For a truly white-knuckle ride, off-roaders should take U.S. Highway 285 south and west of Denver, then leave the asphalt behind two miles outside of Grant. Make your way to the Hardcart Gulch Campground; go about 100 yards west and bear right at the fork. From there, Red Cone climbs up over the Continental Divide and ends up just outside of Keystone. Built by the United States Forest Service with the input of local four-wheeler clubs, Red Cone is the perfect mixture of beauty and peril. One particular quarter-mile section toward the top of the 12,800-foot high point is a fifteen-foot-wide knife-edged road. Lean too far on one side and you'll tumble nearly 1,000 feet down. Overcorrect on the other, and it's a hundred feet over the edge. The way down the other side doesn't get much better, with softball-sized rocks that litter the trail, poised to roll your rig onto its roof if you don't stay on top of the wheel. We tell you this because some people consider this sort of thing fun.


Monster-truck rally meets Disneyland at Avalanche Park, the brainchild of experienced rock crawler Steve Rumore, who was concerned that permits to drive on public land were getting harder and harder to come by. So when his real-estate-broker wife saw this 830-acre ranch come up for sale, they pulled out the checkbook. Opened last year, the ranch is modeled after a ski area: Green runs are for beginning drivers; blue are for intermediate; triple black are for those with a death wish. "For the moment, we're asking everyone to stay on the marked trails," says Rumore. But a free-for-all area will open up soon -- as well as a repair shop, a concession stand, a hotel and a conference center.
Monster-truck rally meets Disneyland at Avalanche Park, the brainchild of experienced rock crawler Steve Rumore, who was concerned that permits to drive on public land were getting harder and harder to come by. So when his real-estate-broker wife saw this 830-acre ranch come up for sale, they pulled out the checkbook. Opened last year, the ranch is modeled after a ski area: Green runs are for beginning drivers; blue are for intermediate; triple black are for those with a death wish. "For the moment, we're asking everyone to stay on the marked trails," says Rumore. But a free-for-all area will open up soon -- as well as a repair shop, a concession stand, a hotel and a conference center.
Union and Copper bowls provide reason enough to ride at Copper Mountain, but when the wind whips up and blows snow off the top of Copper Peak, head straight to Spaulding Bowl. In a strong wind, the steep terrain there magically transforms into the waves off Oahu: It's surfing time in the mountains, and there's nothing quite like floating through thigh-deep snow on your board. As for Copper's terrain park, the folks at Freeze magazine rated it among the top ten in North America. The park, just off the Loverly run, starts slow, with mini-kickers and small rails; to the right are the tabletops. Further down the hill is the rail park, which includes a 100-footer and a rainbow rail. All this funnels into the huge halfpipe, where you can show off your spin-3, rodeo-5 or Misty flip. Or you can simply watch.

Union and Copper bowls provide reason enough to ride at Copper Mountain, but when the wind whips up and blows snow off the top of Copper Peak, head straight to Spaulding Bowl. In a strong wind, the steep terrain there magically transforms into the waves off Oahu: It's surfing time in the mountains, and there's nothing quite like floating through thigh-deep snow on your board. As for Copper's terrain park, the folks at Freeze magazine rated it among the top ten in North America. The park, just off the Loverly run, starts slow, with mini-kickers and small rails; to the right are the tabletops. Further down the hill is the rail park, which includes a 100-footer and a rainbow rail. All this funnels into the huge halfpipe, where you can show off your spin-3, rodeo-5 or Misty flip. Or you can simply watch.


Shredders, rejoice: Aspen's Buttermilk Mountain, home of the 2003 Winter X Games, wants you to come ride the Crazy T'rain, billed as "the world's longest terrain park." This stellar park includes two miles of rolling hills, more than thirty rails, a superpipe with its own sound system, and an X Games slopestyle course, among other adrenaline boosters. Now's the time to get on board.
Shredders, rejoice: Aspen's Buttermilk Mountain, home of the 2003 Winter X Games, wants you to come ride the Crazy T'rain, billed as "the world's longest terrain park." This stellar park includes two miles of rolling hills, more than thirty rails, a superpipe with its own sound system, and an X Games slopestyle course, among other adrenaline boosters. Now's the time to get on board.


An in-bounds backcountry experience awaits at The Whole Bowl, a new area at Aspen Highlands. Seventy new acres of north-facing, gladed and steep mountainside -- we're talking up to 45-degrees-looking-straight-down-1,400-vertical-feet scary steep -- opened this year to anyone willing to hike an additional 45 minutes from the top of the Loge Lift. The perfect place to practice for a ski week in Tibet.
An in-bounds backcountry experience awaits at The Whole Bowl, a new area at Aspen Highlands. Seventy new acres of north-facing, gladed and steep mountainside -- we're talking up to 45-degrees-looking-straight-down-1,400-vertical-feet scary steep -- opened this year to anyone willing to hike an additional 45 minutes from the top of the Loge Lift. The perfect place to practice for a ski week in Tibet.


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.

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