The 10 Most Intense Runs in the United States of America

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Corbett's Couloir
Old School Corbet’s Couloir.  photo:  Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

(The United States of America.  Don’t you like seeing that written out in full?  Us too.)

According to the Business Insider, these are the 10 most intense Runs in the USA.  We certainly agree with a the ones on this list that we know.  Corbet’s, The Fingers, Paranoid 4, & Pipeline we’ve seen.  They’re the real deal.

What runs are missing from this list that you know of? 

Corbett's Couloir
Corbett’s Couloir

THE 10 MOST INTENSE RUNS IN THE USA:

“Corbet’s Couloir” – Jackson Hole, WY

Pro Tip: Some skiers panic down the chute and try to stop after landing, which is unwise at 40mph. Jackson Hole’s ski coaches say, “Don’t stop, stand up and ski!”

KT-22's Fingers in 2011. photo: snowbrains.com
KT-22’s Fingers in 2011. photo: snowbrains.com

“The Fingers” – Squaw Valley, CA

Pro Tip: Avoid the center of the run, where transitions get swept away and snow sluffs expose hidden rocks.

“Paradise” – Mad River Glen, VT

Pro Tip: It’s easy to lose people in the trees, so try to stay cognizant of your group’s whereabouts at all times.

“Paranoid 4” – Mammoth, CA

Pro Tip: Beware of patches where the wind strips away snow. The locals can advise where to avoid.

Pipeline, Snowbird, UT. photo: unofficialnomad.com
Pipeline, Snowbird, UT. photo: unofficialnomad.com

“Pipeline” – Snowbird, UT

Pro Tip: Be prepared for backcountry and avalanche conditions. Always carry (and know how to use) the right safety gear: a beacon, shovel, and probe.

“Rambo” – Crested Butte, CO

Pro Tip: Adrenaline junkies craving steep drops should steer toward the slope’s northern face and the generous bowl that butts up against it.

“The Slides” – Whiteface, NY

Pro Tip: Take your time. There are frozen waterfalls beneath the snow about halfway down the trail, and safe navigation around them is critical.

“S1” – Aspen/Snowmass, CO

Pro Tip: The intimidating top section requires a bit of air time before entering.

S & R Cliffs. Mt. Hood Meadows, OR. photo: nick lewis
S & R Cliffs. Mt. Hood Meadows, OR. photo: nick lewis

“S&R Cliffs” – Mount Hood Meadows, OR

Pro Tip: The wet, “cascade concrete” powder holds well on the ground, but is difficult to ski until it’s packed by other skiers’ runs.

“White Nitro” – Sugarloaf, ME

Pro Tip: The run gets more challenging as the day progresses because the sun hides behind the mountain, freezing the snow until it’s diamond-hard. Hit the slopes early.


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46 thoughts on “The 10 Most Intense Runs in the United States of America

  1. White Nitro is blue or easy black. I amazed to see on the list. Spruce Clif’s at Sunday River is a crazy difficult run.

  2. Bourke Street at Mt Buller (Australia). Sure it’s only 15 degrees but with 5000 gapers going way too fast for their abilities on a 20m wide strip of man-made ice, it’s more dangerous than Corbert’s.

  3. I agree with nick, tuckerman’s ?? even though i’m a western boy, best dude I ever skied with at t-ride was a New hampshire dude and said tuck was the shit.

  4. Thirty + years ago I did my first mountain skiing at Alta. My friends thought it would be fun to take me down High Rustler for the first ever mountain run. Ummm.. Pretty scary for this first timer.

    1. I bet they are. Went up to A Basin for a pro patrol certification in ‘85. Great in bounds terrain then!

    1. ….. Palisades, ( SQUAW ) yes there are palisades at Sugar Bowl, consider the pitch ? ……… Palisades, ( SQUAW = BOX, EXTRA, Pony express, Main ) the movies shot on National alone , sugar bowl does have awesome snow quality and smaller crowds,……..and some great terrain.

  5. “Look up the Chickering-Ayers brothers and Green Mountain Freeride, and get back to me.”

    Ya know, lists like these are just click bait and have little or no meaning, other than to generate silly conversations between strangers (and waste my time), but I’ll comment anyway.

