If record-setting snowfall levels and an extended ski season are what you seek in a ski destination, then Mt. Baker is the spot for you. During the 1998-99 ski season, the mountain received an epic 1,140 inches of snow, setting a world record for the most snowfall within one season. On average, skiers can expect an impressive 680 inches of snow at this North Cascades resort. Unfortunately, those seeking a true ski resort experience won’t find it at Mt. Baker. The closest lodging options are nearly 30 miles away. But what the resort lacks in amenities it more than makes up for by offering some of the state’s most extreme alpine conditions.
Noted as one of Lake Tahoe’s most challenging mountains, Kirkwood boasts an admirable 7,800-foot base elevation, 2,000-foot vertical rise, and 2,300 skiable acres. Though known for its thrilling steeps, the resort offers something for every level of skier. Powderhounds visiting this southern Lake Tahoe resort came for its significant annual snowfall, averaging 600 inches per year. In addition to long groomed trails and exceptional terrain, Kirkwood offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding tours, along with plenty of on-mountain lodging, restaurants, and shops.
This world-renowned powder skiing destination has been family-owned and operated since 1938 and offers 2,614 skiable acres of terrain. But leave your snowboard at home as Alta is a ski-only resort. Since the resort is perfectly perched atop Little Cottonwood Canyon, one of the country’s snowiest locations, the mountain witnesses an average of 537 inches of light and powdery flakes each year. In addition, it’s one of the most conveniently located resorts within the state, sitting just a 45 minute drive from Salt Lake City.
Government Camp, OR
Timberline is located near the top Mt. Hood, a 11,245-foot-tall dormant volcano. Given the region’s unique climate, Timberline is able to boast the longest ski season in North America. Slopes remain open around 10 months of the year thanks to 400 inches of annual snowfall, on average. Timberline maintains multiple terrain parks, 41 runs, 25 percent of which are designed for beginners, 50 percent for intermediate skiers and the rest for advanced and expert powder hounds. Plus, the resort has an impressive 4,540 vertical drop. Timberline also offers night skiing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
As one of the oldest resorts in the state, Sugar Bowl served as a pioneer in the California ski industry, opening the state’s first chair lift and the west coast’s first gondola. This 80-year-old independently owned and operated resort sits perched high atop Lake Tahoe’s Donner Summit, offering 1,650 acres of skiable terrain, 130 runs, and a 1,500-foot vertical drop. Sugar Bowl’s compact size makes it easy to navigate and an ideal training ground for young skiers. This historic resort benefits from 500 inches of annual snowfall – more snow than any other North Lake Tahoe ski resort.
One of Idaho’s oldest ski resorts, Pomerelle exudes a family-friendly vibe – it is family owned, after all. Situated on 500 skiable acres in the Sawtooth Range of southern Idaho, Pomerelle certainly isn’t the largest of Idaho’s ski resorts, but its 31 marked runs cater to all levels. Plus, the region’s exceptional natural snowfall practically guarantees exceptional conditions for tackling Pomerelle’s glade and tree runs, not to mention its two terrain parks. What’s more, Pomerelle offers night skiing, so the fun can continue after dark.
Considered one of Utah’s best-kept secrets, Solitude is known for short lift lines and uncrowded trails. Though one of the state’s smaller resorts, this 1,200-acre ski area packs 80 runs, three bowls, and plenty of moguls and well-groomed trails. Located in the Big Cottonwood Canyon of the Wasatch Mountains, Solitude experiences plenty of fresh power with an annual snowfall of more than 500 inches. Along with epic alpine skiing, Solitude has more than 12 miles of Nordic skiing trails, not to mention an ice skating rink at the Village base.
Snowbird offers an exhilarating 3,240-foot vertical descent, but that isn’t the only thing drawing skiers to “The Bird.” More than 2,500 skiable acres of terrain are equally divided among beginner, intermediate and expert level skiers. In addition, the mountain offers adrenaline junkies an opportunity to explore Utah’s backcountry on an epic heli-skiing adventure. Snowbird is open from November to June – longest ski season in Utah – so visitors can experience all Snowbird has to offer well into spring. Visitors have access to a full-service resort with four lodges to choose from, all located within the village.
The 7,900 accessible acres across Powder Mountain make up the largest skiable acreage of any resort within the U.S. Though the abundant terrain is enough to keep the slopes uncrowded, the mountain limits the number of lift tickets sold, allowing an average of three acres of terrain per skier. Cat skiing is a popular way to experience the mountain. The 15-person powder cat delivers skiers and boarders to the summit to begin an unforgettable powder adventure. With over 500 inches of fresh snow falling on Pow Mow’s 150 runs each year, skiers and boarders are guaranteed a memorable snowy escape.
Brighton sets itself apart as Utah’s only resort with 100 percent of its terrain accessible from its high-speed lifts. This feature enables skiers of varying levels to ride the lifts together, choose their desired runs, and meet up at the bottom, which is great for families and groups. Ideally situated atop Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton welcomes more than 500 inches of fluffy powder each year across its 1,050 skiable acres. Along with family-friendly amenities like plenty of bunny slopes, a top-notch ski school and affordable lift tickets, Brighton is where kids under 10 can ski free with a ticketed adult. The fun doesn’t end at sunset, Brighton offers excellent night skiing with 22 runs across 200 lighted acres.
