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Resort Guide 2022

The 30 Best Ski Resorts in the West

Ski's readers have picked the best ski resorts in the western US. Did your favorite make the cut? Read on to see what made our best of the west ski resort list.

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It’s that time of the year again, when SKI releases the results of our annual Reader Resort Survey ranking the top ski resorts in North America. And after the pandemic season we all made it through, it was anyone’s guess which resorts were going to come out on top. In the West, where travel was less restricted, many of you said that you made most, if not all, of your typical ski trips—aside from Canada, as borders were closed. That said, we did see a bump in responses for smaller, independent resorts, and more appreciative comments about them, as well.

Not surprisingly, the West’s biggest resorts bore the brunt of the frustration from readers, with comments about interminably long lift lines and packed slopes dominating the responses this year. Readers both lamented the loss of skiing’s softer side—limited access to the dining and après facilities, less camaraderie after a day on the slopes—and celebrated just skiing without all the bells and whistles. While we anticipate a return to normalcy at ski areas this winter, we acknowledge that the pandemic changed how we ski at the resorts—and that some of us are opting not to, with a newfound love of backcountry skiing.

Whatever the coming season will look like for you, we hope you can use these rankings to inform your vacation choices. As one wise reader wrote, “There is no one resort that ‘has it all’. People need to decide what’s important to them.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

30. Palisades Tahoe, Calif.

Overall Score: 7.83
Strengths: Challenge, Variety
Weaknesses: Grooming, Service

Palisades Tahoe
Connery Lundin drops Granite Peak, Palisades Tahoe (Photo: Jeff Engerbretson)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No. 30, Palisades Tahoe, Calif.

What Readers Say

“You can find whatever you’re looking for at [the former] Squaw/Alpine. The combo of the two gives every resort skier what they’re looking for. There is enough development at both mountains that give sufficient après options but without ruining what makes these mountain American classics. The appeal of Tahoe will almost be focused around the lake. Doesn’t matter what is built around the base of the mountain, they can’t beat the star attraction of Lake Tahoe. They are beginning to turn away the local and semi-local patrons by trying to overbuild around the resort and ruin what makes the mountain unique.”

29. Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah

Overall Score: 7.84
Strengths: Snow, Value
Weaknesses: Dining, Local Flavor

Solitude Utah
(Photo: Eric R. Nelson/Linkchutes.com)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No. 29, Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah

What Readers Say

“Perfect blend of family-friendly groomers and wicked inbounds extreme terrain. Who can beat the Utah powder, really? The resort isn’t crowded, food and such are good and reasonable. Did I mention the skiing? The powder? Only downside is there is really no nightlife to speak of but then again, you’re there for skiing and with the steeps, chutes, trees and cliffs, you’re too fried to party all night and be able to hit it again the next day.”

28. Snowbird Resort, Utah

Overall Score: 7.85
Strengths: Snow, Challenge
Weaknesses: Family, Local Flavor

Snowbird
Reed Snyderman puts on a show for the Mineral Basin liftline. (Photo: Scott Markewitz)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: N0. 28, Snowbird Resort, Utah

What Readers Say

“Snowbird is for skiers and boarders. The snow-sliding experience is epic for those of intermediate abilities and greater. People ski hard and crash early so they can do it all over again the next day. There is little “nightlife,” hardly an issue for those struggling to stay awake much after 8 or 9pm. For those with less interest in the mountain experience, metropolitan Salt Lake City is well under a half hour away and offers the wide variety of options one would expect in any major city.”

27. Alta Ski Area, Utah

Overall Score: 7.89
Strengths: Snow, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Grooming

Alta Ski Area
afternoon pow (Photo: Christopher Whitaker)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.27, Alta Ski Area, Utah

What Readers Say

“Alta is purely for skiing. The terrain variety is amazing and fun for any level skier. It is the resort where I jumped my first big cliff, and is the resort I took my kids to so that they could jump their first cliff. It holds memories and experiences that expanded my skiing reality and love of the sport. I would recommend this resort to anyone. It has all that you need to enjoy a great day on the mountain, whether you stop for lunch or pull it out of your ski jacket pocket.”

26. Heavenly Mountain Resort, Calif.

Overall Score: 7.91
Strengths: Lodging, Nightlife
Weaknesses: Service, Variety

Heavenly, California
(Photo: Rachid Dahnoun)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.26, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Calif.

What Readers Say

“Heavenly is beautiful! The views cannot be beat, desert on the Nevada side and the lake on the California side. Most days are sunny and there is so much terrain to cover. The resort has dining options, but venture out (not far), and you will find great local options. Overall, Heavenly lives up to its name, especially when it comes to the weather and views, but it can be extremely busy and you will spend a lot of time waiting in line and riding lifts to get to everywhere on the mountain.”

