Resort Guide

Readers' Top-Ranked Ski Resorts in the West 2021

The top results of our reader-ranked survey for resorts across Western North America.

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

2021 Resort Guide Sun Valley Idaho
Idaho has more than just potatoes. Photo courtesy of Sun Valley

“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

Robin Barnes at Deer Valley
A skiers-only mountain with famous grooming.Photo credit: Keri Bascetta

“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. 

2021 Resort Guide Whitefish Mont.
No friends on a bluebird Whitefish pow day. Photo credit: Grant Gunderson

“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.

2021 Resort Guide Taos Ski Valley
Experience the enchanting vibes that keep skiers coming back for New Mexico skiing. Photo courtesy of Taos Ski Valley

“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.

2021 Resort Guide Aspen Snowmass
Exquisite colors to ring in the Aspen nightlife. Photo courtesy of Aspen Snowmass / Tamara Susa

“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.

Resort Guide 2021 Telluride, Colo.
Take the gondola up from Town. Photo courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort

“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.

Resort Guide 2021 Whistler Blackcomb
8,171 acres to find your favorite line. Photo credit: Eric Berger

“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. 

Horses on Main street in Steamboat, CO
Experience Steamboats true cowboy town. Photo courtesy of Steamboat Resort

“Great family-friendly resort. Something for everyone on and off the ski hill. Western small-town atmosphere.”

No. 9: Beaver Creek, Colo.

Resort Guide 2021 Beaver Creek
Don’t let the perfect groomers distract you from all Beaver Creek has to offer.   Photo courtesy of Beaver Creek / Jon Resnick

“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.

Crested Butte at night
Views all day and night.Photo courtesy of CBMR

“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

This young grom is stoked to hit the Canis Lupis at Park City Mountain.
Family fun for everyone. Photo courtesy of Park City Mountain

“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's Lake Chutes and more High Alpine Terrain
There’s more to Breck than family-friendly terrain and a cute main street.Photo courtesy of Breckenridge Ski Resort

“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.

Jackson Hole Tram
The famous Jackson tram serving iconic chutes and couloirs.Photo courtesy The Rolling Van

“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. 

2021 Resort Guide Vail Colo.
Avoiding the weekend crowds in Game Creek Bowl. Photo courtesy of Vail / Tomas Cohen

“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

Lake Louise gondola
Lake Louise scores #1 for views.Photo courtesy of Ski.com / Jake Burchmore

“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

Banff Sunshine
Everyone loves a bluebird day in Banff.Photo courtesy of Banff Sunshine/Ruben Krabbe

“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. 

Resort guide 2021 Winter Park colorado
Family fun cruisers for everyone. Photo courtesy of Winter Park

“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.

Resort Guide 2021 Arapahoe Basin Colo.
Steep and deep. Photo courtesy of Arapahoe Basin / Ian Zinner

“Best Culture and vibe. Incredibly diverse terrain. Consistently great snow. No other place like it.”

No. 19: Keystone, Colo. 

Keystone Resort benefits from historic October snowfalls at the start of the 2019-2020 season.
Finding the goods. Photo courtesy of Keystone Resort

“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.

Three people stand on skis at Mammoth Mountain and laugh. All wearing different combinations of black, orange, and light teal. Rolling hills covered…
Big mountain, big smiles. Photo Courtesy of Mammoth Mountain

“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 Lake Tahoe
A resort that lives up to its name- heavenly. Photo Courtesy of Heavenly

“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. 

Lone Peak Big Sky
Ski the biggest vertical drop in the United States from the summit of Lone Peak. Courtesy of Jon Resnick/Big Sky Resort

“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 

2021 Resort Guide Alta Ski Area Thumb
There’s nothing like a pow day in Little Cottonwood Canyon.Photo courtesy of Lee Cohen

“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. 

Banner Peak on Copper Mountain with avalanche crown
Photo courtesy of the Sawtooth Avalanche Center / Tanner Haskins

“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.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Calif.
Experience the lively village of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Photo courtesy of Squaw Alpine Meadows

“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.

Revelstoke Chairlift
As good as it gets in Interior BC.Photo credit: Ryan Creary

“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

2021 Snowbird Resort Guide
Faceshots for days. Photo courtesy of Adam Barker

“The Bird is Awesome for Pow and Steep and Deep. It makes your ski dreams come true.” 

No. 28: Grand Targhee, Wyo.

Powder day at Grand Targhee Resort
No overpriced fluff, but plenty of the white stuff. Photo Courtesy of Grand Targhee Ski Resort

“A classic old school resort. Amazing snow, no crowds. Worth the effort to get there.”

No. 29: Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah

Solitude Mountain Resort 2021 Resort Guide
Find your solitude at the Cottonwoods hidden gem. Photo courtesy of Solitude Mountain Resort

“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 Ski Area powder day Resort Guide rank 30
“Great local mountain with big mountain skiing.”Photo courtesy of Loveland Ski Area / Casey Day

“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.”