Top Ten Unheralded Extreme Ski Slopes

Beyond Black: The World's Top Ten Unheralded Steeps
By Peter Oliver & Alistair Wearmouth

First, know that Crested Butte is host of the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Competition, no small indication as to its place in the adrenaline-infused hearts of steep-freaks everywhere. Second, the Butte's black-diamond terrain angles in at an average of 39 to 44 degrees, some ten degrees steeper than most other North American resorts. Third, for the vertically obsessed gauntlet bagger, there are two sections of the mountain to consider—the Headwall and North Face.

Write your one-way downhill ticket round this suggested itinerary: Ski down the Headwall (not your average leg-stretching warm-up) to the North Face lift, which will carry you up to the fearsome Extreme Limits, five hundred acres of double-black-diamond terrain peppered with goosebump-inducing trails like Body Bag Glades and Dead End Chutes. Not every line in Extreme Limits is killer scary, but if you want extreme—defined in Crested Butte by trees, rocks, 50-degree chutes, and mandatory air—you've got it in spades.

If we've not sent you schussing to the cross-country ski section already, it's worth noting that Crested Butte is particularly welcoming to the intermediate and beginner skier. Better still, the laid-back atmosphere of this Colorado resort brings a refreshingly unpretentious ski experience that'll have you pining for the days when cowboys drove cows, not gas-guzzlers, and resorts weren't monochrome versions of winter Club Med.

Resort Facts

Web: www.crestedbutteresort.com

Phone: 1-800-810-SNOW

2004-05 lift pass: $61


Best Hotels in Crested Butte

$138-$173
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#1
Lodge at Mountaineer Square
$124-$155
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#2
The Grand Lodge Crested Butte
$125
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#3
Elevation Hotel and Spa Summit Hotels and Resorts

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