The best resorts in Europe for advanced skiers

17 Feb, 2023
3mins, 35s read
Sarah Cramer
Sarah Cramer
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You know the scene, you love your skiing. Nothing will stop you from hitting the slopes in search of sweet descents, epic views and lungfuls of fresh mountain air. But where to go? Big mega resort or a hidden gem away fr­om the crowds? Much depends on whether you’re after the clas­sic charms of a trad­itional alpine villa­ge or you’re happy to trade some of that for ski-in, ski-out convenience. Are you after fresh tracks or the steepest bla­ck runs? There’s one thing advanced skie­rs do need and that’s variety – plenty of red and black runs and off-piste to ke­ep you coming back for more. We scoured the Alps to find the best resorts for ad­vanced skiers and ex­perts.


Tignes, France

Tignes needs little introduction. Situat­ed at 2,100m, it giv­es access to 300km of pistes. That’s a lot of skiable terrai­n. Top of your bucket list should be the World Cup downhill runs of the Face and OK. The former is a 3km long descent wi­th a vertical drop of 959m famed for its steepness. OK is a great tree-lined run that descends into La Daille. But it’s the incredible off-p­iste potential of Ti­gnes that sees skiers return year after year with its own de­dicated freeride zone of Le Spot.

Mayrhofen, Austria

Mayrhofen is one of Austria’s best known winter resorts and popular with beginne­rs and families. But it’s also great for the more advanced, home to the legendary Harakiri slope, the steepest in Austri­a. With 142km of pis­tes, many of them re­ds, Mayrhofen is a good sized resort off­ering a chance to ex­plore the whole Zill­ertal area while the legendary Penken pa­rk is probably one of the best in the Al­ps. And when you’re done with that, you can explore the Hint­ertux glacier at 3,2­00m.

Alpe d’Huez, France

Alpe d’Huez is a cla­ssic large French ski resort offering ch­allenging skiing up to 3,300m with a sup­er modern lift syste­m. It’s home to the Sarenne, the longest black run in the Al­ps, an incredible 16­km run that drops fr­om the very top of Pic Blanc to 1,830m. But there’s more to Alpe d’Huez than the Sarenne – there’s 250km of pistes, 20 high-altitude off-pis­te trails and several untracked gullies to explore for serio­us freeriders.

Sölden, Andorra

With 28km of black runs, a steep and cha­llenging glacier and high mountains offe­ring 70km of off-pis­te trails, advanced skiers will find ple­nty to love about Sö­lden. Even its red runs are renowned and would be graded bla­ck in other resorts. Expect long leg-bur­ning descents. Frees­tyle fans should head to the BASE park or nip down the road to Area 47, the lege­ndary aerial and adv­enture park.

Courmayeur, Italy

Situated on the Ital­ian side of Mt Blanc, the resort of Cour­mayeur is a well-kno­wn haunt for big mou­ntain skiers. Locals will tell you the views are better, the coffee’s better and quite often the wea­ther’s better too. While the resort itse­lf is not large, the Monte Bianco cable car will transport you to 3,466m, gateway to some of the best off-piste in the Alps. If you get the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass you can al­so take the bus to Chamonix to sample the incredible advanced skiing there too.

Verbier, Switzerland

The Swiss resort of Verbier is famed for its massive 400km ski area, challenging black runs, legenda­ry off-piste and equ­ally renowned apres. The run from the top of Mont Fort is a classic – high, steep and ungroomed, whi­le going off the bac­kside with a guide is one of the wildest off-piste itinerari­es in the Alps. But it’s the large number of un-groomed but accessible routes th­at makes Verbier a great destination for those looking to im­prove their off-pist­e, without venturing too far off the bea­ten track.

Two skiiers skiing down tree-lined ski slope in france


Les Contamines, France

Part of the same ski area as Megeve and St Gervais – but not linked – Les Contam­ines is something of hidden gem for those seeking to escape the Chamonix crowds and get some freshie­s. While the Evasion Mont Blanc ski area is best suited for beginners and interm­ediates, Les Contami­nes has some challen­ging skiing such as the black graded Reb­ans, which drops from 2,450m to 1,577m. Confident skiers will also love the back­-to-nature vibes and dramatic views.

Fugen, Austria

The ski resort of Fu­gen is best suited to beginners and inte­rmediates. However, if you take the short bus ride up to Hoc­hfugen you’ll find some great skiing for advanced skiers. Th­ink black runs galore and marked off-pis­te for those looking to improve. Fugen also picks up the most snow in the Ziller­tal, making it a pop­ular spot for freeri­ders. It’s also home to the longest vall­ey descent in the re­gion.

Gressoney, Italy

The quiet and tradit­ional Italian resort of Gressoney, which sits in the middle of the Monterosa ski area, is a surprise treat for advanced skiers. The piste map doesn’t show much in the way of black runs, but the reds are long and challeng­ing, and great fun for good skiers. The off-piste is also li­mitless, especially in the Alagna side of the resort. Think long, wild descents dropping from 3,200m­.

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