We’ve already previewed Europe’s new lifts that have been built over the summer, but what about the all-important ski runs?

Chris Madoc-Jones takes a look at the seasons latest piste developments, his full round up of new lifts can be found in Issue 2 of this season's Ski+board

Although huge gondolas, 8-seater chairlifts with heated seats and record-breaking cable cars grab the headlines in the run up to winter, sometimes it is the new runs that make the biggest impact. Whether these are gentle, rolling greens or steep bumpy blacks, everyone can appreciate the difference a new run makes to their favourite resort.

When Les 2 Alpes opened their new blue run back to the resort two winters ago, the fanfare was perhaps bigger than had a new lift been built – such was the improvement the run made to the previous end-of-the-day carnage on the home runs.

Here are our favourite new European pistes for the season ahead:

Beginner Pistes:

HEADLINE – Varden, Kvitfjell (Norway)

A whole new mountain has been opened up in the most exciting project in Norway for several years. The Varden area becomes the third ski hill in Lillehammer and a new fast 6-seater has been built to access four prime beginner slopes and ski-in, ski-out accommodation. Just an hour from Lillehammer or three and a half from Oslo, Kvitfjell makes for a perfect weekend destination and now and even more so for beginners.

WORTHY MENTION – Ariondaz, Courchevel (France)

Although no new pistes have technically been built, one of Courchevel best (and probably quietest) beginner areas at Ariondaz above Courchevel 1650 has been completely revamped. All the old, uncomfortable draglifts have been removed, as has the ancient gondola. In their place is a single, rapid 8-seater gondola that promises to make this area even more beginner friendly than before.

Intermediate Pistes:

HEADLINE – Lac de la Chambre, Meribel (France)

The main run down from the Col de Chambre – one of the key connections between Meribel and Val Thorens is the headline this year. The Lac de la Chambre piste on the Méribel side has been remodelled to miss several notoriously steep and icy sections, downgrading to a blue in the process and making it much less intimidating.

WORTHY MENTION – Plein Sud, Val Thorens (France)

Over on the Val Thorens side of the Col de Chambre, a new blue run has been dug out of the mountainside in the Plein Sud sector. It takes a high, scenic route to avoid the chaos of the late-afternoon, post-Folie Douce crowds – great news for families. Added to their new 10-seater Moraine gondola and 2017/18 promises to be even better in VT.

Advanced Pistes:

Mooserwirt Facebook

HEADLINE – Coulouvrier Bowl, Samoëns (France)

An entirely new valley has been opened up in the Grand Massif, above the resort of Samoens. The new Coulouvrier 6-pack that serves the area is the longest of its kind in Europe at 2,850m so the four new pistes are real thigh-burners. Whilst two are rated blue and two red, the off piste potential is huge and the steeper sections of the reds are bound to challenge advanced skiers.

WORTHY MENTION – Route 66 & Route 75, St Anton (Austria)

Two new patrolled, off piste ski routes have been marked on the St Anton piste map for the first time this season, leading from the top of the Galzigbahn towards St Christoph. Look out for Route 66 (a great accidental name) and Route 75 – especially on a powder day when everyone else flocks to Valluga.

Expert Pistes:

Toni Birrer

HEADLINE – Schneehühnerstock, Andermatt (Switzerland)

The biggest ski resort expansion in the Alps continued apace over the summer in Andermatt – with no fewer than three new lifts springing up. And new lifts means new runs, so look out for new reds, a black and two ski routes. Our top choices would be the long snowsure black beneath the new Schneehühnerstock six-seater chair and the steep off piste either side of this challenging piste.

WORTHY MENTION – Mont Gele, Verbier (Switzerland) & Jufen, Kitzbühel (Austria)

Although no new runs have been built at Mont Gele in Verbier, access to this world-famous experts only mountain has been made far more comfortable following a total refit of the cable car that runs to its summit. The same can be said in Kitzbuhel where a new 8-seater has been built to access the top expert area in the resort – the Steinbergkogel.