downhill skiing at Revelstoke
Photo credit: Grant Gunderson, courtesy of Revelstoke Mtn. Resort

Top 10 North American Ski Resorts for 2017

Even though many people have already been on ski trips this winter, there is still time to fit one in! A typical ski season at North American ski resorts is December through April, with the best conditions generally being in January, February and the beginning of March. The time table for snow conditions at all ski resorts varies greatly, even among our top ten. For example, Jackson Hole’s peak time tends to be in late January, whereas the peak at Whistler is in late February, and the peak for Beaver Creek is in March.

There are a large number of factors that go into picking the best ski resorts, including snow, terrain, lodging, airports, prices, the unique experiences each resort offers, and of course, the skiers’ preferences. We did a lot of research on the matter, and ultimately went with Forbes.com’s Top 10 list. According to Forbes, and we agree based on all of the details and input from them, they did the most comprehensive and in-depth ski resort list of its kind. We have listed very basic details about the skiing at each resort. They are all beautiful and offer amazing skiing. They also all offer a multitude of places to eat, shop, stay, and other fun winter sports, as well as exclusive features at each that you can find on their websites.

The best ski resorts in North America for 2017 are:

  1. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, 3395 Cody Lane, Teton Village, Wyoming
skier and tram overhead-Jackson Hole
Photo credit: Courtesy Jackson Hole Media

Taking everything into consideration over the years, Jackson Hole is consistently at the top of peoples’ lists for best ski resorts. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has 133 named trails, with 117 runs open. These include 50% expert, 40% intermediate and 10% beginner. The ski area has 12 lifts and trams, 2,500 acres of in-bound terrain and a huge 4,139-foot vertical drop. Jackson Hole Airport is only 20 miles from the resort.

When it comes time for your trip, you can get any information you need at http://www.jacksonhole.com, including current snow conditions. For instance, as of today’s date, the resort has gotten 311 inches of snow so far this season.

  1. Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, 9385 S. Snowbird Center Dr., Snowbird, Utah
Skier - use for Snowmass
Photo credit: Unsplash, Carina Tysvaer

Near Salt Lake City, Utah, Snowbird has 153 trails – 106 black, 4 both blue and black, 25 blue, and 18 green. The ski area has 10 lifts, 2,500 acres of skiable area, with a vertical drop of 3,240 feet from the summit of Hidden Peak, which has an elevation of above 11,000 feet. Hidden Peak is serviced by an aerial tram from the base area.

You can get all the information you need at http://www.snowbird.com, including current snow conditions. As of today’s date, the resort has a snow depth of 86 inches and has received 229 inches of snow year to date.

  1. Alta Ski Area, Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta, Utah
Ski jumper, for Altas
Photo credit: Unsplash, Jorg Angeli

Also near Salt Lake City, and next to Snowbird, Alta Ski Area has 116+ runs – 35% expert, 40% intermediate, and 25% beginner. There are 11 lifts, 2,200 skiable acres, with a 2,020 foot vertical drop. Forbes categorizes Alta as a major ski resort, even though it may not include some of the frilly fixings and luxury lodging and dining that have become standard across much of the industry. Alta doesn’t need that stuff. It has terrain and snow that are the envy of the rest of the ski world.

You can get all the information you need at http://www.alta.com, including current conditions. As of today’s date, the resort has an 86 inch base of snow and has had 224 inches of snowfall this season.

  1. Telluride, 565 Mountain Village Blvd, Telluride, Colorado
Colorado snow-use for Telluride
Photo Credit: Michael Brent, Colorado

Telluride has 148 trails with 132 open this season – 38% expert, 38% intermediate, and 24% beginner. There are 16 lifts, 2000+ acres of skiable area, with a 4,425 vertical drop. To get to Telluride, there are a couple of regional airports near – Telluride Regional Airport is 15 minutes away and Montrose-Telluride Regional Airport is 80 minutes away.

Even though listed at #4 on this list, Conde Naste’s Readers’ Choice Awards chose Terruride as their favorite ski resort for four out of the past five years.

Telluride may be the easiest ski-town/resort to get around in without a car, with lots of ski-in, ski-out accomodations. Any information you might need can be found at http://www.tellurideskiresort.com, including current ski conditions. As of today’s date, Telluride has a 53 inch base and has had 161 inches of snowfall this year.

  1. Whistler Blackcomb, 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, British Columbia, V0N 1B4, Canada 
Mountain, Whistler, Canada
Photo credit: Unsplash, Andy Fitzsimon

About 75 miles from Vancouver, Canada, Whistler Blackcomb has 200 runs – 27% expert, 55% intermediate, and 18% beginner. There are 38 lifts, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers, 8,171 skiable acres, with a 5,020 foot vertical drop on Whistler Mountain and a 5,280 foot vertical drop on Blackcomb Mountain.

Even though listed at #5 on this list, SKI Magazine Readers’ Poll voted Whistler Blackcomb the #1 North American overall best ski resort for 3 years in a row.

You can get all the information that you need at https://www.whistlerblackcomb.com, including current ski conditions. As of today’s date, Whistler Blackcomb has a 70 inch base and has had 209 inches of snowfall so far this season.

  1. Vail Resort, Vail, Colorado
Solitary skier, Vail
Photo credit: Jack Affleck, courtesy Vail Resorts

Vail Resort is located 100 miles west of Denver International Airport. It has 194 runs – 53% expert, 29% intermediate, and 18% beginner. There are 31 lifts. Vail is one of the largest ski resorts in the world with 5,289 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain, seven legendary Back Bowls spanning seven miles, and the most groomed terrain on the planet. Lodging at Vail is more comprehensive than just about anywhere. Skiers can go downmarket into older condo units or stay in a variety of high end accomodations.

