North America is host to some of the best Ski resorts in the world. With over 800 resorts to choose from in North America alone, one could spend weeks, even months mauling over data to make a decision; and of course, by then, all the good snow would be gone. To save you precious time, we’ve gone ahead and done the legwork to collect information and compile a list of the 10 best ski resorts in North America. We’ve factored in terrain, vertical drop, difficulty, accessibility, landscape and overall epicness of the mountain and surrounding area. So if you are still searching for your 2018 ski trip, look no further; we’ve got all the info you need to make your next trip the best one yet!
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Skiing Jackson Hole is not for the faint of heart or for the novice snow bunny. With 50% being black runs, you might want to consider a different resort for the young ones or new riders, unless they can really shred. Between heaps of snowfall (averaging at 475 inches), over 4,100 feet of vertical terrain, and great accessibility to the mountain by way of multiple lifts; 14 to be exact, this resort is recommended for expert skiers looking for a new challenge. Intermediates can definitely find lines within their ability as well, but be prepared to be challenged! Lodging can still be relatively affordable; we recommend Hotel Terra and there are some excellent dining options, try the Piste Mountain Bistro. With most slopes south facing, snow plays a disappearing act quicker than we’d like, but with regular snowfalls, fresh powder is just around the corner!
Photo – Dennis Yang
Park City, Utah
Home to the Sundance Film Festival, elite and average tourists alike flock to this resort for its varied levels of difficulty on the mountain, with an emphasis on intermediate slopes. Accessibility at Park City is unmatched with a major airport just 35 minutes from the resort. Accommodation and dining can be pricey but we recommend Davanza’s and Treasure Mountain Inn. Another impressive note is that in the last few years, it became America’s biggest ski area at a whopping 7,300 acres of terrain. All that skiing right above the town can’t be a bad thing, especially with a number of apres options right on Main Street! With all that area to cover, having 40 lifts is essential for the massive ski area right beneath the quaint little town!
Photo – Peanutian
Arguably some of the best snow receiving an average of 14m of snow a year, Alta Ski Resort boasts nostalgic skiing with more traditional features and some modern conveniences of newer ski resorts thrown into the mix. But lodging and other expectations from more updated ski resorts are lacking. This resort is exclusive to skiers, so boarders who want to touch this high-grade snow will need to strap on some skies to enjoy it. And the children’s ski school is renowned for their instructors and ability. Because of their massive snow falls, the snow is ski ready usually by December 15. As mentioned before, good eats and lodging are not as abundant as some of the competitors, but we recommend Tram bar for a bite and Rustler Lodge to get you rested for the next day of pow.
Photo – Pawel Loj
Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
When you think of a traditional ski town, usually you think Aspen, or at least that was the case a few decades ago. The town is typically robust with tourists, all looking for a bite to eat or a place to drink, which often leaves the slopes pretty clear for those travelling to Aspen to shred. What’s better is that due to lots of shade and elevation, you can expect the snow to stick around until March. It can be far more accessible if you are travelling by plane since they have more consistent daily flights than any other ski town airport. Of the 4 separate ski areas that exist in Aspen, Snowmass has the largest area with 3300 acres of skiable terrain, that is suitable for all levels of difficulty. Stay at the Viceroy Snowmass and eat at Toro Latin Kitchen.
Photo – Ryan Oksenhorn
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Looking for the biggest vertical drop in North America? Revelstoke Mountain Resort proudly wears that badge. With 5,620 feet of drop, even the most seasoned skier will feel the heat in this snow. And their gondi lift is something to brag about; you get a picturesque view of the landscape, the Columbia River and the charming town below. The snowfall is also impressive with about 350 inches a year on average. Accessibility has traditionally been a challenge for those wanting to visit RMR with the nearest major airport being a little over 2 hours away. However, with the addition of Revelstoke Charter Flights 2 year ago, you can now fly directly from Vancouver, landing closer to any other ski resort in the world. A small friendly town, you won’t be getting the hustle and bustle tourist vibe that you might in Whistler or other large ski towns. If you want ski-in/ski-out type lodging, Sutton Place is your best and only bet, for food, we suggest Chubby Funsters in the downtown area.
Photo – Ian Houghton
Vale could be the place you think of when you think of ski trips. It can accommodate the premium and the budget skier. It’s got good snow, sweet terrain, and sufficient accommodation. It does well in keeping up with competitors. Snow quality is also good, with 40% of the slopes being north facing, so the snow stays cold and with that, it also stays put. Vale offers slopes for the whole family and for people of all skills so planning a family trip here is best for those with varying skills. For a place to stay, have a look at The Sebastian and eat at Mountain Standard if you’re willing to spend a few sheckles.
Photo – Snow Snow
Nestled on the coast of B.C., Whistler can be divided by mountain; Whistler and Blackcomb, this mammoth has gotten a big name in the ski resort industry because of its epic proportions. At over 8,000 acres, it is the biggest ski resort in North America. Not to mention snowfall that’s something to write home about, looking at an average of 413 inches a year, there’s no shortage of rideable pow, but with the majority of the runs not facing north, snow can often make a disappearing act. So snow longevity can be an issue. Another notable perk is the Whistler village that is all hustle and bustle both night and day due to a wide array of accommodation, restaurants and nightclubs and bars. This place buzzes with activity. For some, this is the ski resort dream. Of course for others, long waits at the chairlift, restaurants and general congestion can be considered a waking nightmare. It’s all about perspective. Suggested accommodation: Fairmont Chateau Whistler and go try the Peaked Pies.
Photo – Ruth Hartnup
Snowbird has a few things you might look for in a ski destination; a strong ratio of north facing runs, quick gondolas that take you from the bottom of the resort to the top in lightning speed and tons of steep fall lines to keep to keep your days varied and full. Accessibility is quite good as there is relatively close access to a major airport. Be wary of the crowds, however. Good accessibility also means congestion and long waits for the pristine snow. This fact can be surprising as there isn’t a ton of food options compared to most major ski resorts so you will need to wing it if you make a trip out there, but if you decide to make the trip, stay at The Cliff Lodge.
Photo – Scott Hughes
If strong, steep runs that descend into town is high on the list of priorities for you, then Telluride might just be the destination you are looking for. Since this town was built around the ski resort, there is a number of ski in ski out options making getting around without a car seamless and easy. And with gondola services free from morning to night, transportation in and around the mountain could not be made easier. The snowfall can be weak since the town gets so much sunshine, at 170 inches a year, other ski resorts can offer much more deep and ongoing powder. For accommodation, we would suggest the Inn at Lost Creek and eat at the charming and quaint La Marmotte.
Photo – Murray Foubister
Beaver Creek, CO
Home to three mountain villages, Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead Village, there is no shortage of amenities and ways to enjoy a day. In total there are over 1800 acres of skiable terrain and of those, a healthy amount of runs for beginners, Beaver Creek is a great family destination for the average skier or novice adventure seeker. This resort boasts fewer crowds than the average ultra busy ski resort, and with more than half the runs being north facing, you have wide open access to a good snowfall and relatively open runs. Stay at the Pines Lodge and enjoy all the free cookies you can get your hands on with the cookie cooking contest that runs yearly.
Photo – Snow Snow
Finding the right place for your needs can be tough. Your best approach is to do your research, figure out what your needs are and honestly, trust your gut. This is trip planning, try to have fun with it and we hope this guide could shed some light on the highs and lows of some of the best ski resorts in North America! Happy Shredding 🙂