The New Alps Hotlist

Feb 1, 2006
Outside Magazine

AN ALPS ICON: The Matterhorn in Zermat, Switzerland

Ski Camps
Vert Alert

Steep Skiing Camps Worldwide, La Grave, France. American freeskier Doug Coombs presides over a thrilling ski week in hairy terrain. Campers learn couloir etiquette, beacon drills, and more.

Chocolate Freeride Productions, Verbier, Switzerland. Intended for solid skiers wishing to safely graduate to big-mountain freeriding, weeklong courses sample Verbier's mammoth off-piste.
—R. S.

Epic Rambles

Portes du Soleil is a sprawling resort in southeastern France that houses 209 lifts and, in summer, 373 miles of mountain-bike trails. Ride from village to village, using the lifts and granny gears to pedal to a different hotel each night. Traces Directes organizes tours and can help get your bags from bed to bed. $1,330 for five days; 011-33-4-50-74-7040

SwisSkiSafari uses helicopters to access 7,000-vertical-foot descents in the Swiss backcountry and chill time at five-star front-country hotels. In between, blast down groomers in Saas Fee, Zermatt, and Verbier. Four days of skiing, meals, and accommodations, $7,900; 011-41-27-398-2194,

KE Adventure Travel's guides will show you how to crampon and piolet your way along France's Mer de Glace, Glacier des Rognons, and even up the Mont Blanc du Tacul, a 14,000-foot peak. Eight-day trip out of Chamonix, $2,555; 800-497-9675,
—Tim Neville

Sheer Madness

Engelberg, Switzerland: Snow-porn stars Shane McConkey, Jamie Pierre, and Micah Black all visited this resort last season. Why? To ride in-bounds treats like Steinberg (4,000 crevasse-riddled vertical feet) and backcountry steeps like Galtiberg (a 6,500-foot plunge). A local guide is highly recommended.

La Grave, France: The Anti-Whistler, La Grave has no pedestrian village, disco, or official ski patrol. Instead, there's 7,000 vertical feet of no-beginners-allowed terrain.

Dammkar, Germany: Featuring a bigger–than–Jackson Hole vertical of 4,300 feet, Dammkar also gets some of the best snow in Bavaria. The area's recent decision to quit grooming explains its official name: Dammkar Freeride.

Courmayeur, Italy: Courmayeur is Chamonix's conjoined twin to the south. Above the first stage of its creaky Telepheriques du Mont Blanc cable car? Topless sunbathers. Above the third? A descent down 6,888 vertical feet of the Toula Glacier, highlighted by chutes approaching 50 degrees.