So you've got the hang of it and are ready to fly through the greens and blues with ease and confidence? Grab your silver lens goggles, best snow helmet, ski briller, grab your ski poles and follow this expert guide to the best intermediate ski resorts in Europe.
Portes du Soleil / Morzine, France
Centred directly in the middle of the sprawling Portes du Soleil, Morzine is a haven for skiers and riders of all abilities. However, as most runs at Morzine are intermediate, it is particularly magical for intermediate skiers intending to progress their skills on blue and red runs. Across the region’s 600km of piste skiing, there are 119 blue runs to explore, which will help you quickly grow from novice to expert. With a humble and welcoming feel, Morzine is ideal for those seeking a typical alpine holiday. As it is near the French-Swiss border, the area is known for its fantastic cuisine atop the mountain and its glorious views.
Powster recommendation: If you want to immerse yourself in the local cuisine, look no further than La Ferme de la Fruitière, featured in the Michelin Guide for 2022. From Abondance, Tomme to Reblochon, this cheese paradise takes ‘wine and cheese’ night to a new level of alfresco, fine dining.
Tignes is an excellent resort for intermediate skiers and riders, with various super-snow-sure blues and reds in all sectors. The best spots for intermediates are all close to the centre of the village; for example, you can easily access the blue Combe piste near Le Lac and Val Claret’s speedy red Double M. Be sure not to miss out on the terrain higher up, as the Grand Motte glacier has some of the most snow sure skiing in Europe. With more than 100 red and blue runs here: you can ski a new area each day and still have more to discover the next time. The best thing is being able to set off and explore mighty Val d’Isere on the other side of the area – opportunities seem to go on and on in these parts, and we can’t get enough of them.
Powster recommendation: The Marmotte Arms is considered everyone’s favourite local bar. You will be welcomed with open arms to indulge in craft ales, spirits and beers and enjoy gourmet pub grub! All whilst live après ski music is the soundtrack to your stay.
La Plagne, France
The pretty ski resort of La Plagne is nestled in the heart of the Paradiski area and offers lush woodland skiing and stunning views of Mont Blanc. La Plagne is one of the few resorts where you can go around the entire area purely on blue pistes. It is an intermediate’s paradise with 74 blues (in comparison, there are only 9 greens, 33 reds and 18 black runs). Most runs are intermediate level and sit higher than 2000m, accessed by the world’s largest cable car! The lively nightlife and bounty of restaurants cover all bases for unwinding after a long day up the mountain.
Powster Recommendation: To experience views of the highest mountain in Europe on the go, ride the longest piste in La Plagne ‘Mont Blanc’. One word, Bliss.
St Anton, Austria
With its formidable expert terrain, impressive snow record and legendary après-ski, St Anton-am-Arlberg is one of the true heavyweights of alpine skiing. St Anton has a reputation for being a fantastic resort for confident intermediates but less suitable for timid ones. There are some easy blue runs, but they tend to be relatively isolated and getting to them can involve considerable planning to avoid trickier sections. If you have a few weeks of red-run skiing, St Anton’s is an ideal base to expand your repertoire. Start on the blues, which would probably be reds in France, considering Anton’s reputation for cranking up the difficulty…
Powster Recommendation: A romantic date night idea could be to take a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the evening to the old hunters' inn in the Verwall Valley forest.
Courchevel is an intermediate skier’s paradise, and relative novices can visit every part of this stunning valley on blues and red runs, making up 75% of the 3 Vallees ski area. Intermediates favourite the areas around Courchevel 1650 and Saulaire, with their modern lifts and snow grooming facilities that ensure prime skiing all season long. The three Vallees ski resort is rich with blues and reds. One of the largest linked ski areas in the world, the 600km 3 Valleys ski area offers endless trails for intermediate skiers hoping to progress to the next level. The ski area is well laid out and easy to access. Courchevel’s a splendid base to explore; you can spend a good few days skiing alone in the local area. The red Combe Saulire is a favourite piste. The start is steep, but the whole thing’s gloriously wide and open.
Powster Recommendation: Indulge yourself in the village’s lavish and high-end outlet stores, from Balenciaga to Gucci to Dior, and be among the famous that stroll around Courchevel’s 1650.
