These three ski areas are pushing their boundaries. Here’s what the resorts — and locals — have to say.
Sunshine Village, Alberta
NEW TERRAIN: With Silver City, Sunshine adds another notch to its belt of hairy big-mountain terrain. The new freeride zone sits in a natural rock amphitheater peppered with 40-degree faces, cliffs, false lines, spines, and ski-length-wide slots. Route knowledge is essential, along with a transceiver, shovel, probe, and partner.
PARTY LINE: “This is the toughest skiing you can find within a resort boundary. It’s serious terrain filled with no-fall zones. It’ll turn your hair gray.” —Mike Moynihan, sales and media manager, Sunshine Village
LOCAL’S TAKE: “We’ve been asking for this terrain for a while, and it’s amazing that patrol got it open. But I can only see the top five percent of the people on the mountain being able to ski it. Silver City has the potential for calamity. Go fall line, and you’re going right over a 300-foot cliff.” —Kevin Hjertaas, Sunshine local and pro skier
Whistler Blackcomb, BC
NEW TERRAIN: Look for the new Piccolo Express, a high-speed quad that stretches 1,670 vertical feet from the bottom of Whistler’s Flute Bowl to Piccolo Peak, accessing 1,000 acres of new terrain. The “inbounds backcountry” area off nearby Flute Peak still requires a hike in, but the chair eliminates the slog out.
PARTY LINE: “This lift will give our intermediate guests an opportunity to enjoy a truly incredible high-alpine experience on Whistler Mountain.” —Michelle Leroux, PR supervisor, Whistler Blackcomb
LOCAL’S TAKE: “They’re opening up 1,000 acres, but the terrain is mediocre. It isn’t going to make the trip to Flute any easier, though you won’t have to hike out, which I guess is a plus.” —James Collingridge, local realtor and 60-day-a-year Whistler skier
The Canyons, Utah
NEW TERRAIN: With the new Dreamcatcher chair, which runs 1,515 vertical feet up the back side of the Dreamscape area on the southernmost edge of the resort, The Canyons adds 200 acres of gladed terrain, mostly intermediate to expert.
PARTY LINE: “It’ll be great powder skiing on north-facing slopes. We don’t have a ton of glades, so this completes the picture for us terrain-wise.” —Todd Burnette, VP of marketing and brand management, The Canyons
LOCAL’S TAKE: “It’s a logistical cluster to get to. And you miss the Cottonwood effect. One ridge over from Ninety-Nine 90, you get considerably deeper snow.” —Dave Peck, longtime pass holder at The Canyons