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10 Best Ski Destinations for Experts to Shred Some Serious Powder

10 Best Ski Destinations for Experts to Shred Some Serious Powder

Published: January 1, 2024

If you’re an expert skier or rider, there’s no doubt you have your tried and true favorite mountains. But if you really want to hone your skills and challenge yourself, you’ll need to experiment on some new terrain. When you want that adrenaline rush, gentle slopes and bunny hills aren’t going to cut it.

Check out some of the top resorts for advanced skiers and riders to find exciting new ski destinations to show off your skills. These mountains are known for being steep and extreme, with plenty of chutes, bowls, and cliffs to thrill the most advanced skiers. You’ll want to make sure to book a vacation rental in one of these amazing ski towns so you can tackle every inch of terrain.

Vail, Colorado

Advanced skiers and snowboarders will revel in the adventure that awaits at the top of the largest single-ski mountain in North America. More than half of Vail’s 5,300 acres of skiable terrain is considered advanced or expert level. With about 30 ski lifts transporting you to nearly 200 trails, you’ll never run out of terrain to explore in Vail.

Skiers with serious skill who love off-piste extreme skiing can check out the legendary Back Bowls and the Blue Sky Basin, a deep snow area that will test your limits. The front side of the mountain also offers mogul slopes and some extremely difficult double black diamonds.

Dine slopeside at The 10th, a stunning upscale dining whose floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the majestic Gore Range. Or warm your boots at any of the world-class restaurants, bars, and late-night hot spots in Vail’s five charming alpine villages, connected by a free bus system that makes it easy to get around.

Palisades – Lake Tahoe, California

Framed by the massive peaks of the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe is surrounded by epic ski resorts that overlook the stunning mountain lake. In North Lake Tahoe, California’s largest ski resort, Palisades, boasts 6,000 skiable acres and 270 trails across two mountains. Extreme skiers will find a paradise of hike-to back bowls on Alpine Meadows. On Palisades, explore the terrain off the beloved KT-22, the open bowls and steep chutes on Headwall, cliffs and steeps on Silverado, and tree skiing on Granite Chief.

Palisades’ base village is a prime après location full of restaurants, bars, and shops to kick off your boots. Try Le Chamois for outdoor après, Fireside for pizza, or Tremingo for authentic Mexican.

Heavenly – Lake Tahoe, California

In South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort is one of the most famous ski resorts in the country. At 10,067 feet, this low-key mountain is the tallest in Lake Tahoe, resulting in unparalleled views of the lake on its many fun glades and tree runs. One of the best ski resorts for experts, Heavenly has 3,500 vertical feet with 97 trails that vary from wide-open runs to plunging 1,600-foot chutes. Local favorites Mott Canyon and Killebrew Canyon boast extremely steep slopes, the Milky Way Bowl and Ski Ways Glades are heaven for freeriders, and there is plenty of intense backcountry terrain to explore.

At the base of the gondola, charming Heavenly Village offers plenty of après options, from Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and Gun Barrel Tavern & Eatery to low-key but super popular Base Camp Pizza.

Telluride, Colorado

A completely unpretentious mountain town exuding laid-back luxury up and down its charming Main Street, Telluride is one of the best luxury ski destinations in the country, overflowing with varied terrain perfect for extreme skiing. With over 2,000 skiable acres, 148 trails, hike-to and backcountry access, and a 4,425-foot vertical drop, the mountain is a joy for thrill seekers.

About 41% of Telluride’s terrain is expert, with plenty of challenging runs that can be easily accessed from the lifts, including difficult runs in the expansive Revelation Bowl, with sweeping views of Bear Creek. Telluride also boasts plenty of hike-to terrain, including Black Iron Bowl, whose open glades and steep chutes provide fresh tracks for advanced skiers and boarders, and Palmyra Peak, whose stunning and extremely steep descent is one for the books. Gorgeous panoramic San Juan Mountain views make Telluride one of the most beautiful places to ski. If you haven’t had enough of the slopes (or the views), dine on the mountain at Alpino Vino.

Aspen, Colorado

A charming alpine village famous for its vibrant après-ski culture, Aspen is one of the best luxury ski resorts in the USA. Aspen boasts more than 5,500 acres of terrain across four major ski areas – Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands. While Buttermilk is perfect for beginners, the other three mountains cater to intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders.

About a third of the runs at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass are double black diamonds and Aspen Highlands has 65% expert terrain, the ultimate challenge for daring skiers. The Highland Bowl is one of the most well-known hike-to areas in Colorado, and definitely worth checking off the bucket list. In Aspen, the high alpine and gladed skiing make it one of the best resorts for extreme skiers and snowboarders, and with plenty of terrain to explore, you could ski for days and never get bored. When it’s time for après, head to the world-famous Matsuhisa or Cache Cache.

Breckenridge, Colorado

With almost 3,000 skiable acres and more than 185 trails to explore, Breckenridge is one of the best ski destinations in the country. The highest ski lift in North America will shepherd you to the summit just about 1300 feet above sea level. Breck’s expert terrain is distributed throughout the resort’s five mountain peaks. Advanced skiers and boarders looking for a challenge will appreciate Breck’s expert- and extreme-rated glades, high alpine bowls, chutes, and hike-to terrain. Some of the best skiing in Colorado is the truly challenging hike-to terrain on Peak 6. It could take up to a week to explore every long groomer and hikeable chute on the mountain.

