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The Ski Poll

Hitting the slopes this season? Take some tips from those in the know

Best place to keep it simple

“I ignore the obvious merits of the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix or the Télécabine in La Grave. I eschew their iconic mountains and extreme terrain. When it comes to French peaks, I plump for the prosaic. The Solaise Express in Val d’Isère has a vertical drop of 2,300 feet, which is not enormous, but you can access the best variety of skiing in the area. Choose from groomed pistes, powder bowls, steep chutes and moguls. The only downside is that the trusty chairlift is to be replaced with a new gondola, so from now on we’ll have to take our skis off at the bottom.”

Giles Lewis, a director and coach for the Development Center Val d’Isère ski school

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Peak 6500

Chugach Powder Guides


Best place to ski once and be done with it

“Peak 6500, Chugach Range, Alaska. It’s such a remote peak it doesn’t even have a name (it’s also really hard to get to; try Chugach Powder Guides, who have the helicopters and resident experts you’ll need). The most prominent line off of 6500 is a 60-degree spine with the only way out being a jump off an 80-foot cliff. It was the single scariest thing I’ve ever done on skis. I completed the run, went back, stood on top and said to myself, ‘No way.’”

Cody Townsend appears in the upcoming ski film Days of My Youth

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Best spot to ponder the meaning of it all

“Mount Bachelor, near Bend, Oregon, is huge—nearly 3,700 acres of terrain, 88 runs—so there’s no shortage of places to ski there. But if you go off piste a little you can find lots of powder and steeper shots. There’s nothing like skiing powder through an old growth forest of massive hemlocks as a light snow falls around you. I could stay back in there all day. Sometimes I do.”

Paul Mandel, skier of more than 4.4 million vertical feet and 2,995 miles last year—nearly all of it at Mount Bachelor

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