grave - France

The ski resort of La Grave la Meije is considered a mecca for freeriders in the Alps. There are no groomed slopes here, but ultra-steep slopes with gradients of over 40 degrees on the north side of the mountain massif. Gullies, ice gullies, rock edges and crevasses form the downhill area - a nightmare for the inexperienced, the challenge par excellence for freeride cracks.

To reach the famous downhill run "La Voûte", you first go up to an altitude of about 3,600 meters by cable car and drag lift and then descend on skis.

At 3,000 meters, the active skiers reach the "point of no return": anyone who passes the large warning sign here must make it to the valley on their own. This is only possible if you abseil down a section at around 2,400 meters. After that, a slope with a continuous gradient of 40 to 50 percent awaits you, some of which are barely five meters wide.

5 Corbet's Couloir - USA

 

It all starts with a test of courage: The first jump leads five, maybe six meters into the depths, then it's a steep descent on the boards. The incline is probably around 50 degrees on Corbet's Couloir, framed by the steep rock faces of the Jackson Hole ski area.

Especially at the beginning of this ride, not only courage but all skill is required. If you choose the wrong path or fall, you also come precariously close to the sheer cliffs. Pure adrenaline, until the ever-widening powder surface in front of the GoPro pulls up.

Read here: This avalanche backpack has a jet engine >>>.

6th Lauberhorn Downhill, Wengen - Switzerland.

Against the backdrop of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, it's downhill here - 4.5 kilometers of Lauberhorn downhill in barely three minutes. Motto of the ride: The best comes at the end.

Thus, the first gliding passages are followed by the jump at Hundschopf, the Minsch edge and finally the Hannegschuss, where speeds of over 160 km/h are reached. Steep and technically tricky is then also the finale with the Ziel-S and the 42 degree steep final slope.

 

 

To prevent the worst in the event of a fall, 16 kilometers of safety nets are stretched during the race. In 1991, 21-year-old Austrian racing pro Gernot Reinstadler lost his life when he fell into the nets at the finish line. Since then, cut-proof deflector tarpaulins have also been used.

7th Pista Stelvio, Bormio - Italy

It is not only extremely steep and fast, but also particularly winding - the Pista Stelvio in Bormio. In the World Cup, the Austrians Hermann Maier and Michael Walchhofer, among others, have celebrated several successes here.

The downhill starts with a bang: 63 percent gradient. Then it's into the curves, to the Rocca jump, to the Canalino Sertorelli speed passage and finally through the Hermelin curves to the San Pedro shot. After the 40-meter jump, speeds of 140 km/h are reached.

In total, almost 1,000 meters of altitude are climbed on the 3.18-kilometer course.

8th Long Train, Arlberg - Austria

4.7 kilometers of extreme skiing on groomed slopes and it goes in a dive towards the valley. In the uppermost section of the course - the "Long Train" - the average gradient is 78 percent, reaching 80 percent in between.

9. "Black Scorpions", Silvretta Montafon - Austria

Seven at one stroke, here it would be possible and at the same time a sporting feat: The seven black slopes in the Silvretta Montafon ski area are known as the "Black Scorpions", each of which has an extreme status to defend.

All of them are ultra-steep, and the extreme slopes have a gradient of up to 81 percent. Welcome to the "sportiest ski area" in the world, according to its own advertising.

10th Kandahar Downhill, Garmisch - Germany

 

3,300 meters long, up to 90 percent gradient: The Kandahar run from the Kreuzjoch in the Garmisch-Classic ski area is one of the highlights in the alpine ski circus.

For the men in particular, it goes steeply downhill from the start in a large S-curve, while the ladies start a little lower. The "free fall" in the lower section of the course is considered the steepest passage in the entire World Cup with a good 90 percent gradient.

The course with its up to 60 meter wide jumps and steep sections is technically extremely demanding. In recent years, it has been adapted to the FIS rules, which means that the women's and men's courses are largely separate.

On the old Kandahar course, Austrian Ulrike Maier had a fatal accident at more than 100 km/h in 1994. The two-time world champion was 26 years old.

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