We all have different bragging rights and personal bests we’re after. For some skiers and snowboarders it’s all about steep and deep. However, sometimes you just want to ride to the top of the mountain, point yourself downhill and cruise to the base. Skiing a particularly long run has a certain satisfaction to it, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced skier or snowboarder. And it’s like the icing on the cake after a day on the mountain. So let us help you find some of the longest ski runs in North America.
The longest ski runs in the East
The Polecat at Wildcat, New Hampshire winds nearly 3 miles down the 2,100-foot drop from the top, meandering mildly down the mountain with pitch changes. Bonus: This ski run has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere, with close-up views of Mount Washington.
In New York, long means Whiteface Mountain at Lake Placid, where the 2-mile Wilmington Trail is ideal for intermediates off the top of Lookout Mountain. This is a long cruiser with gorgeous vistas, so look left after disembarking the lift for a great summit view. It starts off with snowcapped trees on both trail sides and views of Lake Champlain beyond, and then the trail turns right with Adirondacks and Green Mountain views. It can be challenging with several headwalls and a narrows section. And remember, when it’s over you get to enjoy the Olympic village of Lake Placid.
The longest ski runs in the Rockies
If you really want some long ski runs, then head to Colorado. Start at Aspen/Snowmass, where Longshot is said to be the longest continuous ski run in Colorado at 5.3 miles. It is an intermediate leg-burner and an endurance challenge. Note: You’ll have to work for this one, as there’s a 5-minute hike to the run.
Vail’s old favorite is Riva Ridge, a 4-mile romp for advanced skiers. The oldest and longest ski run on the mountain, Riva features sections of steeps and bumps, and is often only groomed once a week. Riva Ridge was named in honor of a major World War II battle waged by members of the 10th Mountain Division, a number of whom helped found Vail. The route offers breathtaking views of the Gore Range from the mountain crest all the way down to the base.
Nearby at Vail’s sister resort, Beaver Creek, you’ll find Centennial, the 2.5 -mile World Championship downhill course. It starts atop the Cinch Express at 11,440 feet and runs along the spike of the mountain. It’s a beauty when groomed. Also nearby, at Breckenridge, the 4 O’Clock Run is accessed off the Colorado Super Chair on Peak 8. This is Breck’s longest trail spanning 3.5 miles. It has it all if you’re up for it – single black diamond at the top, blue in the middle, and green to the bottom. It’s a must-ski for aprés-ski bragging.
If you love corduroy then head for the 4.6-mile Galloping Goose at Telluride, located at 11,811 feet and accessed via the Prospect Bowl Express chairlift. Beginner skiers can take their time meandering down the run that drops beginner skiers off in front of Big Billie’s Restaurant. School Marm at Keystone is another terrific cruiser for beginners, rolling 3.5 miles from the summit of Mt. Dercum to the Mountain House at the base. It has some fun drops broken up with some flatter sections and can feel a bit like a highway cruise.
Why Not is the name of the 3-mile green run from the top of the main mountain at Steamboat. Ride through the trees the whole way, or slip away for some variety as you come across more advanced terrain. Finally, Eldora Mountain, near Boulder, can send you down the 3-mile Muleshoe from the top of Corona via Way Back. Advanced skiers love it for all the changes in terrain.
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Once you’ve had your fill of long Colorado runs, head east to Wyoming, where Jackson Hole checks in with the 4,139-foot vertical drop that is Rendezvous Bowl. This is a fabled black diamond run off the peak (serviced by the Tram, a bus-sized funicular that goes from the base all the way to the peak), and provides advanced skiers with a steep, but manageable way from the very top. Rendezvous Bowl provides the thrills of big mountain skiing without the panic instilled by sheer drops and cliffs.
Check out Elk Peak Ridge at Big Sky Resort in Montana, a 3.5-mile intermediate trail. Located off the backside of Andesite Mountain, and accessed from the Ramcharger and Thunder Wolf lift, it offers a consistent, steep slope for riders to venture down.
Alta’s High Rustler, in Utah, is the longest continuous steep run in the United States, starting at a 45-degree angle. Known to locals as “High Boy,” this one will give you bragging rights for many years to come. Enjoy the ride of more than 1,000 vertical feet down to Wildcat Base and another round on Collins lift. Be sure to buy the t-shirt to show off back home.
Lastly, Park City Mountain Resort is where you’ll find the 3.5-mile green Home Run trail, a perfect roll for a smooth ride. As the North American leader in groomed resorts, Park City has an expansive grooming operation that lays fresh corduroy across the resort day-in, day-out.
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The longest ski runs in the Far West
California checks in at Mammoth Mountain in the High Sierra with Road Runner, a scenic 3-mile ski run winding all the way around the back side of the mountain to the Main Lodge. This is an intermediate run, so most skiers can relax and enjoy the scenery. The views of the Minaret Range are awesome as you glide across the long, smooth terrain.
The Olympic Downhill is Heavenly’s longest ski trail on Lake Tahoe’s south shore, measuring 5.5 miles. Take a right off the top of Olympic Express and practice your carving turns on this consistently medium-steep pitch to the base of Stagecoach Express. You will have traveled nearly 2,000 vertical feet.
The longest ski runs in Canada
Long in Whistler means Peak to Creek, a 7-mile thigh burner – the longest run on the mountain and arguably the longest continuous route in North America. Peak to Creek begins at the very top of Whistler Mountain and ends at the Whistler Creekside gondola. Next door at Blackcomb, the Green Line Down is a 7-mile cruiser down Easy Out. Green Line begins at the top of the 7th Heaven Chair and traverses back and forth all the way to the base of the mountain.
Finally, let’s end at Revelstoke, where the Last Spike ski run will keep you more than busy for 9 miles. The best news is beginners in good condition with solid ski legs can zig zag down to the base. The Last Spike runs the length of two lifts, the Revelation gondola and Upper Stoke chairlift.