For advanced skiers, the main requirements for a satisfying resort are long, steep blacks and exhilarating off-piste adventures. North America and Europe have plenty of challenging opportunities to push even the most experienced skiers to the limits.
Best for: challenging terrain with stunning scenery
Renowned for its deep powder, Chamonix is a haven for adventurous skiers. Get the adrenaline pumping on the world-famous Vallée Blanche route, which is 20km long and off-piste. Then head to the top of the Grand Montets cable car for views of the staggering Mont Blanc, the Alps’ highest mountain. As you ski down on ungroomed black pistes such as Point de Vue, you’ll catch sight of the dramatic glacier and crevasses. With pitches of up to 45 degrees, runs such as Pas de Chèvre, Couloir du Dru and Rectiligne are sure to thrill.
Best for: unique off-piste experiences
A Mecca for experienced skiers seeking new thrills, Verbier is the home of extreme off-piste. It even hosts several competitions every year to celebrate the fact. One of the most popular areas is the back of Mont Fort, a powdery bowl that affords views of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc on a clear day. To make the most of the area, explore it with an expert by hiring a guide, or try heliskiing. Verbier also has the best clinics for expert skiers in Europe, so go back to school and take your technique to the next level.
Best for: easily accessible thrills
Many of Whistler’s powdery bowls, couloirs and extreme runs are accessible right from the ski lifts. This makes the resort a dream for those who dread long hikes through deep snow to get to that virgin powder. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are connected by high, go-anywhere bowls, making them playgrounds for thrill-seeking skiers. For those who don’t mind a short hike, ride the Glacier Express chair to the top and take the Spanky’s Ladder hike. This leads you to four triple black diamond bowls that are steep, often quiet and well worth the walk.
Best for: ungroomed exploring
With its steep and mostly ungroomed terrain, cowboy town Jackson Hole is a real gem for extreme skiers. It attracts instructors from all over the world who fight for the privilege of teaching on its testing terrain. Almost every day here is a fresh powder day and expert guides are a must if you want to find the best hidden spots. To really test your nerve, take the plunge into Corbet’s Couloir. It’s not for the faint-hearted – many skiers have walked away when confronted with its 20-foot drop. You’ll certainly walk away with a story to tell.