Skiing has become very popular in the last 30 years. Many people are looking for a challenge and some want the world's longest ski runs to get the most out of their skiing adventure.
* The Grand Tetons in Wyoming, home of Jackson Hole Ski Resort, has the longest downhill ski run in North America. The vertical drop is 4,139 feet down Rendezvous Peak. To reach the peak, skiers ride on a state of the art 100 passenger aerial tram up to the apex of the Rendezvous Bowl.
* You wouldn't think of Japan as a ski destination, but Myoko Suginohara has a ski run that is 5.3 miles! This is absolutely one of the world's longest ski runs.
* New South Wales, Australia is home to Thredbo, and has the longest continual ski run of 3.5 miles beginning at the peak of Karel's T-Bar and ending at Friday Flat. This increasingly popular ski resort is in Mt. Kosciuszko, near Canberra.
* Killington, Vermont is the largest ski resort on the eastern side of North America. The Juggernaut is 10 miles long and not for the faint of heart. There is a shuttle that takes skiers to the base and returns them to the parking lot at day's end.
* Riva Ridge in Vail, Colorado has a 4.5 mile run that has a variety of challenging terrain. This run switches between various skill levels - blue to black and ends off easy.
* Chamonix, France in the European Alps has a gondola that moves skiers to the summit of 12,605 feet. The gondola carries up to 60 passengers. The view from the peak allows you to view three countries simultaneously - Italy, Switzerland and France.
* Mont Blanc in France has a run of 18.5 miles from the peak to the base, but it requires a skier to get a special permit from the government. You also have to find your own way up.
* The Tasman Glacier in New Zealand has a run of about 6.2 miles although the glacier itself spans about 16 miles.
There are inherent dangers in skiing long runs from the highest peaks. Especially in European ski areas, there are seracs which are ice masses the size of a car which can crush a skier. There are also crevasses which may not be visible until it is too late. They drop down for thousands of feet and if you ski into one of them, you will probably never be seen again.
Long runs in North American ski resorts have a different type of hazard, mostly in the form of avalanches. Most of the longer runs are fairly isolated, some of them require a helicopter drop off. It doesn't take much to set off an avalanche and there is no way that you can outrun one on skis.
The world's longest ski runs are reserved for the most experienced skiers, because they require a great deal of muscle strength and endurance. It is important to be in top shape and have enough strength to get to the bottom of the run.