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Avant Ski's Top Ten Hot-Dogging Runs in North America

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

So you're ready to show off? Sure, you can ski under any lift and get a few glances and maybe a hoot. If you want to be a big star though, if you want glory, however fleeting, then you need a run with that indescribable something extra. Good news, we have you covered. Here’s our list of the Top Ten Hot-Dogging Runs in North America.

The High Rustler always delivers for all to view. Courtesy of Alta Ski Area

Summary of our Top 10 Hot Dogging Runs (from West to East): * Click the trail name to jump to that section

  1. The Fingers – Palisades Tahoe, CA

  2. Gunbarrel – Heavenly, CA

  3. Under Chair 22 – Mammoth Mountain, CA

  4. Exhibition – Sun Valley, ID

  5. Alf's High Rustler – Alta, UT

  6. Alta Chutes – Jackson Whole, WY

  7. Ridge of Bell — Aspen Mountain, CO

  8. Chute to Lift Line – Mad River Glen, VT

  9. Lift Line — Sugarbush, VT

  10. Lift Line — Jay Peak, VT

1. The Fingers — Palisades Tahoe, CA

The Fingers create a stage for all to view from the K-22 lift.

The Fingers. Directly under Palisades’ famed KT-22 lift lies a big, burly cliff band named The Fingers. Most of the season, The Fingers lay dormant. On a powder day though, The Fingers becomes a stage for Palisades' freeskiing legends, regulars, and up-and-comers alike. Watch for skiers and riders hucking cliffs and straight lining chutes. The expectations to perform here are high. Hesitate, and heckles will rain down from the chairs of KT-22. So long as you attack a line fluidly, whether you land it or not, glory is yours.

2. Gunbarrel — Heavenly

Gunbarrel — 1,700 vertical feet of nothing but bumps. Courtesy of Tahoe Daily Tribune

It's not every day when a single run has a reasonable chance of invoking fear, excitement, and muscle cramps all at once and typically starting after the first few turns. Gunbarrel, located directly underneath the Gunbarrel Express has a storied history of being the home of “moguls the size of cars,” and offers no shortage of heckling opportunities.

This run has become its own right of passage in Tahoe, a challenge for those who don't shy away from stats like “1700 vertical feet of nothing but bumps.” This run has inspired the likes of skiing legend Glen Plake to host an annual endurance challenge called the Gunbarrel 25. The winner of this leg-burning, marathon style race is the one to to complete 25 laps down Gunbarrel in the shortest amount of time. For those looking to gauge their bump skiing ability, this run just may provide an answer.

3. Under Chair 22— Mammoth Mountain, CA

Chair 22 at Mammoth stands out for its reliability. Whether it’s storming and/or the upper mountain is on a wind-hold, Chair 22 is open. On blue-bird powder days, when patrol is still doing avy control elsewhere, Chair 22 is already open. The run, directly under the lift, doesn't even have a name and doesn’t need one.

Here you will find tremendous variety — a bowl at the top, cliffs and chutes in the middle, glades at the bottom. You’ll need every turn in your arsenal — the carve, the slash, the hop, the tight tree-avoider, maybe even the mogul jammer. The focal point is a cliff called Diving Board. From here, the daring tend to almost graze the skis and boards of oglers in the chairs before falling to the snow below.

4. Exhibition — Sun Valley, ID

We dare you to take on Exhibition's bumps. Lookout Express riders will be watching. Courtesy of Luxury Vacation Guide.

Exhibition. The name says it all — 899 feet of steep, 30 degree steep, moguls. It’s across a gully to the looker's left from Lookout Express. Those riding Lookout have a perfect view to judge your technique, critique your speed, and see if you’ve stopped. It’s not the longest on this list, but it packs a punch. Watch Sun Valley legend Reggie Crist take it on here.

5. Alf’s High Rustler — Alta, UT

Staring down High Boy at Alta Ski Resort
Staring down High Boy.

Alf's High Rustler. From the packed patio of Goldminer’s Daughter, look up at the mountain. Do you see a long, steep chute full of moguls? That’s Alf’s, Alta’s signature run. Alf’s is a throwback to hot-dogging days of yore, when moguls were all the rage. It’s relentless and can seem never ending. If you don't have knee problems or a bad back, this run can fix that. But it’s oh-so satisfying to lounge at the Goldminer’s Daughter with a cold beverage and to look up and think — I did that.

6. Alta Chutes — Jackson Hole, WY

The Alta Chutes converge under the Sublette Lift. Courtesy of Visit Jackson Hole

Alta Chutes. Jackson Hole is a freeride hotspot, littered with big, technical terrain. An audience is essential for hot-dogging though. The Alta Chutes have the best audience on the mountain. Alta Chutes 1, 2, and 3 cut directly under the Sublette Lift offering a variety of technical lines, narrow chutes, steep glades, and cliffs. On a powder day, local pros and young chargers flock here...and you should too.

7. Ridge of Bell — Aspen Mountain, CO

Ridge of Bell Hot Dog Contest. Courtesy of Aspen Historical Society

Ridge of Bell. On March 10, 1971, Ridge of Bell hosted a first-of-its-kind Hot Dog Contest. During this contest, 120 skiers strapped themselves to to 200cm long skis and dove right into this run’s steep moguls. They ricocheted, careened, cartwheeled, slammed, slid and wiggled. View footage from the Contest from Dick Berrymore’s The Golden Years of Ski Films here.

Over half a century later, the skis are shorter and fatter, helmets have replaced beanies, but the spirit of those original hot doggers lives on. Standing at the top of Ridge of Bell, you can feel it. Let it inspire you; though, we don’t recommend straightlining.

8. Chute to Lift Line — Mad River Glen

On display to riders of the legendary single chair!

Chute to Lift Line. “Ski it if you can!” is a fitting challenge for anyone bold enough to tackle this legendary East Coast line. Located directly beneath the Single Chair, this run has it all —bumps, rocks, cliffs, and the pressure of skiing directly beneath some of the crustiest, most seasoned lift riders in New England. If you’re looking to prove your mettle in the Northeast, this is the place to do it.

9. Lift Line —Sugarbush

Lift Line has long been home to the Castlerock Extreme competition at Sugarbush. Photo by Brooks Curran.

Lift Line. Maybe they're not the most creative with names up in New England. That said, if you're looking to show off, you always have a good bet with a run named Lift Line. The version at Sugarbush is no exception. Running beneath the legendary Castlerock Double chair, this narrow, gnarled trail features 1,600 vertical feet of monster moguls, rocks, and a 20-foot cliff that has been the proving ground for many an East Coast shredder. Look before you leap!

10. Lift Line — Jay Peak

Lift Line. This line is all about the stoke! Start your day with with a ride up the Bonaventure Quad and be greeted by a full pirate flag salute from the top of the lift. Board the chair, and join in the chorus of whoops and hollers as your fellow skiers surf the pow below. When you reach the top it’s your turn to shred the deep stuff as you’re cheered on from above. Catch it on the right day and this will be one of the most memorable runs of your life!


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John Ford
John Ford
Jan 13, 2023

Number 4 on the list Exhibition is shown in error as Mid/Lower Holiday Run.

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