Crested Butte looks to get past the first round of the Ski Town Throwdown. Pow like this helps. PHOTO: Nathan Bilow

Crested Butte looks to get past the first round of the Ski Town Throwdown. Pow like this helps. PHOTO: Nathan Bilow

Check the complete schedule of all the rounds of the Ski Town Throwdown.

Below are the match-up previews for the first round of the Ski Town Throwdown Presented by Liftopia listed by region. Voting starts Oct. 14 and lasts for just 24 hours per match-up in this round. To vote for your favorite places to ski, go to Facebook.com/PowderMag.


The Great White North/Spread Eagle Division, by Mike Rogge

(1) Revelstoke, B.C. vs. (16) Cypress Mountain, B.C.
When: 10/14/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Revy, Revy, who can I turn to? 8675-309. Sure, Tommy Tutone was singing about “Jenny,” but one thing is clear—when P3 is added up, calculated, and combobulated by Groomer Gary, Revy lands on the top spot for having a lot of terrain, very few skiers, and an expansive kingdom of radness for Sir Shredalot.

Looking for arguably the biggest upset of the tournament is Cypress Mountain, a night skier’s happy place. Operating 13 hours a day, means you really got to want it if you’re going to ski bell-to-bell and that’s all right, because Cypress has 600 acres to explore. If Cypress is going to win this thing, it’s going to pack a punch like Rocky, or like Sam Langford, one of the best Canadian boxers of all time.

(8) Big White, B.C. vs. (9) Whitewater, B.C.
When: 10/15/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Big White suggests getting a fresh cup from Gunbarrel Coffee, but what really puts the cream and sugar in their joe (a thank you) is the powder in Enchanted Forest and the ugly knit Sweater Ball in December. If Big White makes it all the way, those sweater-wearing bastards are going to burn the place to the ground.

On the other side of the match-up is Whitewater, one half of the Rossland/Nelson defending champions. Last year, instead of campaigning for a government shutdown like politicians do in America, Nelson Mayor John Dooley went door to door to remind his citizens to vote in the Ski Town Throwdown. That kind of commitment tells us two things about Whitewater—they’re in it to win it and Jim Dooley might be the shreddiest mayor in North America.

(5) Alyeska, AK vs. (12) Panorama, B.C.
When: 10/16/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

For all the hoopla made of Alaskan skiing in the pages of POWDER (hint: it’s mostly out of helicopters((Editor’s Note: Not true—check out the October 2012 issue to read about Alyeska action), Alyeska stands as the mighty giant of AK. Alaska has always reminded me of a funny hat America decided to put on Canada while they were sleeping. With 650 inches over 1,500 vertical feet, Alyeska is no laughing matter in their first round match-up.

Panorama, which is also the name of a long horizontal photo, has got a fighter’s chance in this match-up. The Taynton Bowl and Extreme Dream Zone will make Alyeska’s first round victory a nightmare, as those zones are some of the more underrated terrain in all of Canada.

(4) Castle Mountain, AB vs. (13) Banff/Lake Louise, AB
When: 10/21/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Castle Mountain. Sounds regal, doesn’t it? Castle will look to reign supreme over its fellow Alberta ski area in the first round. With a solid P3 score, the longest slalom course in the world, and an annual film starring the local Judd Brothers, Castle hopes to ride local pride in their Ski Town Throwdown debut.

Banff and Lake Louise did not take last year’s omission from Ski Town Throwdown lightly. This year, they’re in the tourney and looking to stick it to Castle in a first round upset. Banff was once known as a Canadian hotbed for getting laid, which is more than we can say about virtually every other ski town on this list. Way to go, Banff! The skiing isn’t bad, either.

(6) Fernie, B.C. vs. (11) Silver Star, B.C.
When: 10/22/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Have you ever been to events called the Bud Light Retro Weekend and the Slopesoaker? Yeah, me neither, but they sound frickin’ awesome and Fernie is paddling into that wave of uncontrollable sweetness in round one. For the steeps, check out the chutes off the ridge between Currie Bowl and Lizard Bowl. For the party, just be there.

