Top Ten Extreme Ski Slopes

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

Whistler Blackcomb's reputation is big—very big—and understandably commands the attention of ski aficionados everywhere. Attracting clientele from all over the world, this Canadian great is the ski world's very own Tower of Babel.

With over 7,000 acres of skiable terrain spanning the two flanks of 7,160-foot Whistler mountain and 7,494-foot Blackcomb mountain, there's piste to satisfy every level of skier. Nearly 200 marked trails, a network of ultra-modern lifts, and legendary off-piste combine to cement Whistler Blackcomb's standing. One slight detraction may be the wetter weather of British Columbia. However, keep climbing and you'll likely encounter a differing climate to that in the valley below.

Those seeking that double-diamond headrush should make for Blackcomb's Ruby Bowl. Just getting there (or to neighboring Sapphire and Garnet Bowls) can be a throat-drying adrenaline rush. From the top of the Glacier Express lift, you'll need to sling your skis over your shoulder and start hiking. This will take you along the knife-edge precipice of Spanky's Ladder, British Columbia's most sought-after double-black-diamond and the gateway to Ruby Bowl's 2,000 vertical feet of continuous steeps. A hike-only endeavor on the backside of Blackcomb mountain, here you'll tangle with a northern exposure that keeps the powder dry, firm, and fast.

Resort Facts

Web: www.whistler-blackcomb.com

Phone: 1-800-766-0449

2002-03 lift pass: $138 for two-day peak-season pass


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