Best Out-of-Bounds Skiing - 2003
Readers' Choice: Vail/Berthoud Pass
If you have sufficient lung capacity -- and huevos -- look no further than A-Basin for backcountry thrills. Just below 13,000 feet and just outside the ski area's boundaries lies The Beavers, a hellishly steep bowl that holds more face shots than any other place we know. The area is accessible from the top of the Lenawee lift and the north gate leading to Forest Service land (just follow the boot-packed hiking trail to the top of the ridge and drop right in). If getting to The Beav is easy, though, skiing it is anything but. Even if you make it down the bowl in one piece, there's still a gully thick with trees to contend with. The avalanche danger is extreme here; only expert skiers and boarders equipped with beacons and avalanche probes should attempt to tame this animal. And the adventure's not over when you reach the end of the trail; skiers must take another set of boot-packed steps up to Loveland Pass and hitch a ride back to the ski area a mile down the road to collect their cars.