Top 3 Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding Destinations in Western North America
The wait is over people: shredding-the-gnar season is upon us!


We know you’ve been itching to hit the slopes, but where do you start when it feels like every slope is calling your name? We’re starting with some of our favorite backcountry skiing and snowboarding spots out West.


skiing in Crested Butte, ColoradoCrested Butte, Colorado


Known for being a real beaut, Crested Butte has no aspirations to be like the other ski towns that surround it. And we love that it relishes in its chill, down-to-earth vibes. With a population of about 1,700 people, you’ll get a snapshot of what a “true” Colorado ski town used to look like before developers swooped in.

Crested Butte doesn’t just pride itself on charm alone though; it boasts some of the most diverse terrain known to riders. While it might sound like the resort is only welcoming to advanced riders, stats for the 121 trails show that 27% are beginner, 57% intermediate, and 16% advanced. And for the adrenaline junky in your squad, they’ll be pleased to find double black diamond slopes galore. It’s no wonder then why Crested Butte is a regular host of extreme freeskiing championships.

The peak terrain for Crested Butte comes out at 12,162 feet, but it’ll require a bit of a hike for those driven to get there. For a more detailed look into Crested Butte, check out this insider’s look into what the mountain has to offer.

 


skiing in Jackson Hole, WyomingWhistler Blackcomb, British Columbia


In “a class of its own”, Whistler Blackcomb has gained a reputation as being one of the most popping ski and snowboard destinations known to powder hounds. Whistler Blackcomb also offers the most varied terrain sets, ranging from gentle, wide groomed cruisers to tree-dodging, bowl-riding slopes.

If you don’t have legs trained to handle long distances, then Whistler Blackcomb will definitely give you the run of a lifetime. With the longest run being 6.8 miles, you’ll have plenty of ground to cover once you start your descent.

But what separates Whistler Blackcomb from the rest is not the nightlife, the variety of terrain, or the sheer vastness of the resort, but rather this: when you’re cruising down one of the many runs the resort has to offer, you’re thinking about the mountain, where you’re at in the moment, and the beauty of the experience. You’re transported into a mindset of being present. Transporting its visitors into this mindset is why Whistler Blackcomb stands out among the rest, and that’s why it’s a resort we frequent on the reg.

ALSO, watch this video and tell us you don’t have chills when it ends:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8uMMcwFZVg[/embed]

 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

If any of these resorts should be on your bucket list, we recommend moving Jackson Hole to the top of that list…now!

History is what defines Jackson Hole. Trappers, ranchers, and prospectors recognized the elegance of the mountain, and that still holds true today for the thousands of people who visit year-round.
skiing Jackson Hole, WyomingWith a motto like “Born to be Wild”, riders for the past 50 years have striven to live by those words with every run. Especially on Corbet's Couloir. What some would call the hardest ski and snowboard trail in North America, other call an adrenaline rush of a lifetime. Riders make the climb to Corbet's Couloir and garner the guts to jump into this iconic chute. Many have used this run as a way to gain street cred with some of the greats. Is it sketch? Yes. But is it fun? Absolutely.

With that in mind, Jackson Hole still offers some varied riding based on skill level. Terrains measure in at 10% beginner, 40% intermediate, 45% advanced, and 5% advanced/expert. You have the option to stay on the easier courses, but when that rush of adrenaline comes you’ll have the freedom to act on it. Once you set foot on the powder you’ll feel the drive to push your boundaries, to be “wild”. Jackson Hole’s ability to inspire more from its visitors is why we at the GORE-TEX Brand hold it so dear and close to our hearts.

Tips & Tricks

With some resorts already opening up shop for the season, we thought we’d share some final tips and recommendations to make this year of riding the best yet.

Find Your Friends

Your friends wake you up early in the morning saying they’re heading out for the slopes, but you’re nowhere near ready and tell them to head off without you. How do you expect to find them when everyone and their mother is out on the mountain? Easy. Find My Friends is a great iOS app you can use to track your group, or stay in the know of where your kids might be—especially if they’re not where they said they’d be. For most iPhones, Find My Friends is already installed on your phone, all you need to do is scroll all the way to the left, or slightly slide down on the home screen for the search tool to be enabled. Type “Find My Friends” into the search and you’ll have the app. Once the app is opened, you can easily add friends to your list by entering their phone number or Apple ID, just make sure they accept your follow request. You can also download via the App Store for free! Don’t have an iPhone? Not a problem. Android also features an app conveniently named Find My Friends! Very similar to the functionality of the iOS app, the Android also allows you to chat with friends. With either app, there will be no more lugging your gear around a resort hoping you run into someone you might know.


skiing snowStay in the (S)know


Snow conditions are the key bit of info every rider looks for before planning a trip and that’s why On the Snow should be on your list of bookmarks now! You’ll find detailed info on current conditions for specific resorts and regions throughout the world. Most resorts also offer a live webcam to let its visitors know where the levels are at, like Crested Butte’s PowCam.


Gear Up

We’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t share some of the crazy cool  GORE-TEX gear designed to bring your rides to the next level. If you don’t take our word for it, then follow the example of Cameron Martindell, who trekked his way across the Colorado Haute Route and put together a gear guide with the items he wouldn’t dare leave behind for any ride.

Are we the only ones having ski and snowboard season withdrawals yet? Where do you plan on riding this year? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see you on the slopes.