Top Ten Unheralded Extreme Ski Slopes

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

Only 45 minutes east of Burlington, getting to Stowe is a breeze from all of the Northeast's major metropolises (four hour's drive from Boston, six from New York, and less than three from Montréal). Of course, this can make for a ski experience more Times Square than Green Mountains wilderness when you're stuck in a snaking lift line at the bottom of the mountain.

Stowe's Mount Mansfield is Vermont's highest peak, standing at 4,395 feet and rising imperiously above the surrounding landscape, including the resort's lesser 3,300-foot Spruce Peak. Expert downhillers head to Stowe to tick off the reputation-enhancing Front Four—Goat, Lift Line, National, and Starr—that line Mansfield's sides.

But, there's another black diamond hidden in the rough, the treacherous Hellbrook, a gnarly river canyon that rises steeply out of Smuggler's Notch. No, it's not on the trail map. Yes, you've got to hike a bit. And no, local skiers won't help you find it—they aren't about to share their private stash. It's steep, it's tight, it's got everything from powder to ice—in short, it has all the technical demands of classically unforgiving Eastern tree skiing. Even hikers in the summer urge caution for this trail.

Resort Facts


Phone: 1-800-253-4SKI

2004-05 lift pass: $65


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