By Mike Ryan
There are not many more satisfying feelings than looking up from the bottom of a run and thinking, “I can’t believe I just did that.” On TV they sometimes warn you “Don’t try this at home.” With these mogul runs it’s more like, “Don’t do these alone.”
Wolverine, Wildfire and Pika / Keystone, CO
These 3 runs are on the south side of the Outback at Keystone. Located right next to each other, you can start on one and end on the other, sometimes without even trying. You drop into the trees immediately and the bumps are small and the trees relatively thin, don’t worry, that’s about to change. You better hope the snow is good and deep because you’re skiing over fallen trees and ice flows at times. Just a little bit after you get scared to death and start cussing out yourself or whoever suggested one of these runs, the trees thin out and you can breath again.
The Shadows / Steamboat Springs, CO
The Shadows is a world famous run with a well-deserved reputation. Ski Magazine once rated Steamboat as #1 for tree skiing in the entire U.S. The Shadows is one of those runs you look up at and can’t believe you skied it. Though it looks like a forest, the Aspen trees are thinned just enough so the bumps can kick your butt. As the name signifies, the shadows you get at the right time of the day are intoxicating. Either that or it’s the lack of oxygen from forgetting to breathe.
Steep and Deep / Blue Sky Basin, Vail, CO
Go left right off the lift that brings you up to Blue Sky and head down the road just a few yards and you’ll see the sign for Steep and Deep. You can’t see the run because of the trees-isn’t that some kind of old saying? Don’t be afraid, okay be very, very afraid but the trees don’t last long at all and it opens up to a glade which is a pile of rocks in the summer. After this you have plenty of choices. You can hit the glades, pick a bump run or just stay there and let your pants dry out.
Topher’s Trees / Mary Jane @ Winter Park, CO
Mary Jane is the tougher of the two mountains at Winter Park and is named after a madam from the old mining days.This run is named for Christopher “Topher” Sendroy, a snowboarder who died after falling into a tree well ( Didn’t we say not to do these alone?) This tree run can wear you out more than a hooker at the original MaryJane’s place of business and that’s with your clothes on.