Were you inspired by the 2022 Winter Olympics? Here’s some purpose-built Olympic Ski Runs waiting to be explored.
In honour of the Winter Olympics, which have inspired so many of us to hit the slopes, we’ve put together this helpful guide to Olympic ski runs.
From Chamonix to St Moritz and Cortina, take a peek at some of the ski resorts that have played host to Olympic events over the years. Our guide will leave you feeling eager to strap on those skis and tap into your inner Olympian.
What makes a resort worthy of hosting the Winter Olympics? Read on to find out.
Olympic Hosts: 1924
The first ever Winter Olympic Games took place in France 1924, in the Alpine resort of Chamonix. More than 250 athletes from 16 nations took part in 14 events including ice skating, skating and bobsleigh. And when you visit Chamonix today, you can still see remnants of those original Winter games.
Here’s what to look out for next time you’re there:
- The commemorative stone on the Place du Mont-Blanc
- The stained-glass windows of the Saint-Michel Catholic church
- Poster at the Alpine Museum A photo of the Olympic stadium exhibited at Chamonix ice-rink
Le Mont Ski Jump
Le Mont Ski Jump The very first Olympic ski jump was built at the foot of Mont Blanc massif and the “Glacier des Bossons” glacier for the 1924 games and was called “Le Mont” . It was there Jacob Tullin Thams became the first Olympic champion in ski jumping.
St Moritz, Switzerland
Olympic Hosts:1928 & 1948
As the cradle of modern winter sports and a hotspot for winter tourism, St Moritz has also been home to the Olympic Winter Games twice. The 1928 Winter Games were named the“Games of Renewal,” after a 12 year break caused by World War II. Talented Skier Henri Oreiller won two Olympic titles - both for the downhill and the combined. He became the first Frenchman to win Olympic Winter titles.
Olympia Bob Run
The Olympia Bob Run is the oldest bobsleigh track in the world. It officially opened on New Year's Day 1904 and it is located in the Engadin Valley, St. Moritz, Switzerland. If you’re looking to push your limits then how about hurtling down a bobsled run at over 95 kph?
You can join professional skeleton and luge athletes on a heart-stopping 75-second ride down the St. Moritz-Celerina Olympia bob run. For passenger safety, you'll ride in a four-person racing bobsleigh piloted by an experienced driver and another pro will stand by with the brake.
Skeleton Cresta Run
Nothing matches St. Moritz's daredevil Cresta Run. The Cresta Run is a natural ice skeleton racing toboggan track and built in 1884, it is the oldest in the world. The Cresta Run is often considered to be the birthplace of the modern day skeleton and acted as the course for Skeleton events in the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics.
However, Cresta Riding is very different from modern day Skeleton sliding. It requires significant movement on the toboggan in order to navigate the track. Find out more here.
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Olympic Hosts: 1956
Follow the trails of champions and enjoy the adrenaline rush of the spectacular slopes of the Ampezzo valley. The 1956 Winter Olympics were held in Cortina d'Ampezzo, with 820 participants competing in 24 events.
History was truly made at this Winter Olympics:
- These were the first Winter Games to be televised and also the first games to welcome the Soviet Union, who were able to take home the most medals.
- The Olympic Oath was also sworn by a female athlete for the first time. Italian Alpine skier Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo was a bronze medallist in the downhill at the 1952 Oslo Games.
- Austrian Toni Sailer became the first Alpine skier to win three Olympic gold medals in one Games, starting with the giant slalom. He then won the slalom and the downhill by a huge margin.
This black ski slope is an iconic signature of this world-renowned ski resort. It was made famous during the 1956 Winter Olympics, with the victory of the third personal gold medal in the Slalom by Toni Sailer.
The new Vertigine track, (in English "Vertigo") was built specifically for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Cortina 2021, is fast and challenging with a total length of 2,740 meters and a maximum slope grade of 61% on a 840 meters elevation gain.
Challenge yourself on this steep and intense slope. It has a length of 1,320 metres and a maximum slope grade of 55% on a 450 metres elevation gain. It provides amazing views along its entire path and played host to the Man's Giant Slalom during the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Cortina 2021.
Olympia Delle Tofane
The Olympia delle Tofane slope is one of the most well-known and iconic runs of Cortina d'Ampezzo. This impressive slope hosted ski competitions during the 1956 Winter Olympics and also played host to the Womens Ski World Cup. It is notorious for its tricky passages such as the Schuss, which has a maximum slope grade of 65%.
Athletes can reach a maximum speed of 140 kilometres per hour!
Cortina Winter Olympics 2026
The Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are coming back to Italy 70 years after Cortina 1956 and 20 years after Turin 2006. Livigno will host Freestyle and Snowboard competitions, as well as the Olympic Village, in the upcoming Games.
This is the first time that the Games will take place over an area of more than 22 km2. Athletes from around the world will compete in Milan, Cortina d'Ampezzo, and two surrounding provinces: Trento and Bolzano.
The 2026 Olympics will include a focus on the concept of "eco-sustainability." This will be evident in the buildings used for the Games, as they will be temporary structures that can be re-used after the event is over.
Olympic Hosts: 1964 & 1976
Having hosted the Olympic Winter Games twice, Innsbruck certainly knows how to put on a competition. However, during the 1964 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, it seemed as though the snow would melt before the event's end.
The Austrian army rushed to the rescue, carrying 7.5 million kilograms of ice and snow to the Alpine skiing slopes, after which they delivered another 10 million kilograms as a back-up.
The 1976 races are remembered as Franz Klammer’s year, with some describing his gold medal winning run as completely style-less, yet also on the verge of falling several times. He pulled ahead in the last few meters and won at Patscherkofel.
Rosi Mittermaier won gold in the women’s race at Hoadl, while the British racers failed to reach the top 20 that year.
Patscherkofel & Axamer
During both Winter Olympics, these resorts hosted the downhill races for men and women. The men’s downhill races took place at Patscherkofel Mountain and the women’s race took place in Hoadl, Axamer. Why not try them out for yourself? Patscherkofel is labelled red, while Hoadl with its blue label is suitable for beginners.
Val d'Isere, France
Olympic Hosts: 1992
Having secured the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France selected Val d’Isere to stage the men’s alpine skiing events. Only 18 of the events were actually held in Albertville, the other 57 events were hosted in nearby resorts.
Freestyle skiing, short-track speed skating and women's biathlon were added as official Olympic disciplines. Speed skiing, curling and freestyle skiing were the last demonstration sports. It would be the last time demonstration events were included in the Winter Olympics program.
Face de Bellevarde
The famous La Face is Val d’Isere’s signature black run. This knee burning descent is designed for and by champions. This legendary Olympic run is known for its technicality and is one of the steepest slopes in Val d'Isere. It's challenging even for the best of skiers. This black piste is certainly a bragging right for those who face its vertical limits.
Olympic Hosts: 2010
Whistler Olympic Park was home to the Nordic events facilities for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The park is located in the Callaghan Valley, west of Whistler. With close to 90 kilometers of well-marked trails, this area appeals to skiers of all abilities.
There is a 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) Day Lodge located between the ski jumps and cross country area. It has a gift shop, cafeteria, washrooms, lounge and rental centre. The park also has two 6,000 square foot Technical Building in addition to this. One for Cross Country Skiing and one for Biathlon.
Feeling inspired? View our latest ski deals and experience the excitement of the slopes.