Thanks to its location on the west side of the Tetons, Grand Targhee Resort often sees ample snowfall created when Pacific-born storms reach the mountain peaks. This is the place to go if you’re looking for a family ski destination in Wyoming. Ten percent of marked trails were designed with beginners in mind, while a whopping 70 percent of runs cater to intermediate skiers. Grand Targhee also offers child care and learning programs for youngsters of all ages, not to mention the Kid’s Adventure Zone, terrain designed to help new skiers and boarders improve their moves.
The largest ski resort in the state, Crystal Mountain boasts 2,600 acres of skiable terrain and an average annual snowfall of 367 inches, making it a bonafide ski lover’s paradise. Located just two hours outside Seattle, this premier ski destination offers more above-the-tree-line runs than any other resort in the area. Its diverse terrain encompasses gentle runs for beginners while delivering challenging glades and chute bowls for more seasoned skiers. And there’s plenty of backcountry skiing for those seeking an added adventure. Non-skiers can still get in on the fun with a scenic ride on the Mt. Rainier Gondola or by spending the day snowshoeing.
Twin Bridges, CA
Situated just west of South Lake Tahoe, Sierra-At-Tahoe boasts being the closest major ski resort to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. This local’s favorite offers a sizable 2,000 acres of skiable terrain with a 2,212-foot vertical drop. The terrain is varied but mainly caters to intermediate skiers, and advanced skiers come to Sierra-At-Tahoe for its challenging treeline skiing. Amenities include a day lodge and on-mountain dining. Those seeking overnight accommodation can head to one of the nearby towns. Additional outdoor adventures include three miles of snowshoeing trails and two lift-accessed tubing hills on Blizzard Mountain. (Currently, Sierra-At-Tahoe is closed due to damage sustained during the October 2021 Caldor Fire. The resort is on track to reopen for the 2022/2023 season)
Mt. Bachelor ski resort is located in the eastern flanks of Oregon’s Central Cascade Mountains, 25 miles from Bend and 115 miles from Portland. Here, skiers and boarders test their skills on the slopes of a dormant volcano, which last erupted 10,000 years ago. The sixth largest ski resort in the country, Mt. Bachelor offers more than 4,300 acres of skiable terrain housing 101 marked runs, about 80 percent of which are designed for intermediate and expert skiers. s. This resort sees an average of 462 inches of snowfall per year.
While most of the 37 trails offered at Stevens Pass are designed for intermediate or advanced skiers, about 11 percent of the runs cater to beginners. Along with adequate green trails, the resort houses a dedicated learning area and a well-respected ski school for those new to the sport. The mountain offers 1,125 acres of fresh tracks with an average annual snowfall of 450 inches. In addition to alpine skiing, the Nordic Center is available to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing enthusiasts. With limited slope-side accommodations, many visitors stay in nearby Leavenworth, the well-known Bavarian-themed village.
Teton Village, WY
Wyoming’s premier ski resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort features 2,500 skiable acres and 133 trails, not to mention four terrain parks and plenty of backcountry acreage. This sprawling ski area is perfectly suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, with nearly 40 percent of trails designed for intermediate, and almost all the rest marked black diamond. Although less than 5 percent of Jackson Hole’s trails cater to beginners, the resort does have a ski school and private ski instruction. The resort and the neighboring town ofJacksonalso feature a thriving après-ski scene.
Though not thought of as a premier California ski destination, Homewood’s unobstructed views of Lake Tahoe is a noteworthy feature. The resort sits on the lake’s western shores, priding itself as the only Tahoe resort with runs finishing mere steps from the lake. Nearly all of Homewood’s runs showcase breathtaking views of this pristine alpine body of water. Along with scenic treasures, Homewood delivers 1,260 skiable acres, a 7,880-foot summit elevation, and a 1,650-foot vertical elevation. Rainbow Ridge is considered Homewood’s signature run, providing skiers with majestic views of both north and south Lake Tahoe while gliding to its base. In addition to picture-perfect lakeside views and uncrowded slopes, Homewood lift tickets are among the most economical in the state.
Eagle Point, located in the Tushar Mountain range in southern Utah, is often praised for short lift lines, uncrowded slopes, and exceptional customer service. As one of Utah’s smaller resorts, Eagle Point offers a relaxing alternative to nearby larger ski destinations. The mountain encompasses 650 skiable acres with a 1,500-foot vertical drop. Beginners enjoy the wide, well-groomed green runs, while more advanced skiers can head for the steep powder-filled glades. While it’s not as conveniently located to the airport as many other state resorts, Eagle Point is a scenic three-hour drive from either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City airports.
