© Tirol Werbung / Rodler Ilvy
Food & Drink
© Bert Heinzelmeier
© Tirol Werbung / Aichner Bernhard
Arts & Culture
© Tirol Werbung / Moore Casey
© Tirol Werbung / Herbig Hans
© Tirol Werbung / Schwarz Jens
Bits & Pieces
© Tirol Werbung / Neusser Peter
Jagdhausalmen Alpine Pastures, Defereggen, East Tirol, Austria, Europe

Five Legendary Ski Runs

Updated on 13.11.2023 in Sports


With 3,400 kilometers of ski runs, Tirol has some serious mileage on offer. Skiing and snowboarding come in many forms, and though every Tirol ski resort offers an amazing variety of terrain, each has its own flavour. If you fancy setting yourself a challenge or adding to your ski bucket list, check out these five runs below. Here, we uncover the steepest, the deepest, the longest, the most famous and the one that went down in history.

1. The Run that went down in History

Olympic Downhill Run, Innsbruck

In 1976, Franz Klammer had the weight of a nation on his shoulder as he embarked on his unforgettable journey down the slopes of Patscherkofel. There were over 60,000 spectators lining the course and surrounding the finish line, all urging him to win Olympic gold on home territory. Klammer careened down the mountainside in his bright yellow ski suit, wildly waving his arms and ski poles to stay vertical. He leapt, he bounced, and he bumped. His skis flew out at odd angles. He teetered perpetually on the edge of disaster. At times he seemed to be falling more than skiing. At the Bäreneck (literally “Bear’s Corner”) part of the course he instinctively took a very high turn – almost brushing the crowd. Behind at the split, he recovered to win by 0.33 seconds. One of the defining moments not just of downhill skiing, but also of the history of the Winter Olympic Games! That moment went down in sports history and built global reputation for Patscherkofel, the mountain in Innsbruck’s backyard.

Photo Credit: TVB Innsbruck / Christian VorhoferPhoto Credit: TVB Innsbruck / Christian Vorhofer

2. The Most Treacherous

Valluga North, St. Anton am Arlberg

The ultimate aim of any skier coming to St. Anton is to take on the steep faces of the Valluga Mountain on a powder day. However, this run down the north face of Valluga is serious business. This experts-only, ungroomed terrain at St. Anton Ski Resort is tricky, with a steep descent of the mountain’s north face. Valluga North is essentially a “no fall zone”, as it is circled by cliffs. When conditions are deemed suitable, the 2,809-meter peak, the highest mountain of Arlberg Area, can be accessed by the tiny Valluga II lift, which inches its way up from the Valluga I cable car. Valluga II opens up some seriously extreme terrain. So serious in fact that you are not allowed to enter the gondola with skis or board unless you are accompanied by a qualified guide. Those without skis or board can soak in sweeping views from the dramatic panorama platform that perches over the steep slopes that fall away on all sides.

3. The Longest

Schwarze Schneid, Sölden

Schwarze Schneid in Sölden is a tiring and leg-burning run that requires staggering endurance. Running from top to bottom over a total distance of 15 kilometers, this is the longest groomed downhill ski run in Austria. Starting from the top of Rettenbachferner Glacier, it has an impressive vertical drop of 2,000 meters over its leg-jellying descent to the base of Gaislachkogelbahn Gondola. Moreover, Schwarze Schneid tops out at the highest elevation you can reach by gondola in Ötztal Valley. Another nationwide bragging right: The backdrop of peaks at over 3,000 meters is something to behold and Sölden Ski Resort boasts three (!) lift-served Three-Thousanders—this is a real mountain experience with plenty of adventure on tap.

Photo Credit: Ötztal Tourismus / Philipp HorakPhoto Credit: Ötztal Tourismus / Philipp Horak

4. The Most (In)Famous

Streif, Kitzbühel

Each January, the Hahnenkamm World Cup Races are watched by 260 million TV viewers worldwide, and a further 90,000 pour into Kitzbühel to see the most celebrated event on the ski racing calendar. No ski race is bathed in such glamour and mortal danger as the infamous “Streif”, this wicked, twisting, insane snake of a run. Jumps up to 80 metres. Gradients of 85 per cent. This slick, steep, twisty track propels the skiers up to speeds as fast as 140kph and averages of over 100kph, and has played host to more than its fair share of devastating crashes over the years. The combination of steepness, iciness and demanding technical turns make this the most frightening and challenging run on the World Cup circuit. The Streif is open to the public for the rest of the season – anyone can tackle this beast of a run. If they dare, of course…

5. The Steepest

Harakiri, Mayrhofen

Looking for white-knuckle verticals? The thrilling double black Harakiri Trail in Mayrhofen rakes in hard-core honours for being Austria’s steepest downhill run. “Only for well trained skiers,” says the sign at the top. If that’s not enough to instill a sense of dread, the angle of descent will – with a 78 percent grade (translation: very steep), this is a no-fear zone for expert skiers and boarders only. A Japanese term referring to the ritual suicide performed by a samurai, the name “Harakiri” might just foreshadow the fate of those brave but not technically qualified enough to attempt skiing it. Fall here and it’s a long way down! For those looking for something less challenging, there are also less steeper runs, such as “Devil’s Run, which doesn’t turn into double blacks.

