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Five Bucket List Ski Runs In The West

Crystal-Green-Valley-flickr-com Bowl after bowl on Green Valley at Crystal Mountain. (

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.

High, wide and handsome West Face of KT-22 at Squaw. (Squaw Valley/Facebook)

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.

Steep and long Al's Run flows under chair and right into base. (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)

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.

Ruthie's Run courses down off top of Aspen Mountain. (

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.

Can't leave Alta without a run down High Rustler. (Alta/Facebook)

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. 

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