Alpine Ski Resorts for Adrenaline-Seeking Skiers

(2019-02-07 13:43:30)


In high-altitude alpine ski resorts across Europe, there’s a staggering breadth of terrain where adrenaline-seeking skiers and snowboarders of high-intermediate or expert level can test their nerve on steep pistes and in deep backcountry powder.

Here, we’re focusing on a few favourite expert-friendly resorts – and offering insight on where to head and what to expect. For more information on these resorts or other challenging destinations in the Alps, call 0203 0800 202 or get in touch through our online chat service.


The Chamonix Valley is home to the villages of les Houches, Argentière, Chamonix town and Le Tour, and together they offer some of the very finest advanced-level skiing and back-country potential in the whole of France. The villages all sit within about an hour’s drive of Geneva airport so getting there is easy, too.

Les Houches offers amazing off-piste skiing, and heading down through the pines to village level is fantastic after fresh snowfall. Argentière offers a good selection of black runs, and the areas of Brévent and Flégère have lovely long red pistes to enjoy – where you can really get a good pace up. Serious back country skiers can hire a guide and head up the Aiguille du Midi cable car for the infamous Vallée Blanche run, or take a trip along the valley to the quieter Le Tour area, where you can lay fresh tracks through deep snow days after the last snowfall.

Amazing off-piste potential above the popular Alpine resort of Chamonix

St Anton am Arlberg

St Anton sits near Innsbruck in the Tyrol region of Western Austria, and is one of the most popular Austrian resorts amongst European skiers, with a skiing and snowboarding pedigree dating back decades. Rapid and modern lifts line the flank of the resort, from the Galzig in the west to the Nasserein in the east, offering swift and hassle-free access into the valley. The lift-served off-piste here is spectacular and you can spot open powder fields from nearly all of the chairlifts in the area.

Up on the slopes, advanced-level terrain can be found in abundance, and after fresh snowfall off-piste powder fields are everywhere. Advanced skiers can take the Gampen then Kappl lifts for the area’s best selection of steep and challenging black pistes, and there are three different routes back to resort level to explore.

Leaving St Anton behind and heading over towards the resorts of Lech, Stuben or Zurs, advanced skiers can enjoy the area’s enormous off-piste potential as well as pleasantly varied and challenging slopes. Mechanised piste-bashers keep the slopes there in absolutely pristine condition, something the towns below are enormously proud of.

For advanced skiers looking to really test their mettle, St Anton is home to der Weisse Rausch (the White Ring.) This is one of the longest, most challenging and most varied ski races in the world, with participants starting at the Rufikopf peak before setting off on the twenty two kilometre endurance battle. The White Ring draws racers from across the globe keen to test their skills against the best in the game, and when it’s all over and done with the after-party has to be seen to be believed!


Dominated by the spectacularly imposing peak of the Matterhorn mountain nearby, the Swiss resort of Zermatt is one of the most iconic of all Europe’s ski resorts. A whopping 23% of the area’s 200 kilometres of piste are designated black runs so Zermatt is an advanced skier’s paradise, and with a base altitude of 1600 metres and lifts taking you up to 3820 metres, Zermatt offers excellent snow coverage and strong off-piste potential all winter long. 

Highlights for advanced skiers in Zermatt are plentiful but it’s worth noting the amazing black runs off the Stockhorn and Hohtalli peaks. You can access them from the Gornergrat peak, and they’re well-linked via gondola. Myriad routes down offer wonderful variety, and the long piste 7C takes you to a great little mountain cafe for a drink in the snow. Over to the south, the Schwarzee peak is the start of the piste 12, a long sloping black run which changes into a red piste and takes you from 2,583 metres all the way down to resort level at 1,620 metres.

Zermatt is a popular resort for adrenaline-seekers in search of the steep and deep

Zermatt and the Matterhorn peak attract advanced skiers and boarders from across the world


Ask any group of advanced skiers which French resorts they most enjoy visiting, and Tignes will almost inevitably make the list. It sits in the Espace Killy in France, over the ridge from its more upmarket neighbour, Val d’Isère, and the range of steep terrain there is as good as any you’ll find anywhere in the whole of France. The entire area offers around 300 kilometres of groomed slopes, with a good percentage of that dedicated to steep red and black runs ideally suited to advanced-level skiers.

Another highlight for advanced skiers in the Tignes valley include the steep red and black pistes atop the mighty Grande Motte glacier, at an eye-watering altitude of over 3,400 metres. There’s a long red piste here called Double M, under the les Lanches chairlift, which is a sheer joy to ski and takes you nicely back into Val Claret for further exploration.