Web site authors pick their top trails
By Chris Dehnel
Snowsportsna.com News Editor
We all talk about them in the lodge, on the lift, and everywhere else ... our favorite runs. Can we ever name a Top Dozen? I doubt it, because the list constantly changes without moods, age, and recent adventures.
But here's a stab at naming and describing 12 of my favorites.
Here are mine:
- Stump Jumper, Okemo - It's a long, undulating cruiser over toward the south side of the main mountain. It has some steep portions, some sharp turns, and spots where you can just bomb. Was once chastised by he PR director for using my pocket GPS to register maximum speed. It was worth it. I was way beyond 60 mph.
- South Wall, Big Sky - the tram and the summit bowls get all the hoopla,but just before the tram is an older
triple chair that dumps you off at the Turkey Traverse. Turn right and there's the tram. Turn left and there is the South Wall, a bowl tucked into its own little corner. Good snow, good pitch and oh is it sunny. Better than the summit, and a shorter ride up.
South Wall at Big Sky
- West Mountain Glades, Bretton Woods -Less-celebrated that their sister runs on the other side of the resort, but these are wider, and they allow just a tad bit more goofiness. Just a blast. Still waiting for my nameplate on Room 363 at the Mount Washington Hotel, however.
- Telluride Trail, Telluride - It takes you right down to town alongside a gondola that also serves as the town's public transportation, where you can have lunch (or dinner) with your boots on. How cool is that?
- Bear Down, Stratton - A double-black near the Kidderbrook chair and the Sun Bowl that always seems to have good snow. In March, it's a great workout before heading over to watch the U.S. Open competitors.
- S-53, Stowe - It's a narrow trail cut by public engineers in 1939, named after a CCC camp. It was once a badge of honor knowing where it was(take Liftline), but it is now back on the trail map. An epic run that is attribute to the sports early development in the U.S.
- Lake View, Owl's Head Quebec - Another undulating cruiser, this time with the feeling that your are skiing right down into Lake Memphremagog. It's a view that rivals anything in the industry. Party at A Tout Venant B&B later on and the day is complete.
- Powder Cowboy Cat Skiing, British Columbia - Untracked Fernie powder, sunshine, and guides that cater each run to your moods. Plenty of nachos in the lodge afterward. Enough said.
The Big Bag at Windham
- Rat, Mad River Glen - Thought I was lost and was ready to stick out my thumb near a road to get back to the lodge. I saw the sign and I don't think it is on the trail map. But oh, what a trip through the woods. It's the novelty on a mountain that wrote the book on novelty.
- The Big Air Bag, Windham - Head to the terrain park, hit a jump, land in this big bag, roll out and watch it inflate again. Nothing like it
- Slot Alley, Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort - Location, location, location â€¦ It's 40 minutes from The Strip. Ski it all day and still be back in time for a 6 p.m. poker game.
- Moonshine,Sugarbush - A short glade with a vast variety of elements in a hidden nook near an old double chair. On a Saturday a few year sago, I fond myself alone five of the seven runs I made in there. Hah!
By Richard Butler
Snowsportsna.com Editor and Contributor
I'm becoming a bit less apt to fully enjoy some of my favorite runs, after half a century spent in the mountains in winter. My list is not in order of preference, but when I close my eyes and envision unique ski and board experiences, these places shine above all others. Make your list today and try one of mine this season.
- Julio at Killington - A tight and steep treed run off Killington Peak. Great for those looking for a real challenge. Accessed off of Launchpad. Guaranteed no crowds.
- Rumble off Castlerock Peak at Sugarbush - Perhaps the toughest tightest and steepest trail at this beautiful Vermont area.
- The Goat at Stowe - One of the famous "Front Four". Definitely the most challenging. Narrow and steep, this unique old style trail is full of drops, boulders and ledges.
- Riva Glade at Vail- At Vail's front side amidst tall evergreens. It makes my body tingle just thinking of it.
- Havoc at Bromley VT- Off the Southeast side. Usually left to bump up on its own. It features lots of snow-making, is wide and is sheltered from the wind. Just long enough. Great for practicing moguls.
- Twister Glade at Gore - Secluded, not difficult for a wooded run, but beautiful and away
from the crowd. Sometimes not accessible due to adjacent races.
Twister Glade at Gore Mountain
- Paradise at Mad River Glen - Not for the skiddish. What can Is say, it is a marvelous difficult, hidden run, at an area fixed in time, that caters to the no frills accomplished skier. No boarders still.
- Rosebrook Canyon Glades at Bretton Woods NH - Uniquely set in trees and small tight ravines. Beautiful and quiet after a fresh snowfall. A gem at an area known for its gentle terrain.
- Sun Riser Supertrail at the Sunbowl at Stratton - (a great cruiser with great morning sun). Discover it early, when less crowded and ski it edge to edge, then watch your marks in the groomed snow from the chair.
- Summit Glades at Pico - Killington's not so little sister mountain. A graceful trail, not full of trees, but with graceful drops and turns with old school charm.
- Sel's Choice at Okemo - Some of the best man-made precisely spaced moguls to be found anywhere, on a trail that is not too intimidating.
- The Rock Garden in the Larch Area at Lake Louise Mountain Resort - At the base of the Elevator Shaft. A beautiful unique experience, skiing among fallen boulders the size of VW's or larger.
