The Most Difficult Ski Resort in the World: Unraveling the Ultimate Challenge for Skiers

Choose the resort you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Nov 23, 2023 06:37)
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! Are you a skiing enthusiast, always on the lookout for the most challenging slopes and adrenaline-pumping experiences? Look no further, as we are thrilled to present our latest poll: "What is the most difficult ski resort in the world?" From the dizzying heights of the French Alps to the treacherous terrains of the Rocky Mountains, we have compiled a list of the most formidable ski resorts that push the limits of even the most seasoned skiers. Cast your vote for your favorite, or suggest a missing option to make this ranking as comprehensive as possible. So, buckle up, grab your poles, and join us in this exhilarating quest to uncover the ultimate skiing challenge!

What Is the Most Difficult Ski Resort in the World?

  1. 1
    Known for its extreme off-piste skiing and lack of marked runs or grooming.
    La Grave, France is known as one of the most difficult ski resorts in the world. Located in the French Alps, it offers a unique and challenging experience for advanced skiers and snowboarders. The resort is characterized by its rugged terrain, steep slopes, and off-piste opportunities. La Grave is renowned for its lack of groomed runs, marked trails, and ski patrol. It attracts thrill-seekers and experts who are looking for an adrenaline rush in a raw and uncontrolled mountain environment.
    • Location: French Alps, France
    • Terrain: Rugged and steep
    • Groomed Runs: None
    • Marked Trails: None
    • Ski Patrol: Limited
    La Grave, France in other rankings
  2. 2
    A narrow, steep chute with a mandatory drop-in that has become an iconic and challenging run.
    Corbet's Couloir is a legendary ski run located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA. It is renowned as one of the most difficult and intimidating in the world, attracting seasoned skiers and adrenaline junkies. The couloir was named after a local ski patroller, Barry Corbet, who was the first to envision skiing it in the late 1960s.
    • Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA
    • Difficulty: Extremely difficult
    • Vertical Drop: Over 1,000 feet
    • Terrain: Steep and narrow couloir
    • Entrance: Narrow and cliff-like
  3. 3
    The Streif, Kitzbühel, Austria
    Michael Fleischhacker · CC BY-SA 3.0

    The Streif, Kitzbühel, Austria

    Austrian Ski Federation
    The most famous downhill ski race course in the world, with steep pitches, tight turns, and jumps.
    The Streif is a legendary ski slope located in Kitzbühel, Austria. It is renowned as one of the most difficult and challenging ski runs in the world, attracting top skiers and adrenaline junkies alike. The slope is part of the annual Hahnenkamm downhill race, a prestigious event on the FIS World Cup circuit.
    • Location: Kitzbühel, Austria
    • Slope Length: 3.3 kilometers
    • Maximum Gradient: 85%
    • Average Gradient: 27%
    • Vertical Drop: 860 meters
    The Streif, Kitzbühel, Austria in other rankings
  4. 4

    Mount Hutt, New Zealand

    Mount Hutt Limited
    Known for its unpredictable weather and challenging terrain, including steep chutes and narrow runs.
    Mount Hutt is a renowned ski resort located in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. It is known for its challenging terrain and attracts both amateur and professional skiers from around the world. With its breathtaking alpine scenery and diverse ski trails, Mount Hutt offers a thrilling experience for ski enthusiasts of all levels.
    • Location: Canterbury region, New Zealand
    • Ski Terrain: Challenging
    • Altitude: 2,086 meters (6,874 feet)
    • Ski Season: Late June to early October
    • Vertical Drop: 683 meters (2,240 feet)
  5. 5
    A ski area that prides itself on its old-school, challenging terrain and lack of modern amenities.
    Mad River Glen is a legendary ski resort located in Vermont, USA. It is renowned for its challenging terrain and is considered one of the most difficult ski resorts in the world. The resort offers a unique and authentic skiing experience, focused on preserving the natural environment and the traditional aspects of the sport.
    • Elevation: 2,037 feet (621 meters)
    • Vertical Drop: 2,037 feet (620 meters)
    • Trails: 45 trails
    • Terrain: 40% expert, 20% advanced, 27% intermediate, 12% novice
    • Skiable Area: 415 acres (168 hectares)
  6. 6
    A mecca for extreme skiers and snowboarders, with steep, ungroomed runs and some of the highest peaks in the Alps.
    Chamonix, France is renowned as one of the most challenging ski resorts in the world. Located in the French Alps near the borders of France, Italy, and Switzerland, it offers an exceptional setting for alpine sports enthusiasts. Chamonix is widely regarded as the birthplace of mountaineering and hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924.
    • Elevation: 1,035 meters (3,396 feet)
    • Skiable Area: 152 km (94.4 miles) of marked slopes
    • Longest Run: Vallée Blanche - 20 km (12.4 miles) off-piste run
    • Vertical Drop: 2,807 meters (9,209 feet)
    • Difficulty Level: Mostly advanced and expert level terrain
  7. 7

    Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, USA

    Ernie and Rhoda Blake
    Known for its challenging steeps and tree runs, as well as its high altitude and variable weather.
    Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico, USA, is renowned as one of the most challenging ski resorts in the world. With its steep slopes and rugged terrain, it offers a thrilling experience for expert skiers seeking an adrenaline rush. The resort's natural beauty, including the stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, adds to the overall appeal of this extreme skiing destination.
    • Trails: 113
    • Vertical drop: 3,274 feet (998 meters)
    • Terrain: Roughly 50% expert, 25% intermediate, and 25% beginner
    • Longest run: 3 miles (4.8 km)
    • Average snowfall: 305 inches (775 cm)
  8. 8
    Portillo, Chile
    Carlos yo · CC BY-SA 3.0
    A remote ski resort with steep terrain and challenging off-piste skiing, as well as unpredictable weather.
    Portillo, Chile is widely considered one of the most challenging ski resorts in the world. Nestled in the Andes Mountains, it offers breathtaking views and unparalleled skiing opportunities for experienced skiers looking for a thrilling adventure.
    • Location: Andes Mountains, Chile
    • Altitude: 2,880 meters (9,449 feet) above sea level
    • Slopes: 35 named runs, varied terrain
    • Vertical Drop: 762 meters (2,500 feet)
    • Longest Run: 3 kilometers (1.9 miles)
  9. 9

    Verbier, Switzerland

    Verbier Tourist Office
    A popular destination for freeriders and extreme skiers, with steep couloirs and off-piste runs.
    Verbier, Switzerland is a world-renowned ski resort located in the Swiss Alps. It offers breathtaking mountain views, pristine slopes, and a charming alpine village atmosphere. Known for its challenging terrain and exceptional off-piste opportunities, Verbier attracts skiers and snowboarders of all levels from around the globe. The resort also offers a vibrant après-ski scene, with a variety of bars, restaurants, and shops to explore. With its high-altitude slopes and extensive lift system, Verbier provides a memorable ski experience for winter sports enthusiasts.
    • Location: Swiss Alps, Switzerland
    • Terrain: Challenging with exceptional off-piste opportunities
    • Altitude: 1,500m (4,921ft) to 3,330m (10,926ft)
    • Ski Season: December to April
    • Skiable Area: 412 km² (159 sq mi)
    Verbier, Switzerland in other rankings
  10. 10
    Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal
    Goutam1962 · CC BY-SA 4.0
    While not technically a ski resort, some extreme skiers and snowboarders have attempted to ski down from the base of the world's highest mountain, facing high altitude, extreme cold, and treacherous conditions.
    Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal is a popular trekking destination located in the Himalayas. It serves as the starting point for mountaineers attempting to climb Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. The base camp is situated at an altitude of about 5,380 meters (17,600 feet) above sea level, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and glaciers. It is a challenging and demanding trek, making it one of the most difficult ski resorts in the world.
    • Location: Khumjung, Solukhumbu District, Nepal
    • Altitude: 5,380 meters (17,600 feet)
    • Difficulty Level: Extreme
    • Trekking Distance: Approximately 65 kilometers (40 miles)
    • Duration: Usually 12-16 days

Missing your favorite resort?


Ranking factors for difficult ski resort

  1. Terrain steepness
    The steepness of the slopes is a significant factor in determining the difficulty of a ski resort. Steeper slopes are more challenging for skiers, as they require greater skill and control to navigate.
  2. Technical difficulty
    Some ski resorts have more technical or challenging runs, which may include moguls, narrow chutes, and tight tree lines. These features require advanced skiing skills to tackle successfully.
  3. Snow conditions
    The quality and consistency of the snow can greatly impact the difficulty of a ski resort. Heavy or icy snow can make runs more challenging, even for experienced skiers.
  4. Altitude
    Higher altitude resorts typically have more challenging terrain and thinner air, which can be physically demanding and affect a skier's stamina and performance.
  5. Number and diversity of difficult runs
    The quantity and variety of advanced and expert runs available at a ski resort should be considered when determining difficulty.
  6. Off-piste skiing
    Ski resorts with vast off-piste terrain can provide an added challenge for advanced skiers seeking powder and unmarked routes.
  7. Accessibility of difficult runs
    Some resorts may have difficult runs that are easily accessible from lifts, while others require hiking or traversing to reach challenging terrain.
  8. Exposure and consequences
    The danger associated with skiing in certain areas of a resort, such as avalanche risk, rocky cliffs, and crevasses, should be considered when assessing difficulty.
  9. Overall resort infrastructure and safety measures
    The availability and quality of ski patrols, signage, and safety barriers can impact the difficulty of a resort, particularly in terms of navigating around the mountain and mitigating risk.
  10. Reputation and skier feedback
    The collective opinions and experiences of skiers who have visited a resort can help provide insight into the overall difficulty of the resort.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult ski resort in the world. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or resort is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 193 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each resort once every 24 hours. The rank of each resort is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult ski resort in the world

Skiing is one of the most thrilling and challenging winter sports, and some ski resorts take that challenge to the extreme. Whether it's steep slopes, narrow runs, icy terrain or unpredictable weather conditions, certain ski resorts have earned a reputation for being the most difficult in the world. These resorts attract experienced skiers and adrenaline junkies looking for the ultimate skiing experience. From the rugged peaks of the Swiss Alps to the wild terrain of North America, there are many ski resorts that claim to be the toughest in the world. But which one truly deserves the title of the most difficult ski resort? Let's explore some of the contenders and find out.

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