Top 100 ski resorts – Overall rankings

This is a list of our top 100 ski resorts ranked by us.  We have only ranked the ones we’ve visited, so this will change as we finish up the last few.

Each of our reviews carries a star rating from 1 to 5 stars.  We used that to group the resorts and then rank them within that grouping.

Note that it’s very hard to rank ski resorts and absolutely nobody will agree with our rankings.  Also, remember that all of the resorts on our list are winners because there are about 600 other North American ski resorts not on it!

This view never gets old at Telluride, March 2020

This view never gets old at Telluride, March 2020

★★★★★     5 star resorts

These resorts are the best on our list.  Every resort rated 5 stars is a very special experience which usually includes a large vertical drop and lots of terrain variety.

Rank Resort Comments
1 Telluride Best ski town in North America.  Great scenery.  Terrain for everyone.  Lots of steep grooming. Could use more snow, but the overall experience puts it at the top for us.
2 Revelstoke Largest vertical drop in North America yields the best long groomers we’ve ever skied.  Lots of terrain variety including some really impressive steeps.
3 Jackson Hole One of the most difficult ski resorts in North America but with a good variety of terrain for all abilities.  Great steep grooming and plentiful natural snowfall.
4 Snowbird Top of the rankings in snowfall + lots of very steep grooming and a big vertical drop.  This resort has it all but is subject to epic traffic jams on weekends and powder days.
5 Copper Mountain This is an often overlooked top resort that has everything from endless long groomers to steeps, bowls, and powder.  Being in Summit County traffic can be an issue.
6 Panorama This resort is seldom mentioned on a short list of top resorts in North America, but with a massive vertical and incredible terrain variety it’s one of the best mountains for terrain.  It just needs more snowfall and a better lift network.
7 Vail Vail is a 5-star experience in every way, but it’s often crowded and of course everything there is expensive including parking.  It has the best lift network in North America but it’s lacking truly steep terrain so it is ranked at the bottom of the 5-star resorts.
Nice intermediate terrain at Sun Peaks, February 2017

Nice intermediate terrain at Sun Peaks, February 2017

★★★★     4 star resorts

We would gladly return to every resort ranked 4 stars.  These resorts all have far above average stats and fun factor, but are missing something that would elevate them to 5 stars.

