Eight Top Resorts for Expert Skiers in the US
If you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder, it’s easy to feel like you’ve tried everything, especially when so many resorts cater to beginners and intermediates.
Here are eight resorts that will keep even the most experienced entertained.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
This resort is known for its steep runs and expert terrain. In fact, you’ll probably find that most runs are well known in expert ski circles. Jackson Hole often appears on lists of the most challenging resorts in the US and even in the world.
Corbet’s Couloir and S&S Couloir are two slopes expert skiers will get excited about, and while a lot of the slopes at Jackson Hole ride like backcountry terrain, you can reach the real backcountry very easily from the resort.
Silverton Mountain, Colorado
This is a pure mountain experience that’s for experts only. There are no groomers and no clear-cut runs, just 400 inches of snow a year and plenty of fun to be had if you’re experienced on skis.
Because this resort is so special, you have to book in advance as spots fill up on both the guided and unguided ski days across the mountain.
Here you’ll find some of the most challenging, adrenaline-fueled terrain in the U.S. This whole resort is a play area for adventurers, whether you prefer the huge off-piste bowls or steep expert runs from the top of the mountain.
There’s just 14% of beginner terrain here so you’re not going to be tripping over newbie skiers and boarders. Intermediate terrain comes in at 45% with the rest being perfect for experts. That’s a lot of difficult terrain to get your heart racing.
Crested Butte, Colorado
This is home to the Extreme Freeskiing Championships and it’s the kind of place you can throw yourself off cliffs as well attempt some seriously steep slopes and a lot of technical terrain.
Much of the extreme terrain features rapid declines dotted with trees, rocks and drops so this isn’t for the faint hearted. There is something for everyone at this resort, though, as there’s plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain, too. That’s good news if you want to visit with a group of people who don’t have the same amount of experience as you.
The extreme stuff lies at the top of the mountain and with 500 inches of snow each year, it stays skiable for much of the season. The resort has just undergone a number of huge upgrades, making it a fantastic place to spend your winter vacation.
If you’re looking to hone your skills and make skiing safer, then Snowbird is a great place to learn some backcountry skills, and there’s even an avalanche transceiver skills clinic.
Squaw Valley, California
There’s some fantastic terrain here but most of it is unmarked so it’s good to go with a guide or find some of the expert skiers and snowboarders in the area who might be able to show you the ropes.
The joy of carving your own line through a mountain’s challenging terrain is a great feeling. Take a look at the trail maps, but they’re often not that helpful as they don’t differentiate between advanced and expert terrain. Head off and explore but keep your wits about you.
Big Sky’s Moonlight Basin, Montana
A single peak offers all the exciting terrain at Big Sky. At the top of the Lone Mountain you can see extreme terrain dropping off in every direction. It’s easy enough to get to the top on the Lone Peak tram so you can try everything this mountain has to throw at you.
The ride up in the tram provides some of the most spectacular scenery you’re likely to see. Take a moment to appreciate it before you get your game face on ready to descend.
You could hurtle down the famous Big Couloir, choose some insane fall lines down the Headwater or run some of the challenging A-Z chutes.
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
This is a family resort that’s home to one run so extreme that it needed to be included on this list. The triple black diamond run is called The Black Hole and it’s 1,600 feet of challenging terrain that’s full of steep drops, close-set trees, big bumps and a few rocks thrown in for good measure.
The start of the run drops at an astonishing 65% for the first 600 feet before evening out a little. You’ll need nerves of steel to tackle this run.
No matter your experience level, you should never take any unnecessary risks. Always go into this kind of terrain prepared and keep an eye on the safety warnings at your chosen resort.
If you want to find out more about the right resort for your experience level, take a look at our advice pages.