East: Top 5 Steeps


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Access: Madonna 1 double
Vertical Drop: 620 feet
Max Reported Pitch: 54 degrees
Why It Rips:
Freefall regulars like to gather at the run’s crest to watch unsuspecting newbies charge through the opening handful of turns, only to come skittering to a halt above the 54-degree headwall that lends the ledgy slash its name. From there, choices are few: Beat an undignified uphill retreat; head skier’s left, hoping the cushion of blown-in snow hasn’t been scraped to stone and stump; or nail the 12-foot drop to skier’s right, landing with enough composure to keep ass under tea kettle. Turning on Freefall is less about carving than slicing through the air. The pitch is so steep that each change of direction brings the wonderfully peculiar sensation of falling off the earth’s face.

Access: Castlerock Chair
Vertical Drop: 967 feet
Max Reported Pitch: 38 degrees
Why It Rips:
Steepness is relative, of course. But pitch is only part of the Rumble story. Super-narrow and ever-twisting, rock-littered and tree-clogged, Rumble is less trail than amusement park ride. Barf bags and cotton candy not included.

Access: Timberline Quad
Vertical Drop: 1,050 feet
Max Reported Pitch: 52 degrees
Why It Rips:
Standing at the top of White Nitro summons a primal chest-beating urge. That’s because Nitro starts above tree line and provides unfettered views of what is, for the time being at least, your kingdom. Whether you retain ownership depends entirely on how cleanly you negotiate the run’s 400-yard headwall and the narrow steeps below.

Access: Grand Summit Express
Vertical Drop: 450 feet
Max Reported Pitch: 37 degrees
Why It Rips:
By ramping up huge piles of manmade, Mount Snow’s snowmaking team makes the resort’s steepest pitch even sketchier. Ripcord rides the fall line straight down the hill; savvy skiers cut right halfway down to catch the eight-foot drops scattered about the neighboring Plunge glade.
Info: 800-245-7669,

Access: Zoomer triple
Vertical Drop: 630 feet
Max Reported Pitch: 59 degrees
Why It Rips:
Steep, hard, and fast: You haven’t skied Cannon until you’ve opened it up on Avalanche, the sheerest of Cannon’s Front Five. It’s wide enough to embrace gravity; take multiple laps, increasing speed with each one.