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Resort Guide 2022

These 10 Resorts Have the Best Corduroy in the West

You don't have to worry about rough patches and death cookies at these resorts.

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Anyone who’s had the pleasure of making turns on a pristinely groomed run knows that skiing corduroy can be as good as skiing powder (discuss). And though every ski resort has groomed runs, not all groomed runs live up to that kind of hype. It takes a fleet of experienced snowcat drivers and skilled mountain ops teams to perfect the art of grooming, and some ski resorts know that—and support the cause—better than others. According to SKI readers, these 10 resorts have a reputation for smoothing over every last ice patch, death cookie, and rough seam to deliver the highest quality snow grooming in the West.

Top 10 Resorts in the West for Grooming

No. 10: Vail Mountain, Colo.

Score: 8.57
Other Strengths: Après (#8), Terrain Variety (#10)
Weaknesses: Value (#34), Local Flavor (#32)

Vail Mountain CO grooming
(Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“Greatest terrain. Amazing grooming. Great on-mountain dining (The 10th). Lots of dining options off-mountain. After skiing here for 30 years and going someplace else, you appreciate how nice it is.”

“Vail is my favorite resort. Back Bowls are second to none in terms of variety and challenge. Terrain offers so many runs and variety that you can ski for days without repeating the same runs. Grooming on the frontside is A+.”

No. 9: Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

Score: 8.58
Other Strengths: Lifts (#7), Terrain Variety (#5)
Weaknesses: Snow (#24), Value (#26)

mammoth mountain scenic
(Photo: Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain)

What Readers Say

“Such a huge resort with so much skiing above the tree line. Great vibe! Excellent grooming and killer steep stuff.”

“Mammoth may not have the greatest snow on earth but it definitely has a lot of it and the best runs to go with it.”

“If you ski to ski, Mammoth is great. It’s got challenging terrain, great windblown snow, and the best spring skiing available. It is not Aspen or Vail for restaurants and pricey nightlife, but it does have a fun après ski scene.

No. 8: Telluride, Colo.

Score: 8.58
Other Strengths: Dining (#4), Terrain Variety (#3)
Weaknesses: Access (#30), Value (#20)

What Readers Say

“The resort and mountain feel like a private club. Hardly any lines. The runs are long and varied. Snow quality and grooming is consistent. The trees are beautiful. It’s such a peaceful and pretty mountain.”

“Telluride is amazing because of the quality of snow and terrain, and it’s never as busy as so many other resorts we’ve skied! We keep going back to it over and over again because we just can’t find anything as good anywhere else we’ve been!”

No. 7: Copper Mountain, Colo.

Score: 8.62
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety (#7), Lifts (#5)
Weaknesses: Dining (#23), Challenge (#20)

Copper Mountain grooming
(Photo: Courtesy of Copper Mountain)

What Readers Say

“Great terrain variety thanks to north, south, east, and west facing slopes. Very good grooming, large areas of the mountain left natural, which means powder can be found in multiple locations.”

“Never crowded and great snow. Depending on how I’m feeling on any given day, there’s plenty to keep my ADD at bay! Enchanted forest for trees, Woodward to huck off stuff, and 3 Bears to get crazy.”

No. 6: Beaver Creek, Colo.

Score: 8.81
Other Strengths: Guest Service (#7), Family-Friendly (#10)
Weaknesses: Snow (#25), Terrain Variety (#27)

Beaver Creek Resort Colorado grooming
(Photo: John Resnick)

What Readers Say

“Great grooming. Terrain offers less variety and challenge than Vail but you can find steeps and vertical if you know where to look. Cookies at end of the day are awesome.”

“Beaver Creek is the resort I ski at and it does have a special place in my heart: It has the best kids ski school, the resort feels more personal because the village is not too big, and the staff is fantastic and go above and beyond to give you a great experience. The terrain is challenging overall. Unfortunately, I had to give a 7 for grooming because the quality has really degraded over the last 3 years. It used to be ‘delicious.’ Vail wins on this now. Also, it seems to be crowded more often throughout the season compare to a few years ago.”

“My favorite place—easy to get to and town of Avon has grocery store options, liquor store, shops, and I can walk to all. The grooming is outstanding and there are lots of runs for beginner and intermediate skiers, too. Great mountain.”

