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All resorts love to boast about their on-piste mileage, but the long and the short of it is that they may have been guilty of some pretty outrageous exaggeration.
piste marker for size matters

Drawing heavily on the work of dedicated German expert Christoph Schrahe, Where to Ski and Snowboard 2014 – the annual guide to snowsports resorts – has this year revealed that most of the well-known winter destinations exaggerate the extent of their pistes by amounts that will shock many of us.

After all, when choosing their resort, most avid skiers and boarders will factor in the total length or area of the available runs. However, the numbers from the resorts, normally compiled by the lift companies, often grossly overstate the actual figures.

Where to Ski and Snowboard 2014 co-editor Chris Gill says: ‘Throughout the time we have been producing this book – perilously close to 20 years, now – we’ve had trouble accepting the claims of certain resorts. Among those that come to mind are Courmayeur and Monterosa in Italy, Les Deux-Alpes in southern France and the 4 Valleys area in Switzerland, in which Verbier is the senior partner. As it happens, two of these cases were resolved over a year ago – the two Italian resorts have conceded that they were exaggerating.’

Co-editor Dave Watts added: ‘We have made some attempts to find out how resorts arrive at figures that seem to overstate their piste extents. And the Grand Massif, for example, told us that its measurement is almost exactly the same as Schrahe’s but it adds on 57% to take account of the fact that you make turns, rather than going straight down the slopes!’

Some saints
Where the claimed total more or less equals the measured total
St Anton-Stuben

Some sinners
Where the claimed total is more than double the measured total
Isola 2000
4 Valleys (Verbier etc)
Les Sybelles
Where to Ski and Snowboard 2014 (£18.99, NortonWood Publishing) is available from bookshops and many equipment shops, or from

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