Best Ski Resorts for Experts

Best Ski Resorts for Experts
Once you reach expert skier status, the average ski resort is no longer too attractive. Constantly seeking steeper and scarier challenges, experts demand a mountain that can thrill. In the United States, there are several resorts that set themselves apart with a wealth of steep, challenging terrain and back country access.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

With a famous reputation for expert and extreme terrain, Jackson Hole delivers steeps, chutes and natural terrain like few other resorts on the continent. From the legendary Corbet's Couloir to the lesser-known, but equally intimidating S&S, Jackson Hole offers 2,500 acres of in-bounds terrain and plenty of back country access. Its vertical drop is one of the highest in the U.S. at 4,139 feet, and 50 percent of the terrain is graded for experts. If you're not yet up to the challenge consider taking part in one of Jackson's Steep and Deep camps--multi-day camps that teach the skills needed to navigate some of Jackson's most difficult runs.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Box 290
3395 Cody Lane
Teton Village, Wyoming 83025
(888) DEEP-SNO


Silverton, Colorado

Silverton is the only mountain on the list (and in the country) that can boast that 100 percent of its terrain is for advanced and expert riders. The resort was modeled after the snow fields of New Zealand and, therefore, doesn't resemble the average ski resort. You'll have access to just one lift to get to the top. From there you can hike and choose the line of your choice and make your way to the bottom--assuming your skills are up to par. There's no cut trails or grooming, so it's a steep, all-natural skiing experience usually only found in the back country. In fact, you'll need to pack avalanche gear to participate. Silverton offers both guided and unguided skiing/riding, depending on the season. Not up for hiking? Access the mountain via helicopter and enjoy a variety of payment options including per-run and daily rates. On paper Silverton also excels--400 inches of annual snow and the highest peak altitude in North America (13, 487 feet).

Silverton Mountain
P.O. Box 856
Silverton, Colorado 81433
(970) 387-5706

Snowbird/Alta, Utah

Equally well-known for endless dumps of dry powder and steep, invigorating terrain, Alta and Snowbird offer a mix of reliable snow and steep pitch that few if any other resorts can touch. Both resorts average 500 inches of light, dry Utah powder a year and offer expert skiing all over the mountain such as the steeps and chutes available on the shared Mount Baldy, the Catherine's area (Alta) and Cirque (Snowbird). The resorts are also situated close to plenty of Wasatch back country, expanding experts' options exponentially. Alta and Snowbird are featured together because they border each other and skiers can access both via a combined pass (no snowboarding at Alta) and enjoy access to nearly 5,000 acres of terrain. While Alta gets slightly more snow, the 'Bird has a reputation for bigger expert terrain. Look at either resort's trail map and you'll be overwhelmed with black lines and diamonds.

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
P.O. Box 929000
Snowbird, Utah 84092-9000
(800) 232-9542

Squaw Valley, California

With runs such as the notorious "Schmidiot's," Squaw Valley has made a name for itself as the birthplace of American extreme skiing. Tucked among the numerous resorts that dot Lake Tahoe, Squaw offers a whopping 4,000 acres of terrain. While the Palisades area offers riding for the extreme, other expert runs such as KT-22 provide plenty of thrills to less-insane experts. Squaw receives 450 inches of snow a year.

Squaw Valley Ski Corporation
P.O. Box 2007
1960 Squaw Valley Road
Olympic Valley, California 96146
(530) 583-6985


Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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