Best of the Explorer (2009)

Best of the Explorer (2009)

This story originally ran in the October 2008 issue of Freeskier (V11.1).

Photo: Courtesy of Silverton Mountain
SILVERTON, COLORADO

TICKET PRICE: $129*/$49
VERTICAL DROP: 1,900’†
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 400”
SKIABLE ACRES: 1,819†

With one lift (dug in by hand), no grooming and plenty of hike-to insanity, Silverton remains an anomaly in American skiing. You wouldn’t think the trial lawyers would let founder Aaron Brill get away with this one, but they do, and he has. Bring your avi gear, hire a guide (provided by Silverton), sign all the waivers and ski at your own risk, because Silverton is the real deal. Skiers with backcountry experience can go during periods when the mountain offers unguided skiing, otherwise Silverton is guide-skiing only. Check the website for details on when is the best time to go for you.

silvertonmountain.com

* Price includes guide service
† Hike-to and heli drops add additional vertical and acreage

CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO

TICKET PRICE: $82
VERTICAL DROP: 2,775’
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 300”
SKIABLE ACRES: 1,167

Southern Colorado is known for its dry snow, empty spaces and picturesque mining towns. Throw these ingredients into a blender and out comes Crested
Butte. The mountain is known for its steeps – it hosts the legendary US Extreme Skiing Championships each year, and is home to Matchstick Productions – but it’s better to avoid the crowds that flock here during the event in favor of the quiet January storm days, when the patrol is dropping the ropes
on terrain like Spellbound and Third Bowl, accessed by The North Face T-Bar.

skicb.com

KICKING HORSE, BRITISH COLUMBIA

TICKET PRICE: $64
VERTICAL DROP: 4,133’
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 275”
SKIABLE ACRES: 2,750

Kicking Horse is revising its master plan, and you can expect the quiet base area to start to become a bit, well, louder. But one thing won’t change, the
mountain will still offer some of the steepest in-bounds and out-of-bounds terrain in Canada, served up via a modern and efficient lift system, making it
one of the best off-the-beaten-path resorts on the planet. New last last year, Kicking Horse opened an on-hill Big Mountain Center that provides training
and education on how to handle the true big mountain experience. Terminator Ridge, CPR Ridge and Redemption Ridge are the perfect playgrounds to test out the skills learned or refreshed at the BMC.

When you’re done with runs like White Wall, head into Golden and find the Moberly Pub. If you’re truly an explorer you’ll order the hot wings. The record is 16 and we bet you can barely finish one bite.

kickinghorseresort.com


Photo: Blake Jorgenson
MOUNT BOHEMIA, MICHIGAN

TICKET PRICE: $45
VERTICAL DROP: 900’
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 273”
SKIABLE ACRES: 400

While the Midwest has become home to a burgeoning park and pipe scene, one hill bucks all the trends and blows away preconceptions about what the
Midwest is all about. With a couple of cliffs, some steeps, plenty of glade skiing and cat-accessed terrain, Mount Bohemia’s 900 vertical feet makes it the king of the hill in this region, while 270 inchesof snow a year makes it home to the best powder turns in the heartland.

mtbohemia.com

REVELSTOKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA

TICKET PRICE: $63
VERTICAL DROP: 5,620’
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 480”
SKIABLE ACRES: 3,031

Revelstoke is still a work in progress. Only one year old, the ski area has all the ingredients for the world-class destination it will surely become. The mountain
features more than 5,600 vertical feet covered with 480 inches of snow. Current plans include a new high-speed quad chairlift in the resort’s North Bowl area, which will open up 900 acres of intermediate terrain (ski runs and tree skiing), and 300 additional acres of expert skiing. An additional 885 vertical feet will also be added to the existing gondola this summer, giving the ski area the longest lift-serviced vertical descent in North America at 5,620 feet. Go now before the rest of the world shows up.

revelstokemountainresort.com

BRIDGER BOWL, MONTANA

TICKET PRICE: $45
VERTICAL DROP: 2,700’
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 350”
SKIABLE ACRES: 2,000

In a world dominated by large, for-profi t companies, Bridger is an anomaly.The resort is owned and operated as a non-profit and retains a funky, low-key vibe as a result of a focus on skiing instead of the bottom line. The big news for 2008 is the Schlasman’s Lift, scheduled to open this December. The lift will add 311 acres of infamous Bridger “ridge” terrain for expert skiers and you’ll need avi gear to catch a ride to the top. While it’s nice to know that there won’t be any gapers riding this lift because of that, it’s even nicer to know that every cent you spend here will be invested back into the mountain due to its non-profit status.

bridgerbowl.com

TAOS, NEW MEXICO

TICKET PRICE: $66
VERTICAL DROP: 2,612’
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 305”
SKIABLE ACRES: 1,295

Spicy Mexican food, extra-dry desert Southwestern powder, and an authentic vibe make New Mexico’s Taos a unique destination. Throw in rowdy steeps accessible by lift and or a few short hikes, plus a lack of tourists who hack the terrain and you have a slice of the pura vida. Staff, locals and tourists all end up
at the Martini Tree Bar at the end of the day, which hosts live bands. A cold beer to finish off your day on the mountain is a necessity, especially if you’ve been hiking Kachina Peak.

skitaos.org

BIG SKY / MOONLIGHT BASIN, MONTANA

TICKET PRICE: $78/$55/$93*
VERTICAL DROP: 4,350’/2,720’
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 400”
SKIABLE ACRES: 5,512†

When Big Sky and Moonlight joined forces they created a behemoth with 5,512 acres of chutes, bowls and trees. A joint ticket allows access to all of it, and the relatively remote location means few tourists – or locals – to share any of it with. You can stay at either resort, and the combined ticket is the only way
to take full advantage of the terrain off of Lone Peak accessed by Big Sky’s tram, as you have to start at Big Sky, and end up at Moonlight. Bring your avi gear because you can’t drop into the lines that feed into Moonlight off
the peak without it.

bigskyresort.com/moonlightbasin.com
* combined mountain ticket price
†combined mountain acreage

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