Top Ten Extreme Ski Slopes

Beyond Black: The World's Top 10 Classic Steeps
By Peter Oliver & Alistair Wearmouth

You could just go to Chamonix for the views; tucked in a steep-walled valley, the resort is flanked by Europe's highest mountains, among them the monumental slab of rock that is Mont Blanc. However, Chamonix is also the Never Never Land of "if you fall, you die" skiing. Needless to say, if you want get the best out of the area—or stay alive—hiring a mountain guide is well advised.

The resort itself has the reputation of being somewhat disjointed, forcing skiers to shuttle between mountains. However, Les Grands Montets, looming above the resort town of Argentière, offers terrain that is steep, long, and ungroomed—more than making up for any logistical headaches encountered down below. If you do ski or board the face itself—Point de Vue or Pylônes are two options—you'll probably rate the slopes fast rather than terrifying. But the access, riddled with cornices and crevasses, can be a world-class knee-knocker.

If your pre-huck vertigo gets the better of you as you're staring down the barrel of Les Grands Montets' steep face, you can always take in the views from the observation deck. The panorama of the Mont Blanc massif and surrounding glaciers is worth the 120-stair ascent and any potential loss of face with your mates.

Resort Facts



2002-03 lift pass: Five-day "Skipass Mont-Blanc" costs 171 euros


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