When snow is life, it’s only natural that one would have a list of dream destinations to ski and snowboard. Well, we made our own skiing-themed bucket list! The following are 30 places to ski and snowboard before you die. While some are on the list for the athletic challenge they present, others are included because they have an historical significance to the sport. Others just offer an incredible view you can’t get unless you’re skiing. Some are single runs, while others are entire mountains or resorts. Despite their differences, each of the places described below is worthy of addition to your own list of places to ski before you die.
Valle Nevado, Chile
With a name like Adrenalina, it should come as no surprise that this Chilean ski run makes our list of the best places to ski and snowboard before you die. Adrenalina is part of the Cima Ancla peak in Valle Nevado, Chile. Perhaps as expected, it’s best suited for experienced skiers who are capable of skiing a black-rated run. The view throughout the run is pretty epic, but one’s concentration should probably lie on the mountain’s unique geology, or “alpine architecture,” as local experts put it.
Alf’s High Rustler
Aptly nicknamed High Boy, Alf’s High Rustler at Alta is Utah’s steepest ski run. The slope is named after Alf Engen, the founding father of powder skiing who supposedly skied this run with leather boots strapped to wooden boards. The run spans about 1,000 vertical feet down to Wildcat Base. Not only will doing so check a big box off of your skiing bucket list, but you’ll also have satisfied a local rite of passage.
Backside of Mont Fort
Verbier, Switzerland is one of the world’s most famous ski destinations, and Mont Fort is one of Verbier’s most famous mountains. But pros and locals know that to get a truly unique ski experience, one should head to the backside of Mont Fort, where experienced skiers will find off-piste terrains, steep runs, and lots of backcountry skiing. The views aren’t too bad, either!
The Black Corries
Nevis Range, Scotland
Skiing in the U.K.? The British Isles may not be known for their many skiing adventures, but one exception is the Nevis Range in the Scottish Highlands. The Black Corries are especially noteworthy, and include a variety of red- and black-rated ski runs. Skiing here is as simple as aiming downward and pressing off, and the views are absolutely incredible.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
If a free-skiing adventure is on your bucket list, then look no further than Whistler Blackcomb’s Blackcomb Glacier. A favorite run of some of the most prominent free-skiers, Blackcomb Glacier is known for its variety of terrain. In fact, the “Godfather of free-skiing” Mike Douglas insists that Blackcomb Glacier has a larger variety of terrain than any other ski run on the continent. There are also some spectacular views to be had over the eight-mile course.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, U.S.A.
U.S.A. Today calls this one “the world’s scariest slopes.” Others just declare it terrifying. Still, everyone seems to agree that Corbet’s Couloir in Jackson Hole is strictly for the experts. The double black diamond Corbet’s Couloir is a mere 150 meters long, but includes a drop that has been called “one of the best measuring sticks for expert skiers in the world.” As Griffin Post, a professional skier, described to CNN, “A 15-foot drop gives way to a several-hundred-foot, 40-degree powder run. Although it’s a breathtaking drop, the reward (survival) is well worth it.”
Couloirs des Fréaux
La Grave, France
France is full of incredible places to ski, one of which is La Grave. Though La Grave has myriad ski runs worthy of one’s bucket list, there is one in particular that is a “must do.” Couloirs des Fréaux is a half-mile couloir that runs from La Grave’s topmost station, past a lake, and right into the picturesque village of Les Fréaux. Though the run is officially unrated, local experts agree that this one is for the experts only. Besides being prone to avalanches, Couloirs des Fréaux is extremely narrow, with lots of steep drops. It’s considered one of the world’s most challenging ski runs.
Dave Murray Downhill
Whistler, British Columbia
The Dave Murray Downhill at Whistler has long been considered one of the world’s greatest, must-do ski runs. Named for a former member of the Canadian national ski team, the Dave Murray was the setting for Super-G races and the World Cup Downhill from 1993 to 1995. It was even used for the Winter Olympic Games in 2010. The Dave Murray is rated black, and local experts say to watch out for icy patches and steep sections. Still, this is one run that is fast, dramatic, and simply spectacular.