    I grew up skiing in the east and made two trips to Aspen, one in 6th grade and the next in 8th. I somehow found my way down Corkscrew (mentioned above) on that trip and also found my way up the Loge peak chair at Aspen Highlands then too. I’ve been to Jackson twice (and out-of-bounds beyond Cody Bowl, but Corbets wasn’t open either trip), learned my way around Alta with a Gold Minor’s Daughter breakfast cook, been to Squaw, and lived and Patrolled in Taos in the early-mid 80s. I moved back east (to New Hampshire) in ’86 with a newborn daughter and she and her sister grew up following me around MRG. The older one was throwing dynamite in Alaska at age 20 and the younger one raced in HS. When she did an avalanche class out west in college, the instructor asked where she learned to ski. She answered, “Mad River Glen.” He then said, “that explains it.”

    Tuckerman’s is the real deal, and I’m quite sure many of you couldn’t follow me or my elderly companions around MRG, let alone my daughters, and forget about following either of the Chickering-Ayers bros.

  6. I know Mammoth Mountain very well. Ave shute #4 is awesome, but wait! There’s more…depending upon how much snow has dropped. Hangman’s Hallow (formal run) and Balls to the Wall (informal run) come to mind.

    1. There’s nothing scary about corkscrew… Beautiful line, definitely! Intimidating, not at all…

  7. Well, as the title of this article is the most INTENSE (not longest, snowiest or best) runs in THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA,( not BC) I thought Tucks deserved mention. They already put 3 east coast runs on the list, and I guarantee none of em’ can touch the ravine for intensity!

  8. Tuckermans? Are you going to just start throwing out BC haunts……then tuckermans wouldn’t make the 100

    1. to me, “runs” are inbounds, lift served. list those. BC runs are limitless in number and gnarly in difficulty. ex: that couloir is not in Snowbird ski area. I also don’t think bad conditions can be considered a factor of a run’s difficulty rating. they should be intense even in good conditions.

  9. I don’t think anything east of CO or MT should make a list like this. Come on TR is good terrain in retrospect to the east coast, but def not top 10 in USA, sorry my ice coast friends,

    1. Have you skied more than either as a kid or casually in new england or eastern canada? There are some gnarly runs, and instead of pow, they’re often covered in ice. I’m no fan of the Northeast in general (except some of NH and Vermont; nice people not massholes), and am a southern-bred boy living in Wyoming, but I give credit where credit is due. Go ski the chic-chocs, Mad River Glen, Tuckerman’s, Mount Marcy, Mount Colden, Mt. Katahdin, and others. The diversity of the terrain in the Rockies and the quality of the snow and conditions are far superior, of course. But the skiing is good if you know where to go and is plenty challenging, often more demanding than western terrain. Look up the Chickering-Ayers brothers and Green Mountain Freeride, and get back to me.

      1. The snow condition shouldn’t be f-factor the Run itself should be intense. If you took East Coast conditions and added them to any of the resorts on the West Coast they would be insane… since snow conditions can vary so much I think the terrain alone should be the deciding factor!

  10. I have to agree with the Tuckermans comment. The headwall at Tucks is pretty gnarly, and Hillmans Highway chute has serious pucker factor!

    1. I once say a guy slip an slide the whole upper snowfield then down head first
      over the headwall and the full length of the lower snowfield -stopping 10 feet
      from rocks at the end. He just laid there motionless for 10 minutes.

      I thought he was dead but amazingly he moved and stood up -maybe OK?

    1. The reason being is they say that snow conditions shouldn’t be a major factor in deciding the terrain. If you took any of these other mountains that are listed and gave the same East Coast snow pack they would be dramatically more dangerous

    2. Tuckerman’s isn’t exactly a “run”, its not serviced by any lifts nor is it a part of any ski area. It is gnarly as fuck though and if it were part of a ski area I’m sure it would make the list. Anyone scoffing at Tuckerman’s doesn’t know about Tuckerman’s.

      1. I skied the right gully at Tuckerman’s in high school and it really is gnarly as fuck. You have to climb up like climbing up a ladder with ski boots on and 200 cm skis and poles over your shoulder. A reporter asked once why they didn’t put in a lift and the park ranger says if they did they would have to build a hospital right next to it.

  11. ahhhhhhh center line chimney some how missed this list? Biggest pucker factory right next to Corbet’s Couloir

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