Canada has some great, well known ski resorts such as Whistler on the west coast and Banff & Lake Louise in the Alberta Rockies, but also many superb lesser known ones such as Panorama in the BC Rockies. They are not short of steep terrain but which resorts offer the most extreme ski run experience for the expert? These are some of the best.
Delirium Dive on Banff Sunshine
This area is renowned for its challenging runs, 2,000ft of vertical and 40 degree average pitch that tests the strength of even the most experienced skiers and snowboarders. You can only access The Dive via a gate which only opens if you are using an avalanche transceiver. This takes you to a five metre band of rock that crowns the top where you can drop in. Or for a more moderate approach, you can use the stairs which allow access to more tame ground. The main thing that will keep you going back though is the snow, with the wind often tripling or quadrupling the depth of fresh snow compared to the rest of the resort.
Terminator Peak (T1) at Kicking Horse
This is the first peak south of the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort gondola. It is an easy scramble up to the peak which oversees the ski hill and the town of Golden. From the top of this ridge skiers can access the expert only lines of Glory, Truth, Dare and Consequence. These exposed double black runs are not out of bounds but you still need to take care due to the high amount of exposure to slide paths and cliffs.
The Monster at Panorama
This fabulous ski resort had a new 127-acre extreme terrain expansion into Taynton Bowl in the 2017/18 season which added a further 246 vertical feet to expand the ski area yet further. This extra terrain has boosted the longest trail to a staggering 6.5kms providing four brand new double-black diamond runs with the signature run named The Monster.
Needles at Red Mountain Resort
The town of Rossland is home to Red Mountain Ski Resort and occupies most of a bowl that geologists say is an ancient volcano crater. Looking around, it is obvious that this provides a more mountainous feel than other B.C. ski towns. The double black run ‘Needles’ is in the middle of Granite Mountain and is known and feared by skiers for its speed and impossible steepness. The angle of steepness is 45 degrees, and the top third of the run is littered with rocks and moguls.
The Saudan Couloir at Whistler Blackcomb
This is a truly extreme 2,500-vertical-foot chute, accessible from the top of the 7th Heaven Express chair; in the past, the Saudan Couloir has been included by Conde Nast Traveller in their “Most Terrifying Ski Slopes In The World” article. Believe it or not, back in the 80s, it used to be the home of a death-defying race called Saudan Couloir Ski Race Extreme. Steep!