At an 11 seed, Silver Star is a sleeper pick that can take it deep into the tourney. Former skiers of Silver Star include Justin Dorey, Josh Bibby, T.J. Schiller, and, oh yeah, Josh Dueck, the raddest human being to ever sit on a ski in the history of the universe, snow, and sitting.

(3) Red Mountain, B.C. vs. (14) Kimberley, B.C.
When: 10/23/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Red is a character played by Morgan Freeman. He’s known as the man who knows how to get things. Red Mountain also knows how to get things, like the 2012 Ski Town Throwdown Championship. Back this season as a three seed, having split from the Rossland/Nelson powerhouse they formed with Whitewater, Red is looking to once again “gather” their citizens and whoop some ass.

Meanwhile, Kimberley, which is also the name of Glen Plake’s awesome wife, is busy stockpiling wood for their annual Ullr Dag bonfire, an offering to the snow gods. That ritualistic woods party seems to work best for the skiers shredding Vortex, Magma, and Jackpot off the Easter Chair. Look out, Red. Kimberly wants to put your back-to-back title hopes up in flames.

Whistler hopes to get past the first round this year in the Ski Town Throwdown. PHOTO: Paul Morrison

Whistler hopes to get past the first round this year in the Ski Town Throwdown. PHOTO: Paul Morrison

(7) Whistler, B.C. vs. (10) Eagle Crest Ski Area, AK
When: 10/28/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

The mighty Whistler has all the social media prowess of the best of them, but couldn’t seem to get it going last year, getting upset by Montana’s Whitefish. This year, the real host of the 2010 Vancouver Games will look to reinforce their dominance of all that is skiing in B.C. by wiping out Eagle Crest Ski Area of Alaska.

But make no mistake, friends. This is not David versus Goliath. This is the abdominal snowman versus the bumble from those Claymation Christmas movies we all loved as kids. If you’ve ever headed to the East Bowl Chutes, you know that the snow is flying and the bros are high-fiving. This will be an interesting first round match-up in a classic acronym battle of B.C. versus AK.

(2) Kicking Horse, B.C. vs. (15) Mount Washington, B.C.
When: 10/29/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Kicking Horse: Mount Washington, do you know what horses eat for breakfast?
Mount Washington: No, what?
Kicking Horse: Haaaaay… We’re going to kick your teeth in.
Kicking Horse has 2,800 acres of skiable terrain and a respectable average of 295 inches (remember, kids, Canada uses the metric system so that total is something like a billion centimeters. I might be off. I was never good at math).

But friends, Mount Washington isn’t going to get karate kicked like some chump member of the Kobra Kai. Located on Vancouver Island, it averages 38 feet (10 billion centimeters), features 81 trails, and packs a mean punch they intend to land right in the horse’s mouth.


The Rocky Mountain West/Daffy Division, by Kade Krichko

(1) Grand Targhee, WY vs. (16) Sun Valley, ID
When: 10/14/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

The P3 scale really flexes its muscle in the Rocky Mountain West Division’s one versus 16 matchup. Sun Valley, the iconic Hollywood ski town, perennial contender in most ski polls, and birthplace of POWDER, stumbles into the Throwdown as a 16 seed, beleaguered by expensive ticket prices, high skier visit numbers, and just 225 inches of annual snow. Alas, in the end, classic groomers like Upper College and a revamped park and pipe scene might be hardpressed to stave off rival and quiet force Grand Targhee. With half the crowds and twice the snowfall, Targhee will be hard to deny the advantage heading into battle. On a powder day, expect to find a grizzled crowd of ski cowboys on Mary’s Nipple, one of many steep and deep stashes that could push the resort deep into the tournament. Apple’s Bar and Grill boosts Sun Valley’s soul factor, but will it be enough to stop Targhee’s charge?

