Elevate your skiing in one of these confidence inspiring resorts

If you’ve hit the intermediate plateau, then the chances are you’ll either want to build your confidence on cruiser runs or seek out runs that challenge you (but not too much!). Luckily most resorts aim to have as many blue & red runs as possible in order to attract the majority of skiers that fall into this category, however, some can be a little loose with the grading, as those who have stood at the top of a red that probably should be a black will testify!

Here is a selection of resorts that offer a great variety of well pisted cruisy blues and challenging reds that will keep intermediate skiers entertained throughout their holiday.

Pete Webb 2013

Les Arcs, France

On one side of the immense Paradiski area, Les Arcs has everything an intermediate skier could wish for. From extremely long reds and blues that give you over 1,200m vertical drop down through the trees to Villaroger to sheltered rolling pistes in the Vallandry area, there is plenty of choice and challenge in this fantastic resort. The terrain in the Arc 2000 and 1950 area is mostly big mountain with the jewel in the crown the Aiguille Rouge topping out at 3,226m. From the peak you have stunning views all the way to Mt. Blanc and a challenging red run weaving its way through the rock face.  Arc 1600 and 1800 have more variety of terrain with some tree-lined slopes and narrower pistes.

Over in Peisey and Vallandry, it is mostly tree runs which are great for visibility and shelter on bad weather days. Of course, you can also take a trip over the impressive Vanoise Express cable car to La Plagne for even more slopes, just remember to get back for the last lift otherwise it is an expensive taxi ride home!

Favourite pistes:

Rhodos, Vallandry (blue)

Grand Col, above Arc 2000 (red)

Aiguille Rouge/Lys, Villaroger (the very top of the run is tight and briefly dips onto a black run, but after that the run is more like a red)

Secret, under the new Comborciere chairlift, between 2000 and 1600 (red)

Explore the full extent of the Paradiski with Freshtracks or Instructor-led Guiding which you can book here.

La Thuile, France and La Rosiere, Italy

Sunny La Rosiere and its linked Italian sister resort of La Thuile may not be as big as some of the others on this list but what they lack in size they make up in character! If you’ve never skied in Italy before, La Thuile is a great introduction, perfectly groomed pistes that meander down the mountain, with restaurants and bars dotted along the way. The best bit? Italian food and drink at Italian prices! That’s not to say the skiing isn’t worth note, in fact, La Rosiere recently expanded their terrain with the opening of two new lifts and 5 new pistes. This new area adds some great red intermediate runs and for the aspiring freeriders, it opens lots of off piste possibilities. Another thing La Rosiere is good for is family skiing, with designated beginner areas and loads of chalet options from family-friendly companies.

The two resorts make up the Espace San Bernardo which straddles the Franco-Italian border. We don’t know what it is, but there’s something magical about being able to cross international borders on skis, although with the two sides having their own distinct personalities we can’t decide which we prefer.

Favourite pistes:

San Bernardo, La Thuile (red)

2800, Mt. Valaisan, La Rosiere (red)

Primavera, Fourclaz, La Thuile (red)

Carabiniers, Mt. Belvedere, La Thuile (blue)

Les 3 Vallées, France

The biggest ski area in the world, Les 3 Vallées is made up of thee linked resorts, Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens, all of which are huge in their own right and teeming with a huge number of intermediate runs. What’s impressive is that most of the pistes take you from the highest peaks all the way down to resort level, meaning you can enjoy the whole mountain and stunning views from the summits. The variety of terrain in the area is incredible, everything from tree-lined cruisers to wide open pistes that drop straight off the side of the ridgelines that separate the valleys. If you are fit enough a great challenge is the 3 Valley Rally, which involves visiting each of the resorts in a circuit in just one day. There is so much skiing here that it’s unlikely you will have ridden every piste in a season, let alone a week.

Favourite pistes:

Saulire, Courchevel 1850 (red)

Lac de Le Chambre, Mottaret (blue)

Pramint, St Martin de Belleville (red)

Lory, Orelle (blue)

Our Pre-Season Progression trip to Val Thorens is already on sale, find out more about it here.

Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria

Sitting in the heart of the ‘Ski Circus’ area, is Sallbach-Hinterglemm, an intermediate paradise with plenty of wide motorway runs that you can pick up speed on with plenty of space to manoeuvre without having to worry about others on the piste. Another feature of the resort which is great for intermediates is that there is almost always an ‘easy route’ option, so if there’s a tougher looking red, with a quick glance at the piste map, you’ll probably discover a gentle blue alongside it. As well as well-groomed pistes there are loads of mountain restaurants, an efficient lift system and friendly Austrian hospitality making it a great all-rounder – be sure to try the Kaiserschmarrn and Weiner Schnitzel to get the full Salzburger experience!

Favourite pistes include:

2a,2b, Schattberg ost/Vorderglemm (blue)

46, Bernkogelbahn, Saalbach (blue)

F1, Larchtilzkogel, Fieberbrunn (red)

Soldeau, Grandvalira, Andorra

The largest of Andorra’s ski areas, Grandvalira will rival most in the Alps for its size and variety with the majority of its extensive piste network being ideally suited to intermediate skiers.

Arriving in the Pyrenean principality, piste loving skiers are met with a confidence inspiring selection of pistes ranging from wide open blue runs to slightly more technical but still entertaining reds. The relatively small amount of black pistes may not rate highly for advanced skiers (although there is a handful around the area), but for intermediates, the plethora of blue and red runs will keep improvers and cruisers smiling all day.

Those venturing out of ski school for the first time will enjoy the gently sloping blues like the undulating Soldanella while the blue runs sprawling from the Tosa De La Losada summit offer more than enough cruiser runs for a few afternoons of riding. For those intermediates looking to push themselves, the wide meandering red runs below Pas de la Casa’s Col Blanc peak are perfect for developing those carving turns. If you can bear the long draglift the winding red run from the top of the Montmalús poma is worth the leg burn.

If you are tempted to try your mettle at some of the more extreme forms of skiing, you will feel right at home in Grandvalira. Accessible terrain parks will suit budding freestylers while avalanche controlled freeride zones are the perfect playground to nurture off-piste skills. Navigation between all of these areas is simple thanks to a relatively modern lift system, although on local holidays the ques will rival those of the mega resorts in the Tarentaise!

We run Freshtracks holidays to several of these resorts which are perfect for progressing your skiing, request a brochure here.