8 Whitefish Whitefish gets a lot of snow and has all the elements of a top resort including an exceptional ski town.  Frequent fog is the biggest problem.
9 Lake Louise Lake Louise is fantastic with lots of vertical, great terrain variety, and some of the best views in North America.  Lack of natural snowfall and extremely cold temps are the negatives.
10 Snowbasin Snowbasin is steep and gets a lot of snow.  It also has some of the best ski lodges in North America.  The Strawberry side got a much needed lift capacity boost in the 23/24 season with the addition of a new high speed 6-pack.
11 Sun Valley Sun Valley is a 5-star experience, but lack of natural snowfall holds it back from being a 5-star resort on our list.  You have to be very lucky to hit a big powder day so don’t go there expecting powder or even soft snow.  They do have the best snowmaking system we’ve seen and they use it well.
12  Schweitzer Schweitzer is a large resort and gets a lot of snow.  Although it has ample terrain and variety, the inland pacific-northwest location means rain is a real possibility.  Snow quality can be variable.
13 Sun Peaks Sun Peaks is a great mountain with lots of terrain variety and great grooming.  It’s a little too small to be a 5-star resort and snowfall can be an issue.
14 Crested Butte Crested Butte is the best of the smaller resorts that cater to advanced skiers with tons of double-black terrain and incredible views.  Lack of snowfall and a lack of intermediate terrain are the biggest problems but it does have the most authentic ski town in North America.
15 Park City Park City has been a victim of its own success which means crowds and lift lines are common which is dragging down the rating.  Taking in the whole picture this is the largest ski resort in North America so terrain variety and number of lift pods are at the very top of the list.
16 Snowmass Snowmass is the best resort in the Aspen area, but even though it is huge, terrain variety is lacking.
17 Aspen Highlands Aspen Highlands is very small but packs a big punch with a lot of very steep terrain.  The Highlands Bowl area really adds to the sense of adventure.  On the downside, there are too many ungroomed bump runs that rarely get skied so everyone is on the limited selection of intermediate runs.
18 Taos Taos is the best ski resort in New Mexico with incredible views and a unique southwestern ski culture.  It’s very steep terrain is similar to Crested Butte, but snow is highly variable there so it’s tough to plan ahead by much.  It’s a buffet of steeps but needs more intermediate terrain and there is almost no beginner terrain at all.
19 Alta Alta has the most natural snowfall of any resort on our list so powder skiing is very common.  Negatives are that it’s fairly small with a limited vertical drop.  It’s also one of the last resorts that bans snowboarding and this affects the rating we gave it.
20 Beaver Creek Beaver Creek is less crowded than nearby Vail which makes it more relaxing.  There is good terrain variety, but they need to do more steep grooming.
21 Whistler/Blackcomb Whistler/Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America by lift-served acreage, but snow quality is a huge issue with very common rain events all the way to the top of the mountain.
22 Aspen Mountain Aspen Mountain is a great mountain for steep groomers but it’s just too small to be ranked any higher.
23 Grand Targhee Grand Targhee has the most consistent snowfall and snow quality of any resort in North America but it’s small with a limited vertical drop.
24 Deer Valley Deer Valley is similar to Sun Valley in that the grooming is top notch but it lacks consistent long runs with a true skiable vertical under 2,000 ft.
25 Breckenridge Breckenridge is a huge mountain with some of the best wide groomers on the list but it is very crowded, and windy cold weather is very likely.
26 Mammoth Mammoth is one of our personal favorites and we go every year for the spring skiing which is the best in North America.  Wind keeps us away during the winter months.  We rank it as the best ski resort in California.
27 Heavenly Heavenly is our favorite Tahoe resort with fantastic views and some of the best terrain variety on our list, but it’s a rare day when all 4,800 acres is skiable due to snow quality issues common to all Tahoe resorts.
28 Kirkwood Kirkwood is near the top of our list in natural snowfall and a wide variety of steep runs, but is limited by a small vertical drop and snow quality issues common to all Tahoe resorts.
29 Palisades Tahoe Palisades Tahoe is at the top of our list in number of lift pods.  It’s known for steeps and terrain variety but the overall experience is hectic with crowds, traffic, and attitude.
30 Steamboat Steamboat is huge with good tree skiing and snow but it’s very crowded and lacks terrain variety which puts it near the bottom of our 4-star resorts.
31 Mt. Bachelor Mt. Bachelor is the best ski resort in Oregon.  It’s huge with a great lift network and probably the most intermediate groomers in North America but there isn’t much very steep terrain and rain events are common.
32 Apex Mountain Apex Mountain is an uncrowded gem that gets elevated to 4-stars due to the combination of great terrain and grooming as well as the very friendly and welcoming vibe.
Blue terrain at Winter Park, December 2014

Blue terrain at Winter Park, December 2014

★★★    3 star resorts

3 star resorts are average, but are definitely good enough that we would return.  They are usually smaller and can’t compete with 4 or 5 star resorts on stats, but some of these were our most memorable and fun experiences.

