By definition, ‘scary’ is all in the eye of the beholder. Out on the ski slopes, steepness and scary are often partners in crime. How steep is steep? Generally speaking, beginner runs have a steepness of about 10 degrees, intermediates about 20 degrees, experts 30-45 degrees, and anything higher is insanity.
Things like rock outcroppings, narrow chutes, and other natural obstacles are other key ingredients to a crazy-hard run. Below are some of the scariest runs in North America – in no particular order.
‘Cause sometimes, to live your dream, you have to face your fears.
Delirium Dive – Sunshine Village, Banff, Canada
Delirium Dive conditions change constantly and there is avalanche danger that may require closure on short notice.
The area must be open. To check the status, call 1-403-762-6511
You must carry and know how to use an avalanche transceiver
You must carry a shovel
You must carry collapsible avalanche probes
You must have at least one other person with you
Corbet’s Couloir – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
When Corbet’s is open, people line up in droves at the entrance to peek in. But none of the hype means any skier should take the run lightly: it’s a seriously consequential, high-speed drop onto a 45-degree slope that requires good conditions and multiple powerful, technical moves on skis or a snowboard to successfully execute.
Kill the Banker – Revelstoke, Canada
“Kill the Banker at Revelstoke Mountain Resort has to be one of the most fun runs in the world. [Some of the] “steepest cliffs known to man while technically being out of bounds, but it’s located directly beneath the gondola, so you’re never too far from hearing the cheers from your peers.”
Sean Cochrane, Pro Skier
Tuckerman Ravine – White Mountains, New Hampshire
“A line with no fall zones (read: don’t fall or you’ll sustain injury or death), frozen water running in long sheets over the ski line, cliffs lining the route, and rock bands perforating the interior. Add that to terrain which, in areas, chokes down to merely double the width of your skis and has a 50+ degree pitch sustained nearly the entire length of its 1,200’ fall line.”
Gina Begin, Ski Blogger
Goat – Stowe Mountain Lodge, VT
Goat/Upper Goat/Lower Goat – As far as challenges go, Goat and Upper Goat take the award for crazy Stowe things to do. They are arguably the most difficult trails on the mountain. Upper Goat starts you off with 1,000 feet of trail with an intense fall line to the left, while Goat itself is 1,241 feet of ledges, boulders, streams and a few moguls just to keep things interesting. Lower finishes you off with 100 windy feet of rocks and ledges.
Rambo – Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado
Bragging Rights » At 55 degrees, Rambo is one of the steepest cut trails in the States. Huge bumps. Straight fall line. Full throttle.
Pipeline Couloir- Snowbird, Utah
Its 11,000-foot summit is gnarly to access by hike — most seasons you have to rappel from a rope down to the entrance while wearing ski boots and carrying skis. Plus, you’re required to sign a waiver before entry.
The pass is narrow, about 15 to 20 feet wide, and the ride is pockmarked by loose rocks at the top. It’s a straight line until the apron opens up.