Saddleback’s Kennebago Steeps - Ski Mag

Saddleback’s Kennebago Steeps

Maine’s Saddleback dishes up killer food and a rootsy vibe, but it’s the steep ridge flank served by the Kennebago quad—with its expansive glades and winding groomers—that’ll keep you coming back. Here, mountain-ops staffers Jim Quimby, Sam Loud, Jared Emerson, and others show you how to ski it like a local.
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Saddleback Anatomy Thumbnail

Related

saddleback.jpg

Saddleback

Trace a line formed by Maine's State Routes 16, 27, 4, and 142 and you will encircle some of the state's highest mountains. In the southern part of the circle you'll find the long, impressive mass of Saddleback Mountain, from whose summit drop the twisty, wooded trails of Saddleback the ski resort.

James Heim wishing he were on belay. Location: Last Frontier Heli-Skiing, BC.Check out our suggestions for good gear for steep skiing.The first rule of skiing steeps: Don’t take off your skis. I was 11 years old and I still remember the name of the trail at Big Sky, Montana: Snake Pit. My family was on its first Western ski trip. I wanted to outperform my brothers, so I suggested this steep, rocky glade. Two turns in, panic struck. I inexplicably took off my skis, stacked them across my arms like firewood, stepped downhill, and slipped. I tumbled down hundreds of vertical feet, somersaulted, slammed my knee into a stump, and screamed like a dying rabbit. My parents consoled me by buying me a black-diamond Snake Pit pin from a Big Sky gift shop that I promptly stuck on my school backpack.The second rule of skiing steeps: Know how to self-arrest. And know that self-arresting is difficult without your skis on. When you fall, you’ll most likely be on your side. If you’re not, twist yourself around so your skis are perpendicular to the fall line. If you fall headfirst, roll over so your skis end up downhill, below your body. Now dig your ski edges into the slope as hard as you can to stop. If you lose your skis midtumble, kick hard with the toes of your boots and claw with your hands until you create enough friction to stop.The third rule of skiing steeps: In order to prevent a dangerous collision with trees or rocks, scope out your line carefully before you drop in. Note the locations of dangerous features such as cliff bands, trees, and lift towers so you have a clean run-out if you fall. Find your line and follow it to the bottom. And whatever you do, don’t panic the way I did. All you’ll end up with is a banged-up knee and a lousy pin.

Skiing Steeps: Everything You Need to Know

On steep slopes, the risks are higher—if you fall, it’s harder to stop. But so are the rewards. Pitches tilted past 40 degrees can be thrilling if you overcome your fears and tackle the terrain confidently. Learn how to self arrest and more. —Hillary Procknow

Known for it's steeps, Crested Butte houses such aptly named runs as "Dead End Chutes," "Staircase," and "Hot Rocks," as well as the US Freeskiing World Championships.  If that isn't enough, the Body Bag Glades should be. The glades as well as Dead Man's Chute are located in the resort's "Extreme Limits," terrain that should be considered out-of bounds if the resort didn't want to boost its acreage. The Body Bag Glades drop 275 feet at 55 degrees, so you'll have to stick the landing if you want to live to tell about it.

Best Steeps 2009: Crested Butte

There's no easy way down. Jump-turn, pole-plant through the narrow chute, and then hold on tight while you drop the mandatory 10-foot air at the bottom. Welcome to Crested Butte.