33 Winter Park Winter Park is huge and has lots of terrain variety, but the lifts and the way the runs are layed out are not great.  It’s hard to find long, consistent runs unless you want to ski bumps all day.
34 Brighton Brighton gets a ton of natural snowfall but that is the main attraction.  It’s on the small side and is near the bottom of our list on real vertical drop.
35 Big Sky Big Sky is often thought of as the best resort in North America, but there are some serious deficiencies that puts it down to 35th place for us.  Crowds, lack of adequate on-mountain food locations, and lack of natural snowfall are the biggest problems.  The primary reason for visiting this resort is the incredible tram to the top of Lone Peak, but they started charging extra for tram rides and it makes the whole experience kind of a bummer now.
36 Fernie Fernie is the king of powder days and we definitely experienced that.  Terrain variety is there, but the mountain is layed out strangely and it doesn’t really flow well so you will find yourself taking a lot of short runs for the most part.
37 Banff Sunshine Banff Sunshine (formerly Sunshine Village) is a solid 3-star resort limited by a lack of vertical drop on most of the lifts.  Being so far north in the Canadian Rockies it’s also cold which can be good or bad depending on the time of year you go.
38 Arapahoe Basin Arapahoe Basin is another great smaller resort with a huge number of shorter runs and some serious steep terrain.  It is high up on the continental divide which means it’s windy and cold just like Loveland.  The snowfall is adequate and they stay open into June most years which is a big plus.
39 Bridger Bowl We rank Bridger Bowl just below nearby Big Sky because it’s a great overall experience even though the amount of terrain and vertical is much less.  There are some serious steeps including an entire lift that is only available to people carrying an avalanche beacon.
40 Santa Fe Santa Fe is a super fun place to ski.  The town is a huge attraction and when we think of Santa Fe the town plays a large part in our positive perception.  For a small resort, the terrain variety is excellent, but bring your rock skis because snow is always an issue there.
41 Tamarack For a resort that almost shut down due to a bankruptcy, Tamarack is doing quite well in 41st place.  We had originally removed it from the list entirely when one of their main lifts got repossessed and taken down, but they clawed their way back and installed a brand new lift in its place.  Good terrain and vertical is complemented by lack of crowds and good snowfall.  They are planning to double their skiable terrain in a few years which should elevate it up the rankings.
42 Silver Star Silver Star is a gem in inland British Columbia.  Really long runs on the backside were memorable.  There is good terrain variety and a cool village, but the lift network could use some fixing — especially on the backside where one lift serves an enormous amount of terrain that often starts with a long traverse at the top.
43 Silver Mountain Silver Mountain is a super fun smaller area with some quirks that entertain and frustrate at the same time.  They need some high-speed lifts and it does suffer from rain events on the lower half.
44 Loveland Loveland is ranked a little below nearby Arapahoe Basin mostly because it’s hard to find consistent longer runs.  It’s also very windy and cold and you have to wade through I-70 traffic that is mostly going on to the bigger resorts west of there from Denver.  It is very interesting terrain though, and deserves the 3 stars we gave it.
45 Lost Trail Lost Trail Powder Mountain is one of the most remote resorts on our list which means it’s also one of the least crowded.  We loved the terrain variety and there are so many nooks to explore.  It also has probably the best tree skiing in the Rockies and great natural snowfall.  What holds it back is the limited and ancient lift network and the completely inadequate base lodge.
46 Big White Big White is a big player in Canada and has a lot going for it with above average vertical drop, size, number of trails, and lift pods.  The lift network is inefficient though, and the most popular terrain is very crowded with multiple high-speed lifts running parallel feeding a massive number of people onto limited terrain.
47 Keystone We’ve had a rough relationship with Keystone but it does have some great features.  Night skiing has been shortened to just 4-7pm now but it is super fun if you can endure the nighttime temps.  They do a good job grooming.  Negatives are the lack of natural snowfall, crowds, and lack of challenging terrain.
