The Top 10 Lift-Accessed Runs in North America, According to Ingrid Backstrom

The world's most iconic female skier took a massive road trip last winter, with husband and baby, to ski them all

During the 2016-17 winter, with a 10-month-old baby in tow, the world’s most iconic female skier, Ingrid Back­strom, and her husband, Jim Delzer, set out to ski the top 25 lift-accessed ski runs in North America. What started off as a simple concept quickly evolved into a true adventure—you can watch the complete film Lineage from Powder Productions right up top ^^^.

Of the 25 runs skied during the trip, these 10 rose to the top. Counting down to number one…

10. Big Sky Resort, The Big Couloir
“The Big Couloir is like the big kid version of an amusement park ride: grab your buddy and your gear, sign up, ride the tram scoping your line the whole time, wait your turn and then drop in. Wheeeee! It was hardpack when we were there, but the Big Couloir is like a 1,400-vertical-foot catcher’s mitt, so every little bitty dusting collects there and smooths it over.” —Ingrid Backstrom

9. Alta, Baldy Chute
“To get to Baldy Chute, it’s a pleasant hike to what feels like the roof of the Wasatch, followed by choices of either a massive tube of a couloir or a series of hanging snowfields with rad lines everywhere. With 750 feet of vert, straight down runs like this combined with those foot-overnight April powder days are one of the best tricks up Utah’s sleeves. Don’t tell anyone.” —IB

8. Squaw Valley, Nose to Fingers
“One of the single best runs I’ve had in my life was on Christmas Day, a few years after I first moved to Squaw after it had snowed about 20 feet in 18 days. I was skiing with Kip Garre, and we waited until KT closed and hiked McConkey’s. I sidestepped down a bit and then followed him off the skier’s left side air and down to the Fingers and we skied the Middle Knuckle, with no one around to watch or heckle or land on top of us if we crashed (we didn’t). Pure magic—I’ll never forget it. #coolstorybro #glorydays” —IB

Read Ingrid’s story, in her own works, about the doubts and joys of becoming a mother in the midst of one of the most successful professional ski careers ever.

7. Telluride, Palmyra Peak
“The main Palmyra Peak hike was closed while we were there, but we could just tell from looking at it that it’s one of the best runs: serious big mountain skiing, inbounds, AK in CO. We skied laps off the shoulder in the Gold Hill area—a friendly little hike to some incredible chutes and faces with some of that big mountain feel, 1,600 vertical feet or so.” —IB

6. Silverton, Billboard
“The biggest hike at Silverton gets you the best views and the longest run (3,000 vertical feet), with steep chutes to wide open bowls to natural halfpipes. Open it up and let it rip, as it’s impossible to go too fast on this run on a good day. I got too eager to drop in on this one on our trip and blew the film shot, but it was still a sweet run!” —IB

5. Aspen, Highlands Bowl
“If you haven’t noticed by my list so far, runs with some hiking involved are usually my favorite kind, and the Highlands Bowl hike is one of the best. Fast, high altitude hoofing to a gorgeous view, then drop in on a huge steep face with little gullies with moto jumps and bumps at the bottom, 2,427 vertical feet later. Fun fact: It’s also the only run I know of that has its own special piece of equipment—a special little strap dealy with loops to hold your skis on your back!” —IB

4. Kicking Horse, T1
“Wow, did Kicking Horse knock our socks off. It’s 4,000 feet of vert from the top of T1 to the base of the hill, for starters. A steep, 20-minute hike gains you the top of T1, an insane peak with two huge chutes coming off one side of the ridge and a massive cliffed bowl on the other side. My mom crushed this hike and shredded Truth Chute, one of my favorite moments of our whole trip.” —IB

Share our free film ‘Lineage: A Journey With Ingrid Backstrom and Family’ with a friend here.

3. Whistler Blackcomb, Spanky’s Ladder
“Spanky’s Ladder accesses huge steep bowls, hidden mandatory airs, and long sustained vert (2,770 feet back down to the Crystal chair), making this one of my top all-time favorite runs anywhere. Some of my most memorable ski days ever have been T-to-B Spanky’s laps with a huge rat pack of all those shredding locals—Dana, Matty, Hugo, Jen, Heimer, and many more. Jelly legs and huge smiles at the end of the day—that’s my ideal ski day.” —IB

2. Revelstoke, Kill The Banker
“Kill the Banker sits right under the gondola and it’s still one of my top runs. That means it really has to be good because I usually try to avoid skiing under the chair. Pillows, ice falls, steeps, rollovers—this is a real leg-burner and exactly my type of run, with 2,864 feet of vert and tons of options. Don’t let the gondola hecklers get in your head.” —IB

And the No. 1 spot on Ingrid Backstrom’s Top 10 list goes to… …

1. Crystal Mountain, The Silver King.
“The King features a sweet hike, amazing views of Mount Rainier and the Cascades, and not to mention, it’s where Jim and I got engaged—definite bonus points for that. Oh, and 270 degrees of amazing ski options from straight lines to steep chutes to gnarly contest lines to wide open powder, roughly 1,500 feet for the longest options. One of my favorite places on the planet.”

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