Go West: five frozen landscapes to ski in Canada and the USA

From a new hut-to-hut round-trip to expanded resorts, epic back-country routes and bargain cat skiing, we round up North America’s top terrain.Tuesday, 12 November 2019

1. Red Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Why go there?
Bargain cat skiing.

What will you find?
Red Mountain enjoys legendary status among powder-hungry skiers. It’s been adding lifts to what had traditionally been cat skiing territory. The new Topping Chair accesses 300 extra acres, and six new intermediate runs include more world-class tree skiing. Or take a cat skiing run on Mount Kirkup for just C$10 (£6). 

How to do it
Ski Solutions has 10 nights at The Josie Hotel from £1,865 per person, including flights and transfers.

2. Whistler, British Columbia

Why go there?
Hut-to-hut ski touring. 

What will you find?
Three new backcountry huts are being built on the 25-mile Spearhead Ski Traverse, which will form a round-trip from Whistler to Blackcomb Mountains. The first, Kees and Claire at Russet Lake, is set to open this winter; the other two — Macbeth Hut and Pattison Hut — are due to for completion by 2022. The trio will offer the first hut-to-hut experience on the West Coast. Whistler-Blackcomb has North America’s second-biggest vertical drop and a nightlife to rival European resorts. 

How to do it
From £1,652 per person, based on 10 nights room-only at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, including flights and transfers.

3. Mammoth Lakes, California

Why go there?
Ski into summer. 

What will you find?
The Sierra Nevada had so much snow last season that Mammoth Lakes kept its lifts going until August. California’s highest ski resort has terrain that includes steep chutes, gullies and open powder bowls. Much of this is north facing, so it keeps its snow well, despite being only five hours by road from Los Angeles. 

How to do it
Seven nights at Mammoth Mountain Inn from £1,300 per person, including car hire and transfers.

4. Crested Butte, Colorado

Why go there?
New terrain; easier access. 

What will you find?
With skiing in the same vein as Kicking Horse, Crested Butte has hosted years of extreme skiing competitions. Next year, it’s set to add 500 new acres of terrain and three new chairlifts, one of which will replace the venerable North Face T-bar. It’s advisable to hire a guide to save yourself getting lost in the steep chutes and gullies. 

How to do it
Seven nights at Comfort Inn Gunnison, Crested Butte, flights and airport transfers from £1,346 per person.

5. Arapahoe Basin, Colorado 

Why go there?
Gnarly terrain near Denver. 

What will you find?
‘A-Basin’ is the closest ski area to Denver (with non-stop UK connections). Set to split from its partnership with Vail Resort it will also expand its terrain by one-third, with much of this suited to experts who are willing to hike up to runs.

How to do it
A-Basin doesn’t have hotels. Stay in nearby Keystone where a 10-night stay at River Run Condos costs from £1,890 per person in a studio apartment with flights, and transfers or car hire.

Published in the Winter Sports guide, distributed with the November 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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