Val d’Isere, France
The Val d’Isère side is better for more leisurely intermediates looking for wide-open cruising. Val d’Isère offers intermediates an exceptional array of terrain options from early intermediate to advanced. The Col de l’Iseran glacier area offers gentle, wide-open blue runs. Offering progressive, spread-out trails, Solaise is a famous zone for intermediates as well. More advanced intermediates have many options; they will want to test their courage on the World Cup downhill run, which features fun, rolling terrain, or head to Bellevard, featuring a variety of intermediate terrain options.
Powster Recommendation: Visiting Val’s La Folie Douce is a MUST! Home to unprecedented and legendary Apres-Ski – you will have the time of your life dancing on the tables and observing the dancers, musicians or even acrobats!
Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
Sauze d’Oulx is painted with blue and red runs pouring down the mountainside. The sheer size of the Milky Way is shocking - with 400km of pistes across the ski area, you will run out of steam before you run out of slopes in these parts. The local pistes are wide, open, and luxuriously well-groomed, most easing into blue runs as you approach the town. Best-loved spots must include the Gran Pista; this long tree-lined red has close edges, making for a race-like end to the day. Take a gondola to Sestriere to make the most of lengthy reds like #79 or #80, which are thigh-burning fun, or make a cracking day trip over to Montgenévre in France - adding in a couple of blues or blacks to change the pace along the way.
Powster Recommendation: To have a taste of Italy, La Grotta Pizzeria will be sure to blow your socks off with their mouth-watering wood-fired pizzas. That’s Amore.
Les Arcs, France
A purpose-built resort made immaculately, Les Arcs is widely ski-in/ski-out and has excellent connections and bundles of linking intermediate slopes, making skiing from your village and back down stress-free. Ski some of the most snow-sure slopes in the region up on the glacier, where a long steep red sweeps down from 3417m for a sure-fire adrenaline boost. For a fun run into 1800 and Vallandry, ski the red Reches or Myrtilles – their long, wide slopes let you go full steam. More challenging slopes are never too far away – the Aguille Rouge is the longest red run on the continent at 8km. There are also plenty of gentler routes, like the forested Mont Blanc piste into Arc 1600 and Foret that trails into Vallandry. Then the Paradiski’s your oyster!
Powster Recommendation: Wind down at the Taj-I-Mah hotel’s spa with splendid mountain views. Relax in the pool or treat yourself to a massage – you will come away feeling refreshed and ready for a new day of skiing.
The village of Saalbach is Austria’s second most popular tourist destination for a good reason. It is perfect for long days in the mountains, cruising for miles along leisurely blue and testing red runs. It’s connected with the adjacent town of Hinterglemm and nearby Leogang to make the expansive ‘Ski Circus’ area the largest mountain circuit in the country. The fast lifts make travelling around Austria’s largest ski area exceedingly easy. Travelling around the ski circus in a day is pretty feasible, or you could do each section in instalments throughout your holiday. The resort has a rich history of skiing dating back to as early as 1898, and more recently, it hosted the 1991 Alpine Ski World Championships. It’s a small yet bustling village with a lively atmosphere and minimal traffic. Since it is compact, everything you need is never more than a short amble away.
Powster Recommendation: The resort is renowned for its fantastic après ski, and the locals are always up for a party. For a proper feel for the party, Castello’s glitzy and strobe dance floor with have you dancing all night. Beer sells for 2.50€ to 6€ around the resort, so it is not quite as dear as the French Alps. Bonus!
Davos’s vast ski area offers incredible variety to keep you occupied throughout your holiday. Parsenn’s Super Runs connects Davos with Klosters and the further reaches of the Prättigau valley, including Serneus and Küblis. Long, cruising reds characterise the types of runs you will encounter, with the routes across the Parsenn’s mountain being of particular promise. The pistes are not generally too steep but have occasional challenges. The Super Runs are great for touring, and you can take the train home to Davos (included in your lift pass) at the end of your day.
Powster Recommendation: You can also follow the ski tracks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who skied here over a century ago and famously took the ski touring route to nearby Arosa.