Inside Line: Stevens Pass, WA

Seattle can be sloppy, wet, and cold. But drive 78 miles northeast and sloppy transforms into steep, deep, and dry at Stevens Pass, a ripper’s reprieve from fast-paced Emerald City life. There you’ll find a stable maritime snowpack, limitless backcountry access, and a massive park.
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Ian Coble and Tyler Ceccanti at Stevens Pass

Powder Day: Wing It Trees, in the resort’s south-side Mill Valley, was gladed in 2007 and offers 1,700 vertical feet of high-speed open trees. Or drop into the north-facing Big Chief Bowl off the Double Diamond chair for tight lines at the top and GS turns in the bowl.

Three Days Later: Get back to Cowboy Mountain. It’s a quick hike to access terrain that hoards the soft stuff well after a storm. Some out-of-bounds terrain is unpatrolled, so bring your beacon, shovel, and probe.

Park and Pipe: The Top Phlight Terrain Park is so big, you have to go through the Top Phlight Safety School before you can huck yourself over gaps (last season’s included a 90-footer), slide a farm of rails, or chuck yourself in the pipe. See ridestevenspass.com for more info.

Backcountry access: This may be the reason you come to Stevens Pass. Three wilderness areas collide directly across the highway from the resort. All are at the mercy of your skin track. Start hoofing in the enormous parking lot on Highway 2’s north side. Skin past employee housing up to Skyline Ridge to shred steep, north-facing powder shots and cliff bands. Or continue touring into Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Area. Check avy conditions at nwac.us.

Weather: Pacific Northwest storms come in wet and go out dry. Some of the best skiing happens during the storm—so invest in some clear or yellow goggle lenses.

Après: The Bull’s Tooth in the Granite Peaks Lodge serves up Washington microbrews at a pine bar. The chandelier overhead, made of 75- and 105-millimeter avalanche howitzer shells, keeps it real.

Fuel: The Taco Stop in the Pacific Crest Lodge dishes out cheap and tasty custom wraps and homemade enchiladas.

Up All Night: The Tye Creek Lodge’s Foggy Goggle features bands every Friday evening to go with the night skiing the mountain offers till 10 p.m. Or check out the Bavarian-themed scene in Leavenworth, 30 minutes to the east.

Digs: Room up with buddies at Leavenworth’s Icicle Inn, which has a pool, a hot tub, and free high-speed internet (from $130; icicleinn.com). You can get your swank on next door at JJ Hills Restaurant and Wine Bar. 

Elevation: 5,845 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,800 feet

Snowfall: 450 inches

Acres: 1,125

Info: stevenspass.com

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Cascade Powder Cats, Stevens Pass, Washington

Stevens Pass

78 miles northeast of Seattle and sloppy transforms into steep, deep, and dry at Stevens Pass

The Subaru North American Freeskiing Championships were held at Kirkwood, California on Sunday, Feb 27th and Monday, Feb 28th—two beautiful bluebird days after a storm

Inside Line: Kirkwood, CA

Kirkwood is off the grid in more ways than one. The whole place runs on generators. Lift lines are six people deep on a powder day. Sierra storms fill the ski-porn-worthy terrain, closing roads and shutting down lifts for days. But with inbounds runs slanted up to 42 degrees, the most reliable snow in the area, and chutes that make big-mountain skiers queasy, it’s hard to believe the resort stays so low-key. Thank the hourlong drive from South Lake Tahoe’s packed casinos and resorts, which ensures Kirkwood remains unsullied by the masses. Just the way skiers there like it.

Snowbird Will be Open Until July 4th

Inside Line: Snowbird, UT

Tucked in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon on the road to Alta, Snowbird is known for hanging bowls, 50-foot cliffs, and over-the-head powder. Pros like Jenn Berg, Jeremy Nobis, and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa schralp the high-alpine cirques along with equally talented nobodies—humble locals on K2 Pontoons. With more than 3,200 vertical feet of steeps, tree-lined chutes, and roughly 500 inches of snow a year, this isn’t a place you want to drive by.

Portillo, Chile

Inside Line: Portillo, Chile

At Portillo, there’s a good chance you’ll share a Poma with Seth Morrison or Daron Rahlves. It’s the off-season training spot for the pros. It’s no wonder why. All above treeline, the terrain is point-and-go, from rock-lined chutes to wide-open bowls to impeccably groomed cruisers. Laps are punctuated by boots-off, white-tablecloth lunches, hot-tub soaks, Ping-Pong with the locals, and thumping disco. Stay at the all-inclusive, European-style Portillo Lodge, where ski history seeps from wooden walls decorated with trophies from the first World Cup races. Thanks to overnight flights from the U.S. and a two-hour drive from the Santiago airport, you can even ski the day you arrive.

Reggie Crist in Sun Valley

Inside Line: Sun Valley, ID

Sun Valley oozes history. In 1936, it debuted the world’s first chairlift and became a full-fledged destination resort, drawing visitors like Marilyn Monroe, Ernest Hemingway, and Louis Armstrong. And in 1946, Warren Miller started making ski movies there. Today, Sun Valley’s the home of ski-film stars Zach and Reggie Crist and the premier heli-ski outfitter in Idaho. But the real reason it’s a resort for the ages: Sun Valley’s terrain—ranging from high-speed rippers to wide-open bowls—never gets old.