Although there is nothing like the first early season low-angle powder turns, we’re already looking forward to deep bases and open terrain.
Here are the Top 10 Resorts for Chutes and Steeps.
10) Mad River Glen, VT
Although a 38° pitch might not sound that rad to people who ski Telluride regularly, the Paradise run at Mad River Glen will test anyone’s mettle. The resort only receives 250 inches of snow annually so on many days, the term “ice coast” applies. Hold that edge and if you don’t– you’ll end up at the bottom.
Locals Choice: Paradise Run
9) Arapahoe Basin, CO
The famed East Wall and Pallavicini Lift serve up the steepest terrain in Summit County. So it should comes as no surprise that Front Range hardcores spend more time here than any other resort within a 3 hour drive of Denver.
Looking for a sick chute on a powder day? Wait for ski patrol to drop the rope on the East Wall and head directly for “First Notch,” which is a 1000’+ couloir that chokes in the middle and spills onto a beautifully steep and smooth apron.
Local’s Choice: Pali Face
8) Mt. Rose, NV
Mt. Rose is quickly becoming a new favorite of Tahoe locals looking to avoid the crowds at Squaw and Alpine Meadows. It serves up some classic old school skiing with steeps a’ plently. The north facing, Chutes zone in particular offers 1,000’+ of vertical ranging from 40-55° slopes.
Local’s Choice: Yellowjacket
7) Taos, NM
From iconic runs like Stauffenberg to the famed Kachina Peak, Taos offers the steepest terrain in New Mexico. Its bowls and ridges deliver a seemingly endless supply of both mini-golf lines and big mountain descents. West Basin is famed for its technical billy goating while Kachina peak offers cliffs and long descents, making Taos the crown jewel of the Sangre de Cristo range.
Local’s Choice: Longhorn
6) Bridger Bowl, Montana
Schlasman’s Lift at Bridger Bowl is one of the few lifts in the world that requires you wear a beacon in order to ride. That said, you’ll be glad you did as the ridge delivers plenty of untracked and wild descents.
Local’s Choice: Hidden Gully
5) Snowbird, UT
From The Cirque to Gad Valley, Snowbird offers up the most consistent steeps in Utah. The Aerial Tram and Supreme Chair are go-to’s for those who prefer steep chutes compared to lower-angle powderfields, which Alta has in spades (*not to say Alta doesn’t have its fair share of steeps). That said, Pipeline couloir opens late in the season and when it does, head directly for the hike to couloir that is one of the best descents in the Wasatch.
Local’s Choice: Waterfall
4) Big Sky, Montana
When Big Sky installed the Lone Peak Tram in 1995, the Montana resort went from a mellow, intermediate mountain to a big mountain skier’s dream overnight. The move, which solidified Big Sky as one of the best resorts in the United States, continues to offer up steep terrain to seasoned locals and those travelling to the resort to see what #bigguycountry has to offer.
Local’s Choice: Little Couloir
3) Telluride, CO
It doesn’t get much steeper than the access granted from the top of Telluride’s Palmyra Peak. The Gold Hill Chutes and beyond make up some of the best steep skiing in the United States let alone Colorado and it will come as no surprise that Telluride is in the Top 5.
Local’s Choice: Gold Hill #9
2) Squaw Valley, CA
From the Palisades to the Fingers, and onto McConkey’s (formerly known as the Eagle’s Nest), steep skiing in California is located in Squallywood. Want to show how rad you are right under the lift? This is the place to do it. So check me out… I’m gonna rip the shit out this!
Locals Choice: The Fingers
1) Jackson Hole, WY
Without even including the surrounding backcountry, Jackson Hole rules this list with its in-bounds couloirs, chutes, and steep faces. Although Corbet’s sticks out in the mind’s of most skiers, runs like Expert Chutes, Tower 3, and the Alta’s are all worth spending some time figuring out. And by figuring it out– I mean: “just send that shit!”