Many people who go on regular skiing and snowboarding holidays start to get bored after a while. After you’ve experienced the same slope several times, the sport begins to lose its attraction and you start looking elsewhere for the same buzz. This is where off-piste skiing and snowboarding comes in.

Although it’s not easy to swap the safety of groomed snow slopes for untamed off-piste runs, it’s certainly more rewarding and will provide you with a level of excitement like never before. Once you’ve broken away from the traditional skiing and snowboarding, there’s no going back. To get you started here’s our top five best resorts for going off-piste.

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier in Switzerland is a great place for experienced skiers and snowboarders to go to improve their off-piste skills and techniques. The slopes here are so superb that they regularly attract world-class athletes and, although the terrain can be very challenging, the resort offers some of the best instructors and guides available in the Alps.

Many of the professionals here spend their winters leading parties of skilled experts, but the team at the Warren Smith Ski Academy concentrate on improving and enhancing intermediates’ techniques so they feel confident in tackling the varied terrain of the area. The classes held at the academy are casual, friendly and supportive, with many skiers and snowboarders seeing their technique and confidence transformed in just one week.

Although beginners will struggle to find runs to suit them, there are numerous red and black trails to entice experienced off-piste skiers. If you’re looking for even more thrills, the resort also offers hang gliding, paragliding, heli-skiing and luging.

St Anton, Austria

For those just embarking on their off-piste skiing and snowboarding adventures, St Anton in Austria is a great place to start. Even though the resort holds a similar intimidating image to Verbier, here there is a vast selection of terrains to suit all skill types, as well as one of the liveliest après-ski scenes in the region.

The north face of the Valluga should only be attempted by experienced off-piste skiers, whereas novices can quite happily take on the smoother slopes, such as the ones in the valley in the Rendl sector. This area is where the Piste to Powder instructors usually take their novice students to transform them from inexperienced snow skiers to confident off-piste skiers.

If you’re just as interested in the après-ski as the skiing itself, St Anton should definitely be near the top of your list. This resort is one of the biggest party towns in the Alps and is packed with buzzing clubs, such as the Krazy Kanguruh.

Tignes, France

Although Tignes in France is one of Europe’s most popular ski resorts, finding a fresh piece of untracked snow – even days after the latest snowfall – is easy. There is something for everyone here, with a great variety of steep descents mixed with nibbly bits in between pistes.

With many ‘Naturides’ – ungroomed waymarked ex-pistes which are protected from avalanches – this resort is great for skiers and snowboarders who wish to build upon their confidence. These Naturides are some of the most popular parts of the resort, so they do get skied out more quickly than the other off-piste routes. If you turn up early after the latest snowfall, you should be able to enjoy them freely without the need of a guide or avalanche equipment.

If you want to take on more complex slopes with the help of a guide or instructor, New Generation and TDC are two of the most popular off-piste skiing schools which will keep you safe as you take to the slopes.

Whistler, Canada

If you want to head further afield for your off-piste adventure, Whistler in Canada is North America’s largest ski area and is a fantastic place to ski and snowboard. With amazing high bowls and chutes spread across the upper parts of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, there is something for skiers of all levels to enjoy here.

Extremely Canadian offers a selection of new courses in Whistler in an attempt to take their legendary programme into the backcountry. These adventures start at very reasonable prices and guarantee to take you from being an ordinary skier or snowboarder to a confident off-piste adventurer.

The terrain at Whistler is truly outstanding. When you’re stood atop the mountain, you’ll be overwhelmed with the panoramic views which stretch on as far as you can see, so double check you’ve got your camera with you before you leave.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, you can enjoy a wealth of other activities, too, including dog sledding, shopping and dining in fine restaurants.

Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky is known throughout the world for the huge singular spike that is Lone Peak – one of the most distinguished and distinctive mountains in the whole of North America. The areas surrounding the tip are home to some of the best steep skiing in the world, whereas the lower parts are perfect for gentle skiing and snowboarding.

This resort is fantastic for those off-piste first timers who aren’t confident practicing surrounded by other skiers and snowboarders. During the week, these slopes are so quiet that you can often practice powder skiing without ever leaving the pistes or seeing tracks other than your own.

Big Sky’s main disadvantage is that it doesn’t snow here as much as it does in the other resorts out west. However, because so very few people take to these slopes to ski, you’ll be able to have all the fresh snow to yourself up to days after the last snowfall.

Much more than just a place for skiing and snowboarding, Big Sky in Montana is a great place for white water expeditions and spa treatments.


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