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10 Best Mountains You've Never Skied

SADDLEBACK, MAINE

Come to escape the crowds. Stay for the snow, the Steeps, and the sweet 70s vibe.

More steak than sizzle, more substance than flash, beautiful, remote Saddleback woos skiers with old-style New England trails, take-no-prisoners glades, stunning views, and an unpretentious Yankee disposition that embraces locals and visitors alike. Its 4,210-foot peak rises above the Rangeley Lakes, a waterway-splashed wilderness populated with more moose than people and favored by generations of anglers and summer rusticators.

BURKE, VT.

An authentic Northeast Kingdom classic, poised for big things.

Burke, of course, deserves to be loved. It’s a big, steep, charismatic mountain in the heart of the scenic Northeast Kingdom. Now it finally appears to have owners capable of exploiting its full potential and extolling its virtues to the uninitiated. Longtime Burke lovers probably always knew that their good thing couldn’t last forever, but they can’t be blamed for finding it hard to share what they once had to themselves.

KIRKWOOD, CALIF.

Gnarly, steep, scary. Go after it–and you won't be sorry.

When a hometown boy won the World Freeskiing Championships last winter at Kirkwood, the victory confirmed what Tahoe locals have always known: Kirkwood is a world-class playground for steep-and-deep extreme skiing. “There is a long tradition of hard-charging skiers flocking to Kirkwood,” says Kirkwood skier and Outside Television personality Todd Offenbacher. Kirkwood has always enjoyed a cult following among California skiers.

MT. ROSE, NEV.

A mountain that out-skis its reputation is a mountain you need to ski. By Tim Bogardus

In the hierarchy of ski-town name recognition, Reno registers low on the list, if at all. Most would associate that name with gambling, a less glitzy alternative to Las Vegas. But for those in the know, the “Biggest Little City in the World” is home to a mountain that Reno skiers hope you will drive right by, their ace in the hole: Mt. Rose. You could call it the Biggest Little Mountain, but there’s nothing small about Mt. Rose’s 1,800 vertical feet stationed like an outer suburb a mere 14 miles from town.

STEVENS PASS, WASH.

When it snows, it snows at this tight-knit Pacific Northwest gem.

When the sky turns blue at Stevens Pass, it’s heaven on earth. After all, there’s a reason the summit chairlift is called Seventh Heaven. But even though rainy Seattle is only two hours away, this central Washington ski area, on the crest of the Cascade Mountains, gets more sun than you’d think. When it’s socked in under clouds, you’ll make the trek to Stevens for the steep terrain off the Double Diamond chair, the wide-open backside bowls off the Southern Cross chair, and the 450 inches of snowfall the resort gets on average each year.

POWDER MOUNTAIN, UTAH

Snowcat, shuttle, backcountry, lifts. This 7,000-acre playground just won't quit.

A few miles outside of the tiny town of Eden—home to the only four-way stop in the whole Ogden Valley—the grade of Highway 158 makes an abrupt increase in angle. An old blue bus chugs slowly up the access road, on either side of which ski tracks spill down the hillsides. The road gets narrower. As the bus inches along, the writing on the side comes into focus: Powder Country. 


Photo: Adam Baker

ARAPAHOE BASIN, COLO.

No frills, just real people, real terrain, and skiing the way it oughta be.

Two kinds of people ride A-Basin: people who love to ski and people who love to party. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but the party people have less tenacity. They show up when it gets warm, when the famous A-Basin Beach gets rowdy and the East Wall thaws. They bring kegs, hula hoops, and costumes. They get weird.


Photo: Liam Doran

FERNIE, B.C.

It's a stop on the powder highway for a reason: five snowy high-alpine bowls, glades, steeps, and more.

Most North American skiers would like to forget the winter of 2012. The folks at Fernie never will. A mid-January storm dropped five feet in 30 hours; another in late February brought 35 inches in one night. When they finally—and sadly—shuttered the lifts in April, the tally was 480 inches for the year. Compared to snow totals across the continent, those numbers were extraordinary. But compared to Fernie’s own track record, the stats were typical.

SCHWEITZER, IDAHO

Where lake views, steep trees, B.C.-quality snow and a generous serving of backside snowcat action await.


Photo: Re Wikstrom

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