Located 40 miles northwest of Bend, the Hoodoo Ski Area is the oldest ski area in the Central Cascades, having first opened its slopes in 1938. Although the majority of the resort’s 800 skiable acres cater to more advanced powder hounds, Hoodoo has a family-friendly reputation thanks to its well-groomed bunny slopes and excellent ski school. The resort welcomes around 450 inches of snow each year, making for excellent conditions on its 34 marked runs and terrain park. Hoodoo also offers night skiing for those who just can’t get enough powder during the day.
Olympic Valley, CA
Formerly known as Squaw Valley Alpine, Palisades Tahoe sits in the Sierra Nevada range a convenient 47 miles from Reno-Tahoe Airport. The resort’s 3,600 skiable acres make it one of the largest ski areas in the state. With 2,850 feet of vertical, Palisades is known for serious steeps always groomed to perfection. In addition, this Olympic Valley resort features some of the longest runs in North America, including Mountain Run’s lengthy 3.1-mile-long descent. Skiers can depend on plenty of reliable snowfall with an annual average of 450 inches. Palisades Tahoe encompasses two distinct ski areas, Palisades and Alpine. Though not connected via gondola, skiers can board a 15-minute complimentary shuttle and ski both mountains with just one lift ticket. The combined resorts allow skiers to experience 6,000 skiable acres in total and 270 runs serviced by 42 lifts.
Pagosa Springs, CO
Colorado powder magnets know to head to Wolf Creek with an impressive 430 inches of annual snowfall. This Southern Colorado resort offers a good mix of terrain across its 1,600 skiable acres. Wolf Creek ski area is known for an even mix of green, blue, and black runs, so there’s something for every level skier to experience. Along with delivering quality powder, Wolf Creek is known for its early-season skiing. Check out the resort’s longest run, Navajo Trail, for a two-mile descent to the base.
Willamette Pass sits in Oregon’s Cascade Range, just 70 miles east of Eugene. For 80 years, this ski resort has drawn powder hounds with its 430 inches of annual snowfall and 1,563 foot vertical drop. It is a mostly locals’ ski area, so crowds are usually not a problem. Although Willamette Pass isn’t as large as other Oregon ski resorts, its 555 acres of skiable terrain caters to all levels, Twenty-one percent of the 29 marked trails are designed for beginners, 45 percent intermediate-level skiers and riders, and 34 percent for experts. Willamette Pass also features a terrain park, and offers night skiing and cross-country skiing.
Mt Hood, OR
Mt. Hood Meadows, located in Mt. Hood National Forest about 90 mins from Portland, offers prime skiing and riding conditions for those who feel comfortable on the snow. While beginners will find terrain that suits them, 80 percent of the resort’s 85 runs cater to intermediate and expert powder hounds. What’s more, many praise this resort for having the best cruising intermediate terrain in the state. Mt. Hood Meadows averages 430 inches of snow per year across its 2,150 acres of terrain, which features a 2,776-foot vertical drop Mount Hood Meadows also features six terrain parks with a mini pipe and a superpipe, as well as night skiing.
Snoqualmie Pass, WA
Ideally situated in the heart of the Snoqualmie National Forest and a short 45-minute drive from Seattle, The Summit at Snoqualmie is one of the most popular ski areas in the Cascade Mountain range. Though its relatively low elevation often means diminished snowfall levels compared to other area mountains, it still delivers plenty of alpine fun. Along with offering 82 trails and 1,994 acres of well-groomed forested terrain, Snoqualmie offers three base areas to explore. Summit Central is known for its glades, tubes, and summit to base terrain park, while Summit East delivers miles of well-groomed trails, and Summit West is a snowboarder’s delight. The resort’s extensive night skiing operation means the fun continues long after sunset.
Offering plenty of wide-open steep trails, Loveland ski area is ideal for intermediate and advanced skiers and offers a separate area for beginners near the base area. Each year the mountain receives an impressive 422 inches of snowfall across its 1,800 acres of skiable terrain. As added bonuses, Loveland offers free snowcat skiing along the Continental Divide and is one of the state’s most easily accessible ski areas, located just 53 miles outside of Denver.
Silverton Mountain is an adrenaline junkies paradise, featuring some of the steepest terrain in the state. This no-frills resort strictly caters to the advanced and expert skier. It’s a true rugged ski experience where runs are not clearly defined anywhere on the mountain and trails are not groomed. Silverton offers an authentic mountain experience with plenty of adventure and only one chair lift. After exploring the 1,819 acres of terrain, skiers can kick up the excitement by conquering an additional 22,000 acres accessible only by helicopter or hiking.
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Noted as California’s highest ski resort, Mammoth Mountain truly lives up to its name. The mountain packs an impressive 11,053-foot summit with 3,500 skiable acres, and is California’s highest lift-serviced ski resort. Mammoth experiences an annual average of 300 days of California sunshine, ensuring plenty of bluebird days on the slopes. Its lofty elevation means its ski season extends into the summer months – the second longest ski season in North America. Mammoth offers equally impressive off-mountain activities, with 19 miles of cross-country and snowshoeing terrain, snowcat tours, and extensive snowmobiling excursions throughout the Eastern Sierra backcountry
Soda Springs, CA