When it comes to skiing deaths, the Grim Reaper spreads the pain equitably across U.S. ski resorts and backcountry slopes. According the Ski Industries Association, roughly 40 people per year die while skiing and 40 more sustain life-threatening injuries on terrain ranging from backcountry bowls to bunny slopes. While it's hard to pick the place with the most danger, the Delirium Dive freeride zone at Sunshine Village in Banff makes our knees tremble. Just to enter the 50-degree drop zone you need to prove you have an avy transponder, a shovel, and a partner; the 1,600-foot double black chute is always primed for avalanches. Once you catch your breath and dip your tips over the initial 40-degree lip, you’re on your own.
Even though it’s in-bounds, surviving Delirium means having a backcountry mentality—no one is there marking corduroy lines for you, so scout your routes from below and don’t experiment. Large hidden bands of rock and unstable snow can turn an exhilarating run into a deadly one.