Anatomy: Engelberg's Titlis Peak

This mountain looms nearly 6,500 glaciated feet above the town of Engelberg, home to one of Switzerland's longest-operating monasteries. Go there and pray for snow stability and for one of the many transplanted Swedes to show you around so you don't get cliffed out. Or you could bypass Jesus and follow these directions.
Engelberg's Titlis Peak

1. Gaff

When the snow blows in here, this can be the deepest line on the mountain. From the top of the Titlis Rotair, Engelberg’s highest lift, zigzag down the obvious ramps, avoiding the dangerous convex rolls. Keep trending right while inching your way down to the rock wall. Once there, stay close to it. Some pitches tilt as steep as 38 degrees. Dig in, and dine on face shots for 4,300 vertical feet to the valley floor. If it’s bad weather, skip the crevasse zone by skiing the groomer to the Ice Flyer lift and dropping in from there.

 2. Mainline
More wind-exposed than the rest of the glacier, this line is best skied after a dump with minimal wind. From the lift, traverse skier’s right along the fence. Ski past the fence, and then bank left to square up with the lift station. The crux is the steep rollover at the top. If it’s bare ice, sideslip this 50-foot section while doing your best not to fall into the man-eating crevasses to your right. Once cleared, the line is a series of 600-foot shots interrupted by short benches.

 3. Standard
Above the sideslip section of Mainline, immediately work your way left, near the enormous cliffs. The top half is a straightforward off-camber fall line, but make sure you don’t get cliffed out on one of the two massive rock bands below. Worm between them and be careful; the slope rolls over and it’s hard to pinpoint your location. Worse, there may be sucker tracks that lead to the twin drops of doom. Better to meet up with a local who can show you the lower section, a 35-degree, 800-foot apron.

 4. The Laub
Also accessible from a lower lift, this is one of the best lift-served powder laps in existence. From the top of the Rotair, traverse right on the cat track and drop into the open snowfield hugging the rock wall of the Rotstöckli spire. When you reach a traverse, make a right. The Laub begins just below the top of the Laubersgrat lift. Follow the cat track to the trail sign and enter a wide gully. It leads to a 35-degree face that drops 3,400 feet to the flats without so much as a ripple in your path.


Fernie Polar Peak

Anatomy: Fernie's Polar Peak

With the installation of the Polar Peak chair this fall, Fernie Alpine Resort opens up new cliff- and chute-studded terrain in a zone that, until now, saw only occasional action as bootpack-accessed spring skiing.

Squaw Palisades Map thumb

Anatomy: Squaw Valley's Palisades

Locals have a mantra for the Palisades: “When in doubt, air it out.” This granite block has cameoed so many times in ski-porn that its 60-footers and vise-grip couloirs are as familiar as Glen Plake’s mohawk.

Anatomy Casper

Anatomy: Jackson Hole's Casper Bowl

Casper Bowl, a 180-degree cirque of 1,200- vertical-foot cliff-littered chutes, opened in the winter of 1997. Since then, it’s become one of Jackson Hole’s many proving grounds and the venue for numerous freeskiing comps.

Bridger Bowl's Schlasman's Lift

Anatomy: Bridger Bowl's Schlasman's Lift

Schlasman’s (pronounced Slushman’s) lift opened in December 2008 and accesses 300 acres and 1,700 feet of steep terrain. It’s more skier-friendly (translation: fewer places to get cliffed out) than the rest of Bridger Bowl’s gnarly Ridge, but beacons are required and nothing is marked. Case in point? Last season, patrol regularly performed rope rescues here.

Zone 5 Snowbird Anatomy

Anatomy: Snowbird Zone Five

When the good people at Snowbird make a “resort improvement,” they don’t just glade an intermediate run or groom a black-diamond pitch. They open 500-acre Mineral Basin. They blast a ski tunnel through 600 feet of rock. And now they’ve opened up Zone 5, a new hairball section of 40-degree terrain off Mount Baldy.

From the top of Verbier's 10,900-foot Mont Font, the highest point at the ski area, you can access some of the steepest, hairest terrain you'll find anywhere on the planet. At the end of the season, they host speed skiing competitions on the groomer from the top of the Mont Font tram—and it's steep gradient made it the fastest ski run in Switzerland when Italian skier Simone Origone got going over 134 miles per hour there in 2007.

Verbier, Switzerland: 10 Reasons to Visit

In case you need a reason to visit Verbier, Switzerland, we've got 10 of them—ranging from the powder to the cheese to the Swiss chalets. Plus, it's the home of the Verbier XTreme competition, which is taking place this weekend.