Resort Picks: Sidecountry

A little bit of effort at these resorts offers big rewards

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

BIG START
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. coppercolorado.com

GO WITH PROS
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; jacksonhole.com

NEW KID IN TOWN
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. revelstoke­mountainresort.com

LIMITLESS OPTIONS
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. whistlerblackcomb.com

ACROSS THE LINE
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; utahmountainguides.com

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