Freeride skiing is a fun and technical sport that is growing in popularity. Many enthusiasts are attracted by the sense of freedom of the off-piste, which is why more and more mountain resorts are equipped to offer safe and adventorous experiences, marking the best spots on maps and installing systems to check that avalanche search equipment is working properly. Safety is the most important requirement to embark on this adventure!
What are the best ski resorts for off-piste skiing? Many freeride enthusiasts would like some advice on this. There are different spots in the European Alps where ski resorts promote safe routes equipped with checkpoints to control weather conditions and avalanche danger.
If you, too, are always looking for new freeride locations to experience the thrill of fresh snow, here is a list of the best and safest places to freeride in the Alps.
1# Freeride Skiing in Valle d’Aosta - Courmayeur
This is one of the most popular destinations for freeriders. Above Plan Checrouit there are two cable cars, the Youla and the Arp, which take you to vast areas for off-piste skiing. In particular, the second goes up to 2,700 meters where no groomed trails start. From there one can descend either to Dolonne (1,200 m) or to La Balma in the valley of Little St. Bernard.
2# Freeride Skiing in Lombardy - Madesimo
While in the lower part of the area we do not find particular slopes for freeriding, in the upper part there are unbeaten routes of unparalleled beauty Below the Groppera cable car, the unbeaten track called Canalone is the only way back from Val di Lei. Skiers who are looking for the unbeaten path can go for the Camosci variant.
3# Freeride Skiing in Austria - Stubai
Stubai is one of the Austrian resorts with the most potential for freeriding - being able to practice it in a safe environment. There are as many as 9 off-piste trails (including the Fernau - Mauer Ski Route and the Bildstockljoch) even marked on the trail maps, two freeride checkpoints in Eisgrat and Gamsgarten that provide necessary information about the trails, weather, snow conditions and avalanche risk. Not only that, at the same stations along with instructions to follow for your own safety, you can quickly check the functioning of your avalanche search devices.
| Keep reading: Freeride skiing in Austria? Top Locations, Gear and Best Season |
4# Freeride Skiing in Switzerland - Zermatt
As many as three lifts arriving over 3,000 meters without slopes but only for freeriders. This is the first fact that emerges when looking at the map of Zermatt. And as if that were not enough, the possibility of heli-skiing as well, which is forbidden for environmental reasons in some Italian regions.
5# Freeride Skiing in Austria - Arlberg
Arlberg six well-connected ski resorts include St. Anton, St. Christoph, Stuben, Zurs, Lech, Warth and Sonnenkopf and form a vast area with countless off-piste skiing opportunities accessible directly from the lifts. St. Anton ski area offers one of the largest freeride areas in the Alps: 200 km of marked off-piste trails, which can also be enjoyed together with expert local guides.
6# Freeride Skiing in South Tyrol - Ortles
In the Ortles area, with its snowy landscapes, freeriders find fun snow slopes for exciting off-piste skiing with varying degrees of difficulty. One of the most popular deep snow descents goes from Cima Beltovo at 3400 meters above sea level to the valley station at 1900 meters above sea level.
Cima Beltovo is easily reached by modern lifts and, thanks to its altitude, enjoys excellent snow until spring. The descent will then become an unforgettable freeride!
Some Tips for Safe Freeride Skiing
Like ski mountaineering, freeriding is an adrenaline-charged experience which entails experience and safety measures, even when the weather conditions are perfect. It is good, therefore, to prevent any emergencies and be equipped with the essential kit made of avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. The former is known in Europe with a French acronym DVA (Détecteur de Victime d'Avalanche) or the Italian one ARTV (Apparecchio di Ricerca dei Travolti in VAlanga). It is an electronic device, i.e., a short-range signal transceiver, which allows easier detection in case of snow burial (not necessarily avalanche).
Probe and shovel, on the other hand, are useful hand tools to facilitate search (the probe) and excavation (the shovel) operations. To this we must then add a number of obvious but too often underestimated recommendations. From a thorough equipment check to provisions to put in your backpack, including energy snacks and minerals, from a gym or fitness training to settling in for a few days at high altitude. Our local guides can provide support before, during and after the descent.
If you too would like to experience the thrill of an authentic off-piste skiing experience, or if you would like to gift this adventure to a friend or partner, all you have to do is choose one of our snow trip. Enjoy the fresh snow, we'll take care of the rest!