You might also be interested in

Having worked overseas for years, Klaus Brunner returned home to explore Tirol with his camera and microphone in tow. Home is where the heart is.

Last article from Klaus
Updated on 12.02.2024 in Recommendations
8 Amazing Romantic Getaways in Tirol
5 min reading time
Updated on 22.01.2024 in Recommendations
5 Ski Resorts Easily Accessible by Train
3 min reading time
Dolomiten Hut in East Tirol. Photo by TVB Osttirol
, © TVB Osttirol, Zlöbl
Updated on 08.01.2024 in Recommendations
Five Unforgettable Places to Stay
3 min reading time
Summer solstice fires in Tirol
Updated on 12.06.2023 in Arts & Culture
Summer solstice fires in Tirol
4 min reading time
Updated on 24.04.2023 in Food & Drink
The Top Beers from Tirol
14 min reading time
A wonderfully crispy dessert from Tirol that is fun to make at home: “Strauben”
Updated on 27.05.2021 in Food & Drink
“Strauben”: The Original Recipe to Try at Home
3 min reading time
Updated on 06.04.2021 in Food & Drink
"Apfelradln": Enjoy the Taste of Tirol at Home
3 min reading time
Updated on 19.03.2021 in Recommendations
Ten Virtual Museums and Guided Tours in Tirol
5 min reading time
TW Berufe Mayrhofen  – Penken Harakiri Die steilste Piste Öster
Updated on 14.01.2021 in People
Making Corduroy: The Ski Groomer on Harakiri Run
4 min reading time
Updated on 07.12.2020 in Arts & Culture
Playlist: Top 7 Christmas Carols from Tirol
4 min reading time
Stams_Stamser Alm
Updated on 16.11.2020 in Food & Drink
Superfood from Tirol: “Graukäse” and “Zieger”
5 min reading time
Updated on 02.07.2020 in Food & Drink
Buchteln: A Sweet Treat from Tirol
4 min reading time
Innsbruck, Nordkette
Updated on 28.05.2020 in Arts & Culture
Climb Every Mountain: Summit Crosses in Tirol
3 min reading time
Updated on 02.03.2020 in Recommendations
Ask a Local: Fieberbrunn
5 min reading time
Updated on 13.11.2019 in People
The Reutte Helicopter Rescue Team
5 min reading time
Updated on 07.11.2019 in Food & Drink
Wine from Tirol: when vines begin to climb
6 min reading time
Christine Silberberger from Auffach – the Wildschönau native truly loves her home region.
Updated on 06.10.2019 in Recommendations
Ask a Local: Wildschönau
5 min reading time
Oberried Climbing Area in Ötztal Valley. Photo Credit: Tirol Werbung
Updated on 18.06.2019 in Sports
Five Rock Climbing Areas for All Ages
3 min reading time
A scenic mountain walk coupled with indulgent gastronomic experiences: Burgeralm. PHOTO CREDIT: FRANK BAUER
Updated on 16.04.2019 in Food & Drink
Burgeralm: A Haven for Cheese Lovers
4 min reading time
DJ Gerhard Schmiderer at the Mooserwirt Après Ski Bar in St Anton.
Updated on 12.02.2019 in People
The DJ at the Mother of all Après Ski Bars
5 min reading time
Gasthof Gemse in Zams
Updated on 14.12.2018 in Bits & Pieces
Five Cozy Fine-Dining Gems in Tirol
3 min reading time
Exterior view with Jesuit Church | Photo Credits: Günther Egger
Updated on 11.12.2018 in Arts & Culture
The “House of Music” in Innsbruck
4 min reading time
Wörgl, Bahnhof, Abfahrtsanzeige
Updated on 12.09.2018 in Recommendations
Bike carriage with public transport in Tirol
6 min reading time
Westendorf, Hinterwindau, Käsealm Straubing
Updated on 25.04.2018 in Sports
eMTB Riding Tips & Techniques for Beginners
3 min reading time
Ask a local: Innsbruck
27.03.2024 in Recommendations
Ask a Local: Innsbruck
4 min reading time
tirol werbung-hofgarten-blanchard-9787
09.06.2023 in People
The Keepers of the Salvenkirchlein Church
5 min reading time
All articles from Klaus
No comments available
Write comment

Keep reading

Go up

Is your inbox in need of a holiday?

Then subscribe to our weekly newsletter full of exclusive holiday tips from Tirol!