Resort Picks: Sidecountry

A little bit of effort at these resorts offers big rewards

Oct 21, 2008
Outside Magazine
Sidecountry Copper Mountain

Snow daze at Copper Mountain    Photo:courtesy, Colorado Ski Country

At over 12,000 feet, Copper Mountain's Copper Bowl is perfect for testing your legs and lungs. A free snowcat ride (tip not included) and a short hike take you to the top of Tucker Mountain, where you can line up wide, 30-to-35-degree chutes.
Tip: It can get wind-scoured quickly, so try to hit it just after a storm.

Most European resorts have guides to take you beyond the pistes. In the U.S., forget it—unless you're at Jackson Hole, where the resort's in-house pros lead customers to the same drainages the locals ski. Guide not in the budget? Plenty of hike-to terrain awaits in Cody Bowl. Guides from $370 per half-day;

Canada's newest mega-destination, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, consumed an existing snowcat operation, a heli-skiing outfit, and a smaller ski area to create one big sidecountry experience—it's avalanche-controlled but wild. Pay for the bird or the cat or explore the 3,000-acre resort on your own. revelstoke­

There's literally a lifetime of skiing within striking range of Whistler Blackcomb's perimeter—all of which is fair game. If you don't have the skills, you might be better off hiking for your powder turns above the controlled Blackcomb Glacier, a perfectly pitched (35 degrees) playground.

The best in-bounds skiing at Alta—Devil's Castle, East Castle, Catherine's Area—requires quad-burning sidestep traverses or boot-packs up aprons. Tracked up? On the other side of the rope, you're almost guaranteed to find fresh snow. Alaska Mountain Guides offers half- and full-day ski tours. From $115;

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