Ski Resort Life

Here’s Your 10-Run Bucket List for Arapahoe Basin, Whistler Blackcomb, Mad River Glen, and More

SKI's brand-new, highly opinionated list of the scariest terrain in North America that all skiers should add to their agendas this season.

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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.

Doug Evans drops into the Steep Gullies, Arapahoe Basin, Colo.
Doug Evans drops into the Steep Gullies, A-Basin’s aptly named extreme terrain comprising several rock-lined couloirs. You can see U.S. Route 6, a.k.a. Loveland Pass, wending through the valley in the distance. Photo: Keri Bascetta

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.

The Chutes at Mt. Rose, Nevada
The Chutes at Mt. Rose, Nev. offer over 1,000 feet of north-facing steeps. Photo: Keri Bascetta

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.

Meet Mt. Rose: It Might Be Close to the Casinos in Reno, but this Independent Ski Area Worlds Away from America’s Biggest Little City

The Chutes at Mt. Rose
Photo: Keri Bascetta

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

Alyeska North Face
Angel Collinson partakes of some of Alyeska’s 650 average inches of annual snowfall. Photo: Ralph Kristopher

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.

Related: If You Haven’t Experienced the Adventure Hub of Revelstoke, It’s Time

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.

Jay Peak Resort, Vermont
Mad River Glen has only 115 skiable acres—plus access to another 800 acres of glades. Photo: Courtesy of Jay Peak/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

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.

"The extreme backcountry zone in Mt. Bohemia"
Mt. Bohemia’s brand of Midwestern steeps are legit. Photo: Courtesy of Mt. Bohemia

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.

Go Deeper: The “Poor Man’s Japan” of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Is Well Worth the Effort for Skiers who like Deep Snow and Strong Character

Marcus Caston skis at Mt. Bohemia
Marcus Caston plays in Mt. Bohemia’s unique terrain. Photo: Keri Bascetta