Resorts basically promote km of groomers. There is no such thing as controlled "inbounds" away from such runs apart from limited piste naturels and some small "free ride zones" in some resorts
You do need shovel probe + transceiver + knowledge if you want to go way from groomers
You do see lots of numpties who ignore this last point. Most are lucky some are not. Some with knowledge are not invulnerable.
This is also my understanding based on "research" and two trips and one upcoming trip(Verbier) to EUR. That's why resort choice is so important.
You have to go to the right place If you are an advanced aggressive skier for whom groomers will not provide the real satisfaction and you don't want to shell out another $200/day for guide.
St. Anton/Lech - you don't need a guide to enjoy your skiing. Very good choice. Lots of "inbound red and black bumpy and steep enough" terrain. Lots more just off the marked piste where you don't have to worry about getting lost or swallowed by a crevasse and will be well skied if there is fresh snow.
I anticipate the same for Verbier. I think you would find the same at the biggest French resorts.
Since you live on the east coast you are doing the right thing in heading East.
Report from my Zermatt trip. A place where you don't want to "wonder" around off the marked piste!
Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 1/17/16 at 6:49am