About Us and the Quest

We are Ron and AiRung … a couple of avid skiers with a quest to ski what we consider to be the top 100 ski resorts in North America.  We already have a bunch of them done and have compiled impartial reviews of 80+ ski resorts.

The Project

We both love skiing, travel, and the excitement of exploring new ski resorts.  We have our favorites that we ski year after year and probably have the best overall skiing experiences at those places, but the most fun tends to be when we are exploring a new area and score a huge powder day or find something really unique.  There are still many places that we haven’t tried in North America that many would consider to be “must ski” places where we can look for some of that fun.

The reviews on this site are impartial and are based entirely on our own experience(s).  All of the photos are our own.  Each review contains a star rating on a scale from 1 to 5 stars. =Much below average: probably should not have been on the list, ★★=Below average, ★★★=Average, ★★★★=Above average, ★★★★★=Truly Exceptional: a top 10 resort.

Sometimes we visit a resort only once on a day when conditions are not good, but this will not affect the rating that much.  Everything is taken into account when a rating is established including lifts, grooming, average snowfall, restaurants, parking, etc.  Sometimes a day of bad conditions is better for evaluating how a resort is managed.

How We Started

Vail Village - March 2005

Vail Village – March 2005

I’m Ron and have been skiing since age 4.  In the 70’s I skied with my family in the northeast in New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  We moved to New Mexico in ’78.  I spent the next 7 years skiing the resorts there and in Colorado and Utah.  I went to college in Gunnison, Colorado in ’85 and worked at Crested Butte Mountain Resort for 8-years, skiing a lot of the Colorado resorts when possible and getting in 80-days skiing per year.  In ’93 I moved to the San Francisco Bay area and began skiing mostly in Tahoe, but also began traveling to farther off destinations like New Zealand for heli-skiing, and guided and unguided off-piste skiing in Europe.  I also enjoy snow cat skiing as a cheaper alternative to heli-skiing.

AiRung was born in Taiwan and first came to the U.S. in the 80’s.  We met in ’98, but AiRung was not a skier at that time.  She started skiing in ’99. It took about 10-years for her to get to the point of being comfortable in powder and double-black terrain.  She is now an avid skier and has skied in Europe, Canada, most of the Western U.S, and a few resorts in the East.

We were married in ‘2000 and live in South Lake Tahoe.  Sierra at Tahoe, Heavenly and Kirkwood are our home resorts.

Contact us at skinorthamerica100@gmail.com

12 thoughts on “About Us and the Quest

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Ron and AiRung,
    I just checked out your blog that you mentioned while riding on the chairlift yesterday, Dec 30, 2016, at Bridger Bowl, Montana. Hope you had a great time and make it back to Bridger again sometime. Nice job on the blog. I’ll be looking for this season’s report!

    If you happen to be bikers, check out the website I do with my brother about cross country bicycle touring: http://www.xcountrybike.com.

    Tony

    Reply
    1. skyfree Post author

      Thanks Tony, that was some great skiing — especially at the end of the day. One of the great things about the project is meeting lots of interesting people from all over ski country. Enjoy Bridger and the Bozeman area!

      Reply
  2. Ken

    Dear Ron & AiRung.
    Thank you for sharing your resort experiences and knowledge. I have enjoyed reading about your trips and living vicariously through you. I plan to visit a few of the resorts on your list and look forward to re-reading your reviews as my trips approach. This website is a wonderful resource. Thank you, Ken

    Reply
  3. Craig

    Thank you Ron and Airung, we really appreciate your skiing experiences, pictures, write-ups and ratings! Please try and venture north to BC again to the West Kootenay’s, gorgeous steep and deep WhiteWater Mountain near Nelson, and big and bold Red Mountain near Castlegar for some of the deepest, driest powder in BC. We measure snowfall in feet not inches! Nelson is one of most historic, friendly and best ski-towns in Canada!

