How long is a piece of piste?

Not as long as you might think, says this year’s Where to Ski and Snowboard.

Britain’s only annual ski resort guidebook has become known in its 21 years of publication as ‘the skier’s bible’ – the impartial, warts-and-all guidebook that all keen skiers turn to when weighing up their holiday options.

But the guide’s editors don’t confine themselves to advice on where to go. From their time as editors at Which? magazine, they have inherited a strong campaigning spirit too. And this year the book brings news both good and bad of its campaign for simple, honest information about the size of Europe’s ski areas.

For many years Where to Ski and Snowboard has expressed doubts about the size claims of some particular resorts that didn’t seem to live up to the figures (Monterosa Ski and Courmayeur in Italy and Les Deux-Alpes in France, for example).

Then, two years ago, the book revealed the scandalous findings of German consultant Christoph Schrahe. The great majority of resorts were exaggerating the total length of the ski runs they offered, and often by serious amounts – sometimes by 50% or so, and in some cases doubling the real figure. Naturally, this revelation caused a bit of a stir in the skiing industry.

This year’s book reports signs of progress, particularly in Austria. Some resorts have come clean and reduced their claimed figures, sometimes by huge amounts. And a couple of famous resorts – Kitzbühel and Saalbach-Hinterglemm – have joined a German scheme, supported by Where to Ski and Snowboard, to have their figures independently verified. So far, so good.

On the other hand, the book reports that some resorts are finding ways to make the situation even more complex and confusing, by making claims about the area of their ski slopes rather than their length – a trend that’s to be regretted and resisted, says Where to Ski and Snowboard.

What’s more, the book reveals this year that even claims about the length of individual runs are liable to be exaggerated. The run consistently promoted as the longest piste in the Alps, it turns out, is not even in the top ten.

As you’ll gather, the editors of Where to Ski and Snowboard are genuine seekers after truth. The same dedication to telling it like it is runs through their appraisals of 300+ resorts that form the heart of the book, published by NortonWood and available from all good bookshops or online at a discount price at