The very mention of their names gets all skiers dreaming, and some of the most coveted slopes are within easy reach of Relais & Châteaux hotels. Discover them before you speed down them...
1. For Mogul addicts
USA: Scarlett’s Run, Aspen
This is one of the high temples of mogul skiing: the Scarlett's Run descent offers technical skiers a real kick, but it’s not just for specialists, because its moguls are more widely spaced than they seem at first glance, and the slope gradient is moderate. Such adventures make the comforts of The Little Nell, its Jacuzzi and bedroom fireplaces all the more welcome. Its Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy is an enthusiastic expert on the wines of Burgundy, and will find you the ideal wine to end your day from his cellar of 20,000 bottles.
2. For Adventurers
Canada: I Gully, Lake Louise
This is the run that experienced skiers dream of: steep and almost always topped with powder snow. First, you have to make your way to the Whitehorn sector to find the nine corridors known as ‘gullies’, whose index letters denote their increasing difficulty, I being the most challenging. Having risen to the challenge, you’ll be all the happier to return to the Post Hotel & Spa set in the breathtaking natural environment of Banff National Park. For max romance, book one of the hotel’s riverside cabins...
3. For nature lovers
Switzerland: the Diavolezza run, Pontresina
This ‘She-Devil’ doesn’t really live up to her name, because what awaits you is a truly divine experience. And it’s not too difficult to access that experience, because she’s equivalent to a red run. This 10-kilometer glacier descent is the longest in Switzerland, and boasts unforgettable views of Piz Palü. It's also an experience to be savored by staying at the Hotel Walther, with its enormous 700 square meter spa through which a natural waterfall flows. The Cristallino is the only place in Europe where you can relax in a cave carved from the green granite of a mountain.
4. For grown-up kids
Germany: the Wallberg luge run, Rottach-Egern
Leave your skis in the rack and lie back... on a luge! Launch yourself on a 6.5 kilometer descent that’s 100% unforgettable, because this is one of the very longest luge runs anywhere. Then you can warm up at the Park-Hotel Egerner Höfe with its warm wood-clad interiors and oh-so-cosy rooms. With a long history of environmental commitment, this hotel was the first in the country to receive the German sustainability award, and sources 80% of its food within 80 kilometers of the hotel.
5. For adrenaline junkies
Italy: the Ventina run, Breuil-Cervinia
At nearly 3,500 meters altitude, launch yourself into 11 kilometers of red run adrenaline rush. One of the most famous runs in Italy, the Ventina alternates glaciers with walls and flat sections, making it one of the country’s most beautiful as well. The Hermitage Hotel & Spa offers courageous skiers well-earned spa treatments with spectacular views of the Matterhorn. Its chef Roberto Pession performs minor miracles with delicious surf-and-turf marriages, including an unforgettable baconwrapped lobster.
6. For forest lovers
Austria: the Wurmkogl run, Hochgurgl
Through the forest, fly down what sometimes seems like a giant toboggan run. It will take you straight to the Top Hotel Hochgurgl, one of the highest Relais & Châteaux hotels in the world at 2,150 meters altitude. Its heated outdoor pool is all the more welcome when you’ve just completed this run. But on no account miss out on the Top Mountain Star restaurant perched on the mountain peak at 3,080 meters above sea level, with spectacular views of the Ötztal Alps and even the Dolomites to the south...
7. For expert skiers
France: the Verte des Houches run
‘Green’ in name only, this Chamonix valley black run is for only the very best skiers. Skiing its 3,400 meters is pure pleasure, especially since large stretches run between pine woods! To unwind afterwards, there’s the Hameau Albert 1er hotel, with its sophisticated mix of Alpine tradition and sumptuous spa. The two Michelin star hotel restaurant is irresistible. Here, Pierre Maillet offers a style of cuisine that manages to be simultaneously simple and sublime, with dishes like scallops served on vegetable carpaccio.