Five Reasons why North America is the Ultimate Ski Challenge

We all know the feeling. One minute you think you’ve cracked it, the next you’re faced with something that challenges that belief.
For many of us, that’s the attraction with skiing/snowboarding; there’s always a new run, a new bowl or drop to instil a weakening of the knees.

Well, here’s the Crystal Ski guide to the five most terrifying (and yet strangely attractive) challenges in North America:

Corbet’s Couloir, Jackson Hole
is so infamous that it has its own website.
Jackson Hole is renowned as an advanced and expert skier/boarder paradise with gates into the backcountry and some pretty steep runs throughout – but still nothing gets too close to Corbet’s.
It’s not just the fact it’s ridiculously steep that makes it so difficult, it’s the 10m drop into the run itself and then the quick turns you need to make on landing to avoid crashing into a cliff. You can do a five-day course to build you up to do this run (with the tutors then judging if you’re ready or not for the challenge), or you can close your eyes and hope for the best.

Skier looking into Corberts

Photo: Looking into Corbets Couloir, Jackson Hole

Delirium Dive, Sunshine Mountain – Banff
is only accessible through a locked gate, which is opened by the avalanche transceiver you have to wear if doing this bowl. You will also need a guide and a shovel if you are thinking of taking on this challenge.
Once in, a pretty short hike will take you up to the ridge and from there you can chose your route. There is an “easy” way down which doesn’t include jumping off a cliff, which is the preferred route for most, but locals will launch themselves off the overhang and into the steepest bits of the bowl.

Skier on Delirium Drive,Banff

Photo: Skiing on Delirium Drive

Feuz Bowl, Kicking Horse
is the steepest bowl in an already very steep resort.
The traverse along the mountain ridge isn’t the easiest and then as the bowl drops away at a ridiculous pitch you don’t really have a choice but to do the first turn into it and then give it all you have. Without much warning you are spat out of a chute at the bottom, which after the challenge of the bowl, is pretty hard work!

Anything off the Pallavic Lift on A-Basin
this is known as one of Colorado’s best, advanced mountains.
There is plenty of double black diamond extreme rated skiing here, some of the toughest is only accessible by a considerable hike but the Pallavic Lift opens up a number of incredibly steep bowls and chutes (some are even gladded – wear a helmet)!

Spanky’s Ladder in Whistler
is also a well known expert only run – although not quite Corbet’s, it is ridiculously steep and hard to find, you will need a guide to show you where it is and then you can decide whether you chicken out (and head down the much gentler other side of the mountain) or go for it!

About the author: Michael Brabin is the North America Product Manager, at Crystal Ski.
Crystal Ski is the UK’s leading ski holiday tour operator sending thousands of customers to North America each season. You can view more information about holidays to Canada and USA or join their communities on the ski-buzz blog or Facebook page.

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Robert Stewart

Ski Editor at Snow.Guide

Robert has extensive knowledge and experience of winter sports and has been qualified to instruct and teach Alpine Skiing for over 20 years. He is also an experienced off-piste and backcountry skier and has competed in freestyle and freeride events around the world. Now a full-time ski writer and Director of Ski Press, Robert is Snow.Guide’s Ski Editor and contributes to many other snowsports, national and lifestyle publications.

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