    Reply
    1. Ron Thompson Post author

      Thanks Craig, both are on the list as 2 of North America’s top resorts. We will likely get up there again in 2021. I’ve skied Red Mountain before and it is a really fun resort. I’ve also skied with Big Red Cats which was a really memorable experience. Our friend Tyler is a Whitewater fan so we’ve heard stories of the deep snow there. Can’t wait to go back!

      Reply
  4. Peter Pitcher

    Thank you Ron and AiRung for your work. Your reporting is sincere and gratifying. I appreciate it that Wolf Creek, Santa Fe and Discovery made the top 100, these ski hills are where I have spent my life developing, building and operating. I would like to point out that you don’t seem to appreciate beginner and novice terrain. This is where we all started and at least in my case where we will end.
    Thanks for the good work

    Reply
    1. Ron Thompson Post author

      Thanks Peter! We love it when industry insiders take notice of the project. That’s a great suggestion too. We remember great beginner and novice terrain at Discovery and Wolf Creek. It’s one of the great features of the sport that a resort can be seen so many different ways through the eyes of people with different levels of ability. The ratings are from our perspectives as advanced/expert skiers but we do very much factor terrain variety into it.

      Our 3 top picks for novices would be Timberline Oregon, Angel Fire New Mexico, and of course Beaver Creek Colorado — especially with the new lift being installed in Strawberry Park.

      Reply
  5. Mike Barrett

    Hello Ron and AiRung, great site! My wife (who I taught to ski at age 19 in ’90) and I have done several “big trips” like yours and we find them to be just the most fun. It’s great to find a ski list that reflects what we find most imporant when looking for where to ski next. It seems that we agree pretty much 100% with your reviews of places that we’ve both been to. We much prefer the underrated and unexplored places such as you seem to. It’s surprising to see most all of our favorites already on your list but one little gem that might just qualify (barely lol) is Pebble Creek outside of Pocatello ID. As for our hometown of Whitefish it is unforunately getting loved to death. Hopefully the new chair will help. Keep up the good work and I look forward to following youe adventures this year

    Reply
    1. Ron Thompson Post author

      Thanks Mike! Sorry for the late reply but life got in the way. Comments like yours are why we keep doing this. Skiing becomes a lifestyle for some people and that’s who these reviews are for.

      I think you are the 2nd person who has mentioned Pebble Creek and now I’m super intrigued. At this point with 80 resorts done it would be really hard to drop another of the remaining 20 and pick up Pebble, but we do intend to ski there after we are done with the list. We hope to keep the site going with reviews of gems that we couldn’t include on the list initially. They would include places like Pebble, Red River in NM, Mission in WA, and a whole bunch in MT to name just a few.

      Cheers and enjoy the awesome skiing in Whitefish!

      Reply
  6. Joe

    I really enjoyed reading your reviews after stumbling upon this site. Surprised you did not include Red River given NM roots. Sunrise should also be on the list even with their recent management issues. More obviously, many great Eastern resorts are missing that more than qualify, not least Sugarloaf, Jay, Sunday River, etc. Interested on why these didn’t make the list.

    Still, love this site, well done!

    Reply
    1. Ron Thompson Post author

      Hi Joe — Red River was almost included but doesn’t meet the criteria based on acreage. We had to draw the line somewhere or the list would be much larger and we would never finish it. The fact is that there are many hundreds of resorts we would love to ski. Basically anything over 1,000 vertical and a couple hundred acres can provide plenty of fun for a day.

      Sunrise has had an atrocious record of management issues as you mentioned. Compare that with Arizona Snowbowl and you can see one reason why some resorts make it and others don’t. Snowbowl has made significant investments in snowmaking and lifts in the past 10 years whereas Sunrise has done nothing and in fact shut down one of their few lifts.

      Jay, Sugarloaf, and Sunday River ARE on the list. We just haven’t gotten there yet. Hopefully later this year if it all works out!

      Reply

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