Silverton drops in to the Ski Town Throwdown. PHOTO: Jason Lombard

Silverton drops in to the Ski Town Throwdown. PHOTO: Jason Lombard

(8) Taos/Santa Fe, NM vs. (9) Silverton/Wolf Creek, CO
When:
10/15/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

No need to trim your nails this week, you’ll be biting them to the bitter end of this eight/nine clash. Silverton and Wolf Creek are a deceiving nine seed, boasting 432 inches of snow annually, some of the cheapest lift tickets in the competition, and 3,419 acres between the two. Their ranking is hampered by the large migration of powderhounds that descend on Durango every winter, and it doesn’t help that they are matched up against one of the least crowded representatives in the tournament. In addition to Taos and Ski Santa Fe’s lack of crowds, they represent an eclectic ski culture, one only needs a beer and brat at Eske’s Brew Pub to realize that. Ultimately this contest comes down to Taos’ legendary Kachina Peak and Silverton’s double-accessed bounty of steep goodness. It’s a tough call, it’s hard not to favor a creaky double. Just sayin’.

(5) Jackson, WY vs. (12) Park City/Canyons, UT
When: 10/17/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Talk about fitting a square peg into a round hole—this match-up just doesn’t compute. On one hand we have the terrain park juggernauts Park City and Canyons, and their loyal crowd of aspiring jibbers, while on the other sits the superstar of lift-accessed backcountry, Jackson Hole, and its top notch shredder contingency. Both took hits in rankings due to crowds and ticket prices (have your Ben Franklin’s handy), but the result will ultimately come down to who shows up to play. Three Kings Terrain Park at PCMR is changing the way people ski park, yet Jackson holds the edge with 459 inches of the white stuff every year, and has the terrain to back it up (a short hike up Pepi’s Bench will paint the picture clearer). The legend’s seemingly endless vertical feet will leave competitors gasping for air, and even makes up for that damn tram line.

(4) Bridger Bowl, MT vs. (13) Summit County/Vail, CO
When: 10/21/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Summit County is looking to rebound from an embarrassing showing in last year’s Showdown—one that saw them crashing out of the tourney in the first round—with a victory over four seed Bridger Bowl. The Colorado contingent has one of the best-known rosters in the competition with Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, A-Basin, Loveland, and Breck, but suffers from high crowds and higher lift ticket prices. They face off against Bridger Bowl—a steep hill with small town soul that has kept prices low and snow levels high over the years. After a day lapping the goods off of Slaschman’s lift and the Ridge, it’s easy to see why people show up to ski Bridger and never leave. With outdoor powerhouse Bozeman and the vociferous voters of Montana State University just down the road, Bridger’s outspoken supporters pushed it into the finals last year, but we’ll have to wait and see if local loyalty is enough to send it past Summit County’s international prowess.

(6) Alta/Snowbird, UT vs. (11) Brighton/Solitude, UT
When: 10/22/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Forget Civil War battle, this is more like a mother forced to choose her favorite son. Salt Lake gets that dubious task in the first round match-up between Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon. LCC is the higher seed going in, and in all respects is the better known of the two. The canyon’s Alta and Snowbird are world famous powder havens that receive 530 inches of blower every year, but crowds and the upgrade of Snowbird’s Gad doubles to high speed quads means the areas pique early on storm days. On the other hand, BCC and its Brighton and Solitude are built for powder longevity, with scoreable fresh tracks in Solitude’s Honeycomb Canyon days after the storm. Brighton and Solitude have far less acreage than their neighbors, but less crowds and great access boost their cause heading into the match-up. Hold onto your Gore-Tex folks, things could get ugly in the Beehive State.

(3) Big Sky, MT vs. (14) Steamboat, CO
When: 10/24/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Cold Smoke battles champagne in this Rocky Mountain showdown between Big Sky and Steamboat, but there’s only room for one in the round of 32. Steamboat takes its business to the trees, with 349 inches of snowfall keeping shots like Shadows and Closets primed for pow hunters. Steep lift ticket prices drop the resort in the rankings, but the town’s mystical hot springs are an intangible that even the P3 scale can’t account for. Unfortunately, the Colorado crew runs up against a tall order in Big Sky. Claiming neighboring Moonlight Basin off of wavers in the 11th hour, the Montana contingent bolstered its already stacked lineup with legendary steeps, The Headwaters, and a few thousand extra skiable acres. It’s hard not to get intimidated staring up at Big Sky’s 11,166-foot Lone Peak, and it will be interesting to see if Steamboat can muster the strength to take on the Montanan mammoth.

