Jackson Hole, WY
Known for the hardest inbounds run in the country (Corbets Couloir), JHMR serves up the rowdiest skiing in the lower 48. With access to the surrounding backcountry just a tram lap away, it’s hard to beat the ability to kill yourself within 50 feet of the boundary rope. However, the inbounds is almost just as puckering. Runs like Expert Chutes, Cheyenne Cliffs, and Alta Chutes all offer steep and technical terrain that could have you tommy hawking yourself into oblivion.
Squaw Valley, CA
The Palisades, Fingers, Eagles Nest… All names that have their own personal shrines within ski bum legend and Squaw Valley is just that—legendary. The centerpiece of Lake Tahoe ski culture, Squaw Valley is a must see for any ripper that wants let everyone know that they are the best skier on the mountain… let alone the world. Scott Schmidt, Tom Day, and Shane McConkey all tested their mettle here, so why not you bro?
Alyeska has the lowest base area elevation of any ski resort in the United States at 250 ft. However, the resort rises to 2,800 ft. and although the elevation might not impress the Colorado folks, the resort sits in the mythic Chugach range and includes runs such as Christmas and New Years chutes that drop from the highest points at the resort and offer utter GNAR for the skiing public.
Bridger Bowl, MT
About 30 minutes up the road from Bozeman lies Bridger Bowl. The ski area is a non-profit mountain that offers up a high radness score at a low cost. Not to mention, Schlasman Lift is one of the only lifts in the country that requires a beacon to ride and the infamous “Ridge” gives skiers access to runs that would make most people shit their pants.
Wild terrain such as Great Scott, Silver Fox, and Gad Valley can all be accessed via the Snowbird Tram in a short 10-minute ride. Enough said.
The Wall at Kirkwood Mountain Resort is one of the scariest runs in the United States. That and a traditional host resort of the Freeride World Tour, makes Kirkwood a must-see for any skier wanting terrain that keeps you guessing.
From Al’s Run to Kachina Peak, Taos is a soul skier’s paradise. Although the snow is not as plentiful as it is in places like Snowbird and Jackson Hole, the resort offers a fistful of moguls, cliff-laden bowls, and narrow chutes such as St. Bernard. The terrain is world class and the cherry on top is the amount of Texans who frequent the resort, namely the lower reaches, leaving locals free to explore the upper mountain without gapers clogging their lines.
The San Juans are the most intense and dramatic mountains in the state of Colorado. From Palmyra Peak to Prospect Bowl and the surrounding backcountry, Telluride has been a place for skiers to test themselves since its lifts were constructed in 1972.
Silverton is one of the most unique resorts in the world with just one ski lift accessing an array of terrain that would normally be backcountry access only. It is the highest Ski Area in North America with a peak of 13,487’ and accesses up to 1,819 acres of skiing. Most days you’re only up there with 80 people too… which is nice.
Hunter Mountain, NY
I know what you are thinking, “How the hell did Hunter Mountain make this list”. Well, if you have ever skied Hunter you know that the challenge doesn’t come from the terrain, but rather avoiding the out of control blue jean clad Long Islanders fueled up on Bush beer and jagerbombs. In the words of Johnny Drama, “If you can ski Hunter Mountain, you can ski anywhere.”