So you have done your time as a newbie on the slopes, fallen over way too many times, wobbled and tumbled more than your fair share and have finally honed your skiing skills down to perfection. So where are the places to go to show off those skills and experience the rush of the most challenging slopes? There are a number of ski resort destinations for the expert and advanced skier, where you can rub shoulders with the very best and get the most out of your skiing trip.
World class resorts can be found all over the world, and there are some must see and experience legendary runs to be enjoyed. The best sceneries with no expense spared on the luxurious surroundings as well as exclusive accommodations and facilities are the kind of things an expert skier – who has been there, done that and seen it all –wants to be able to expect.
And when you have been skiing for years, you want to come off a run and head home from the slopes feeling elated, as if you have conquered the world, and to feel as euphoric as you did when you skied for the very first time. To help you plan your next ski trip, here is our selection of the top 5 ski resort destinations for the expert skier.
- Verbier, Switzerland
Touted as the gate way to everything extreme ski related, it is the Swiss hotspot destination for big brand competitions attracting big names and ski legends to the region every year. Host to a number of premier international skiing events, Verbier is home to some of the biggest and best legendary runs in the world with world class ski clinics and innovative ski schools. The Rock Garden and Stairway to Heaven runs are world renowned, but our personal favourite is the adrenalin pumping track running over the back of Mont Fort. Look down over Mont Blanc when you get to the top – don’t leave your camera behind.
- Chamonix, France
Known the world over as being one of the premier luxury ski resorts, Chamonix has an exceptional reputation. Chamonix has it all and then some, including 762 km of piste. This is one destination that offers all the challenge, thrills and risk any adrenalin junkie could ask for, but it is also very dangerous. Your ski guide will most likely want to test your skiing skills before letting you hit the slopes, for safety and sanity reasons. There are ice cave tours, sheer cliff faces and glaciers galore. The most popular adventure ski trip is The Vallée Blanche tour starting from the Aiguille du Midi and takes skiers and guides right down the Italian side of the glacier.
- Whistler, Canada
Whistler may be a one-size fits all, where every level of skier and age is catered for, but it is still one of the premier North American resorts for advanced skiers. There are acres of powder, 316km of piste and fabulous facilities but for experts there are challenges to be found off piste from the 12 vast alpine bowls. Experts with a bit of daring-do can also give glacier skiing a go in Whistler with 3 sites and guaranteed snow all season.
- St Anton, Arlberg Region, Austria
A thoroughly enchanting little Austrian town twinkling in the snow, vibrant and friendly locals, intense ski terrain and packed with snow are just some of the intoxicating facets of this truly awesome resort. Be prepared to hire a guide if you intend on experiencing the Valluga Bridge Couloir, which is a must for any advanced skier – it would be sacrilege to come here and not do it. Also be prepared to get up at the crack of dawn if you want to be the first to track the popular runs, as you will have plenty of company if you linger longer over coffee and a leisurely breakfast. Serious experts up for a challenge will have to run on the North Face, Rendl and Hinter tours, which will test you to your limits. St. Anton offers 276km of well groomed slopes and plenty more kilometres off piste.
- Silverton Mountain, Colorado, USA
If you want your expert ski runs to be completely clear of terrain suitable for novice and intermediate skiers, Silverton Mountain in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado is the ultimate choice. Completely given over to advanced and expert skiing and snowboarding, Silverton Mountain has no cut or groomed runs and the easiest run has a pitch of 35 degrees. There are some strict safety rules because the courses do feature cliffs, bowls and step chutes but guided and unguided skiing is available. There’s always massive snow coverage across the 1,819 acres of sublime black diamond skiing area and set amidst gorgeous scenery. The town is welcoming but with the emphasis being on the sport, don’t expect pampering and luxury.
Whatever your expectations, preferences or skiing dreams are, these are top picks of ski resorts that will test your ski experience to the max. The social aspects are worthily noted as well, as you can mingle with the other pros in the ski bars afterwards, swapping hero worthy stories of slopes conquered and runs tracked from all over the world.