With the Kings and Queens of Corbet’s kicking off this week at Jackson Hole, Wyo., it seems fitting to highlight North America’s toughest, steepest, make-you-go-weak-in-the-knees terrain.
Sure, Stowe’s Goat, Crested Butte’s Rambo, Squaw’s KT-22, and of course Corbet’s Couloir are all legit runs that should absolutely be on every skier’s bucket list. After all the press they get, we imagine that they already are.
So here’s a new list of challenging in-bounds North American runs and terrain pods. Can you tick off at least five of these 10? It’s never too late to get started.
Steep Gullies, Arapahoe Basin, Colo.
Not a single run but rather 129 acres of new-in-2018 extreme terrain at Arapahoe Basin, this little pod belongs on any skier’s list. Gullies 1-9 are double-black-diamond chutes with varying degrees of “natural features”—trees, cliffs, boulders, etc.—that require a hike back to the ski area.
Related: Is Arapahoe Basin the Anti-Resort?
Pipeline Couloir, Snowbird, Utah
Skiing Pipeline is as much a matter of timing as skill—the 700-foot couloir is rarely open due to its exposure to skiers below. When it is open, usually in late spring when avalanche conditions have quieted, skiers with avy gear and a partner can sign out with Snowbird ski patrol. Then it’s about an hour hike to Pipeline’s entrance, which is rock-strewn and a bit technical. The couloir itself is about a 45-degree pitch and wider than average.
The Chutes, Mt. Rose, Nev.
This collection of 17 steep runs across 20o acres on the northeast side of Lake Tahoe, about half of which are double-blacks, are not to be missed when the snow is good. The steepest of them is Captivator, a 45-degree chute that’s 1,500 vertical feet long.
The Slides, Whiteface Mountain, N.Y.
The Slides are 35 acres of anything-goes steeps, trees, mandatory air, and even a frozen waterfall that is the pinnacle expert experience at this Adirondacks ski area. Accessed by a hike from the Summit Quad, The Slides are some of the most technical terrain in the East.
From the 2021 Resort Guide: No. 5 in the East, Whiteface Mountain, N.Y.
Kant-Mak-M, Telluride, Colo.
No one can make you ski Kant-Mak-M, but if you decide to go for it, be prepared for a 2,000-foot-long mogul run with a 45-degree pitch in spots. Off Telluride’s Plunge Lift, Kant is made even more difficult by the fact that it’s at 11,885 feet, and located directly below the lift.
Editors’ Choice 2021: The Skiing at Telluride is More Than Meets the Eye
The North Face, Alyeska
When The North Face is skiing well, you might wonder where the helicopter is when you get to the bottom—it can be that good. More of a zone than a single run, Alyeska’s North Face comprises 400 acres of chutes, bowls, cliffs with wide-open Chugach views and deep powder to match. It just happens to be served by an Aerial Tram rather than a bird.
Go Deeper: Alyeska—Into the Wild
Discipline, Revelstoke, B.C.
Located off a subpeak of Revelstoke Mountain Resort‘s summit, Discipline is a steep chute with a corniced entrance that might be the most uninterrupted fall line on the entire mountain. It deposits skiers right into North Bowl.
Pakalolo, Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.
There’s so much extreme terrain between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, but part of what makes Pakalolo so intimidating is the fact that once you’re at the edge, you’re committed—there’s no out. Accessed off the 7th Heaven chair, Pakalolo is a steep, narrow chute that opens into a wider apron, but you’ve got to nail those first few jump turns. Need a sneak peek? You can spy Pakalolo off the Glacier Express before you commit.
From the 2021 Resort Guide: No. 7 in the West, Whistler Blackcomb
Lift Line, Mad River Glen, Vt.
Paradise is the standard at MRG, but we think neighboring Lift Line is the choice if you’ve got the goods. After all, why not show it off? Lift Line boasts a similar pitch to Paradise, and all the bumps, too. What are you afraid of?
From the 2021 Resort Guide: No. 3 in the East, Mad River Glen
Mount Bohemia, Mich.
OK, this is an entire mountain—albeit a mountain where two blues meander each way from the summit … and everything else is double-black, huck-city. Westerners and Easterners alike tend to write off the Midwest when it comes to skiing, and Boho is here to tell you to stop that. Like, now. Runs such as triple-black-diamond Horseshoe Chute require mandatory air on Bohemia’s front face, while Ice Cliff—well, you get the idea.