We’ve all been there. The moment that your favourite resort is no longer your favourite resort. You’ve come so far that it no longer presents a challenge to you. It no longer gets the juices flowing like it once did. You’re wildly underwhelmed.
When that happens you know it’s time to take the next step and look for a new resort that caters more towards the advanced skier.
Expert ski resorts in Europe
Sometimes when we think about ski resorts for the more advanced skier, we think longhaul. That’s not necessarily true. There’s plenty to play with on your doorstep. Below are just a few of the options on offer for advanced skiers in Europe.
The number one destination for Europe’s best big mountain skiers, Verbier is often considered the home of extreme skiing. This is another resort that boasts some pretty challenging skiing conditions very close to the resort’s 89 lifts. If you’re prepared to make a short hike, the off piste runs of “Stairway to Heaven” and “Highway” are well worth the effort.
410km of pistes offer some serious runs for the advanced skier. Add to that the many off-piste opportunities and you’ve got yourself the perfect destination for experts.
Tip : Head for the backside of Mount Fort for the many couloirs, steep faces and cliffs. But be warned – this is only for the most elite of expert skiers.
As one of Europe’s oldest and most popular ski resorts, Chamonix is an absolute must ski for anyone that considers themselves an expert. This was where the very first Winter Olympics were held in 1924 – a resort steeped in history and tradition.
The glaciers on Mont Blanc and Les Grand-Montets are as spectacular as they are deadly. With a total of 163km of piste, it’s not the biggest of Europe’s many resorts, but it’s certainly one of the most challenging. Beware though: due to its reputation, Chamonix is one of the top resorts to be “seen in” – so the throngs of skiers heading for the slopes can be quite a chore.
Tip:Take the Vallée Blanche tour for some spectacular views and ask the locals about the many off-piste areas for a serious challenge.
Often touted as the best resort for thrill seekers, Zermatt is one of Europe’s most popular ski destinations. It has Europe’s highest tree line and provides year-round skiing on one the continent’s largest glaciers.
For advanced skiers Zermatt’s biggest attraction is the off-piste action, the very best of which is known only to a select few. Ask around or better still hire a guide. After a short trek, get started on some serious skiing on seldom-touched snow.
Tip: Try your luck on the Trifti which is one of Europe’s longest and most challenging mogul slopes.
Expert ski resorts in North America
Lets be honest. North America is a bucket list destination. That far off place that has more than plenty of the white stuff. The Rockies, the bowls, the heli-skiing, the backcountry skiing… it’s a powder hounds playground.
Below are just a few of the options on offer for expert skiers in North America.
If you’re looking for a resort that has it all from the moment you step off the lift, then Whistler is the resort for you. The immaculately maintained pistes and many miles of tree runs are easily accessible, meaning no need for hiking to get your thrills.
Whistler boasts some of the steepest inbound terrain in North America with 30% of its total runs for advanced and expert skiers. That’s 50 runs and countless miles of off piste action.
Tip: Take a guide and head for the gladed areas named Doom & Gloom, and try out the couloir known as “the coffin”. One way in and straight down with a few air drops, an experts dream!
In the not too distant past Whistler was considered North America’s best resort for experts. With the arrival of Revelstoke as the new kid on the block however, it’s a toss-up between the two. With 48% of the runs designated as expert level, you’ll be spoiled for choice here.
Revelstoke’s many heli- and cat-skiing opportunities are not to be missed and are the experience of a lifetime. The resort also has some pretty great ski instructor courses for those looking for an extended stay. But if you’re just sticking to the skiing, then the runs Pitch Black, Critical Path, Snow Rodeo and Devil’s Club can sort out your thrill quota for the day.
Tip: Head for the North bowl where there’s plenty of challenging cliffs and steeps sure to get the blood pumping.
So the next time you plan a ski holiday, leave your beginner friends at home and head for one of these top resorts for advanced skiers. Let the adrenaline flow.
Produced by Richard Patey, a content marketer who runs the ski news site snowbistro.com