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