The region’s most difficult ski trail has an appropriate name: Goat.
For many Boston.com readers, the historic double black diamond trail Goat at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont is indeed the greatest of all time when it comes to challenging terrain. The trail received the most votes after nearly 300 readers answered our call for the most challenging ski trail in the Northeast.
The “insanely narrow” trail, as one reader described it, was the clear winner with 43 votes.
“Wickedly narrow, steep, bumpy and overall gnarly,” wrote Scott M. from Hawley, Penn. about Goat. “Intimidating and unforgiving. Most people just gape at it from the drop-in point and move along with an audible ‘no f*cking way!’ Skiing it with some style can be a lifelong memory. A classic and iconic skiing experience, even for the heartiest.”
“Steep like a corkscrew, with unpatterned moguls larger than the average man and ruts so deep and scoured you need climbing gear to come out,” wrote John T. from Tucson, Ariz. “God forbid you lose a ski when you crash because who knows where you will be when you stop sliding.”
Other reader favorites were Tuckerman Ravine on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with 25 votes; Paradise at Mad River Glen in Vermont with 23 votes; DJ’s Tramline on Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire with 19 votes; and Outer Limits at Killington in Vermont with 18 votes.
Ahead, we share readers’ harrowing stories from the region’s most punishing trails and find out what other runs left a lasting impression.
- Mount Greylock Ski Area: Thunderbolt
- Bolton Valley Resort: Preacher, Adam’s Solitude
- Killington: Devil’s Den, Devil’s Fiddle, Growler, Julio, Outer Limits, Ovation
- Jay Peak Resort: Face Chutes, U.N.
- Mad River Glen: Paradise, Fall Line
For many years I believed Goat was the most difficult trail in the NE, and rightfully so. It throws so much at you it’s a challenge each time you dive in. That was until I skied Paradise at Mad River Glen. Their motto ‘Ski it If You Can’ is an understatement.—William C.
- Magic Mountain: Pitch Black, Red Line, Upper Magician
- Mount Snow: Free Fall, Jaws, Ripcord
- Sugarbush: Rumble, Tumbler
- Stow Mountain Resort: Goat, Lookout, Starr
- Smugglers’ Notch: Black Hole, Upper Liftline, Upper FIS
[Upper Liftline] is the most advanced trail in the northeast. The combination of cliffs and pitch as well as being directly under the Madonna I lift, makes this most difficult trail I have seen east of the Rockies. Upper lift line would not even be a posted trail at most other east coast mountains.”—Bob from Burlington, Vt.
- Bretton Woods: Minahan’s Ridge, Roz’s
- Cannon Mountain: Avalanche, DJ’s Tramline, Kinsman Glade, Mittersill Lift Line, Polly’s Folly, Upper Hardscrabble
The most common question riding up on Cannon’s tram looking down [on DJ’s Tramline] is ‘Is that really a trail?’ Only open after significant snowfall, you have to navigate boulders and cliffs straight down the narrow steep pitched trail all while the passengers riding up on the trail watch in disbelief that someone is skiing down it.—Jack from Dedham
- Loon Mountain: Angel Street, Ripsaw, Flume, Triple Trouble, Upper Walking Boss
- Mt. Washington: Tuckerman Ravine
Hands down, Tuckerman Ravine, but any New Englander worth their salt already knows that. Before you even get a chance to ski the naturally fallen east coast snow, that has likely packed to ice given its density, you must summit the steep trail of Mount Washington with all of your gear for each run. Some of the best fun to be had come April.—Boston.com reader who did not provide a name
- Pats Peak Ski Area: Hurricane
- Ragged Mountain: Cemetery Gates
- Waterville Valley: True Grit
- Wildcat: Hairball, Thompson Brook
- Sugarloaf: Bubblecuffer, Hell’s Gate, Misery Whip, White Nitro Extension
[White Nitro Extension is a ] double black diamond for good reason. Enjoy the view atop Sugarloaf before ascending down this difficult trail. It is steep and icy so visualize your path wisely and try to stay in control. If you do lose control, there is some netting to catch you. And finally, a vertical drop exceeding 45 degrees of slope into a cross cut trail with heavy traffic. Grab a well-deserved beverage at Bullwinkles when (if) you get down.”—Tom of Walpole
- Saddleback Ski Mountain: Muleskinner
- Sunday River: Agony, Kansas, Ruby Palace, Shock Wave, White Heat
Responses lightly edited for clarity.