The Rocky Mountains are the largest mountain range in the Western Hemisphere, and they contain some of the world’s most impressive terrain, especially for those who like to ski extreme terrain. But with so much to choose from, one can easily be overwhelmed by how much extreme skiing exists.
from the Rocky Mountains, however, I think there are five certain ski areas
that all extreme skiers must visit.
Mountains span over eight states and contain hundreds of ski areas. My top five
areas are shown in the interactive map below.
5. Loveland Ski Area,
For skiers who don’t like to go
to tourist-infested resorts, Loveland Ski Area is the perfect spot. Located on
top of the Eisenhower Tunnel and the Continental Divide, Loveland is a local-targeted
area with low prices and not a single condo or five-star restaurant in sight.
at Loveland for over 30 years,” life-long skier Dave Stevenson said. “I try to
make it here at least once a year because it has some of the best terrain for
how accessible it is. You can just go up lift 9 and take the RidgeCat to some
of the most extreme skiing in North America.”
has the second highest lift in North America, in terms of elevation, and over
1,800 acres of terrain, according to their website. If you are looking for wide-open
bowls and large cliffs to jump off, Lift 9 at Loveland will amaze you.
4. Grand Targhee Ski
Resort, Alta, Wyoming
Located just west of the world
famous Tetons, Grand Targhee Ski Resort has some of the steepest terrain in the
Rocky Mountains and quite possibly the world. Aside from being terrifyingly
steep, Grand Targhee might be the most scenic area ski area in the Rocky
Mountains, with a beautiful view of the back side of the Grand Teton.
Targhee several times and every time I’m taken away by that view,” Wyoming
native and life-long skier Brandon Wiseman said. “It’s just very nostalgic
seeing that view that so few people have seen. It gives you a whole other
perspective of some of the most famous mountains in the world.”
Targhee is also geographically located in a place that gets so many major
storms for skiers looking for deep powder on a regular basis.
3. Teton Village,
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Just over the Tetons is a resort
that draws crowds from around the globe, Teton Village or The Village as it is
commonly referred to is known around the world for its extreme terrain and
iconic tram that takes from the bottom all the way to the top of the massive
Hole has birthed some of the greatest freeskiers in the world because of how extreme
the terrain is at Teton Village. The downfall to Teton Village is that due its
global fame it is very expensive to ski and very regularly crowded.
here a year ago and have had the time of my life ever since,” lift operator
Jimmy Allen said. “I love how much of the area has to offer. The crowds can get
really bad around peak season but if you know where to go you can avoid them.”
If you are
looking to ski the most iconic spot in the Rocky Mountains, I highly recommend
2. Big Sky Resort,
Big Sky, Montana
Three hours north of these two amazing
ski resorts is another gem of the Rocky Mountains, Big Sky Resort. With a top
elevation of 11,167 feet, Big Sky has a very fitting name. Much like Teton
Village, Big Sky has a rather famous tram that takes skiers all the way to the
top of Lone Peak, Big Sky’s highest point.
time I went up Lone Peak I was shitting my pants it was so steep,” Brandon
Wiseman said. “It’s like something you would see in a TGR (Teton Gravity
Reasearch) movie up there.”
Big Sky has
very extreme terrain that is fairly accessible. But it also has a lot more to
offer than extremely steep faces and cliffs, there is a large portion of the
mountain for less advanced skiers as well as a very well put together terrain
park for those skiers looking to hit big jumps.
- Taos Ski Valley, Taos, New Mexico
One of the last places people
expect to find extreme skiing is in New Mexico, but alas tucked deep in the
northern mountains is a ski area so extreme that there are warnings when you
arrive. Described as a freeskiers’ heaven, Taos Ski Valley has more extreme
terrain than any resort in the U.S.
ski Taos as much as I used to,” Dave Stevenson said.” It’s not too far of a
drive from where I live, but the terrain is so over the top in places even I
get nervous on it!”
lived in Red River, New Mexico for over 25 years, just one valley away from
Taos. He says he has stopped skiing Taos as frequently due to injury concern.
to their website, between five and 10 skiers die annually in accidents at Taos.
The terrain at Taos is no laughing matter and beginners are highly discouraged
from evening going on the mountain.
If you are
looking for a place in the Rocky Mountains that will make you push your limits,
as most skiers do, then Taos is a must.
There are so many incredible ski
resorts in the Rocky Mountains, but there are several that stand out above the
others. While every single one of these resorts listed is incredible, it should
be noted that they have very dangerous terrain and should be skied with