48 Sierra-at-Tahoe Sierra-at-Tahoe is one of our home resorts.  We had ranked it at #34 before the Caldor fire burned most of the trees. After a full season skiing it without trees we lowered the ranking because it’s just not the same. The fantastic tree skiing is mostly gone, but it still gets a ton of snow and powder days are very common.  It has everything from steep groomers to very challenging steep bowl skiing.  Crowding on the Grandview chair is the biggest problem.
49 Sugarloaf Sugarloaf is the highest rated Northeastern resort on our list.
It has a well deserved reputation for being frigid, but the terrain and variety are top notch. They even have a snowcat skiing operation there.
50 Kicking Horse Kicking Horse is a love/hate type place.  Serious expert skiers love the challenging and often scary steeps.  The fact is that it is basically a 2 lift mountain though, and much of the terrain requires often scary hikes.  There is a profound lack of terrain variety there with most of the runs being double-black rated.
51 Solitude Solitude is a small-ish resort that gets a lot of snowfall.  Like Brighton, it doesn’t really stand out other than the snowfall thing.  There are some serious steeps there but a lot of it requires hiking before you can drop in.
52 Red mountain
Red is an interior Pacific Northwest resort with a similar climate to Schweitzer and Silver Mountain, which means bouts of rain and funky snow quality. On the plus side it has a huge vertical drop and some really interesting terrain putting it solidly in the middle of our rankings.
53 Mt. Rose
Mt. Rose is a smaller Tahoe resort on the dry side of the lake, but it does well with snow quality because of the higher than normal (for Tahoe) elevation.  They have an efficient lift network of basically 2 high-speed 6-packs.  Another high speed quad was installed in 2022 and has really helped spread out the crowds.
54 Whiteface Whiteface is yet another Northeastern resort with a reputation for being unbearably cold and windy, but it has perhaps the best steep grooming operation of any resort on our list and a lot of vertical drop. We love steep groomers and large vertical. Other than cold temps, negatives include lack of snowfall and the very small acreage.
55 Whitewater Whitewater is a small resort known for frequent powder days compared to other resorts in the area. Even though it’s small, there are lots of positives that elevate it above other smaller resorts, like lack of crowds and great tree skiing.
56 Red Lodge Red Lodge has a history of up and down years for snowfall.  When it snows it is excellent with good terrain variety and some nice steeps and trees.  It really needs more snowmaking to offset the snow variability.  The only high-speed quad rarely runs due to lack of snow and snowmaking but I know new lifts are planned.
57 Castle Mountain Castle Mountain is the most remote resort on our list.  It’s hard to get to from everywhere basically.  What’s there is impressive terrain and views including some incredible skiable avalanche chutes.  The lifts and lodge are old though, and they do less grooming than average.
58 Northstar Northstar is a big player in Tahoe due to the large amount of intermediate terrain. With that popularity comes guaranteed lift lines and crowds though.   On the plus side it has some of the longest consistent groomers in Tahoe on the Backside.  There is also great tree skiing on powder days, and it is lower and more sheltered from wind during storms.
59 Le Massif Le Massif is our 3rd favorite ski resort in the east.  The terrain and snow quality there is exceptionally good for the east.  And the views of the St. Lawrence river are very unique.  It’s fairly close to Quebec City which is a really cool old French town.  The town and skiing add up to a nice package of fun if you can deal with the cold temps.
60 Sugar Bowl Sugar Bowl is another small Tahoe resort with huge snowfall numbers but lacking vertical drop.  The limited terrain is entertaining and there are some short steeps at the top of Mt. Lincoln, but it’s mostly about the snow.
61 Sugarbush Sugarbush is similar to Stowe and gets a similar but slightly higher rating.  It might have been rated even higher if the Slide Brook Express connection between the two parts of the resort ran more often.  Because it rarely runs, Sugarbush and Mt. Ellen are basically two smaller resorts connected via a shuttle bus.  We enjoyed both sides of the resort which are quite different and provide enough variety for multiple days of skiing.
62 Bogus Basin Bogus Basin is a surprisingly un-bogus resort that primarily serves Boise.  We found the long runs on the backside to be the best part.  There isn’t much steep terrain though, and snow can be an issue most years.