No. 5: Aspen Snowmass, Colo.

Score: 8.83
Other Strengths: Lifts (#4), Nightlife (#2)
Weaknesses: Value (#22), Access (#19)

Aspen Snowmass Grooming
(Photo: Matt Power)

What Readers Say

“Aspen Snowmass is hands down the best all-around resort offering in the United States. The community and mountain experiences create an unparalleled experience that cannot be found elsewhere. The guest service and grooming is second to none, and oh by the way, the food is amazing!”

“Best grooming, terrain parks, gated terrain, trees!! I would recommend to anyone who loves sliding on a hill. It’s special to me because of the town history and location. So beautiful!”

“I ski here 40-50 days a year. I have yet to go anywhere else in Colorado or Utah and have the same quality of service, grooming, or terrain variety.”

No. 4: Banff Sunshine, Alb. 

Score: 8.88
Other Strengths: Snow (#5), Lifts (#6)
Weaknesses: Challenge (#18), Nightlife (#18)

"Banff Sunshine"
(Photo: Courtesy of Banff Sunshine/Ruben Krabbe)

What Readers Say

“The staff are friendly and helpful, the terrain is great, the grooming is fantastic, the all-natural snow ( lots of it!) is amazing, and the instructors are very professional. Also Sunshine has the longest ski season in the area, so we get to ski for seven months of the year!”

“Sunshine is a great ski resort for all ages and abilities, varied terrain, loads of snow and great runs for me as an intermediate.”

“This resort is high elevation, keeping the snow well preserved all season. The resort is easy to access from Banff, where you can enjoy the Banff nightlife. The downside is the resort is in Banff National Park, which requires purchasing a park pass (about $10 per adult) just to park in the resort parking lot.”

No. 3: Snowbasin, Utah

Score: 9.01
Other Strengths: Lifts (#2), Guest Service (#2)
Weaknesses: Lodging (#30), Nightlife (#29)

Snowbasin Utah grooming
(Photo: Courtesy of Snowbasin)

What Readers Say

“A friend said to go check it out, as it is a hidden gem. It truly was, with a family-friendly feel and vibe. All employees were beyond helpful, gracious, and super nice.”

“Great snowmaking, Excellent grooming, awesome top to bottom runs. Not as good as Sun Valley, but it ranks very well in my book.”

“Snowbasin is a wonderful mountain. I skied and raced there as a kid. It’s familiar and convenient. The snowmaking and grooming are state of the art. Climate change is definitely impacting the snow volume and quality. I see less snow every year and the powder is denser each year. It’s not the champagne, face shot snow of day’s gone by. It’s buttery and smooth.”

No. 2: Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Score: 9.47
Other Strengths: Access (#2), Dining (#2)
Weaknesses: Terrain Variety (#30), Challenge (#30)

Deer Valley Grooming
(Photo: Deer Valley Resort)

What Readers Say

“Deer Valley is #1 in North America for dining, snow, grooming, resort staff friendliness, and lodging. It’s a great place to be pampered.”

“As I approach 60 and my knees aren’t what they used to be, I’ve come to value great grooming. I’ve never done the real rough terrain, bumps ,or any of that; I just want nice long steep hills to ski and Deer Valley’s got them. They also have the best on-mountain food of any ski place I’ve been to, great service, and the wonderful town of Park City with great restaurants and shopping. I’d recommend it for other people like me—people who like straight-up quality skiing with excellent snow and service.”

No. 1: Sun Valley, Idaho

Other Strengths: Lifts (#1), Local Flavor (#1)
Weaknesses: Access (#24), Snow (#22)

Sun Valley Grooming
Banks Giberti, Sun Valley, Idaho (Photo: Sun Valley Resort)

What Readers Say

“A bit spendy but you get what you pay for. By far the best grooming system I’ve ever experienced anywhere.”

“For 63 years I have skied throughout the West, Europe and Canada, and Sun Valley does the best job of grooming its terrain of any area in the world. Lift lines are rarely long and service is superior.”

“I’m an old geezer and Sun Valley knows how to cater to those of us who appreciate great grooming, short lines, and good food. Ah, peace, quiet, and safety. Priceless.”

More from the 2022 Resort Guide

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Bring your snorkel to these snowy Western resorts
The top 30 resorts in the West, according to SKI readers