It’s all happening on the slopes: The 11 most popular ski circuits

21/11/2022 - SnowTrex

One piste follows the next, sometimes a gentle, wide slope, sometimes a steep, icy descent. Each slope is only skied once and, in the best-case scenario, winter sports enthusiasts don’t have to unstrap their boards even once. If they do, it’s only to enjoy the atmosphere of one of the rustic ski huts. The first ski circuit in the Alps was the White Ring in the Arlberg region, but meanwhile several have been added. SnowTrex has summarized the most famous and spectacular 11 ski circuits.

Ski laps offer fun on the slopes over many contiguous kilometres where powder can be whirled up.

1 Run of Fame at the Arlberg (Austria)

An entirely new dimension was opened with the “Run of Fame” on the Arlberg: Probably the longest ski circuit in the Alps, it covers an incredible 85 kilometres of piste and 18,000 metres of altitude. The route runs from St. Anton/Rendl via Lech and Zürs to Warth and back again, so it is possible to start at almost any point in the Arlberg ski area. The focus is not only on exciting downhill runs and pure fun on the slopes. In addition, special “Run of Fame” boards pay homage to the skiing heroes of the Arlberg, including Mario Matt and Egon Zimmermann.

2. Mountain hunter tour around the Col di Lana (Italy)

An exciting ski circuit through the Dolomites is the approximately 80 km long Gebirgsjägertour. With equally unique mountain scenery, the loop runs around the Col di Lana past the famous peaks of Civetta, Monte Pelmos and many more. A popular starting point for the Mountain Hunter Tour is the Civetta ski area, but other entrances are also possible in Arabba, Corvara, Malga Ciapela and S. Cassiano.

3. Skcircus circuit in Saalbach-Hinterglemm (Austria)

65 kilometres and 12,400 metres in altitude – the Skicircus circuit is probably one of the longest circuits of its kind in the Alpine region. Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn have joined forces. The various circuits are connected thanks to the most modern lifts, and on the Tirol circuit skiers even ski across the national borders. A whole day should definitely be planned for covering the 65 kilometres. If that’s too much for you, you can split the four routes. All in all, challenging routes peppered with ice slabs, narrows and steep sections, but also gentle alpine meadows and flat passages await all adventurers.

4. Glacier loop in the Zillertal 3000 (Austria)

In one day, 60 kilometres of downhill skiing and 15,000 metres of altitude difference can be conquered on the Glacier Circuit in the Zillertal. From blue to black slopes, from beginners to advanced skiers – here every skier gets his money’s worth. Highlights of the ski circuit are the panorama run “Piste 66” with a spectacular view of the imposing peaks of the Tux mountains and the 7 km long valley run “Schwarze Pfanne” to Hintertux.

5. Smugglers’ circuit in Ischgl-Samnaun (Austria)

The Smuggler’s Round in the Silvretta Arena gets its name from earlier times, when the Paznaun border area was a popular smuggling region. Backpacks of goods were smuggled from Switzerland to Austria. Today, winter sports enthusiasts can experience the special pleasure of the slopes here and also shop duty-free on the Swiss side. The ski circuit is divided into three categories: Bronze, Silver and Gold, with skiers able to ski up to 35 kilometres of piste. Depending on the level of skiing, there are slopes for everyone. The ski circuit does not necessarily have to start in Ischgl, but can also be started from Samnaun.

On a trip on the “smuggler’s circuit” between Ischgl and Samnaun, skiers can shop duty-free in Switzerland at the same time.

6. Königstour in the Hochkönig region (Austria)

With its 35 km, the Königstour is one of the longest ski circuits in the Alps and can be started from anywhere. It was only established in 2012. Skiers have to conquer 6 peaks on the trip through the areas of Maria Alm, Dienten and Mühlbach. Always in view: the Hochkönig and the Steinerne Meer. Among the slopes are, for example, the delightful Kingscab run, whose starting point offers a magnificent view.

7. Giro delle Cime in the Dolomites (Italy)

The Giro delle Cime ski circuit starts in Versciaco at 2,200 metres above sea level. Which is also the highest point of the tour. With an impressive view of the Dolomites, you set off on an exciting 34 km long journey of discovery. On sunny descents, winter sports enthusiasts pass a horde of reindeer, ski the Marc Girardelli piste, cross the provincial border of South Tyrol and Belluno and finally arrive back at the starting point of Versciaco. All this on a single ski circuit: the Giro delle Cime.

8. Sellaronda on the Sella Mountain Massif (Italy)

The classic ski circuit is the Sellaronda. Gondolas and lifts encircle the Sella mountain massif like a necklace. The Sellaronda covers 27 km and connects the 4 Ladin valleys of Val Gardena, Alta Badia, Arabba and Val di Fassa. The Sellaronda is virtually the distribution circuit for the entire network of pistes in the central Dolomites. And that is what makes it so attractive: interesting side trips to the neighbouring ski areas are possible at any time. The circuit can be skied in both directions – marked by green or orange signs.

The Sellaronda is the classic ski circuit.

9. White Ring in the Arlberg region (Austria)

It was the first ski circuit in the Alps. Winter sports enthusiasts cover a 22-km route and 5,500 metres in altitude on the White Ring around Zürs and Lech – but only clockwise. There is no lift connection from Zug to Madloch for a trip in the opposite direction. But this Madloch is precisely one reason why the White Ring is so popular with freeriders. Here – and in many other places – they find many variant descents that never make the ski round boring. You also shouldn’t miss the fantastic view from the mountain station of the Rüfikopfbahn. This is also an ideal starting point for the tour itself.

10. Tauern circuit in Obertauern (Austria)

Once around the village – clockwise or anticlockwise – is the way to go in Obertauern. Modern lifts and ski bridges conveniently connect the two sides of the ski area. The approx. 12 km long Tauernrunde includes beautiful deep snow slopes next to the pistes and some challenging routes. The “G2” below the Gamsleitenspitze, for example, is considered one of the steepest mogul pistes in the Alpine region. Even though it is no longer as scary as it used to be, thanks to grooming with snowcats hanging from steel cables. To complete the Tauernrunde, skiing the G2 is optional. It is more of a detour for particularly ambitious skiers and not a compulsory part of the round.

11. Matterhorn Ski Safari in Zermatt (Switzerland/Italy)

This round trip demands a lot from the thigh muscles. On the Matterhorn Ski Safari, winter sports enthusiasts conquer 12,500 metres in altitude – or 10,500 in a less strenuous form. They are compensated for their efforts with spectacular panoramic views of the Matterhorn and the glaciated 4,000-metre peaks all around. Between Zermatt in Switzerland and Vatournenche in Italy, skiers move between 1,500 and 3,900 metres above sea level. This is precisely why the 118 km loop is feared in the depths of winter. In December and January it can be freezing.

On the Matterhorn Ski Safari, skiers move around the famous Matterhorn.

Tobogganing in the Alps: The best toboggan runs for sledging

Tobogganing means rushing out with a shouldered sledge when the first snow falls and ...

The 100 most popular mountain huts in the Alps

Mountain huts, also known as refuges, are far more than just mere stopovers or ...