Think you’ve got what it takes to tackle the steepest and most challenging terrain in the state? In a Ski Country twist on Black Friday, we bring you Black Diamond Friday – a roundup of the gnarliest expert-only terrain in Colorado.
Known locally as “The Legend,” Arapahoe Basin has some seriously steep terrain. For skiers and riders ready to tackle the East Wall, the entrances to First Notch and Second Notch are no joke. The Steep Gullies, new for the 2017-18 season, is also an extreme, experts-only zone with incredibly gnarly terrain.
Each of the four Aspen Snowmass mountains offers a special challenge for advanced skiers and riders looking to test their skills. Aspen Mountain’s Trainors run offers some of the most iconic views and best skiing on Aspen Mountain. It’s only open when there’s a lot of snow, and the run is full of rock features and cliffs to weave your way through. Aspen Highlands’s The Bowl requires a 45 minute hike up and offers close to 2,500 feet of steep vert on your way down, while Snowmass’ Hanging Valley provides skiers with rock features and steep faces to navigate.
Cooper’s steepest and most challenging terrain, Chicago Ridge, is accessed through snowcat by a maximum of 12 people per day. This small group has dibs on 2,600 acres of deep powder and steep terrain.
Crested Butte is home to an infamously steep run - Rambo. It’s the steepest cut run in North America at a staggering 55 degrees. Don’t underestimate it – Expert skiers and riders only.
At Echo Mountain, skiers and riders can have a blast coming through EJ’s Glades. There are a lot of great lines through the trees that skiers and riders can combine with other trails and areas of the mountain.
For thrill-seekers at Eldora, don’t miss Salto and Moose Glades. These expert-only runs have many steeps, gullies, drops, cliff walls, and deep snow to keep you on your toes and entertained all day.
Granby Ranch’s most challenging and difficult terrain is Bounty Hunter, a run that combines black-diamond steep grades with bumps and features that will satisfy advanced and expert skiers.
Loveland Ski Area
Loveland’s most advanced experts looking for a challenge head for the Golden Bear to Rock Chutes run. The terrain is hard to get to, requiring a long hike or cat ride and hike. Once you get there, it’s steep, with a summit of 13,010 feet and lines that are very narrow. It’s sure to exhilarate the most experienced Loveland die-hards.
Monarch’s daredevils head for East Trees, a steep, narrow run with a few cliffs and features that keep it interesting for even the most experienced skiers and riders.
Powderhorn’s Thunder Mountain Glade and Mudslide both offer unique and challenging terrain to the experienced skier or rider. These two runs are some of the steepest of the mountain with a variety of different features such as large boulder drops, aspen glades, and spectacular pillow lines.
Silverton Mountain is the ultimate playground for expert skiers and riders. Whether you are looking at the East, North or West sides of the mountain, there are runs and features that will challenge even the most experienced skiers and riders. It is impossible to limit the moniker of most challenging to one run, but a few of the standouts include Chick Flick, Pants Pooper and Tiger Claw.
In Steamboat’s renowned Christmas Tree Bowl, accessed from Morningside lift, you’ll find some of Steamboat’s most expert terrain including steeps, narrow trees and rock drops.
Skier and riders in the Roaring Fork Valley generally prefer that some secrets remain unknown. The local secret stash is Sunlight's East Ridge, home to a dozen expert-rated double black diamond runs. The gnarliest of them all is The Heathen, one of the steepest lift-accessed runs in the state that drops out from your boot heels at a whopping 52-degree pitch.
Telluride’s Senior’s run, accessed by hiking from the 13,320 ft. Palmrya Peak, offers a 2,500'+ vertical descent that rewards the expert skier or rider with a spectacular big mountain experience.
Winter Park’s steepest run is the “Alphabet Chutes” which is in the Cirque Territory. It has a 50-degree pitch, which is the steepest in the entire resort.
Wolf Creek’s Peak Chute 1 will test even the most expert skier’s ability and skill set. Located past Boundary and Montezuma Bowls, Peak Chute 1 tests skiers’ and riders’ ability to make quick, short technique turns while taking on some serious vertical. The Peak Chutes have a short but steep pitch with rock outcroppings requiring skiers and boarders to have tight turns. The Peak Chutes are some of the most challenging and favorite runs among expert skiers at Wolf Creek.