Where should you go skiing this winter? The Western USA and Western Canada are loaded with excellent resorts where you can find world-class powder, diverse terrain, and high-altitude drops. There are so many good mountains that it can be hard to choose. Here are 10 top places to ski in the West, and why they should be at the top of your bucket list:
10. Aleyska Resort, Alaska
Although it’s not technically in what we know as “the West”, this mountain makes it on the list of must-ski resorts for its incredible views of the rugged frontier. Not to mention the bounty of powder, Aleyska gets an average of 631 inches of snow each year.
9. A-Basin (Arapahoe Basin), Colorado
A classic among Colorado locals. It has steep runs and good snow conditions, plus it’s just two hours outside of Denver. This smaller mountain used to be a bit of a hidden gem. What it lacks in resort amenities, it makes up for in epic runs. But word is spreading that A-Basin is one of the places not to miss when you go skiing in Colorado.
8. Park City, Utah
Park City is worth the trek out to Utah. The resort recently expanded and it’s now the biggest in the U.S. with 334 trails, 3,300 skiable acres, 41 lifts, and 6 terrain parks. There is so much terrain to cover at this resort that it’s almost impossible to get bored there.
7. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Whistler is consistently ranked as a top ski resort in North America. Why? It’s huge and has varied terrain that appeals to any skier. There are wide cruiser runs, terrain parks, alpine bowls, and steeps. But the resort is just as famous for what it has on the slopes as off. When you need a break from the slopes, the après ski scene is world-class.
6. Taos, New Mexico
It’s the best in New Mexico, and it’s known for cultivating die-hard loyalists who won’t go anywhere else. One thing that makes this mountain unique is its traditional European-inspired ski culture. Taos was one of the final resorts to hold out as a skiers-only destination, only letting snowboarders on the mountain in 2008. It’s famous for steep, challenging slopes, and dry powder under a bright blue New Mexico sky.
5. Revelstoke, British Columbia
Revelstoke is the dream for adrenaline-chasing adventurous skiers. Cat skiing? Check. Heli-skiing? Check that. Backcountry skiing? Checkity-check. This resort only became a resort within the past 10 years, but skiers were on the mountain before that to get at its steep vertical drops and challenging terrain. It’s a must for advanced skiers looking for a little excitement.
4. Big Sky, Montana
It’s called Big Sky, but it could be called Big Mountain with more than 5,800 acres of extremely varied terrain. It combines Big Sky and Moonlight Basin to make the second biggest resort in the U.S. and the third largest in North America. Though it’s got all the infrastructure of a nice resort (convenient shuttles, comfortable gondolas, après ski villages), Big Sky is a far cry from the larger resort towns. It’s got a friendly vibe and primarily attracts people who are there for the skiing, and nothing but. This means shorter wait times and fewer crowds. Stay tuned though, Big Sky has big plans for expansion in the next decade.
3. Tahoe, California
The Lake Tahoe area has 15 distinct resorts, which sort of makes this entry a cheat. No matter which ski area you choose – Squaw Valley in Tahoe North, Heavenly in Tahoe South, or Sugar Bowl in Donner Summit – there are great conditions for California skiing. From the spectacular views of Lake Tahoe to the sunny weather, this is one of those premier destinations that all skiers have to experience.
2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Don’t let Jackson Hole’s remote location deter you from hitting this famed Western resort. Tucked along the border of Idaho and four hours from the nearest major metropolis (Salt Lake City, Utah), Jackson Hole has spectacular terrain for advanced and expert skiers – and it isn’t crowded. Known for wild backcountry and challenging runs, this resort tops the list of places you must go before you hang up your skis and boards.
1. Aspen, Colorado
The gold standard of skiing, Aspen is the most famous ski resort in the West, which is why it should be at the very top of your bucket list. The picture-perfect views of the Rockies and world-class skiing are a draw for the rich and famous. Treat yourself to a ski trip to Aspen, where the terrain has a little bit of everything and the champagne powder flies.
Check the list and if you haven’t hit all of these resorts in your lifetime, browse our site for ski deals and discounts that will turn your bucket-list ski dreams into reality.