Top Ten Ski Destinations in North America

November 13, 2009

Winter is upon us, and ski operators and resorts are gearing up for some busy months ahead when ski and snowboard enthusiasts frequent the slopes in search for fresh, soft powder. The ski destinations below, are my top picks for North America (in no particular order):

Aspen, Colorado
Aspen, featured in the Jim Carey comedy classic “Dumb and Dumber”, is the place to be if you want to ski with the rich and famous. Aspen is an ideal upscale ski vacation destination for all types of skill levels.

Banff National Park, Alberta
Banff is one of the most spectacular looking mountain resorts in the world. With Sunshine Village and Ski Norquay in close proximity, Banff is the tallest place in Canada. With plenty of nature and slopes, Banff has a lot more than winter sports. In fact, it has one of the best golf courses in North America as well.

Banff National Park, Alberta

Banff National Park, Alberta

Vail, Colorado
With a slogan of “Like nothing on earth”, Vail surprisingly lives up to its name, and then some. It is one of the largest ski terrains in North America with 5,289 acres of ski terrain. In fact, only Whistler/Blackcomb eclipse Vail’s ski area in size. In the heart of Colorado, a couple of hours from Denver, Vail is one popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia
Consistently voted “Best North American Ski Resort”, Whistler is a winter destination for anyone and everyone. Skiing, shopping, golfing, pampering and culinary experiences, Whistler offers all that and a great social scene with plenty of night life. And of course, it is the largest ski terrain in all of North America.

Whistler Mountain, British Columbia

Whistler Mountain, British Columbia

Park City, Utah
Utah is a surprising consideration for conferences and gatherings. But one look at Park City and you will know why. Park City consists of three main resorts – Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort, and The Canyons Resort. The Park City and Deer Valley ski resorts were the major locations for ski and snowboarding events at the 2002 Winter Olympics even though they receive less snow and have a shorter ski season than do other destinations in this list. The biggest draw of Park City is that it is the primary location of the Sundance Film Festival. Among its other accolades – it is also the home of the United States Ski Team. Just one thing I should warn you about. Utah has strict laws regarding alcohol consumption. As such, all drinks served are typically diluted and have a much lower percentage of alcohol.

Taos, New Mexico

In north New Mexico, near the Colorado border, lies Taos Ski Valley, with one of the best Ski schools in the country. Until recently, snowboarding was prohibited here but in 2008, that restriction was listed. Family owned and smaller than most of the other ski destinations on this list,  Taos has an equal ratio of expert and beginner terrains, but don’t let that fool you. The terrain seldom straightens out and remains steep for the most part.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Part of the Teton Range that stands 7000 feet above the valley, Jackson Hole lies in and around the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Frequented by the likes of Harrison Ford and Dick Cheney, Jackson Hole is home to many of the world’s best freeskiers as the terrain is considered to be some of the most challenging in North America. The ski area partially covers two mountains. The runs are 50% expert, 40% intermediate, and 10% beginner. Apres Vous Mountain is deemed intermediate difficulty while Rendezvous Mountain has Jackson Hole’s famous advanced terrain.


Mammoth, California
Mammoth Mountain is home to the tallest ski resort in California. It is notable in that it gets an unusually large amount of snow, about 400″ annually.  At 3,500 acres, it’s more than three times the size of the so-called “Beast of the East”, (Killington), and certainly lives up to its name. Mammoth lies in close proximity to the Oregon stateline to the north and Nevada to the east. So it is accessible by road from major cities like Sacramento, Portland and Reno.

Killington, Vermont
Killington is considered the largest ski area in the east. It offers the largest variety of terrain with seven interconnected mountains which makes it a haven for snowboarders and cross-country skiers.

Beaver Creek, Colorado
The third Colorado favorite is Beaver Creek, which has won the Best Overall Customer Service Award from the National Ski Association four years in a row. This is a quaint area which, while not as vast as Vail nor as celebrated as Aspen, remains a fast fave for those looking for peace, seclusion and skiing with their families. At the base of the slopes lies a large skating rink, the Family Ice Arena, where kids and adults can warm up before heading to the slopes.

So, now that winter is here and you have this list of top ski resorts, where will you be going? Book now to get great deals on ski vacations.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses to Top Ten Ski Destinations in North America

  1. Tracey Madsen on May 1, 2011 at 5:17 AM

    I’ve skiied Vail, Aspen, and Beaver Creek in CO. I like Breckenridge better than all of them. It’s not as trendy, for sure, but the skiing is great and the night life is good, as well. It’s also great in the summertime — golf, mountain biking, hiking. It’s my favorite in CO.

    Tracey Madsen
    Tinnitus Miracle

  2. Pat the Baton Rouge Property Manager on April 27, 2011 at 2:31 AM

    @Carmel: I agree with you on the snow mobile. Truly amazing to blast down the mountains. Ideal for busy ski destinations like Winter Park or Grand Lake in Colorado.

    It’s nicer to spend a quiet time at places like Beaver Creek though. Nothing beats spending a couple of nights away from the busy and hectic everyday life we dwell in.

  3. naty on December 10, 2009 at 8:03 PM

    oh em gee. I like these pictures(: thank you for making this website:D

  4. John on November 23, 2009 at 4:46 AM

    This list is a good roundup (though I’m curious to know which of these places the writer has visited in person). Thx for inspiring dreams of snow. May the El Niño predictions come true for the West this year. Nothing beats skiing California when the snow is deep. Can’t wait to hit the slopes. –jv

  5. tom on November 18, 2009 at 7:51 PM

    I have been to Vail, Aspen and Park City. My favorite is Park City because of the amazing snow we had at our last trip. I can’t wait to go skiing again.

  6. Carmel on November 18, 2009 at 2:29 PM

    So glad to see Killington is on here, I was there on my second Ski trip last Christmas and I loved it. Theres so much more to do there besides skiing aswel, I really recommend snow mobiling, I had never been before and I loved it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *