The Ikon Pass – Historic Big Mountain Destinations & The Biggest Legends

D’Arcy McLeish | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article

[sponsored by Ikon Pass]

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, CA. Image: Ikon Pass

The Ikon Pass is the means to ski and ride some of the most iconic destinations in North America.

Places like Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Mammoth Mountain, Alta, Snowbird, Deer Valley Resort and Big Sky Mountain Resort. It’s a curated list out of big mountain history.

It’s not just the terrain, it’s what that terrain has produced in the mountain world that sets these destinations apart from most everything else out there.

Shane McConkey.
Photo: Nate Abbott/Powder Magazine

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, CA

Is there a bigger name in the big mountain ski and snowboard world than Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows?

Everything speaks to the history of going a little further and a little bigger.

The terrain is off the hook, and home to one of the most iconic lifts in the world. KT-22 is something that stands apart in the world of snow.

No other lift in the world offers fast access, right from the valley floor, to terrain as burly and hyped as KT.

You have only to step into line on a pow day to see the who’s who of big mountain shredding, waiting for their turn to send it.

Our editor, Miles Clark, doing his best to do a mid-air tribute to Shane McConkey, throwing a backflip off the Tram building into Silverado. Photo: Hank DeVre

There’s history here, too.

So many legends have hailed from Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

Names like Plake, Schmidt, Backstrom and McConkey, and that’s just a few. The history here goes back a long way. The Olympics were held here, and some of the best racers in the world have come from here.

Racers like Julia Mancuso.

It’s nicknamed Squawlywood for a reason. And who can forget one of the best ski films of all time: Hot Dog. It put skiing on the map and sent droves of ski bums west, across the continent, hoping to live the dream.

jackson hole, wyoming, conditions report, powder day
Cowboy pow at Jackson Hole.
Credit: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY

Doug Coombs and the Jackson Hole Air Force.

Need we say more?

This group of hard core shredders not only pushed the limits of what was possible on skis and showed us Jackson had terrain; massive, big mountain terrain, to rival anywhere, but they also paved the way for open ski area boundaries and an entire culture of side country enthusiasts.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is home to another of the world’s most iconic ski lifts.

The Tram is in a class all on its own.

Rising several thousand feet, it’s the gateway to big mountain Nirvana and offers access to both in and out of bounds terrain not found anywhere else.

It’s what gave birth to the Air Force and Teton Gravity Research and a whole host of other shredders looking to earn their place in ski history.

Jackson Hole is also home to lines like Corbet’s Couloir, which has to be one of the most recognizable and rowdy in-bounds ski lines in the world.

Corbet’s is a rite of passage for aspiring skiers and riders the world over. When foreign ski patrollers come on exchange with the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol, on day one they are sent into Corbet’s to see if they can earn their Teton chops.

Action pow with a view at Mammoth
Mammoth Mountain.
Image: Mammoth Mountain.

Mammoth Mountain, CA

Mammoth Mountain stands apart from some of the mountains in the west, like a giant Sequoia in a forest of birch trees.

Tucked away in the middle of the Eastern Sierras, it’s one of those places that when you see it, scream endless possibility for shredding endless terrain.

They get boatloads of snow at Mammoth as well. Giant storms roll in off the Pacific and can dump unbelievable amounts of snow in a very short time, followed by California sunshine to make things just perfect.

Mammoth Mountain.
photo: snowbrains

Some of the industry’s biggest names hail from Mammoth.

Names like Shaun White and Tanner Hall.

It’s got one of the biggest (and we mean BIG) terrain parks in the world and has for so long been the training ground for the world’s best.

Oh, and lets not forget that Mammoth is perennially one of the longest operating ski resorts every season. 

Last season, Mammoth was open 273 days in a row from November 10th – August 6th, 2018!

Ikon Pass
Yes. Scot Schmidt jumped out of this.
Credit: Ikon Pass

Alta Snowbird, UT

Imagine having access to these two mountains, to the places where skiers like Sage Catabriga-Alosa cut his teeth and went from dirt bag, ski-bum dishwasher to the top of the big mountain ski world?

The Wasatch Range have some of the driest, fluffiest snow in the world and the terrain at Alta and Snowbird is absolutely mind blowing.

Deep snow, rowdy lines in rowdy natural features.

And the fact that Scot Schmidt once jumped out of the Snowbird Tram basically says it all.

Snowbird this past February.
Image: Eric Sales

Killington, VT

We would be remiss not to talk about Killington, Vermont.

The largest ski destination in the East, Killington is famous in the snow world.

First, it’s got the terrain, comparing to a lot of places in the West. It’s massive and sprawls to several different peaks and is almost always open longer than most of the resorts in the North America. They have been known to stay open well into June, which is no mean feat in Vermont.

But maybe what’s made it most famous is the Bare Mountain Mogul Challenge. This comp, held every spring, has been running, well, forever. It’s got an old school vibe, and sees skiers from around the world come and enjoy one massive party and cut their teeth on Bare Mountain, sending it and getting rowdy in one of the coolest ski comps in the world.

Killington in all its glory.
Photo – Killington Resort

Imagine having access to all of these iconic resorts, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Ikon Pass will take you to 26 iconic mountain destinations across North America.

You can go from skiing and riding the Champagne Powder made famous in Steamboat, Colorado, to sending it down the Palisades at Squaw Valley, which has been featured in ski films for 25 years, including last year’s MSP offering.

You can hit the Tram at Jackson Hole or smash laps at Big Sky, enjoying a wide open Montana sky in some of the gnarliest steep skiing on the continent.

The Ikon Pass makes it possible to live through ski and snowboard history, to visit destinations that have set the standard and pushed the limits in the world of snow sports. The Ikon Pass provides access to a lifestyle and community.

But don’t take our word for it.

Go live it, ski it, ride it and enjoy it.


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