(7) Telluride, CO vs. (10) Aspen, CO
When: 10/28/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

In a John Denver-approved battle, seven seed Telluride takes on 10 seed Aspen. The P3 scale rewarded Telluride for low crowds, but beyond that the Southern Colorado resort doesn’t hold much of statistical advantage over that little place called Aspen. The San Juan resort does possess an old cowboy swagger and features boot-quaking steeps, like the Gold Hill Chutes off Palmyra Peak. On the other hand, Aspen is the birthplace of good times skiing. For years, the resort town has attracted ski bum implants looking to ski, party, rinse (maybe), and repeat. That large migration of skiers hurt its ranking, but the numbers of Aspen faithful may actually help in the voting. Add to that the recent opening of the Burnt Mountain terrain at Snowmass and the lore-worthy Highland Bowl, and Aspen could be in good position for a first round upset. Don’t sleep on this match-up.

(2) Snowbasin/PowMow, UT vs. (15) Crested Butte, CO
When: 10/29/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Last year, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain were beaten by East Coasters Mad River Valley in the biggest upset in Throwdown history (okay it’s year two, but still). Hoping to stave off a repeat, the Utahans run into Crested Butte, a low seed last year that wriggled its way into the Elite Eight. Snowbasin and Powder bring impressive acreage to the table, with over 7,000 acres at Powder alone. Also don’t be surprised to be skiing those acres by yourself, as Salt Lake City flocks to the canyons on powder days, lowering the crowds up north and boosting the squad’s P3 ranking. Crested Butte is a soul-powered machine chock full of rowdy ski bums and extreme terrain that knows how to shake things up. Last year a strong following pushed C.B. past Bellingham and Steamboat before losing a close one to eventual champion Nelson/Rossland. This year expect more of the same from the Colorado crew as they look to make waves in the Rocky Mountain West.

Check the complete schedule of all the rounds of the Ski Town Throwdown.

The Big East/Mule Kick Region, by Mike Rogge

(1) Mount Bohemia, MI vs. (16) Mont Tremblant, QC

When: 10/15/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Michigan and Quebec might be the two biggest sons of bitches in this entire tournament. Aside from their different abbreviated spellings of “mountain,” Bohemia and Tremblant skiers are proud of their terrain and culture. Up in Michigan, Bohemia on paper looks weak with only 900 feet of vertical. Ha! Hey Nerd! Yeah, you, the geek. That 900 feet of Upper Peninsula powder is devastating as proof of this well-produced video. Call the Sherpas, they’ve got work to do.

In Quebec, Tremblant is pushing a $79 lift ticket, poutine, and 654 skiable acres. Their employees are bilingual, ensuring a higher (but not, higher) level of liftie intelligence than other ski areas in the 2013 snow dance. Bohemia is hungry, but Tremblant will look to pull le upset in the first round.

Banff is new to the Ski Town Throwdown, but they're looking to make a statement in their debut. PHOTO: Paul Zizka

Banff is new to the Ski Town Throwdown, but they’re looking to make a statement in their debut. PHOTO: Paul Zizka

(8) Jay Peak, VT vs. (9) Whiteface, NY

When: 10/16/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

The guys at POWDER are dicks. Yeah, sure, they gave me this sweet column in exchange for new goggles, but pitting my two favorite home ski areas in a battle royal on my birthday (I’m 28!) might be the cruelest act of all.

Last year, the folks at Jay were too cool for school, choosing not to promote their Ski Town Throwdown battle, thus losing in the first round to Seattle. They, along with the Jay Cloud, will look to massacre New York’s favorite ski area son and two-time Olympic host, Whiteface.