Sunshine Village, Banff, Alberta, Canada
You’ll have to be an experienced skier or snowboarder, and have an avalanche transponder on your body in order to ski the Delirium Dive in Banff. This is because the double black diamond-rated run is highly prone to avalanches.
Coronet Peak, Otago, New Zealand
When one skis at Coronet Peak, they’re skiing at New Zealand’s oldest and lowest ski resort. That fact alone may qualify Coronet Peak as one of the best places to ski before you die. The resort is also home to the unique black-rated ski run known as Exchange Drop. Situated at the top of the Rocky Gully T-bar lift, Exchange Drop is known for its roller coaster bumps. It’s never better than on powder days, and is the chosen training ground for the national ski team of New Zealand.
Sainte Foy, France
There are a few reasons the Grand Solliet ski run makes our list of the best places to ski and snowboard before you die. First of all, this blue-rated run is located at Sainte Foy, a beautifully located ski resort which somehow manages to consistently avoid overwhelming crowds — a rarity for a resort in France. Secondly, this long run offers skiers access to some amazing downhill skiing through a variety of terrain and epic views.
Kitzbühel Alps, Austria
The Hahnenkamm run of the Kitzbühel Alps in Austria is often considered to be the toughest run of any in the world. The three-kilometer-long, black-rated run is known for its speed, though fortunately also includes a number of wider sections for easy skirting. The Hahnenkamm is never tougher than on downhill race day of the World Cup, when the entire run is doused with water to layer it with a sheet of ice.
The Inspiration ski run at Whitefish Mountain is a must-ski destination for skiers and snowboarders at intermediate level and above. Inspiration extends about 2,300 feet and runs from the summit of Whitefish down to the lodge. Though the run itself is worthy, what lands Inspiration on this list is the view it afford skiers of Glacier National Park.
Portes de Soleil, Morzine, France
The Portes de Soleil ski area stretches through the Alps and into both France and Switzerland. But many professional skiers and those with a “ski bucket list” head to the French town of Morzine, where they find La Chavanette, or “The Swiss Wall.” This epic ski run actually crosses the border into Switzerland, and as implied by its wall nickname, includes an edge over which expert moguls can plunge.
La Parva, Chile
If you’re looking for a place to ski in July, August, or early September, then head straight to La Parva, Chile, where powder is practically guaranteed during these months of the Southern Hemisphere winter. While there, take the lift up La Chimenea, where you’ll be rewarded with epic — albeit distant — views of Santiago before skiing down the rocky run. La Parva is also an excellent place to try out night skiing.
Las Leñas is arguably Argentina’s premiere ski destination, and therefore is a natural addition to our list of places to ski before you die. It’s also a popular heli-skiing destination, as the town in which the resort is located is situated high up in the mountains. While just skiing at Las Leñas may be enough for many, the real bucket list item here is the world’s longest ski run. At 15 miles long, this massive black-rated ski run is unnamed, but made up of three intermediate-level runs (Mercurio, Cenidor, and Marte).
Mammoth Mountain is one of those places that has been around forever, but which has only become popular in recent years. Lots of pros choose Mammoth to be their training ground, and for good reason. The who area consists of 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, and the season frequently lasts into May. There are three major ski hubs to choose from, each of which has a variety of runs for all experience levels.
Joshinetsu National Park, Japan
Located just north of Nagano in Joshinetsu National Park, the Myoko area of Japan promises skiers an authentic Japanese ski experience. Here, skiing — unlike ritzy resorts and amenities — is the star of the show. A whopping 42 feet of snow fall on Myoko Kogen in an average year, providing a ton of great powder days. There are even ample opportunities to head off-piste for a truly rewarding experience.
Nordmøre is a fjord area located in western Norway. This stunning region, one of the most scenic in Scandinavia, is a haven for those up for a ski touring challenge — that is, skiing across open country rather than at an organized resort. In Nordmøre, ferries cross the fjords depositing ski tourists to new landscapes. Though the many hills, forest hikes, and vast snowscapes are not for the faint of heart, it’s a great challenge for any skier’s or snowboarder’s bucket list.
The North Face
Girdwood, Alaska, U.S.A.
