The Daily Telegraph reports on the scariest airports to land at that cater for skiers and snowboarders. For winter sports enthusiasts with a fear of flying, these are the ones to avoid!
The following airports are classified as category C, i.e. they require pilots to have special training before they can land there:
- Chambéry (for resorts like Les Arcs)
- Innsbruck (for resorts like Mayrhofen)
- Salzburg (for resorts like Schladming)
- Sion (for resorts like Verbier)
What makes for these airports to be designated as Category C? The Torygraph goes on to explain: “Challenging visual manoeuvring within the valley, made harder by low-level wind shear (a sudden change of wind velocity and/or direction), come as standard. The approach is fraught with challenges for the aircraft’s captain, who is the only one allowed to fly the plane – the first officer isn’t qualified.”
I can certainly vouch for Innsbruck as the scariest. It is quite an astonishing experience to look out of the cabin window for the approach to the airport, with all the surrounding Alpine peaks seemingly almost close enough to touch as the pilot twists and turns through the descent.
However if you want a really white-knuckle ride into your ski resort, try the small airport in the resort of Courchevel. It is Europe’s highest tarmacked runway and is too short to safely accommodate most types of aircraft. Fewer than 100 pilots have the special “Qualification of Sight” licence required to land there.
Of course there is an alternative if you are not minded to fly for a ski holiday – take the train! There are over 50 ski resorts with railway stations right in the resort (including all those named above). Visit Snow and Rail for more details.