Lake Placid will look to run all over (in a 4 a.m. Iron Man start time kind of way) Jay, with the greatest vertical drop in the East and an emerging backcountry scene of its own. I’m going to close my eyes now. This is like watching Old Yeller and Lassie tear each other to bits in Michael Vick’s backyard (#datedjoke).

(5) Sugarbush, VT vs. (12) Stratton, VT

When: 10/17/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Vermont has quite a few players in the dance this year (eight!). Both of these mountains have a legacy. Sugarbush is home to Dan and John Egan, the dynamic skiing brothers that put on shows for the Warren Miller cameras of yesteryears. Meanwhile, Stratton’s legacy is in that of the now-defunct Vermont Open, home to what is believed to be the world’s longest and largest terrain park train. This match-up is too close to call, but expect an Ethan-Allen-like fight from both parties.

(4) Killington/Pico, VT vs. (13) Okemo, VT

When: 10/22/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Considering both of these places were nearly decimated by Tropical Storm Irene and in the face of said destruction decided to help their fellow Vermonters through generous donations, it’s safe to say that loyalty and localism will carry one of these ski towns far into the tournament.

Killington/Pico has a proud bump skiing heritage and understated terrain that makes it a contender to lead its way out of the Big East and face whomever comes out of that big white void we Americans call Western Canada.

Okemo, on the other hand, has one of the best superpipes in the East. In 2006, their ownership announced they were switching the mountain’s power source over to wind energy, so look for Ludlow to blow down the competition.

(6) Mad River Glen, VT vs. (11) Sunday River, ME

When: 10/23/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Mad River Glen is home to the toughest skiers in the world. Ski It If You Can, the home of Lars and Silas Chickering-Ayers will be major players in the Throwdown if they can get the support of the East as a whole. The Single Chair and Paradise, New England’s steepest terrain on a powder day, are their highlights, as well as their Roll Back the Clock day where skiers can ski for $3.50.

Up in Maine, Sunday River spends a good deal of its time fighting a sibling rivalry with Sugarloaf, who they could see in the second round if the Snow Gods see it fit to have a Vactionland bloodbath on November 6. In the first round, the house of Simon Dumont, who recently designed a massive 15-acre terrain park for his home hill, will look to single-in on the Single Chair and take home a first-round win for Maine.

(3) Sugarloaf, ME vs. (14) Loon, NH 

When: 10/24/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

The Loaf is a small sample of all that Maine has to offer—hard-working, good-natured people that know how to have a damn good time. They play host to the largest reggae festival on the Eastern side of country and both Bracket Basin and Burnt Mountain are always just one snowfall away from that age-old saying, “Holy shit. This is the East?”

Loon wants redemption for the Live Free or Die State, which did not have representation in last year’s tournament. With no state taxes, liquor stores next to highways, and as the undisputed fireworks dealer of the East, New Hampshire’s Loon Mountain has 44 beers, 24 on tap, and their eyes set on a first round win. Go win this one for little brother Whaleback. Respect the land of Robert Frost, bitches.

(7) Stowe, VT vs. (10) Cannon Mountain, NH 

When: 10/29/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Stowe, Vermont, is skiing. Home to the Vermont Ski Museum, maple syrup, the Front Four, and the Chin (among other “alleged” off-piste, prime-cut options), Stowe could see support from nearby Burlington and lead the charge with a college backing. No longer tied together with Smuggs like they were last year, it’ll be interesting to see if Stowe’s massive terrain and high lift ticket prices can lead it to a first round victory against Cannon.

Cannon is celebrating 75 years this season. While it’s the time to look back, they’ll look forward to kicking a little Vermont ass in the first round in this New England brawl. Home to Nick Martini and an aerial tram, Cannon is, to borrow a phrase from Out Cold, a black diamond in the rough ready to mess shit up in their first trip to the Ski Town Throwdown tourney.

