Last season, Bjorn and Erik Leines from Celtek put out a film highlighting their bucket list. From visiting Jackson Hole to hitting up Baldface lodge, their list seemed to contain something that everyone would have on their own personal list. Have you ever thought of or maybe written one yourself? Well here goes for me… This is my personal bucket list – Some of these I’ve checked off, but I still have a few more to go.
#1 – Ride the single-person chairlift at Mad River Glen
Mad River Glen’s motto is “Ski it if you can” and the name fits. A resort with minimal grooming, ranked with the most challenging terrain in the East, and no snow-making, it’s 100% natural and raw. At the center of this resort lies the famed single-person chairlift, dubbed the fastest fixed-grip chair in the United States and only one of two single chairs left in North America. For now, Mad River Glen only allows skiers to visit their resort, but if they ever do allow snowboarders, I will be in line and ride their famed single chair.
#2 – Visit a ski resort in every single state/province in North America with a vertical drop greater than 1,500 feet
Each region in North America provides something unique and different that each skier/snowboarder should at least experience once in their lives. A great example is the town of Santa Fe. Located next to Ski Santa Fe [ski area], this unique town contains buildings made out of stucco and luminaries decorating them. Not the normal landscape when you think of a ski town! It is an opportunity to experience different types of snow and culture that you would miss if you never branched out.
#3 – Spend a month on the Powder Highway
Skiing and snowboarding is all about the road trip and how amazing would it be to follow the snow wherever it’s falling? The best spot for a road trip like this would be the Powder Highway. Located in the southeast corner of British Columbia, the Powder Highway has seven ski resorts, easily drivable between each other with distinctly different geography and truly uncrowded slopes… It is the mecca of powder skiing/snowboarding. If that wasn’t enough, the highest concentration of cat-skiing/heli-skiing operations in the world are located along the way accompanied by amazing backcountry access.
#4 – Go Heli-Skiing
We’ve all seen ski & snowboard movies where they drop you off at the top of a mountain and you get to ski/snowboard deep powder in the high alpine. It is magical and definitely something everyone should do once in their life. Selkirk Tangiers is a great, affordable option AND you can warm up your legs at Revelstoke before hopping into the heli.
#5 – Go Cat-Skiing
Powder! That is what all skiers/snowboarders yearn for and cat-skiing is an even more affordable option when compared to heli-skiing. The best part of cat-skiing is you can actually get out there on a storm day when a helicopter wouldn’t be able to drop you off at the top of a mountain – you’ll just drive right up to the top! Where should you go, you ask? If you only want to experience the best-of-the-best then Baldface Lodge is your choice.
#6 – Visit Alaska
This state is home to the most famous mountain ranges in the world. The deep maritime snowpack allows snow to stick to the steepest terrain you will find anywhere. In mid-winter, the amount of sunlight is only a few hours, but by April, the sun shines nearly twelve hours a day and these mountains continue to get hammered with snow. The sun could outlast your legs in Alaska!
#7 – Go to the Mt Baker Banked Slalom
From the X-Games to the US Open and moving from Stratton to Vail, contests in snowboarding have become more corporate and less about the culture. Fortunately, there is one annual event left that truly embodies the soul of the sport and that is the Mt Baker Banked Slalom. Held at the ski resort setting the world record of snowfall in one season, it fits that this event is held at Mt Baker. With no spandex suits but a sweet duct-tape trophy, it’s all about bragging rights to win this contest!
#8 – Ski / Snowboard Timberline on July 4th
There is a decent amount of resorts open through June and even July, but the most famous of them all is the Palmer snowfield at Timberline Resort. On Mt. Hood, two hours east of Portland, it is home to the hotel from the Shining and the place for professional skiers/snowboarders to train during the summer months. If you have some extra money and time, you can even book a trip with one of the many summer camps actually held on their own private sections of the snowfield.
#9 – Visit Silverton Mountain Resort
With no shortage of ski resorts throughout North America that offer amazing terrain and fancy après, there is only one that embodies what skiing must’ve been like in the 50’s/60’s. That would be the one and only Silverton Mountain resort in Colorado. A resort with only one double chairlift accessing nearly 1,800 acres of the steepest terrain anywhere along with an additional 22,000 acres accessible by hiking, this place is all about adventure without the frills. If that wasn’t cool enough, they limit the amount of skiers and riders to 475 or less per day.