63 Killington Killington “The Beast”, has a massive number of runs and lifts and probably the largest snowmaking system in the world.  They need that snowmaking because snowfall is relatively low with frequent warm snaps and rain.  Crowding affects the ranking but good terrain variety and an excellent lift network and modern lodges put it in the middle of our Northeastern resort rankings.
64 Stowe Stowe has a great quaint town nearby which elevates our rating.  We were also impressed with the terrain quality.  Narrow runs wind down the mountain and some of them are seriously steep.  The lift network was upgraded in 2022 solving one of the problems we noted in our review.  Crowds are ever present though, and like all Vermont resorts it can be very cold.
65 Brundage Brundage gets the most snow of any Idaho resort.  It’s near the pleasant resort town of McCall.  As a resort it’s a little bland with a limited vertical.  They’ve been teasing an expansion into some interesting bowl terrain for many years.  Hopefully that happens.
66 Montana Snowbowl Montana Snowbowl is a small locals area near Missoula that packs a very surprising punch of an impressive 2,600′ vertical drop and plenty of steep interesting skiing.  The lifts and lodges are very old but they handle the small crowds just fine.  It’s a really pleasant throwback experience.
67 Cannon Mountain Cannon Mountain is a classic New England ski resort with long winding narrow runs.  The weather can be fierce and the lift network needs some improving.
68 Smugglers’ Notch Smuggs and Mad River Glen below are very similar with ancient lifts, narrow icy runs, and old lodges.  The experience is really fun with plenty of challenge to make it interesting. They have a lot more snowmaking and terrain than MRG which puts the ranking higher.
69 Mad River Glen Mad River Glen is a unique piece of Vermont ski history with one of the only single chairs still running in North America.  The narrow runs off the top are really fun.  There is good challenge there with what they claim is the most difficult run in the east.  That verifies because we skied it!  The single chair is cool, but can only handle a small crowd so powder days are going to involve a lot of standing in line.
70 Powderhorn Powderhorn is a rare Colorado resort that is uncrowded and inexpensive.  The 2 main lift pods are entertaining with long winding groomers and some bumps but steep terrain is completely lacking.  This is a rare rockies ski resort that does not have to do any avalanche control work.
71 Beaver Mountain Beaver Mountain carves out a niche in far northern Utah.  The closest population center is in Logan but it’s a long-ish drive.  What it has is lots of reliable snowfall and interesting tree skiing.  It is near the bottom for vertical drop and size so it’s pretty much a single-day ski or a locals place.  The vibe is very friendly and welcoming.
72 Jay Peak Jay Peak gets the most snow of any of the Northeastern resorts on our list, but the lift network and terrain layout lower the rating.  Jay recently changed ownership so hopefully improvements are coming.
73 Mt. Hood Meadows Mt. Hood Meadows is the best of the three Mt. Hood resorts.  It’s large with a big vertical drop and lots of lift pods.  It’s in the top 10 for snowfall, but like the other resorts in the area rain is common and the snow surface is often frozen rock hard or slushy.
74 Crystal Mountain Crystal is the best resort for the Seattle population center with a generous vertical drop and lots of terrain variety.  There is a great modern lift network.  Because of all that it is experiencing big crowding problems with parking.  Rain is very common which makes it a locals last-minute decision type of place.
75 Bear Valley Bear Valley wouldn’t be on the list if not for the excellent Grizzly chair terrain which contains 2 bowls and plenty of entertaining steeps.  Unfortunately it’s rare that Grizzly is open with good snow conditions.  The 2 high speed lifts on the upper mountain make for lots of quick short runs.
76 Purgatory Purgatory is similar to Powderhorn in some ways with lots of runs lined up on a long ridge.  It gets great snowfall but terrain is focused mostly on low-intermediates and there isn’t much challenge.
77 White Pass White Pass is a delightful small resort with good tree skiing and some steeper terrain available.  Like all resorts in Washington snow quality is highly variable.
78 Mt. Hood Skibowl Mt. Hood Skibowl has some surprising steeper terrain that is very different from what you will find at nearby Mt. Hood Meadows or Timberline.  It also has fantastic night skiing with a larger percentage of the runs lighted including some very steep groomed terrain.  There are multiple issues starting with a very low elevation and probably half of the precipitation falling as rain in the winter.  The lift network and lodges are very old.
"Klondike" at 49° North, January 2022

