TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - Feb 11, 2014) - With the Sochi Winter Olympics in full swing, we've already been privy to some exciting moments in the ski and snowboarding competitions. Witnessing the sheer skill and finesse of the athletes on the slopes has inspired the travel experts at Cheapflights.ca, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, to look beyond the average ski experience and go for the thrill with their list of Top 10 Extreme Skiing Spots. From moguls to heli-skiing and half-pipes to skier hikes, these winter adventure destinations are calling out to those looking to stretch their comfort zones.
For those inspired to take their ski adventures beyond the norm this winter, below are five closer-to-home extreme skiing spots found in Canada and the U.S.
- Huge snow: Mount Baker, Washington, United States - If you believe more snow equals more fun (and what skier doesn't?), then Mount Baker should be on your to-do list. Reports of annual snowfall of more than 640 inches (1,625 cm) and a record-setting 1,140-inch (2,895 cm) winter back in 1998-1999 make this resort at the northern end of the Cascades a bit of a legend. While there are trails for all skill levels, Mount Baker attracts pretty aggressive skiers and boarders with lots of back country skiing, cliffs and natural halfpipes, all made better by consistent snow pack and reasonable prices. Just be warned that the snow fall levels bring avalanche risks, so gear up and/or get a guide if you want to get adventurous.
- Hike-in skiing: Tuckerman's Ravine, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, United States -There are a handful of places to test your mettle as a climber and a skier, but few turn into a spring skiing mecca like Tuckerman's Ravine. While some particularly hearty souls tackle the headwall in the winter months, the deep snow pack keeps the bowl open for business well into May when better weather conditions and lower avalanche risks draw skiers and snowboarders by hundreds, if not thousands. Prepare for a three (or more) hour hike into the ravine, toting your boots, gear and clothes for the highly variable weather of Mount Washington. Then it's 30 minutes or more up the ravine before you are ready to rocket down the 40 to 55 degree slope. And, on a sunny spring day, be prepared for the line of people hiking up behind you and a crowd below to let you know just how they think you did on your run.
- Heli-skiing: Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada - Although Revelstoke Mountain Resort brought lifts and trails to this mountain in 2007, its heritage is all heli-skiing. For decades, skiers and snowboarders have enjoyed half a million acres of pristine and powdery terrain, accessible only by chopper. The way down is untouched snow and plenty of it. Revelstoke is renowned for its annual snowfall, which makes both the wide open bowls and treeline skiing consistently remarkable. Multiple heli-ski companies offer single, multi-day and guided packages. Cat skiing services also take you to the wide open slopes at lower price points and, of course, a slower pace. At the resort, the lifts do deliver plenty of mountain -- the 5,260 feet (1,713 metre) of vertical drop is the biggest in North America -- and a mix of terrains with options for less advanced skiers.
- Mogul madness: Mary Jane, Winter Park, Colorado, United States - Skiing bumps may not be as popular as it once was but those who love it, really love it. These diehard enthusiasts are counting on places like the Mary Jane Territory at Colorado's Winter Park Resort to keep the tradition going. Mary Jane is dedicated to mogul runs and tree skiing. While it offers runs for beginners to experts, the bulk of the mountain is for intermediate to fairly advanced, giving skiers lots of room to grow and learn. To help the process, there are Bob's Mogul Camp and Bob's Bump Jamboree, two ski school programs offering extensive training on mastering moguls.
- Need for speed: Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada - For some, the lure of skiing is the adrenaline rush of bombing downhill at top speed. There's no stopping to take in the view or savouring the feel of carving fresh tracks. Just pack down the snow and let's go, as fast as we can! If that's your state of mind, then head immediately to Whistler Blackcomb and take on the likes of Zig Zag, Dave Murray Downhill (the Downhill and Super G course of World Cups and Olympics past) and Ross Gold. Each is harder than the last but all are known for no-guts, no-glory speed!
Looking to take your adventures further? Then check out these next five destinations to make the list: extreme descent -- Valluga, St Anton, Austria; way off the map -- Vallée Blanche, Chamonix, France; Big Air -- Laax, Switzerland; remote access -- Las Leñas, Argentina and 2018 sneak peek -- Yongpyong Resort, PyeongChang, South Korea. To read the complete thrilling details of Cheapflights.ca's Top 10 Extreme Skiing Spots, visit www.cheapflights.ca/travel/top-10-extreme-skiing-spots.
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