The feeling of cruising through the snow, the fresh-air, the stunning scenery, it’s incomparable. Many of us ski every year for the simple pleasure of experiencing the mountains at their best – being an intermediate skier gives you the opportunity to keep learning and keep exploring.
A ski holiday isn’t about pushing your limits. It’s about having fun in the mountains. When we simply want to experience the pure joy of skiing, these are the resorts that we head to:
Best for: Stunningly scenic skiing
Banff is beautiful. The spectacular scenery is wild and dramatic, yet the town itself couldn’t feel more comfortable and welcoming. Banff is full of fantastic bars with live music and restaurants serving delicious Canadian food.
The skiing is incredible too. Banff is a part of the vast big 3 ski area, encompassing 8,000 acres on one lift pass. The resort has a wealth of extraordinary blue and green runs that are ideal for cruising. Best suited to experienced intermediates, even the green runs have a degree of steepness that keeps them fast and exciting.
The gorgeous scenery not only makes for a picturesque backdrop to your holiday, but it also provides a varied and exciting skiing environment. The wooded area around the Wolverine chairlift has some fantastic tree skiing, while the Lookout takes you to the highest part of the resort for incredible long runs and stunning views.
Inghams recommends: Caribou Lodge, 4*
The Caribou Lodge is a great place to stay in Banff. The ski bus stops right outside for ready access to the base stations of Sunshine Village and Norquay. This charming lodge has a friendly ambience enhanced by the welcoming Canadian hospitality.
Best for: Skiing across borders
Cervinia offers skiers and boarders miles of excellent, gentle cruising. Its spectacular setting at the foot of the Matterhorn and across the border from Zermatt, Switzerland makes Cervinia a unique ski destination.
The Plateau Rosa gondola opens up access to incredible, sweeping red runs, including the route to Valtournenche, one of the longest runs in the world. It’s ideal for relaxed cruising and often one of the quietest areas of the mountain.
Skiing across to Zermatt is a hugely enjoyable experience. Bad weather can close the link between resorts and you’ll need your passport, but this adventurous detour is certainly worth it. The easiest slopes in Zermatt will be the first to greet you over the border, and the change in countries will bring real diversity to your skiing experience.
Inghams recommends: Xtra Chalet Dragon
Inghams’ very own Xtra Chalet Dragon has a prime spot in Cervinia only a minute’s walk from the chairlift and to the village centre. Situated at the foot of the slope, the outdoor sun terrace is a popular après-ski spot and affords spectacular views of the Matterhorn.
Best for: Extensive ski area
Home of the famous Lauberhorn downhill race this area is a skiers paradise. With the Jungfrau whole area pass you'll have access to skiing and boarding in Wengen, Grindelwald and Mürren ski areas, on the other side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The Eigernordwand 6-person chair lift will lead you to some adrenalin inducing slopes, including the black runs 'oh God' and 'Black Rock' or the red 'Punchbowl'.
The idyllic village of Wengen is high up on a sunny, sheltered terrace with spectacular views, dominated by the magnificent trio of peaks – the Eiger (Ogre), Mönch (Monk) and Jungfrau (Maiden). Whatever your ski ability, you'll have the chance to enjoy the expanse of slopes and beautiful scenery. If skiing and boarding's not for you or just fancy a few day's doing other winter activities, take advantage of the amazing winter walking and sledging network.
Inghams recommends: Hotel Victoria Lauberhorn
The Hotel Victoria Lauberhorn has an excellent central location. You'll be moments away from the quaint village with traditional Alpine shops, bars and cafes, it's about a two minute walk to Mannlichen gondola which gives skiers and non-skiers access to the phenomenal Jungfrau region. The hotel combines traditional Alpine style with modern amenities, giving you a comfortable place to come back to at the end of the day.