(2) Smugglers’ Notch, VT vs. (15) Marquette, MI 

When: 10/30/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Smugglers’ Notch is the most underrated mountain on the East, with access to the legendary Birthday Bowls. Ask a local, they’ll gladly show you where they are then lead you down the old route 108 to the parking lot for an après beer. Ranking high in Powder Per Person, Smuggs sees itself at number two and possibly a favorite to come out of the Big East on top.

Marquette is the second of Michigan’s teams entering a stacked tournament. What they lack in size (600 foot vertical) they make up for in might. The Wolverine State will slash the shit out of anyone in its way and could be the Cinderella story this year.

The Far West/Backscratcher Region, by Kade Krichko

(1) Crystal, WA vs. (16) Mount Baldy, CA
When: 10/14/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Crystal and Mount Baldy may sit at opposite ends of the P3 spectrum, but in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. Mount Baldy only has 800 acres of terrain to work with and is packed beyond belief on the weekends, yet much of Southern California has rolled through Mount Baldy to ski at one point or another. This potentially gives it a strong core of voters, should they put down their iced mocha lattes to vote.

Crystal also deals with large crowds, but by spreading the masses over 2,600 acres on over twice the amount of snow as their first round competitor, the Washington resort keeps fresh tracks longer than most in the Far West Region. Northway offers endless supply of challenging terrain, and Southback is an unequivocal treat on powder days. Crystal is hoping to slide through the first round, and can likely be found celebrating over a few microbrews at the iconic Snorting Elk.

(8) Alpental, WA vs. (9) Mount Hood, OR
When: 10/16/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Renewing the I-5 [Editor's Note: It's I-90 to I-5, but yeah] rivalry, this Cascadian clash pits Seattle’s Summit at Snoqualmie versus Portland’s Mount Hood. Both areas feature a trio of stars, with Summit claiming Summit Central, Summit East, and Alpental, and Hood relying on Mount Hood Meadows, Skibowl, and Timberline. The stacked lineups have been blessed in recent years with above-average snowfall and have somehow managed to keep ticket prices reasonable, which puts them each toward the middle of the Far West bracket. Mount Hood suffers in the crowds department, attracting a wave of weekend warriors nearly three times the size of their northern rivals, but the Private Reserve at Meadows and Skibowl’s night skiing help negate the wait. Alpental’s lift-accessed backcountry could be the boost Summit needs to overcome the first round match-up, though ultimately it comes down to a Shawn Kemp swing vote. Who ya got?

(5) Mount Bachelor, OR vs. (12) Stevens Pass, WA
When: 10/17/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

The Throwdown serves up another doozy with the Pacific Northwest clash between Mount Bachelor and Stevens Pass. Bachy is one of the most well rounded resorts in the competition, with a full 360-degrees of access off the Summit Quad. The Oregon contender’s natural wind lips and old growth forests are a creative shredder’s paradise, and with Bend just miles away, it’s easy to cap the day with some of the best micro-suds out there. But Stevens isn’t one to fade into the dark, offering some of the best lit skiing in the West, and enough tasty ridges to make a bag of Ruffles blush. Deep turns down the steep trees on Big Chief could turn the tide in Stevens’ favor, but with over three times the acreage, it’s hard to ignore Bachy’s potential in this round, and beyond.


(3) Mount Baker, WA vs. (14) Sugar Bowl, CA

When: 10/24/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

I don’t envy anyone going up against Mount Baker in this tournament. Ground zero for massive storms the past few years, Baker averages 727 inches of annual snowfall and has the rowdy terrain to match it. Mini-golf lines off Chairs 1 and 5 are what adrenaline dreams are made of, though most would argue Baker’s real action is beyond the ropes. But Baker’s secret is out, and crowds are starting to flock to the North Cascadian paradise, giving California’s Sugar Bowl a chance to make up some ground. With a little less snowfall, the resort has more acreage than its opponent and lower crowds than any other Tahoe resort in the competition. Mount Judah’s backcountry access to Donner Lake highlights Sugar Bowl’s roster, as does the recent addition of a new triple on Crow’s Nest—clutch for scoring the goods in the woods.

