5 Seriously Steep Ski Runs on the East Coast - Ski Mag

5 Seriously Steep Eastern Runs

East Coast skiing is known for ice and challenging terrain, but steeps? That too.
Publish date:

Western skiers take it for granted that their ski areas are more hardcore than their Eastern counterparts and like to pooh-pooh the idea that the East Coast boasts some truly challenging terrain. Mountains out East may not have the vertical you get out West, but we're willing to wager that advanced and expert skiers spoiled by wide-open slopes and forgiving snow would call these narrow, gnarly East Coast runs more than a little challenging. 

More Steeps: The Steepest Inbounds Runs in North America 

1. Upper Madonna Liftline, Smugglers' Notch, Vt.

East Coast Skiing

Upper Madonna Liftline at Smugglers' Notch

So you like an audience? You can practically touch the chairs overhead from the Liftline entrance. Fifty-something-degree pitch, boulders, mandatory air depending on coverage. Gnarly.

2. The Slides, Whiteface Mountain, N.Y. 

Whiteface Mountain, NY

A close-up of Whiteface Mountain's steep chutes. 

The slides are a collection of chutes and ice-covered waterfalls that are guaranteed to scare the pants off even the most technical of skiers. Be ready for it all: glades, rocks, cliffs, and more. 

More: How Steep is Steep?

3. Black Magic, Magic Mountain, Vt. 

Red Line at Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain ranks tops in the Challenge and Terrain categories in the East for SKI Magazine's Reader Resort Survey. 

Narrow, largely under the liftline (no pressure), and boasting 40- to 50-degree pitches, Black Magic descends 500 hair-raising vertical feet before funneling into Black Line, another 800 vertical feet. 

More Magic: Casting a Spell

4. Paradise, Mad River Glen, Vt. 

Paradise ski run at Mad River Glen in Vermont

Half the challenge on Paradise is overcoming the run's natural obstacles. 

Sustained 40-degree pitch accompanied by every type of terrain out there—bumps, trees, cliff bands, rock outcroppings, etc. Mad River Glen's Paradise will make you work for it, but it is well worth the effort. 

Think Bigger: The Steepest Inbounds Runs in North America

5. White Heat, Sunday River, Maine

Biggest East Coast ski resorts: Sunday River, Maine

Sunday River, post-storm and pre-moguls. 

White Heat isn't insanely steep, but the sustained moguls combined with the consistent pitch make it a real leg burner best suited for experts with technical skills and thighs of steel. 

Check out: Readers' Top-Ranked Ski Resorts in the East 2020


Top 5 Biggest Ski Resorts in the East Killington, Vermont is number one

Resort Guide 2020 East: Skier's Mountains

Just wanna ski? These are the top 10 ski resorts in the East for hardcore skiers.

Summit of Sugarbush

Resorts of the Year 2019: Awards in the East

The season's best spots in the East for skiers, according to readers and editors.

Skiing in Tremblant, Quebec, ranked No. 1 in the East in SKI Magazine's 2020 Resort Guide

Resort Guide 2020 East: Spring Break Destination

Give the season a proper send-off at the East's best resorts for late-season stoke.

Smuggs Top 10 Activities

Resort Guide 2020 East: Family Resorts

Young skiers rule at these Top 10 resorts in the East for families.

Magic Mountain Resort guide 2020

2020 Resort Guide East - No. 17: Magic Mountain, Vt.

The ski area's tough terrain and independent spirit keeps visitors happy all winter long.

Challenging terrain - Sugarloaf

Resorts of the Year 2019: Best Terrain Variety in the East

Top 10 resorts in the East for Terrain Variety, according to SKI's Reader Resort Survey.

The Steeps of Crested Butte, Colorado

Nine of the Steepest In-Bounds Runs in North America.

Think you know steep? Check out these puckering runs.

Local bartender Jason Niemi does daytime duty on Liftline, on Madonna Mountain, in full view of a suspended audience.

There Goes the Neighborhood

Northern Vermont's beloved Smugglers' Notch has long been rumored to be the next resort joining Vail Resorts' ever-expanding portfolio. We sent our crackerjack reporter in to investigate—and, more importantly ski his favorite steep Eastern lines in his spare time.