Looking for a challenge this winter? One of the joys of going on a skiing holiday or snowboarding adventure is testing the limits of your capabilities. Whether it’s hurtling down a black run at speed or riding the bumps of a mogul field, there is plenty on the mountain to test the ambitious skier or snowboarder.
As an enthusiastic advanced or expert skier, where do you head? We highlight the most exciting and challenging ski resorts in the world, suitable for you:
Best for: Off-piste
Verbier draws the crowds with its unrivalled reputation for the best off-piste skiing in the world. Perhaps the biggest indicator this is an off-piste mecca is the Freeride World Tour final, which takes place in Verbier every year.
There is such a variety of impressive off-piste routes that it would be impossible for us to highlight them all. However, the tree-skiing in nearby Bruson is legendary, and the area is an incredible powder trap – we highly recommend it.
A popular off-piste area is the back of the Mont Fort. It’s a huge, powdery ski bowl with outstanding views across the Alps. On a clear day you may see the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc! It’s definitely worthwhile hiring a guide and exploring everything Verbier has to offer.
If the world-class skiing isn’t enough for you, then the incredible après scene may tip the scales in Verbier’s favour. The resorts reputation for partying hard almost rivals its reputation for skiing hard. Verbier truly is a sensational resort.
Best for: Scenic skiing on tough terrain
Arguably, the home of the Alpine spirit, Chamonix is renowned for having some of the steepest and most challenging skiing in the world. Combine this with dramatic, breath taking mountain scenery and the result is one of the most attractive resorts for advanced skiers.
Among the rock spires, and in the looming shadow of the colossal Mont Blanc, skiers encounter the renowned, deep powder of Chamonix. The expert ski terrain extends to the top of the high altitude Grand Montets cable car. Here you can ski along the thrilling, ungroomed black pistes of the Point de Vue and the Pylones, both offering spectacular views of the glacier.
The diverse off-piste terrain includes the legendary Vallée Blanche, a 20km long off-piste route, perfect for a guided ski touring experience. The superb views along this route are made even more enjoyable by the fresh powder you’ll encounter.
Inghams recommends: RockyPop Hotel
This fun hotel in Les Houches has a unique, retro inspired style making it the trendiest place to stay for a week’s ski holiday. The Rocky Shuttle bus departs to the four main ski areas of Brévant, Flégrère, Grande Montets and Le Tour four times a day.
St Anton, Austria
Best for: All-round excellence
An epic destination for all kinds of advanced skiing. The resort offers an incredible range of challenges. The slopes around Valluga attract expert skiers wanting to experience the famous snow bowls and powder fields, as well as the steep descent to Zürs.
Expert skiers will relish the opportunity to ski the off-piste Valhalla Couloir. Accessed only by rope – the couloir connects St Anton with the Lech side of the Arlberg.
You don’t need to ski off-piste in St Anton to experience challenging terrain. Tricky runs criss-cross the lower Galzig, Kapall and Gampen mountains.
Disconnected from the main Valluga ski area, skiers often overlook the smaller area of Rendl. This is a shame. The Rendl mountain attracts incredible, deep powder. The wide area is often challenging and frequently quieter than the main ski area. And the Hinter Rendl provides an incredible off-piste descent to St Anton.
Inghams recommends: Chalet Alpenheim
This fantastic chalet has a ski-in/ski-out location in the popular Sonnenwiese location of St Anton. The nearest ski lifts, and the village centre are only a 3-minute walk from the chalet. If you’re looking for a convenient location for your holiday to St Anton – look no further!
Best for: Cult status
Less well known than other ski resorts on this list, but a definite hidden gem. Amongst those in the know, it has an unparalleled reputation for steep terrain and deep powder earning it a cult status in the ski community.
About 30% of the mountain is allocated to advanced skiers and the diamond and double diamond runs provide a genuine challenge – even for experts. The Polar Peak snowbowl is a dedicated section of the resort made-up exclusively of difficult slopes.
Adding to the allure of the resort are the legendary backcountry routes, such as Tunnel Creek and Mongolia Ridge. There are several local operators providing guided ski touring in the Canadian wilderness, some using snow-cats to access remote bowls and glades, and others providing overnight stays in mountain huts.
Inghams recommends: Lizard Creek Lodge and Condos
A classic North American lodge style accommodation, the Lizard Creek Lodge and Condos is always a favourite among Inghams guests. This top of the range property is located directly on the slopes, providing easy ski-in/out access so you can maximise your ski time.
Alpe d’Huez, France
Best for: Notorious on-piste challenges
Infamous for the Sarenne, the longest black run in the Alps. At 16km in length, the Sarenne is an intense endurance test suitable for only the fittest of skiers and snowboarders. Descending 2,000m from the top of the Pic Blanc, this run has an average gradient of 11%!
It might be intimidating but the rewards for tackling this run are immense. Not only can you be very satisfied with yourself for completing this run, but it will also reward you with incredible views en route.
There’s more to Alpe d’Huez than the one run. There are 16 black runs in resort, and the Sarenne isn’t even the scariest. That title goes to the intimidating Le Tunnel. This hellish route takes you through an old mine schaft at the top of the Pic Blanc before plummeting down a steep mogul field with no opportunity to pause for breath. Not for the faint hearted!
Inghams recommends: Chalet Hotel Les Cimes
We think our very own Chalet Hotel Les Cimes is in the ideal location for ski enthusiasts. The property is only 50m away from the nearest chairlift – the Grande Sure. The nearest ski bus stop is only a minute’s walk-away and you can ski back to within 30m of the Chalet Hotel. Perfect!