“Klondike” at 49° North, January 2022

★★    2 star resorts

2 star resorts are below average in stats and are lacking key attributes or the fun factor that would elevate them to 3 stars.  We would probably not make a special trip to return to any of these.

79 Mont-Sainte-Anne Mont-Sainte-Anne is a fairly large resort close to the delightful town of Quebec City.  The RCR resort management has been poor in the past.  The gondola incidents caused us to lower the star rating to 2 stars.
80 49 Degrees North This is one of those places that looks great on the trail map but has an awkward layout when you actually get there and ski it.  Given the stats, 80th place seems appropriate and there is nothing outstanding that would elevate it higher in the rankings.
81 Arizona Snowbowl Arizona Snowbowl was a really fun day when we skied there, and it’s the best ski resort in Arizona, but it really suffers from prolonged dry spells.  It seems like it only snows there about 10 times a year on average: all in big dumps.  The rest of the time they rely on snowmaking.  Every stat is below average which lands it on the 2-star list.
82 Ski Discovery Ski Discovery has some really compelling steep terrain, but it needs a lot more snow and is surprisingly crowded given its location far away from major population centers.  They are also playing games with the vertical drop stats since the lower chair that would provide them the vertical they claim almost never runs.
83 Dodge Ridge Dodge Ridge is really fun on a good day with some interesting terrain.  There are few long runs though, and the low elevation means highly variable snow conditions and sometimes more rain than snow.  Short seasons are common due to lack of snowmaking.
84 Kimberley Kimberley has some nice terrain, but it’s lacking much in the way of steeps and has one of the lowest average snowfalls of any resort on our list.  They have also had operational issues with their main high speed quad which was down for weeks in 2 consecutive seasons.  The 2nd time it was down was due to arson.  Someone burned the upper terminal.  This is out of their control obviously, but due to the nature of the resort, when that chair is down it’s almost completely crippled.
85 Powder Mountain Powder Mountain is playing the most egregious marketing game with their stats of any resort on the list.  We’ve been there multiple times and it is definitely NOT the largest resort by acreage in North America.  Most of the lift-served terrain is very flat and uninspiring.  They do get some great snowfall but having been there on a 16″ powder day it’s too flat to really enjoy the powder.  A smaller powder day < 6″ would be the most fun.
86 Stevens Pass Stevens Pass has some really steep terrain and the snow is so dense that it sticks to steeps like nowhere else we’ve ever skied.  However, it suffers from bad crowding being close to Seattle, and their operational issues are legendary with closed lifts and very late openings being very common.
87 Sunday River Sunday River is huge like Killington, with a fantastic lift network.  The lower ranking is due to snow quality, crowds, and lack of much continuous vertical drop.
88 Mont Tremblant Mont Tremblant has been our least favorite eastern resort so far.  It’s very low on natural snowfall and very high on cold windy weather.  The village is really nice though, and is the main attraction there.
89 China Peak China Peak has some interesting terrain, but it suffers from highly variable snowfall amount and quality in the Central Sierra.  It seems to be just slightly south of the snowfall cutoff for most storms.
90 Sunlight Sunlight is another resort playing marketing games by exaggerating their vertical drop to include hike-out terrain.  It’s a pleasant small resort with some nice steep treed runs that may eventually get it’s own lift, but for now it’s pretty limited.
91 June Mountain June Mountain has some pleasant easy cruisers on the upper mountain, but unfortunately the steep stuff is at the bottom where very little snow falls in lean years.
92 Banff Norquay Banff Norquay is the very lowest resort on our list for natural snowfall, but it is cold and the snow is preserved really well.  It’s a small resort with fantastic views close to the town of Banff.
93 Sundance Sundance doesn’t compete well with the other Utah resorts on our list due to the low altitude leading to snow quality issues.  On a good snow day it would be a fun time with a nice variety of terrain, but it’s pretty limited compared to other nearby choices.
94 Diamond Peak Except for snowfall, Diamond Peak is near the bottom of our list in every other stat.  It’s the smallest of the Tahoe resorts on our list but does have great lake views and some interesting terrain off the main lift that goes to the summit.
95 Timberline Timberline gets a lot of snow and has a large vertical drop but it has no challenging terrain and is just too flat overall.
96 Wolf Creek Wolf Creek gets the most snowfall in Colorado but that doesn’t make up for the limited vertical drop and flat terrain.
97 Pico Pico is a fun day for skiers wanting to take a break from nearby Killington, but it’s basically a one-lift resort for us.
Angel Fire front side terrain

Angel Fire front side terrain

    1 star resorts

There is only 1 resort ranked 1 star so far.  There had to be at least one!  Hey, it made the top 100 list at least.

98 Angel Fire Angel Fire is a great resource for skiers from parts of Oklahoma and Texas because it’s the closest.  From our perspective It lacks in just about everything else.  The biggest problems are lack of natural snowfall, management cutting corners, and lack of any true challenge.  However, for beginners and low intermediates when the snow is good this is a great choice.