Fantastic scenery is one of the best assets for the sports of skiing and snowboarding. The immediate feeling of coming down the mountain may be exhilarating, but the scenic beauty lasts even longer through photographs. North America has literally thousands of pretty ski trails, but here are ten runs that are particularly remarkable.
Diamond Peak, Lake Tahoe – Crystal Ridge
Diamond Peak Ski Resort may not be the best-known ski area in the Lake Tahoe area, but the views are certainly recognizable from countless Tahoe stock photos. Located in Nevada on the northeast corner of the lake, Diamond Peak features Crystal Ridge, an intermediate trail coming from the top with stellar views of the lake. Skiers and boarders can come down for about 1,000 vertical feet looking right down at the lake.
Homewood, Lake Tahoe – Rainbow Ridge
Another family-friendly Tahoe ski area, Homewood Mountain Resort, has the unique distinction of actually coming right down to lake level. Not surprisingly, Homewood is also a go-to locale for Tahoe photographers looking for lake views. Rainbow Ridge, the resort’s signature beginner run off the top, provides a perfect spot for the family Christmas card photo.
Schweitzer, Idaho- Pend Oreille
Lake Tahoe has a worthy Idaho cousin in the family of beautiful lakes. Lake Pend Oreille provides the scenic backdrop for Schweitzer Mountain Resort. The 2,900-acre ski resort is basically split between Schweitzer Bowl and Outback Bowl. The lake is visible from pretty much anywhere on the Schweitzer Bowl side. The appropriately named black-diamond Pend Oreille run offers a particularly good angle for seeing its namesake lake.
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada – Paradise Bowl
Canada’s Banff National Park is considered one of the most scenic areas in the entire world. As a result, Lake Louise Ski Resort features amazing views throughout its 4,200 skiable acres. Skiing on the ridgeline and then dropping into Paradise Bowl can be a particularly sublime experience.
Alta, Utah – Big Dipper
Alta Ski Area sits at the end of the narrow Little Cottonwood Canyon just about 30 miles from the Salt Lake City airport. Alta’s dramatic natural scenery makes it hard to imagine that a major city is so close. With impressive crags of Devil’s Castle looming above, the intermediate Big Dipper off the Supreme chairlift serves up a combination of nearby scattered pines and lovely vistas to feel at one with nature.
Grand Targhee, Wyoming – Teton Vista Traverse
Although Grand Targhee Resort is located in Wyoming, visitors must come from the Idaho side to access it. While nearby, better-known Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is scenic in its own right, the slopes of Grand Targhee are situated at a better angle to see the Grand Tetons’ iconic Cathedral Group. The trail map reveals where to go for this view on a blue run logically named Teton Vista Traverse.
Telluride, Colorado – See Forever
At Telluride Resort in Colorado, See Forever also lives up to its name. The blue run follows a ridgeline with Revelation Bowl on the right and the main part of the resort’s skiable terrain on the left. Describing the surrounding San Juan Mountains as “spectacular” still seems like an unfair understatement. For those wanting a glass of wine to accompany the views, the Alpino Vino restaurant with a heated deck is located near the top of the run.
Aspen Highlands, Colorado – Upper Robinson’s
The Maroon Bells are likely the most photographed mountains in Colorado. To view these iconic peaks from a ski run, Upper Robinson’s at Aspen Highlands is the best spot. Coming down the mountain, the blue trail curves around the far left edge of the layout. From there, skiers and boarders can look back up a valley to the iconic Maroon Bells.
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – East Wall
The East Wall at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado consists of hike-to-terrain on a ridge that traces along the Continental Divide. The East Wall itself is an impressive sight from below. For expert skiers and boarders willing to hike up the East Wall, the views extend all the way to Breckenridge.
Wildcat, New Hampshire- Polecat
Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire typically ranks in surveys among the most scenic ski areas in the East. With views of Mount Washington, the green Polecat trail extends for 2.75 miles and 2,212 vertical feet from summit-to-base.
What is your favorite on the list, and if you know of one we missed, leave a comment!