In a place like Girdwood, Alaska there are local skiers who were up on skis before they were properly walking. Don’t let them intimidate you when you attempt the The North Face ski run at Alyeska Resort. This challenging run is the longest continuous double black diamond run in all of North America. Alyeska’s summit averages 670 inches of snow each year, though many years top 900 inches. Those numbers make this run silky smooth. Add in the facts that the resort doesn’t get major crowds, is known for backcountry shredding opportunities, and is a go-to for heli-skiers, and you’ve got one place you’ll definitely want to ski before you die.
The Dolomites are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, and have long been a haven for lovers of winter sports. The ski resort in Cortina, Italy is especially popular, and is home to the Olympia run. A favorite of both the pros and the locals (one description of Olympia describes local women skiing in fur while chatting on their mobile phones), Olympia is a high-speed downhill run that’s notable for its unique Italian design. The red-rated course also runs right past the famous Tofana Shute.
Squaw Valley, California, U.S.A.
Squaw Valley is a favorite of many professional skiers and snowboarders, and The Palisades a favorite run. Many pros credit The Palisades’ varied terrain and the frequency of fresh powder as a big reason it ranks among the most popular. Still, it’s quite challenging. Rated as a black diamond ski run, The Palisades has cliffs, steep slopes, and lots of opportunity for airs and lines.
Piste No 6
Considering Parsenn, Switzerland is known as the birthplace of alpine skiing, it should come as no surprise that it makes our list of places to ski before you die. Specifically, Parsenn is home to Piste No 6. Just getting to this must-ski run is an adventure, as it requires riding the first funicular ever built specifically for skiers (in 1931). Once skiers are on this black-rated run, they’ll be rewarded with some of the best views in Switzerland.
Titlis, Engelberg, Switzerland
The Titlis ski resort in Engelberg, Switzerland is known for its tough and beautiful runs. For advanced skiers looking to follow in the tracks of the pros, Titlis is also home to the Rotegg run. The black-rated Rotegg is a steep couloir with big bumps and a steep drop. It connects the glacier with the main ski area, and promises stunning views and thrills.
Whiteface Mountain, New York
The Skyward run at Whiteface Mountain in New York is a favorite amongst skiing and snowboarding pros. From the top of the aptly named Skyward, skiers are offered stunning views of the Adirondacks. What follows is a scenic black-rated run known for its steep slopes and wide-open sections.
Mount Bachelor, Oregon, U.S.A.
For downhill skiers on the hunt for speedy runs, Sparks Lane on Mount Bachelor is one of the speediest. At least, according to pro Laurenne Ross. The black diamond-rated Sparks Lane offers everything an exciting ski run should, including a good combination of steeps and flats, twists, and challenging banked turns.
The Stash at Avoriaz, France was recently named #1 ski run in the world on a CNN list compiled by the experts. The founder of Burton Snowboards, Jake Burton, helped to design the layout of this one-of-a-kind ski run. Described as “part-tree run, part-terrain park,” The Stash leads skiers through a series of both trees and wooden features that are practically asking for fancy sessions throughout.
As one of Europe’s most famous places to ski, the area known as Vallée Blanche in Chamonix tops many a skier’s bucket list. Vallée Blanche offers skiers plenty of routes down the mountain, including “Petit Envers du Plan,” “The Valley,” and “Grand Envers du Plan.” Ski one or ski them all, though Chamonix’s local experts suggest that anyone braving “Grand Envers du Plan” take a guide with them for safety.
The Cervinia ski resort in Italy is an ideal place to ski for just about anyone, including children and families. There’s a morning ski school for kids, and myriad runs suitable for novices and intermediates. One such run is the Ventina. This gorgeous downhill slope runs a whopping five miles in length, and many of its areas are wide-open and therefore novice-friendly.
Kirkwood, California, U.S.A.
Kirkwood is a family friendly ski resort with runs and slopes suitable for all ages. While this fact makes Kirkwood one of the West Coast’s most popular ski destinations, the resort actually makes our list of places to ski before you die because of The Wall. The Wall is a thrilling double black-rated ski run characterized by its steep chutes, huge gullies, lips and twists, and even a “diving board cliff drop.”