Many skiers are familiar with Snowmass’ perfectly pitched intermediate groomers; fewer know the resort’s nooks and crannies that harbor fresh snow days after a storm. Blame its behemoth size. With 4,406 vertical feet, 3,132 acres of terrain, 91 runs and 21 chairlifts, Snowmass takes time to explore. But who has time on a powder day? Trust local professional skier Chris Davenport’s advice and follow this advanced skier’s game plan on a powder day.
1. First, head up Big Burn lift and take a lap or two in Powerline Trees. These low-angle pine glades are the perfect powder warm-up to wake the legs and feel some fresh snow in your face.
2. Take the Sheer Bliss quad and drop into Gowdy’s or KT Gully. These short, steep couloirs catch wind-deposited powder. KT is wider, less steep and usually opens first.
3. Ride Alpine Springs chair to get in position to ski the Hanging Valley Wall. As you approach the top, look left to see if the Wall is open yet. If not, ski a lap or two in Reidar’s Trees. When the rope drops, head out to the Wall and drop down Roberto’s Gully to Strawberry Patch, Wall 1 or Wall 2. You’re sure to want another lap, but there are other zones to hit…
4. Ride Elk Camp chair to the summit and take in the view of the 14,000-foot peaks of the Maroon Bells. Hike five minutes to the new Burnt Mountain zone, 206 acres of formerly out-of-bounds terrain. Follow the trail called “Split Tree” for the best powder stashes and ski 3,000 vertical feet down to Two Creeks.
5. Ride Two Creeks to Elk Camp and do another lap on Burnt Mountain, following A-Line trail.
Hungry for more? Campground, the vintage double lift far skier’s left, offers lift-accessible steeps like Powderhorn that stay fresh for days. It’s also a good bet when the winds are whipping or the Wall isn’t open yet.