How To Find Amazing Ski Routes In All Major Destinations
Often when skiing, you want the most interesting and challenging days possible. Just going up and down the easiest slopes is not very testing – so a fun piste or route is a great idea. However, the most exciting ones are not always the easiest to get to. Sometimes they're hard to find or off the beaten track - some remain secret routes for the most dedicated and experienced skiers. Lots of resorts and ski companies have their own challenges. We at Ski Peak are no different and implore you to try and achieve them when next on a holiday to Vaujany. If you are thinking of planning a trip to this wonderful part of the world and would like some help, then answer a few questions here and we'll be delighted to offer some helpful advice!
So how do you find these dynamite routes? Well, we’ve put together a few tips on the easiest way to locate these local gems – so slide on your imaginary skis, strap on a helmet, and get looking!
Look at the pistemap
Every resort offers free piste maps. These can be found at the kiosk where you obtain your lift pass, where the ski school office is and at the tourist office. Your luxury accommodation should also offer these, at reception or in the lounge. They can also be found online. It's a good idea to study the piste map and get to grips with the name of the areas. Alpe d'Huez for example, has five satellite villages, providing a good indicator of where on the mountain you are and which directions/piste you need to take to end up where you want to be. The piste map also has restaurant details on, so you can phone ahead and make a reservation for your perfect 'plat du jour'. Terrain parks are marked in colours, brilliant for an adventurous family or keen teenager.
By understanding the layout of the mountain early on, it means that when you do finally get all geared up and head up, you can make the best use of your time.
Use a pathfinding website
In older days, you would have to rely on resort maps or word of mouth to find the best slopes – but that is no longer the case. Using ever-improving map technology, people have created websites and apps that provide detailed maps of a resort’s routes and their location! A website like pistepro.com or FatMap have a database of numerous resorts around the world, and provides a detailed map of the pistes at these resorts, geographical data and info on the facilities – and even has travel information. As such, you are given the ability to check out and find the best routes a resort has to offer – all in the palm of your hand! Sites like Pistepro are perfect if you prefer to go solo and search out and explore a piste by yourself.
Sometimes the most obvious options are some of the best. If you want to know where the best ski routes are, ask around. When you get to your resort, check in with any of the employees that oversee the slopes, and ask them what the best routes around are. Given that it’s literally their job to know about the slopes and their various difficulties, employees will be able to direct you to a path that has the perfect mix of difficulty and fun for you.
A lot of the French tour operators like us used to offer a 'ski friends' service, showing people around the mountain but due to new French Law this is now illegal. Clients sometimes befriend the ski shop employees, barman at the various watering holes, lifties and general locals. Two places in Vaujany where all can be found are at La Scratch bar and at Stiefs... Seasonaire hangouts and great places to meet people.
Talk to people who have already been
One of the best ways to find a top-notch slope is to ask someone who has already been to the resort that you are visiting. There is nothing like the knowledge of a fellow enthusiast and friend, so seek out people who have been to the resort and ask them for information. If they’re a skiing fanatic like you, they’ll be eager to let you know what special secrets and thrills they managed to find during their time on the slopes. You can ask people that you personally know, or you can seek out answers online. There are various skiing forums online, all with people as eager to share and discover information as you are!
Find a local instructor or guide
All established ski destinations have an abundance of skiing instructors and snowboarding instructors. If you think you don't need any lessons (think again) then the other option is to hire a guide. But be warned these guys are into backcountry so get your 'off piste' attire on and gear up with avalanche probe, shovel and bleep. Either way, approaching and hiring these professionals is a really good way to find out some of the best routes to take. Instructors and guides are commonly enthusiastic about what they do and knowing all the best places to find great snow is what they pride themselves in. Once you have used their services once or twice, they shouldn’t have any problem sharing further knowledge with you so that you can make the most of your time on the slopes.
Keen to get the wheels in motion for your next ski holiday? Then complete our short survey and let us help you plan the perfect ski trip away! There really is so many ways to find great ski paths so that your limited time on the slopes is spent enjoying yourself and pushing yourself to the limits. Happy searching!