Best for: Mountain explorers
Andorra is often overlooked as a ski destination, but the ski resort of Soldeu is a particular favourite of ours. The large ski area will be familiar to anyone used to skiing and snowboarding in Alpine resorts. It is especially suited to intermediate skiers, with plenty of cruising blue and red runs. The entire area is easy to traverse, and long runs make it ideal for piste-bashers wanting to rack up the kilometres.
The Grandvalira ski area, of which Soldeu is at the heart, provides a huge variety of ski terrain. Around Soldeu and neighbouring El Tarter you will find spectacular tree skiing. Meanwhile, at the end of the valley near Grau Roig you’ll find high altitude runs and the area’s best powder. It is a region that consistently rewards exploring.
Inghams recommends: Hotel Piolets Park and Spa 4*
Only a 3-minute walk to the main gondola, the Hotel Piolets Park and Spa is fantastic base for a holiday in Soldeu. The stylish hotel has outstanding facilities, including a mountain spa with a large indoor swimming pool and a children’s pool.
Best for: Huge ski circus
If racking up the kilometres and having a vast amount of piste to explore is what makes a perfect ski holiday, then Saalbach may just be the perfect ski resort. The Saalbach ski area forms a huge ski circus with neighbouring Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn. It’s ideal for long days in the mountains, cruising for miles along leisurely blue and testing red runs.
To the south of Saalbach are the Bernkogel and Kohlmaiskopf mountains, which offer a range of delightful blue and red runs. On the opposite side of the valley, the north facing Zwölferkogel and Schattberg mountains provide some trickier runs, well suited to experienced intermediates.
The impressively fast lifts make travelling around what is Austria’s largest ski area exceedingly easy. It is quite feasible to travel around the ski circus in a day, or you could do each section in instalments over the course of your holiday.
Inghams recommends: Hotel Saalbacher Hof, 4*
The Hotel Saalbacher Hof is a popular, family-run hotel with incredible leisure facilities and excellent access to both the Bernkogel and Schattberg sides of the valley.
Best for: Incredible Sella Ronda ski circuit
You can’t talk about intermediate skiing without talking about the Sella Ronda. A circle of ski runs and lifts in the heart of the Dolomites, you can ski for miles in the vast Sella Ronda without ever encountering the same lift or piste more than once.
There are a total of 23kms of runs in the Sella Ronda and they are all accessible to confident intermediates. You can ski right around the Sella Ronda massif in approximately five to six hours, choosing either clockwise (faster) or anti-clockwise (more challenging) routes. It’s a great way to spend the day on the mountain, and the scenery is outstanding.
You can visit the Sella Ronda from many of the resorts in the Dolomites: Araarbba, Corvar and Colfosco, and Canazei. Perhaps the most popular resort in the area is Selva, a pretty village with great access to one of the best parts of the ski circuit.
Inghams recommends: Hotel Mignon, 4*
It would be hard to find a more convenient location than the Hotel Continental. With its ski-in/ski-out position at the base of the Dantercepies gondola it provides ready access to the extensive Dolomites ski area.
Best for: Intermediate heaven
Avoriaz extensive ski area provides a near-endless variety for intermediate skiers and boarders. Pretty much the entire area is accessible with wide blue and reds from almost every lift. This resort boasts of the best blue run in the area as well as being awarded the Best Family Resort in the snow awards. The whole resort is traffic free and has a range of different lifts for easy access.
Portes du Soleil offers a selection blue runs to with some amazing views, Les Lindarets is also stunningly beautiful with blue runs that weave in and out of the woods. After building up some confidence descending from Col du Fornet peak offers red runs through Plaine Dranse for something more challenging.
Inghams recommends: L’Amara Apartments
The L'Amara Apartments are luxury ski-in, ski-out apartments in the Amara area of Avoriaz, forming their own village with five interconnecting buildings. As the resort is pedestrianised you can walk down to the resort centre, which is just a short stroll away from the residences - you can find a variety of shops, bars and restaurants, which is ideal for those on a self catering basis.