8 Hardest Ski Runs in Colorado

Explore elite expert skiing at some of the hardest ski runs in Colorado. Find tight chutes, rock drops, and steep descents best left to advanced skiers only.

Skiing and Riding in the Back Bowls in Vail, CO

Best Expert Skiing in Colorado

It’s not hard to find the best expert skiing in Colorado when you hit any of the trails at the world-renowned resorts mentioned here. If you’re seeking a snow-filled challenge and can handle advanced and technical terrain, you won’t be disappointed. 


1. Imperial Bowl - Breckenridge, Colorado

Located off the Imperial Express SuperChair on Peak 8, Imperial Bowl is a renowned area for expert skiing known for its challenging terrain and impressive freeride lines. Steep and speedy with a stunning view at the top, this area of the mountain is a must for advanced skiers. 

This double-black bowl offers it all - chutes to charge, outcrops to carve around, ledges to drop, and an open bowl to soak in your surroundings. At 12,998 feet above sea level, the top is the highest lift access you can find in North America. 

On a big snow day, you’ll feel like you’re having an authentic backcountry experience while still staying easily within bounds. Imperial Bowl has a world-class reputation for a reason, and an afternoon skiing here will show you why. 


2. Birds of Prey and Raptor - Beaver Creek, Colorado

These adjacent downhill courses are truly elite and routinely host world-class events. They aren’t always open to the public on race day. So take advantage of the days they are and see if you can reach top speeds. 

Birds of Prey is considered one of the world's most technically demanding race courses. Raptor was built in anticipation of the 2015 Women’s World Championship Races and saw top speeds in excess of 75 mph during that event. 

You might not hit those speeds, but you can certainly feel like one of the pros if you are ready and willing to open up the throttle and let it rip. 


3. Prima Cornice - Vail, Colorado

Vail’s Back Bowls are legendary for a reason, but you might not know about this Front Side option that's also unreal. Prima Cornice is one of the steepest ski runs in Colorado and always a rush. 

The run itself is short and steep, with a vertical drop of 804 feet. But don’t let that fool you, as the challenge is real, and the thrill is unreal. This is a favorite spot for expert skiers at Vail and makes for worthy bragging rights if you conquer it. 

Take the Northwoods Express lift to Prima Cornice to access the run, and get ready for anything from there. This is a must-ski for experienced thrill-seekers but comes with real dangers, so ski safe and in control.


4. Teocalli Bowl - Crested Butte, Colorado

Teocalli Bowl at Crested Butte is a significant area of the mountain for expert skiing, and it lives up to its reputation as extreme terrain. It’s recommended only for skiers who are confident in navigating highly variable conditions and the technical terrain that comes with it. 

The bowl is accessible at the top of the High Lift and requires an additional hike of about 500 vertical feet to the road to Paradise. You can guess why it’s called that - the bowl opens into an unbeatable big-mountain experience, especially on big snow days. 

The demanding nature of Tecocalli Bowl, combined with stunning alpine scenery, solidifies its reputation as one of the hardest ski runs in Colorado. It’s ready and waiting for expert skiers looking to push their abilities and enjoy an unforgettable experience, Crested Butte-style.   


5. Peak 6 - Breckenridge, Colorado

Peak 6 offers 543 acres of terrain, including 143 acres that are hike-to only. That means you can almost always find a fresh line after a snow if you’re ready to work a little harder for it than the rest of the pack. 

The key word to Peak 6 is variety, and it holds a bit of something for every advanced skier. Airy and tight glades, beautiful bowls, and all the hikeable ridgeline make it a prime spot at Breck for skiers and riders who like to go big. 

With the Tenmile Range setting the scene on a bluebird powder day, Peak 6 has made the list for many skier’s best day ever.   


6. Highline - Vail, Colorado

If bumps are your thing, Highline is your run. Mogul slayers flock to this run where a steady 28 to 30-degree pitch keeps your speed up down many lines of unforgiving bumps. Your legs will burn, so keep your skis tight and hands up. 

Highline is also right under the chair lift of the same name, so there’s a good chance you’ll hear the oohs and ahhs from fellow skiers as you bounce through a perfect line. And you’ll hear a different reaction if you yard-sale. 

Highline bottoms out at over a mile long and nearly 2,000 vertical feet, which is far longer than the average mogul run at the Olympics or any other ski competition. It’s no joke.  


7. Stone Creek Chutes - Beaver Creek, Colorado 

The Stone Creek Chutes at Beaver Creek are marked as Extreme Terrain, and according to the sign at the top of the trail, this means “any place within the ski area boundary that contains cliffs with a minimum 20-foot rise over a 15-foot run and slopes with minimum 5-degree average pitch over a 100-foot run.” 

If you don’t want to read that twice for clarity, just know that these chutes are the real deal. Tight lines and significant cliff drops can sneak up on you in a hurry, and this area is best left to the experts. 

And if that warning sounds like a good time, the Stone Creek Chutes are a playground for expert skiers with 180 acres of extreme to explore.


8. Sock It To Me Ridge - Crested Butte, Colorado

Sock It To Me Ridge at Crested Butte is another one of the steepest and hardest ski runs in Colorado. The ridge sits on the mountain's North Face and consists of three short but cliffy runs, each with a mandatory air - yes, mandatory. 

In addition to the cliffs you’ll face, the runs in the Ridge are also super steep, highly technical, and often dotted with rocks. This keeps the average skier from venturing anywhere near but opens up a world of adrenalin-induced opportunities for experts. 

None of the runs are super long here, but each is still chock full of excitement. This is another true experts-only run, so if you aren’t sure you ski in that category, it’s best to steer clear.