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runs

The Best Runs at Stowe

The Best Runs at Stowe
stowe mountain chairlift
Infamous ”Front Four” trails like Goat and Liftline may kick your butt, so we’ll give you some other options, just in case.

Best Cruiser: Main Street. This blue square is approachable and skier-friendly, a super-wide, carve-able groomer with views of the Green Mountains in all directions.

Best Bumps: National. Cut in 1952, with northeastern exposure and super-wide steeps, this thigh-burner holds snow long into the spring. Perfect for the hardcore powder-whore seeking a challenge.

The Best Runs at Sugarbush

The Best Runs at Sugarbush

Vermont native and freestyle pro David Babic gets big air at the top of Mount Ellen.

You unload from the lift, tighten your boots, and secure your poles, now what? Sugarbush has challenging trails for intermediates through experts from all three high peak lifts.

Best Cruiser: Snowball. After some leg burning steeps, seek relief on Snowball, off of the Heaven’s Gate Triple. Relax, and focus on the views as you carve up this wide-open cruiser. Continue on Lower Snowball for more views and a wooded trail that will bring you on the southernmost route to the base.

Top Five Runs at Copper Mountain

Top Five Runs at Copper Mountain
copper main
Here are the Top Five runs at Copper Mountain, from cruisers to steeps.

Best Cruiser: Andy’s Encore. For your first run, Andy’s Encore is a top to bottom groomer that will get you warmed up. A few steep pitches keep it challenging. The speedy six-pack Super Bee will buzz you to the top in 11 minutes.  On an icy morning, though, stay away from the frontside.

The East Wall at Arapahoe Basin

The East Wall at Arapahoe Basin
abasin east wall
The East Wall at Arapahoe Basin looms above the resort like a big-city skyline

It's stacked with 500-600 foot, 30-40 degree hike-to chutes that fan out onto wide-open aprons. The East Wall opens late in the season, snow stability and coverage permitting, and in lean years it might not open at all. But when it does it's the best in-bounds terrain that Summit County has to offer. There are as many lines off the East Wall as your creativity can handle. Below are four of our favorite.

Olympic Downhill Courses at Snowbasin

Olympic Downhill Courses at Snowbasin

After losing the Olympic bid to Nagano, Japan in 1998, one of America’s favorite ski destinations finally won the chance to showcase its top-notch facilities and powder snow to the world. Plagued by financial scandals and security concerns in the months after September 11, the games in Salt Lake City were a triumph thanks to a combination of national pride, great organization, and knee-deep snowfall the week before the games.

Skiers know there’s no dearth of excellent terrain in Utah: Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta. However, the downhill course was ultimately constructed at the then relatively unknown Snowbasin resort just East of Ogden, Utah, because it was the only ski area with a base area large enough to handle Olympic-sized crowds.

Designed by famed course architect Bernhard Russi, the aptly named men’s “Grizzly” course was a bear. Dropping 2,900 vertical feet in just under two miles, the Grizzly has been described as the most difficult downhill in the United States—or the “Kitzbuhel of North America,” a reference to the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuhel, Austria, widely acknowledged as the fastest and most treacherous in the world. Click here to see what former U.S. Olympian Doug Lewis had to say about the course when it debuted back in 2001.

Today, the Grizzly run looks a bit different. It’s groomed, and its jumps have been ironed out. But the spectacular views of Wasatch Front, the Ogden Valley, and the Great Salt Lake remain the same. The neighboring Wildflower run, the women’s downhill, offers nearly the same vertical drop of 2,625 feet. Carole Montillet-Carles of France took the gold in the women’s downhill, while Austrian Fritz Strobl won the men’s. However, the queen of the 2002 winter games was Croatia’s Janica Kostelić who won three gold medals in slalom, giant slalom, and combined and a silver in the super-G, making her the first Olympic alpine skier to win four medals at one Games.

Skiing two miles downhill without taking a break is hard enough. Try doing it at 80 mph on a sheet of ice. That's what it feels like to be an Olympic racer, and you can still ski the 2002 Olympic Downhill Course at Snowbasin if you're willing to give it a try.

After losing the Olympic bid to Nagano, Japan in 1998, one of America’s favorite ski destinations finally won the chance to showcase its top-notch facilities and powder snow to the world. Plagued by financial scandals and security concerns in the months after September 11, the games in Salt Lake City were a triumph thanks to a combination of national pride, great organization, and knee-deep snowfall the week before the games.

Mach Schnell

Mach Schnell
powder at snowbird
Find untracked terrain at Snowbird.

Look for late-day powder on Mach Schnell at Snowbird. This 1,890-foot run harbors hidden deepness well after more accessible runs are tracked out.
Photo by: Lee Cohen

Kachina Peak

Ski inbounds off the map at Taos Ski Area.

Its appearance could fool you into thinking it’s backcountry terrain, but Kachina Peak is actually inbounds. It does require a hike from the top of Chair 2. The hike to the very top is 45 minutes, but you can drop into any one of five K-Chutes. K-4 faces north, so it tends to hold the most snow. Just don’t be too gung-ho when you drop over the cornice because after about three to four turns, the chutes narrow to widths of about 20 yards. The runout is mellow and open and will put you back at Chair 4.

Steeps at Taos

Steeps at Taos
robin may
Guide to skiing steeps at Taos.

Two of the best runs on the front side are North American and Long Horn. Both offer choices of lines ranging from 35 degrees to 45 degrees and see minimal traffic as everyone heads for the Ridge and more obvious terrain off Lifts Two and Four. If it's windy, wait until later in the day; the wind blows straight up Lift One and stuffs both lines with powder.

photo by: Dino Vournas

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