Top Ten Extreme Ski Slopes

Beyond Black: The World's Top 10 Classic Steeps
By Peter Oliver & Alistair Wearmouth

If you want skiing that's uncluttered, scenic, and laid-back, then Big Sky's your place. A big turnout in this 3,500-acre resort is around 4,000 people a day; they're quickly swallowed by the extensive network of trails that run the gamut from easy-cruising piste to nerve-jangling expert offerings.

The centerpiece of Big Sky is the 11,166-foot Lone Mountain, served by the intimate Lone Peak tram, which shuttles only the bravest souls to the top, 15 at a time. Step out onto the summit for 360 degrees of expert-only terrain and two choices for your descent: You can swallow your pride and step back onto the tram, or you can huck yourself off into the abyss.

There are gnarlier lines at Big Sky, such as the 50-degree Castro's Shoulder, but none are more prominent or less forgiving than Big Couloir, a 42-degree, 2,000-foot beast. This narrow, rock-lined couloir, a giant out-of-bounds seam in the front face of Lone Peak, offers no bailout options or margin for error. While you are allowed to ski the chute, you'll need the appropriate rescue equipment on board—transreceiver, a shovel, and a partner. This may be the excuse you need to make that return trip on the tram.

Resort Facts


Phone: 1-800-548-4486

2002-03 lift pass: $58


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