(4) Snowbowl, MT vs. (12) Sierra-at-Tahoe, CA

When: 10/21/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

This is when the Throwdown can be a real sonofabitch. No one wants to see these either of these two hills go down, but this isn’t a self-esteem circle, it’s a competition. Montana’s Snowbowl is a mom-and-pop shop with a bite, mixing adult race leagues and mustachioed old timers with some of the best fall line tree skiing in the region (and don’t get us started on the Bloody Mary’s at the Last Run Inn). This place is all about homegrown talent, and, no, we’re not talking the talent that turns and runs off to South Beach (sorry, Cleveland, it’s too easy). Snowbowl measures its success in generations, and at this rate, the hill outside Missoula isn’t doing too bad. They run into Sierra-at-Tahoe, another Northern California representative that brings something new to the table. Sierra is arguably one of the best-kept secrets in Tahoe, with bountiful snowpack inviting skiers to shred Huckleberry Canyon and its cliffs, bowls, and chutes. Tanner Hall holds his invitational there every year and is currently recording a reggae rap track for the resort titled, “Cold Smok-in Dem Treez”.

(6) Schweitzer, ID vs. (11) Mammoth, CA
When: 10/23/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Cooler than cool, Schweitzer might be ice cold, but they’ll look to lay the freeze on California hot shot Mammoth in first round action. The Idaho locale is all about the trees, featuring 1,200 acres of gladed terrain, including shots off the South Bowl Triple and the legendary snowghosts found in Outback Bowl. Cold temperatures bequeath the dry pow, keeping beards caked and loyalties strong in Spud Country. Their foe is California Kingdom’s Mammoth, a haven for the park and pipe scene, but no slouch in the snow department. Over 400 inches blesses the ski giant every year, keeping the steeps off of Chair 23 chargeable all season long. While some argue Mammoth is the perfect descriptor for the area and its terrain, the P3 scale thinks the verbiage more aptly suits its crowds, which, at over one million per year, makes it a difficult place to score some alone time.

(7) Whitefish, MT v (10) Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, CA

When: 10/28/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

When Marvin Gaye once crooned, “Let’s get it on”, I doubt he was thinking about ski resort bracketology, but here we are, getting it on between Whitefish and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows in this first round match-up. Whitefish is a passionate bunch, closely intertwining the mountain with its local community of Montanan rippers. Steep shots in Hellroaring Basin keep things lively, and the only thing smoother than a run down Hellfire are the potent potables served up at The Bierstube. Their foe is Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows. If this competition could be won by legend alone, Squaw would have a clear advantage as the home base of Scot Schmidt, Shane McConkey, C.R. Johnson, and a slew of other icons. But along with legends comes an entourage, let’s say close to one million strong every year, that turns the charger’s paradise into Squallywood—the land of snaked lines and dashed powder dreams. Still, on a good day, it’s hard to beat the offerings off Headwall Chair, and with the addition of Alpine Meadows upping acreage to near 6,000, the Squaw-ski clan ain’t nuthin to f#$k with.

(2) Kirkwood, CA vs. (15) Heavenly, CA/NV
When: 10/30/13

Where: Facebook.com/PowderMag

Like all great bouts, this Lake Tahoe match-up deserves a name—I give you the Tahoe Tussle. Okay, it may sound like a dance move from Soul Train, but this south-side battle between Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly and Kirkwood is nothing to shake your groove thang at. Heavenly breaks it down with 4,800 acres of terrain that built some of the best mogul skiers in the history of the sport. Choke on Glen Plake’s dust down Gunbarrel or cut your teeth on the steeps in Mott Canyon, while saving some room to bust a move with the area’s après dance team, the Heavenly Angels. Yet despite the good-times vibe along the south shore, Kirkwood has its own deck of cards to play. Try this one on for size: one-third of Heavenly’s crowds and nearly twice the snowfall. That’s right, twice. Spread all that over a cornucopia of cliffs, chutes, trees, drops, and skiers, you’re going to have a good time. Ladies and gents, it’s time for the Tahoe Tussle.

To vote, click-in to Facebook.com/Powdermag.