Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What is the best ski run in the U.S.?

What is the best ski run in the U.S.?

One of our good friends and associates Steve Cohen is contributing to a new book by New York Times writer Richard Sandomir that will use “bracketology” (and a lot of humor) to “end” the argument (or perhaps fan the flames).

Anybody who ever participated in an NCAA March Madness pool should be familiar with bracketology. It’s the practice of parsing people, place and things into discrete one-on-one matchups to determine which of the two is superior or preferable.

This is the follow-up to the original book, “The Enlightened Bracketologist—The Final Four of Everything.” (OK, guess they didn’t get everything the first time around!)

The new version, “American Brackets: The Final Four of Everything Red, White and Blue” concentrates exclusively on U.S. contests (call us nationalistic or jingoistic but publisher says it will sell more copies this way).

Here’s the deal. There will be four brackets of eight ski runs each in the categories that count most to avid skiers:


A consistent fall line, pitch that sustains speed but doesn’t require scrubbing any, lack of cross-trail traffic/off camber sections/squirrely turns/flat spots and reputation for patrol leniency when good skiers are hauling mach one are all important. Length of run and a traditionally low skier density counts big-time.


Bigger moguls are not necessarily better. Huge, misshapen VW mounds are a turn-off. A good bump run should have evenly spaced, consistent humps that demand quick feet but don’t surprise with surface or shape. Softer bumps are better than icy but sugar troughs aren’t sweet. A place to throw big air tricks, land and snake through another set of bumps is a big plus. And trail visibility counts. If you’re gonna be slithering through the troughs and trampolining from top to top with metronomic perfection, you want people to see it either from chair or base lodge (or preferably, both).


Evenly spaced trunks, lack of bastard branches that snag poles and clothing, variety/interest of tree species and ability for snow to fill in around tree base without creating hidden tree wells are all attributes. Secret or difficult entrances that restrict traffic and help the glade yield fresh tracks longer a plus.


Very good skiers can enjoy all the other categories. Only great skiers tread here. Let’s set a base criteria: 35° minimum pitch. Precision execution of turns is paramount. No gimmie bail-outs to a gentler trail, no benches to stop and rest on. It must be unrelentingly steep and extra credit if you have to ski the whole enchilada in one helping.

So…In three sentences or less, send Steve the name and location of your SINGLE MOST FAVORITE run, why, and category it fits in. Personal experiences are welcome. History, difficulty, famous events or accomplishments that took place on the run all good. This is a titanic battle that will sort out best for the ages (or until book goes onto remainders table).

No surprise; short deadline. I need to hear back with submissions by Monday 12/15.

Thanks for your help. Please include email address and tel # with submissions.

Steve Cohen

Ski Magazine

email: scohen@masterfitinc.com

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