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Northern Rockies

You Think You Know Breckenridge? Check Out Its High-Alpine Bucket List

It’s hard to imagine that one of Colorado’s most popular resorts still has hidden gems, but we found them. Add these to your must-ski list this season.

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A favorite both among Front Range Colorado skiers and tourists alike, Breckenridge, with its nearly 3,000 skiable acres across five diverse peaks, casts a wide net with skiers of all levels of experience and abilities. This is a place that you visit all season long and still discover new stashes and delights, especially in the resort’s copious and exciting high-alpine terrain.

Related: Is Your Favorite Vail Resort Getting a New Lift Next Season?

This season, accessing the high alpine gets even easier with the debut of the Freedom SuperChair. The new express quad will drop skiers just above Pioneer Crossing on Peak 7,  near the Independence SuperChair, which is the only lift to the high alpine.

Breck Freedom SuperChair
The new Freedom SuperChair—ID’d here as the Peak 7 SuperChair—will speed your journey to Breck’s high alpine this season. Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts

In honor of the new lift, Breck’s first since the Kensho SuperChair chair in 2013, we collected a new list of expert and extreme terrain on tap at this iconic resort. Add these to your bucket list this season.

An Expert Skier’s Guide to the Breckenridge High Alpine

Breckenridge Peak 6
The hike off of the Kensho SuperChair on Peak 6 is short, intense, and worth it to access the steep and exposed high alpine of Six Senses. Photo: Aaron Dodds/Breckenridge

Six Senses

A short but lung-busting hike off of Peak 6’s Kensho SuperChair is totally worth the effort to access Six Senses—steep, rocky, and technical terrain that’s both rewarding and guaranteed to get your heart pumping, both on the ascent and the descent.

Whiskey River 

Take a short hike from the summit of Peak 7 Bowl to find this little-known treat that serves up a steep pitch that you’ll likely get all to yourself. It’s also a fun and adventurous way to traverse from Peak 8, off the Imperial Chair, to Peak 6’s Kensho SuperChair without leaving the high alpine.

CJ’s, Magic Carpet, and Y Chute

Most advanced to expert Breck skiers have found themselves on Whale’s Tail, but with a brief hike past it you can access these wide-open, steep, and often empty runs in Peak 7 Bowl’s high-alpine terrain. 

ESP and Whiff

Also on Peak 6, these two runs are different but both worthwhile objectives for skiers looking for a challenge. ESP is a rock-bordered couloir that serves up great views, and Whiff is known for offering up big air in a decidedly scary no-fall zone.

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More Expert Advice on Bucket List Terrain

6 Jackson Hole Runs Not Named Corbet’s That Every Serious Skier Must Attempt

Every year, the Wyoming resort known for its steep inbounds and technical backcountry terrain scores at or near the top of our Reader Resort Survey in the coveted Challenge category. Indeed, skiers looking to test themselves better have this destination resort on their list of places to visit.

But if you think you know where to go to find Jackson Hole’s toughest trails, you might be surprised. Sure, Corbet’s Couloir is the standard-bearer, but it’s been done nearly to death. We rounded up six more runs to add to your to-do list if you really want to challenge your skills on these infamous slopes.

Read the Full List Here

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The Big Couloir Isn’t the Only Bucket List Run at Big Sky

Big Sky Resort’s Big Couloir is everything expert skiers are hoping it will be: a tight, technical entrance, sustained vertical that sets your thighs aflame, and just exposed enough to make your knees knock.

But it’s not the only extreme terrain at this Northern Rockies mainstay. With 5,850 skiable acres, 60 percent of which is rated single or double-black diamond, there’s more extreme experience to be sought out. We probed the experts and came away with a few runs that can hang with the Big Couloir when it comes to difficulty, exposure, and downright adrenaline-inducing vertical.

Find the Best Extreme Terrain at Big Sky Here

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Mammoth’s 7 Gnarliest Runs to Add to Your Bucket List This Winter

SoCal’s Mammoth Mountain doesn’t lack in size or terrain variety. In fact, with 35 percent of its runs rated advanced or expert and 40 percent classified as intermediate, Mammoth offers up a very well-balanced skiing experience.

Of the resort’s 35 percent of advanced and expert terrain, only about 15 is the truly gnarly stuff that we’re focusing on here. We consulted with the locals who ski Mammoth all winter long and gathered the top five most difficult runs for you to check off your bucket list next season.

Here’s the Definitive Extreme-Skier’s Guide to Mammoth

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There Is Steep Skiing at Vail—Here’s Where to Find It

Vail is pretty huge, and despite being a household name that most skiers have visited at least once, it can be hard to figure out. With 5,289 skiable acres sprawled across a five-mile stretch of mountainous real estate in Colorado’s central Rockies, there’s a lot of terrain variety here.

While Vail Mountain isn’t known for its extreme terrain—rightfully so—there is a healthy amount of black- and double-black-diamond runs that will satisfy most expert skiers’ need for steeps. You might be familiar with some of the usual suspects—Riva Ridge, Prima Cornice, Lover’s Leap—so we consulted with Vail regulars and got the skinny on some not-so-obvious trails to seek out next season.

See It to Believe It Here