Most difficult ski resorts
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Most Difficult Ski Resorts

Do you love a challenge? We have selected some of the most difficult ski resorts in the world. Whether it’s demanding black runs, moguls or off-piste terrain, our experts have chosen the hardest ski resorts in Europe and North America. If you’re an advanced skier you’re in for a treat. Take a look at our top 10 most difficult ski resorts.

Andermatt, Switzerland

Andermatt has 29km of black pistes and a vast amount of challenging off-piste terrain too. This makes it one of the hardest ski resorts in Europe. The Gemsstock mountain is home to some of the best freeride skiing and draws some of the best skiers around. There are many steep descents and verticles to try with a local mountain guide. The black runs towards Sedrun are also a good challenge. It’s one of the most difficult Swiss ski resorts around.

Stay At:

The Chedi Andermatt Hotel combines Alpine chic with Asian sleek with incredible views of the Swiss Alps.

Andermatt ski holidays

Most Difficult Ski Resorts

Chamonix, France

It is home to a World Cup downhill course and has some of the most challenging off-piste terrain. Chamonix is one of the hardest ski resorts in Europe. It has 41km of black runs and the freeride opportunities are excellent. You can test yourself in the Vallée Blanche descents or try the off-piste on the Grands Montets glacier. It has some of the most varied off-piste skiing around. On top of that, it has plenty of black runs on piste.

Stay At:

Chalet Ardoise in Chamonix is a luxurious, bright and spacious chalet.

Chamonix ski holidays

hardest ski resorts in Europe

Fernie, Canada

Fernie is one of the most difficult ski resorts in Canada, with 42km of black slopes. It also has plenty of steep off-piste terrain to challenge yourself on. It has a fantastic snow record too, which is great if you’re a keen powder hound. For the best tree skiing head to Siberia or the Timber Bowl. The bowls below Polar Peak and Cedar Bowl are also great powder pockets to explore. The pisted runs also have a lot of steep terrain on offer.

Stay At:

Sitting in the mountains, Hotel Lizard Creek Lodge in Fernie is close to the resort with ski-in ski-out access.

Fernie ski holidays

Most difficult Ski resorts

Jackson Hole, USA

Be prepared for some seriously steep skiing. Jackson Hole is one of the most difficult ski resorts in North America. It has 16km of black pistes, but it’s the off-piste terrain that is like no other. Explore plenty of steep gullies, open powder bowls and untracked backcountry terrain. Not only this but the US ski resort averages 11.5m of snow each winter season. No wonder it’s considered a powder skiing paradise.

Stay At:

Hotel Amangani in Jackson Hole has a unique location with stunning panoramic views of the mountains.

Jackson Hole ski holidays

Jackson Hole USA

Kicking Horse, Canada

Kicking Horse is a very challenging ski resort because of its vast amount of steep terrain. Of its 100km of piste, 60km of them are black categorised slopes. It is mainly suited to established intermediate skiers or advanced skiers. In addition, there’s superb powder terrain throughout the season which is easily accessible by the lift network in the area. The snow conditions are some of the best in North America.

Stay At:

Copper Horse Lodge is a luxury boutique lodge in Kicking Horse, superbly located for the Golden Eagle Express gondola.

Kicking Horse ski holidays

Kicking Horse

Palisades Tahoe, USA (formerly Squaw Valley)

Numerous ski movies have been filmed here. The legendary G.N.A.R movie in honour of the freeride legend Shane McConkey has given the ski resort a big following for its off-piste terrain. Palisades Tahoe is one of the most difficult ski resorts in the USA. The legendary Fingers is the place to go on a powder day. The Granite Chief and Silverado are also seriously steep areas of off-piste. It has 30km of black pistes and some huge mogul runs to try out too.

Stay At:

The Village at Palisades Tahoe offers the finest ski-in ski-out accommodation in California.

Palisades Tahoe ski holidays

Palisades Tahoe, USA

St. Anton, Austria

This ski resort plays hard and parties hard! The après scene in St. Anton is notorious, but it’s also one of the hardest ski resorts in Europe. It was home to the World Alpine Ski Championships in 2001 and still stages World Cup races. There are 30 black runs to challenge yourself on if you’re an advanced skier. The off-piste terrain is incredible too. There are some great powder drop-ins off Valluga and down towards Zürs. A fantastic experience on a powder day.

Stay At:

The Hotel Arlberg in St. Anton is an excellent four-star hotel with a pool located close to the centre of town.

St. Anton ski holidays

St Anton Austria

Verbier, Switzerland

Another Swiss ski destination to make our most difficult ski resorts list is Verbier. It’s considered one of the hardest ski resorts in Europe because of its steep off-piste terrain and 103km of black pistes. There are marked itineraries that are patrolled by mountain rescue on the Col des Gentianes Tortin and the Mont Gele. On a powder day, the Stairway to Heaven and Hidden Valley ski areas are fantastic unmarked terrain spots with a guide.  It’s no coincidence it’s a regular stop on the Freeride World Tour.

Stay At:

Situated in the heart of Verbier, the Hotel Vanessa is an ideal spot for an Alpine break.

Verbier ski holidays

Verbier Switzerland

Val d’Isère, France

It’s one of the most popular ski resorts in the world, but Val d’Isère also has some of the most challenging terrain on the planet. This is why it’s considered one of the hardest ski resorts in Europe. It’s home to a couple of Olympic and World Cup racecourses, the Face de Bellevarde and the OK black runs. It also has fantastic freeride terrain. For an off-piste challenge head to the very steep couloirs around the La Grande Balme. Neighbouring Tignes also has some great off-piste.

Stay At:

Chalet Ducs de Savoie is in the heart of Val d’Isère, just a 350m stroll to the three main high-speed lifts.

Val d’Isère ski holidays

Val d'Isere, France

Whistler, Canada

Whistler is on a lot of ski enthusiasts bucket lists. However, it does have some of the most challenging terrain in Canada. This is why it’s one of the most difficult ski resorts. There is excellent freeride opportunities across the ridges and bowls of Whistler Mountain. The off-piste tree skiing is unrivalled too. On the piste, there is 50km of black runs to challenge yourself on. If you’re an advanced skier Whistler is a great ski destination.

Stay At:

Four Seasons Resort and Residences is a five-star hotel at the foot of Blackcomb mountain in Whistler.

Whistler ski holidays

Whistler Canada

Zermatt, Switzerland

Known for the iconic view of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is also one of the hardest ski resorts in Europe. It has 64km of black runs to test yourself on and the off-piste terrain is incredible. It has a great snow record due to many north-facing slopes and an altitude of 1,620m-3,820m. The best lift-served off-piste is off the Klein Matterhorn into the main town. The Stockhorn and Gant areas are exceptional too if you book a local mountain guide.

Stay At:

One of the leading hotels in the Alps, Zermatt’s Mont Cervin Palace is located near the Gornergrat station in the centre of town.

Zermatt ski holidays

Zermatt Switzerland

Speak to our experts on 0207 471 7700 for more information on the most difficult ski resorts.

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