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5 Colorado Runs to Experience Before You Die

Paul’s nephews Brendan and Andrew on Birds of Prey

When I saw OutsideOnline’s list of the 5 Runs You Need To Ride Before You Die, (the only one I’ve skied is Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek, and they’re right, it is a life changing experience) I decided to bring the Colorado version to you. It’s a great article, but Outside’s version is for experts only. Even great skiers pucker at the top of Corbett’s Couloir at Jackson Hole, so if you are intermediate, you might as well skip their article. I decided to write one that is a bit more inclusive. There are a few black diamonds on this one, but they aren’t death defying. Just the opposite, they are life inspiring!

Here are 5 Runs In Colorado that you can and must experience.

Two O’Clock at Steamboat

A blue black (intermediate/difficult), this run has spruce glades at the top that give way to aspen groves at the bottom. For intermediate skiers who are too nervous to go into the tight forest for fear of meeting a tree at 20mph but still want to enjoy some trees, this is the perfect run. The beauty is tough to match, especially in the afternoon sunshine on a powder day.

Schoolmarm at Keystone

At 3.5 miles, this intermediate trail is best experienced off one of the first chairs in the morning. It rolls and rollicks, and is an easy, breezy ride. It offers a lot of open space which allows for some speed, but also gives ample space and less steep terrain for speed checks. This run perfectly highlights one of the best sides of Keystone because it is wide, long and fun.

Something from the top of Peak 8 at Breckenridge

After riding North America’s highest chairlift, unloading at almost 13,000 feet above sea level, the hike the rest of the way may not be what your lungs want to do. Push through it. Once atop Peak 8, you’ll have amazing vistas of Colorado Ski Country. You can see people swooshing down slopes at Copper to the west. Further over, if you know where you are looking, you can see the east side of Vail. To the east, you can see the fingers finding their way down the slopes of Keystone and A-Basin. I know I said this list would be more accessible than Outside’s, but this section should be attempted by confident skiers and experts only. From the top of Peak 8, the further you go to skiers right before you drop in, the gnarlier it gets. This is some of the best in-bounds extreme skiing and riding that Colorado has to offer.

Andy’s Encore at Copper Mountain

Another super long run, make sure you turn around and look to the east while riding up the massively fast and impressive Super Bee chair. The views of the Ten Mile Range and the Rockies beyond. Once on Andy’s Encore, you may have to stop to flush some lactic acid out of your thighs. A little later, you may want to break for a snack. This is one of the longest runs from one of the fastest chairs in Colorado.

Valley View at Steamboat

Olympian Billy Kidd gives free clinics at Steamboat with the Yampa Valley in the background

Partly for the view for which it is aptly named, party for the amazing terrain, this is the run many make at the end of the day. It takes you back to the base after a long day of enjoying Champagne Powder®. There is often a chance to enjoy the view, since we are so often so tired from the ski day, we have to sit down, and take it in. The Yampa Valley looks so huge from this run.

NEXT -How You Can Get A Free Ski Lesson From A True Olympic Skier

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