You can find all of Vail’s information at http://www.vail.com, including current snow conditions. As of today’s date, there is a 51 inch powder base depth, and they have had 127 inches of snow so far this season.

  1. Aspen Snowmass, 45 Village Square, Snowmass Village, Colorado
Skier, for Aspen Snowmass
Photo credit: Unsplash, Ales Krivec

The Aspen Pitkin Regional Airport is only six miles from Snowmass, Colorado, and the ski resort is 220 miles from Denver International Airport. There are four resorts to ski here on one lift ticket – Aspen Mountain, Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, and their statistics are listed below:

Trails   Lifts     Skiable Acres

75        6               675         Aspen Mountin

122        5             1,040         Aspen Highlands

44        5               470         Buttermilk

91       18             3332         Snowmass

Vertical Drop            Ski Level Percentages

_________Expert  Intermediate  Beginner

3,267                  52%         48%                0%      Aspen Mountain

3,635                  52%         30%               18%      Aspen Highlands

2,030                 26%         39%               35%      Buttermilk

4,406                 47%         47%                 6%      Snowmass

There are two amazing towns here – Snowmass Village and Aspen. The town of Aspen is generally very busy, but a good thing about skiing this area is that the slopes are normally not too crowded. The website for any information you might need here is https://www.aspensnowmass.com.

  1. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, 2950 Camozzi Rd, Revelstoke, British Columbia V0E 2S1, Canada 
downhill skiing at Revelstoke
Photo credit: Grant Gunderson, courtesy Revelstoke Mtn. Resort

Revelstoke is a seven hour drive from Vancouver and amost a five hour drive from Calgary. It is only a two hour drive from Kelowna International Airport, and there is shuttle service available. There are 69 runs and areas – 47.5% expert, 45.5% intermediate, and 7% beginner. There are 3,121 acres of skiable area. Revelstoke Mountain Resort boasts having Mt. Mackenzie, which is North America’s greatest vertical drop at 5,620 feet.

You can get all the information you need at http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com, including current snow conditions. As of today’s date, there is a base depth of 67 inches, and there has been 277 inches of snowfall this season.

  1. Park City Mountain Resort, 1345 Lowell Ave, Park City, Utah
Park City Scenic Gondola
Photo Credit: Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort is only 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. It has 336 runs – 33% expert, 50% intermediate, and 17% beginner. It also has 42 lifts. During the summer of 2015, the resort undertook the largest resort improvement project in the history of American skiing, one that linked it with neighbor Canyons Resort to create the United States’ largest ski area. It boasts 7,300 acres of skiable area, with a 3,198 foot vertical drop. Park City Mountain Resort was a big part of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Any information you need can be found at http://www.parkcitymountain.com, including current snow conditions. As of today’s date, They have a 64 inch base depth, and they have had 200 inches of snow so far this season.

  1. Beaver Creek Resort, 26 Avondale Lane, Avon, Colorado
skiers at Beaver Creek
Photo credit: Jack Affleck, courtesy Vail Resorts

Beaver Creek Resort is about 100 miles west of Denver, Colorado. It has 150 trails – 5% extreme terrain, 33% advanced, 43% intermediate, and 19% beginner. There are 25 lifts. Because of the way slopes are groomed and the way the woods are situated, beginners and intermediate skiers here get treated to the big views and uppermost parts of the mountain that are usually reserved for experts. There are 1,832 acres of skiable area, as well as a 4,040 foot vertical drop.

You can find information at http://www.beavercreek.com, including current ski conditions. As of today’s date, the powder base depth is 47 inches, and they have had 144 inches of snow so far this ski season.

BONUS:  Wolf Creek Ski Area, Top of Wolf Creek Pass, U.S. Hwy. 160 E., Pagosa Springs, Colorado 

downhill skier, Wolf Creek
Photo credit: WolfCreekSki.com

From my family’s personal experience, I want to add our favorite ski lodge – Wolf Creek. It is located in the San Juan/Rio Grande National Forest, at Wolf Creek Pass on Highway 160, between Pagosa Springs and South Fork, Colorado (80 miles east of Durango, Colorado). It is a small ski area with only 45 runs and nine lifts. Their runs are 45% advanced, 35% intermediate, and 20% beginner. It has 1,600 acres of skiable area, and a 1,604 vertical drop.

Wolf Creek, as a general rule, boasts “The Most Snow in Colorado,” with a reported annual snowfall of 430 inches. As a general rule, it snows early in the season here, so planning a trip at Thanksgiving usually works well.

Obviously, Forbes’ Top 10 ski resorts are amazing and seemingly have no end to exciting dining, shopping, sporting, and other one-of-a-kind experiences to offer, and we do not disagree with any of their choices. However, since we have taken numerous trips to Wolf Creek, and both of our daughters (now in their mid 20’s) learned to ski in their Wolf Pups program, we have great memories there with friends and family, and I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention it and let you know how nice it is.

You can get all the information you might need at https://wolfcreekski.com, including current snow and skiing conditions. As of today’s day, they have a depth of 107 inches, and have had 248 inches of snowfall year to date.

     

I hope that you get a chance to plan a ski trip at some point in time, if not this winter, then perhaps in the next year or so.

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