Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Whether you are searching for sunny bluebird days, scenery that stops you mid-run, or powder up to your chest, ski resorts of the west have you covered. From large family destinations to old-school local mountain vibes, these are readers’ top-ranked resorts and why they keep coming back for more.
Click on photos to learn more about each resort.
No. 1: Sun Valley, Idaho
“Sun Valley is a resort of its own making. It doesn’t try to keep up, it sets the standards and continues to find that rare balance of resort and western ski town.”
No. 2: Deer Valley, Utah
“Deer Valley delivers first class in every aspect but with a first-class price tag. My favorite in Utah for cruising groomers all day.”
No. 3: Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.
“Whitefish has a wonderful mix of an authentic western town very close to the resort, excellent, varied terrain, good snow, and a really friendly, fun vibe. Plus you can’t beat the value. The downsize is frequent fog—but when it is clear on top of the mountain, the view of Glacier National Park is amazing!”
No. 4: Taos Ski Valley, N.M.
“I love Taos Ski Valley! The mountain is majestic and spiritual with amazing terrain. 98% of the time, there are no lines and you seem to have the mountain to yourself. The staff is very friendly and accommodating, going above and beyond. The ski school is the best. The vibe is like no other resort.”
No. 5: Aspen Snowmass, Colo.
“The “Power of Four” mountains at Aspen/Snowmass provides incredible options for all ski levels. Combine this with the amazing dining, entertainment, and apres-ski venues for the best of ski and winter vacations. And the natural beauty of surrounding panorama makes Aspen/Snowmass a Crown Jewel of the world!”
No. 6: Telluride Ski Resort, Colo.
“An amazing place – everything you want in a resort. Amazing scenery, charming town, phenomenal restaurants, and a wide variety of terrain.”
No. 7: Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.
“Probably the best all-around ski resort in North America. On-mountain and in-town food is superb, terrain is as good as it gets, plenty of great lodging options, and the drive to Whistler is unforgettable.”
No. 8: Steamboat, Colo.
“Great family-friendly resort. Something for everyone on and off the ski hill. Western small-town atmosphere.”
No. 9: Beaver Creek, Colo.
“No lift lines, cliff drops, free cookies, and a side-country to get lost in. What’s not to like?”
No. 10: Crested Butte, Colo.
“There’s nowhere like Crested Butte. The extreme terrain is ridiculous. Spellbound and Third bowls feel like another planet. The banana chute and others off the peak are sublime 2,000 ft vertical lines through perfect trees, chutes, and ridges. The views into the West elks and toward Aspen will drop your jaw. The town is quirky and fun with amazing pizza at Secret Stash and a special rum distillery.”
No. 11: Park City Mountain, Utah
“Park City is easy to get to, has great snow and quality terrain for all abilities and a charming town.”
No. 12: Breckenridge, Colo.
“Breckenridge combines its natural beauty and great skiing perfectly! There are tons of trails, with a great variety of skill-level. The town is sleek and fun! Breck was a wonderful place to take our family skiing. Downside is the distance from Denver Airport. It takes a long shuttle ride to and from to get there, especially on a holiday or a playoff game weekend!”
No. 13: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyo.
“Although Jackson Hole has certainly seen its share of development over the years it remains my favorite in North America. Most appropriate for advanced skiers.”
No. 14: Vail, Colo.
“The mountain and the village are what bring us to Vail. Vail feels like 3 different mountains—front, back bowls, and Blue Sky. Each has a different feel and each has a tremendous amount of terrain. We love Vail village—being able to walk everywhere is a plus.”
No. 15: Lake Louise, Alberta
“The best scenery of any resort in North America! No on-mountain lodging or after skiing restaurants or bars, but great skiing with runs for everyone, including great steep on the backside. And did I mention the scenery of the Canadian Rockies!”
No. 16: Banff Sunshine, Alberta
“Consistently good snow and spectacular scenery. The nearby town of Banff is a great place to stay, dine, and shop.”
No. 17: Winter Park, Colo.
“Everything seems to be just right at this resort. The right details are prioritized, without anything seeming over the top or stuffy. The terrain is great with variety, express lifts serving all skill levels of terrain.”
No. 18: Arapahoe Basin, Colo.
“Best Culture and vibe. Incredibly diverse terrain. Consistently great snow. No other place like it.”
No. 19: Keystone, Colo.
“Keystone is a hidden gem. Family-friendly yet with steep terrain, outback, trees, bumps & an amazing terrain park. When I take people skiing to Keystone by the end of the day they are in love with the resort.”
No. 20: Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
“Our home away from home! I’ve been coming to Mammoth just about every year since 3 years old. Can’t say enough good things, from the incredible ski terrain to the town and dining options. We love spending family vacation time in the beautiful mountains of Mammoth Mountain!”
No. 21: Heavenly Mountain Resort, Calif.
“Heavenly is a great intermediate mountain with the nicest runs on top of the mountain. Great views of Lake Tahoe on one side and Carson Valley on the other side. Resort straddles Nevada and California and you can ski back and forth to the two states. Good tree skiing. Excellent nightlife with four major casinos a stone’s throw from the California base lodge.”
No. 22: Big Sky Resort, Mont.
“Big Sky was above and beyond what I expected. After skiing 100 days per year for 31 years in Vail and thinking that was skiing, I felt born again. The soul of skiing was once again instilled in me.”
No. 23: Alta Ski Area, Utah
“Alta magic. Snow, challenge, and the overall vibe is some of the best anywhere, and it really is hard to beat it. Its neighbor, Snowbird, rivals it, but both of them being so close means that they are more friends than anything else. The hike-to terrain at the resort is next level, with some of the most fun and steepest areas I have skied anywhere, and it always seems like there is another big storm on the horizon, even if it is in the middle of one, which I have been part of multiple times! If you need tons of extra activities in the area and a fancy village to go to, look elsewhere, but if you love powder, challenging steeps, and just a great time on the mountain, look no further than Little Cottonwood Canyon!”
No. 24: Copper Mountain, Colo.
“Copper has a down to earth vibe, plus great and varied skiing. Enough challenging slopes on different pitches that you can always find some great snow and a good run.”
No. 25: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Calif.
“All skiers should try to ski Squaw/Alpine at least one time in their life…it’s a good old fashion, friendly resort. It has everything for all abilities.”
No. 26: Revelstoke Mountain Resort, B.C.
“Awesome place in the middle of nowhere. Super fun for skiers looking for advanced terrain and vertical feet. Also an amazing starting point for backcountry touring. Can’t beat the views on a sunny day.”
No. 27: Snowbird, Utah
“The Bird is Awesome for Pow and Steep and Deep. It makes your ski dreams come true.”
No. 28: Grand Targhee, Wyo.
“A classic old school resort. Amazing snow, no crowds. Worth the effort to get there.”
No. 29: Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah
“Great snow, it’s Utah! No crowds compared to other Utah resorts. Deceivingly challenging terrain if you know where to explore! Good value with a major city at the doorstep.”
No. 30: Loveland Ski Area, Colo.
“Loveland is an old-style ski area, not a resort. Go, have a great day on the slopes, then go home. Easy to get to, and the terrain makes it worth riding old, slow double-chairs.”