Articles by Mark Lesh - Ski Mag

Mark Lesh

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Inside Line: Red Mountain, BC

In 1897, a Norwegian miner named Olaus Jeldness invited his friends to the top of British Columbia’s Red Mountain for a “tea party.” He got everybody plowed, slapped planks to their feet, and started ski culture in Canada. Since then Red hasn’t changed much except that condos are popping up and locals are beginning to grumble. But the terrain is the same as it’s always been: steep, consistent subalpine trees and cliff bands that radiate off two peaks covered with 300 inches of crowd-free blower. Just as Jeldness would want it.

Crystal Mountain Northway Lift

Crystal Mountain’s Northway Lift

Storms in the Pacific Northwest hamper visibility. So get some depth perception in the rocky chutes and protected tree runs accessed by Crystal Mountain’s Northway lift. Before the resort installed the 1,870-vertical-foot fixed-grip lift in 2007, this zone was a backcountry stash for locals. Now the chair helps disperse skier traffic and has increased Crystal’s lift-served terrain by 62 percent.

"I always coordinate my hat with my favorite resort." Mike Hopkins at Red.

Red Mountain

Ride the Red chair to the top of Red Mountain, site of western Canada’s first chairlift, opened in 1947.

Le Page in Whitewater

Whitewater

The style of Whitewater, located in British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountain range, is undeniably pure, simple, and truthful.

Steep and cheap above Ogden, Utah. Skier: Rob Holmes.

Snowbasin

Some of Utah’s tightest chutes and driest powder, no on-slope lodging, and few crowds.

#2: Alta, UT

Alta Ski Area

n 2004, sleepy Alta ripped out a triple and a double chair and replaced the aging lifts with a high-speed quad. It was a big move for a resort that prides itself on minimal grooming, stay-fresh powder, and a skiers-only policy. But don’t be thrown off by the progress. Alta controls the number of people it lets on the mountain, and the Collins quad only makes access to the resort’s 700 acres of steeps, bowls, and chutes six minutes faster—