Five Bucket List Ski Runs In The West
For any skier or rider, their bucket list includes not only visits to renowned resorts but also taking a run down a trail they've heard about for a long time. Here's SnoCountry's shot at those trails.
In the Pacific Northwest, the Green Valley run atop Crystal Mountain opens with a vast bowl on top that consumes 60 percent of the 900 ft. vert, and a second bowl with tons of chutes and trees, Green Valley deserves its kudos. The high-speed Green Valley Express cycles quickly, and the summit view of 14,410-foot Mt. Rainier rivals any.
Squaw Valley is known for tree-dotted chutes, steep bowls and rocky gullies – some of the best on the West Face of KT-22. It's 2,000 ft. of vert with serious continuous pitch. Check out Chute 75 and Moseley's before returning on Home Run. High-speed quad serves whole area.
A new high-speed quad now glides over Al's Run, the first trail cut at Taos Ski Valley and a popular belt-notcher. Dropping 1,800 vertical from mid-mountain, mile-long Al's Run is a cherished first-chair run on a powder day, and a source of thigh-burning moguls. Beware, too: There's no easier way down once you're on Al's.
Named for an original stockholder, Ruthie's Run follows the western ridge of Aspen Mountain. Starting at 10,400-foot, the iconic track pitches modestly through a funnel of trees and dipping hollow before it opens into Ruthie's Snow Bowl, where the pitch reaches 34 degrees. The bottom of the chair is a welcome sight. If thighs are up to it, pick up the lower World Cup downhill with black diamonds Spring Pitch, Strawpile and Norway to the base.
Officially Alf's High Rustler, this dive-in-and-pray chute at Alta attracts bucket-listers to its 800 feet of vert in a quarter mile. Conquering High Rustler means navigating the High Traverse, a lengthy, gnarly clatter off the Collins Lift. From there, entry is tight and first turns require go-for-it 'tude. Know, too, that an audience from the base deck is watching.