When asked about my favorite place to ski and ride, my answer always is: "wherever the snow is good".
By Peter Hines
Snowsportsna.com webmaster and contributor
I've skied for over 30 years at not too many places. It's time to extend my horizons, I guess. I was never one who plays in the steeps and the big bumps. I like em long and not too tough.
- Showcase at Gore Mountain " I have been skiing this trail for over 35 years and still love it. It's along intermediate run with a good variety of terrain. It is not at the top of the mountain but it's my favorite trail to the bottom.
- Upper and Lower Fox at Jiminy Peak- these two trails,one after the other offer a cross mountain trip to the bottom
- The Wilmington Trail at Whiteface Mountain " Two and a half miles of easy going and beautiful scenery in the Adirondack Mountains.
- Bunny Buster into Mousetrap at Killington - Close access to the left in the Snowdon Area, these two consecutive trails usually have excellent cover and a nice ride.
- Herb's Secret at Bretton Woods - Nestled in the trees and sheltered from the wind this some what narrow trail offers an excellent view of Presidential Range and the famous Mt. Washington Hotel.
- Upper and Lower Hardscrabble at Cannon Mountain - Accessible from the Tram, expert at the top, into an intermediate trail just when I am running out of steam.
- Upper and lower Kidderbrook at Stratton Mountain - Another long trail which gets great morning sun. It takes two lifts to get back to the top.
- Algonquin at Belleayre " I nice top to bottom run. My daughter always remembers this one.
- Upper and lower Twister at Bromley Mountain "Straight from the top to the bottom this trail offers beautiful views of other ski areas in New York and Vermont. On a sunny day few trails offer a better winter outdoor experience.
- Turkey Run at Maple Ski Ridge " Not the biggest mountain by any means but I have fond memories of my kids going down this trail when they first learned to ski. I remember taking them to the top and saying "see you at the bottom" and letting them experience independence in a winter sport we all love.
By Mike Roth
Contributor:Events & Eastern Features
After realizing that for the past 40 years Mr. Butler and I have skied together 95% of the time, I find it hard to disagree with his top 12.
Dick's number 12 at Lake Louise is probably one of my most memorable runs. At the time it was pretty hairy to get to, it was off piste and had a goat trail leading to it. I remember skiing around and over big boulders that had slid down from the mountainside above creating interesting paths. Skiing the rock garden is engrained in my memory.
- Glory Hole at Big Mountain, Montana - This expert trail starts out with a steep open shot to a small canyon, once in the canyon you follow you own path around full grown trees,
skiing around their bases as you would ski around big moguls, up and down, around and thru. This trail went on for almost a mile then intersected with Hellfire (intermediate) which took you down to chair 8. We couldn't get enough of it. I think we skied it at least 4 times.
Glory Hole at Big Mountain
- Get My Drift to Upper drifter to Lower Drifter, Stratton Mountain, Vermont - A secluded, rarely used (intermediate) trail. It gives you additional options to cut over to double diamond World Cup and also at the end of Lower Drifter there is a short glade run called Cabin Fever. I like the rolls of Drifter and the feeling of weightlessness as you transfer your weight over each roll.
- China Bowl, Vail, Colorado - You can have your pick of intermediate or expert routes in this bowl and if you hit it on a powder day,as I did, you will remember it forever.
- Wild West Glade, Bretton Woods, NH - An intermediate run even though they rate it a black diamond. This is a side of the ski area that is less traveled. You can ski great cruising intermediate runs and then slip into a glade along most of the trails. If you catch it on a fresh powder day which I did twice it will be a memorable experience. Chris like's it too!
- Seattle Ridge Chair Lift Line, Sun Valley, Idaho - Between Southern Comfort and Christin's Silver, it did not seem to have a name. On a day when you could not see 3 feet in front of yourself,we experienced vertigo. We discovered this gentle narrow bump run under the lift with tall pines on both sides to help define our lines. There was 12" offresh powder. Need I say more?
- Dream Maker, Killington, Vermont - Another out of the way trail on the way to Bear Mountain. Lots of variation with gentle pitches and nice short steep drops. Not a popular trail. The body count is low and you don't have to keep looking over your shoulder to see someone coming. Dick and I skied it when the rest of the mountain was boiler plate, but the guns were going top to bottom and we had a fantastic "man-made" powder day.
- Claim Jumper, Carinthia Area, Mount Snow, Vermont, - A nicely spaced tree run, not too steep, with very manageable bumps. A great confidence builder.
- Twister, Gore Mountain, New York - Fantastic. Twister wraps it's way around the north side of the ski areas main mountain and is a great cruising, wide open trail. A wonderful intermediate run.
- Happy Hunting Ground, Grand Targhee, Wyoming - A big open bowl to the right of Dream Catcher Chair. It starts out above tree line where you can pick your own line. Watch out in the spring when you cross the stream bed at the bottom, Dick sunk into it and went up to his armpits. When he didn't show up we had to search for him. It took over an hour to pull him out.
- Loose Spruce, South Face, Okemo, Vermont - A black diamond gladed trail skier's right of Chris's favorite Stump Jumper. Been in there twice, had a bad fall the first time. However, I have been back for more and would ski it again and again. Being in the trees is a great way to avoid the crowds.