When you need to catch your breath, Breck’s charming downtown Historic District invites guests to stroll through Main Street’s shops, galleries, and cafes and enjoy après-ski at 100+ restaurants, bars, and breweries. Grab a burger or taco from a casual eatery or indulge in fine dining at Hearthstone or Ember.

Stowe, Vermont

Proudly called the “Ski Capital of the East,” Stowe has almost 500 skiable acres and 116 trails with a wide variety of terrain and is one of the best places to ski on the East Coast. With 300 inches of annual snowfall and a skiing elevation of 3,625 feet, powder hounds will love traversing the runs on this mountain. Stowe has some of the best, consistently steep terrain in the East, including the runs below the FourRunner Quad, like Bypass, Nosedive Glades, and Lookout. One of the most difficult runs is Goat, where thrill-seekers can jump off boulders and catch some air. Adventurers will also find some tree-cleared, ungroomed forest runs and mogul slopes, like Lower National.

When it’s time to dine, you won’t find any chain restaurants. Still, Stowe has no shortage of options with everything from casual to fine dining. Grab a burger and beer at Idyletime or enjoy upscale après at Matterhorn. Salute, Edson Hill, The Bistro at Ten Acres, and Michael’s on the Hill are just a few of the exceptional restaurants around Stowe – bring a car to explore the surrounding towns.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Known for being one of the hardest ski resorts in the US, Jackson Hole boasts some of the country’s most challenging terrain. Featuring the legendary Corbet’s Couloir and tons of chutes, cliffs, and bowls to get your adrenaline pumping, Jackson Hole is one of the best ski resorts for experts. An average 459” of snowfall each year coats 4,000 vertical feet of trails bursting with powder-filled bowls, moguls, and steeps. Beyond the trails, the most advanced skiers can explore the incredible hike-to terrain on Headwall and Casper Bowl, as well as side and backcountry terrain not for the faint of heart.

For the ultimate experience on the fresh powder of untouched backcountry, try heli-skiing with High Mountain Heli. Or change it up with a snowmobiling excursion through nearby Yellowstone National Park. Then trade tales with other powder enthusiasts at one of the many high-end bars and restaurants in Teton Village and nearby Jackson, or order a boozy slushie from the Bodega and take the shuttle around town.

Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky in southwestern Montana is a massive mountain playground, with 5,850 skiable acres, 300 trails, three dozen lifts, and five terrain parks. Over half of the trails at Big Sky are labeled advanced, expert, and extreme, offering plenty of ways for daring skiers to test their skills. The challenging hike-to Headwaters area of Moonlight Basin regularly hosts extreme skiing competitions, so you know it will truly test your skills.

If you’ve got the right experience and equipment, the bucket-list-worthy Big Couloir’s sheer cliffs and 50-degree pitch will leave the most advanced skiers and riders breathless. Be sure to check requirements, which include checking in with ski patrol and packing avalanche gear. Even on the lower levels of the mountain, expert skiers will delight in challenging terrain. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, try Gallatin Riverhouse Grill, Cabin Bar & Grill, Scissorbills Saloon, Horn & Cattle, or one of Big Sky’s many dining options.

Have non-skiers with you? Big Sky has a multitude of activities for everyone. Lone Mountain Ranch offers over 80 km of groomed Nordic trails in addition to snowshoeing. In Town Center, you can find a climbing wall at BASE or an ice skating rink on the outdoor refrigerated rink. Activities range from dogsledding to snowmobiling and snow coach tours of Yellowstone National Park.

Summer is not to be missed. Hiking, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding are at your doorstep and Yellowstone National Park is a short 45-mile drive.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, try the Peaks Chophouse in the Summit Hotel, Olive B’s Bistro, Blue Buddha Sushi, or one of Big Sky’s many dining options.

Breathtaking beauty and friendly locals will make you fall in love with this magical place. Put Big Sky on your bucket list!

Killington, Vermont

Located in central Vermont, Killington, nicknamed “The Best of the East,” is one of the best ski resorts for advanced skiers in the country. With seven different mountain areas on 1,500-plus acres, endless adventures await in this snowy paradise. While there are plenty of trails for skiers and riders of all levels, Killington caters more toward intermediate and advanced skiers. From steep, wide slopes and gladed runs to extremely steep mogul slopes, there are tons of opportunities to get your adrenaline pumping.

Devil’s Fiddle, Outer Limits, and Cascade are just a few of the steep runs that will challenge your skills – only 17% of Killington’s 155 trails are green. And the trails are just the beginning. The Woodward Mountain Park is a network of terrain zones where you can freestyle to your heart’s content. For a premium experience, add Killington’s Fast Tracks to your lift ticket, so you can skip the wait at the most popular lifts and have more time to play. Then spend your extra time at the Wobbly Barn to experience a premium menu and legendary nightlife.

If you want to shred powder on every inch of these amazing mountains, we wouldn’t blame you. Visit our destination pages or browse the luxury vacation rentals in our collection to find the home base for your adventure in extreme skiing.

10 Best Ski Destinations for Experts · Vail · Palisades · Heavenly · Telluride · Aspen · Breckenridge · Stowe · Jackson Hole · Big Sky · Killington.


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