The Steinerne Rinne couloir from the north with the peaks of Predigtstuhl (l) and Fleischbank (r) in the Austrian Kaisergebirge

A couloir (from the French word meaning "passage" or "corridor,") is a narrow gully with a steep gradient in a mountainous terrain.[1] A couloir may be a seam, scar, or fissure, or vertical crevasse in an otherwise solid mountain mass. Though often hemmed-in by sheer cliff walls, couloirs may also be less well-defined, often simply being a line of broken talus or scree ascending the mountainside and bordered by trees or other natural features. Couloirs are especially significant in winter months when they may be filled in with snow or ice, becoming much more noticeable than in warmer months when the majority of the snow and ice may recede. These physical features make the use of couloirs popular for both skiing and mountaineering.

While in the United States such terrain features are uncommon on ski resorts, they are more common in Europe. Couloirs are frequently considered an off-piste trail and as such are not marked on ski piste maps. Some exceptions to this include the Grand Couloir in Courchevel, France which has historically variable classifications, but is now graded as a black run under French piste difficulty grading. The Massif du Mont Blanc has many well-known, celebrated, and frequently visited couloirs, Gervasutti Couloir, Breche Nonne Couloir, the Chevalier and Cosmiques couloirs are a few. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has a famous and challenging couloir called Corbet's Couloir. Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in California has a run called Nancy's Couloir. Big Sky Resort in Montana has a run called "Big Couloir" at 50 degree pitch for over 1,000 feet of vertical is one of the most intense in-bounds trails in America. The lesser-know Little Couloir, located just to the side of Big Couloir, has an even steeper pitch between 50 and 55 degrees. Another exception is the double black diamond run on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada "Couloir Extreme," which is located inside the Whistler-Blackcomb resort boundaries and can be accessed via chairlift.


See also


  1. ^ Whittow, John (1984). Dictionary of Physical Geography. London: Penguin, p. 121. ISBN 0-14-051094-X.

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  • couloir — [ kulwar ] n. m. • 1378 « ce qui sert à faire couler »; coledoir XIIe; de couler « glisser » 1 ♦ Passage étroit et long, servant de dégagement pour aller d une pièce à l autre, d un lieu à l autre. ⇒ corridor, galerie, passage. « un long couloir …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • couloir — COULOIR. s. m. Écuelle ordinairement faite de bois, qui au lieu de fond, a une pièce de linge par où on coule le lait en le tirant.Couloir, se dit aussi d Un passage de dégagement d un appartement à un autre. f♛/b] Il est aussi terme d Anatomie.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Couloir — Cou loir (k?? lw?r ), n. [F., a strainer.] 1. A deep gorge; a gully. [1913 Webster] 2. (Hydraul. Engin.) A dredging machine for excavating canals, etc. [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Couloir — (franz., spr. kulŭār), Flur oder Korridor, besonders in Theatern, Börsen und Parlamentsgebäuden etc.; in der Alpinistensprache steil ansteigende enge Schlucht, deren Boden mit Schnee, Firn, Eis oder Geröll bedeckt ist …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Couloir — Couloir, 1. Seiher, Seihgefäß; 2. schmaler Verbindungsgang oder Geheimtreppe zwischen Wohngemächern; auch Gang hinter den Theaterlogen …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Couloir — (frz., spr. kulŏahr), Lauf , Geheimtreppe; Korridor; enge, steile Fels (Eis )Rinne …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • couloir — Couloir. s. m. Escuelle ordinairement faite de bois, qui au lieu de fond a une piece de linge par laquelle on coule le lait en le tirant …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • couloir — [ko͞ol wär′] n. [Fr < couler: see COULEE] a deep mountain gorge or gully …   English World dictionary

  • Couloir — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Couloir multicolore Le terme couloir désigne l espace d un passage long et étroit au réel ou au figuré …   Wikipédia en Français

  • couloir — nm., corridor, vestibule // passage couloir étroit et long, (d une maison, d un terrain de sport) : KOLIDOR nm. (Annecy.003, Chambéry, Genève, Thônes), kolidôr (Saxel), kolidoo (Combe Si.), koridoo (Albanais.001) ; koulwâ (001, Arvillard.228) ;… …   Dictionnaire Français-Savoyard

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