25. Big Sky Resort, Mont.

Overall Score: 8.04
Strengths: Variety, Lifts
Weaknesses: Access, Après

Big Sky, MT
(Photo: Jonathan Finch)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.25, Big Sky Resort, Mont.

What Readers Say

“Big Sky was my bucket list ski trip. And it didn’t disappoint! I love everything about this mountain. It’s got terrain for days. A true skiers’ mountain. What it lacks in nightlight and dining options, it makes up for in terrain. I tell people who want to come to Big Sky, if you want to party, it’s not the place. If you want to ski your butt off, go now.”

24. Keystone Resort, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.06
Strengths: Family, Access
Weaknesses: Challenge, Snow

Keystone, Colorado
(Photo: Ben Lindbloom)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.24, Keystone Resort, Colo.

What Readers Say

“I’ve spent the last 10 years skiing in Colorado, and out of all the resorts, I keep coming back to Keystone. It has the right mix of steep and deep tree runs, groomers, and fast access to all of it.”

23. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, B.C.

Overall Score: 8.07
Strengths: Snow, Challenge
Weaknesses: Family, Lifts

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Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.23, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, B.C.

What Readers Say

“One of my favorite ski resorts in Western Canada. The terrain is difficult and the double blacks are extremely challenging. However, for an advanced or expert skier, this is one of the best mountains in Western Canada to really push your skills and experience some of the best steep skiing in the West. Excellent tree runs, bowls, chutes, glades, and gullies. Not a family or beginner- friendly mountain.”

22. Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

Overall Score: 8.09
Strengths: Variety, Lifts
Weaknesses: Access, Value

mammoth
(: Courtesy of Mammoth)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.22, Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

What Readers Say

“I absolutely love Mammoth. It lives up to it’s name as the place is MAMMOTH! It’s cool to ride the Gondola and look out to see all the lifts and terrain available. If you want black and double- black terrain, they’ve got it. You want blues, they have that too! You need some greens for the first-timers and young ones, they have that as well. Well-groomed with fast long runs but also plenty of untouched terrain that’s great for powder or bump skiing. If you want to really ski, go here!”

21. Crested Butte Resort, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.11
Strengths: Local Flavor, Après
Weaknesses: Snow, Access

"Crested Butte Resort Guide 2020"
Rob Dickenson slashes a secret stash in CB’s extreme terrain. 

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.21, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colo.

What Readers Say

“What can you say about a beautiful ski town? It’s called Crested Butte. This place has charm. The skiing is out of this world with some really dry pow and terrain that’s meant to challenge you and humble you.”

20. Vail Mountain, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.12
Strengths: Dining, Nightlife
Weaknesses: Value, Service

Skier in Vail Back Bowls
A skier plunders the pow in the Vail Back Bowls. (: Courtesy of Vail Resorts)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.20, Vail Mountain, Colo.

What Readers Say

“Vail is an amazing place. It’s vast, stunningly beautiful, and has terrain to challenge any level of skier. The Back Bowls, especially Blue Sky Basin, are incredible, and are worth the trip just on their own. However, the sheer size of the place can sometimes be intimidating, and for an intermediate skier like myself, it can be easy to get in over your head, so it’s important to map out your day in advance and talk to some people with local knowledge to get the lowdown.”

19. Loveland Ski Area, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.14
Strengths: Value, Access
Weaknesses: Lodging, Nightlife

Loveland Ski Area, Colorado
(Photo: Casey Day/Powder Factory Skis)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.19, Loveland Ski Area, Colo.

What Readers Say

“Loveland is old school. Affordable. No frills. In the day lodge (practically the only base-area amenity) you’ll see tables of locals who all know each other. They all greet each other by name. Everyone boots up inside, gets a cafeteria coffee and chats at big round tables. It’s so warm and convivial as well as affordable. Must be one of the least expensive day tickets in the state if not the nation. Very friendly, uncrowded, old-school vibe. Reminds me of Vermont in the ’70s before base area villages were even a thing. If you want a mellow, affordable, no stress, no frills day that will leave you relaxed and peaceful, this is the place.”

18. Arapahoe Basin, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.16
Strengths: Value, Local Flavor
Weaknesses: Family, Lodging

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
(Photo: Casey Day/Powder Factory Skis)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.18, Arapahoe Basin, Colo.

What Readers Say

“If I am taking a trip to Colorado, I always make it a point to ski A-basin. I love how it’s a mountain and not a resort, giving you just what you need. Plus the parking lot tailgating is always fun.”

17. Breckenridge Resort, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.20
Strengths: Après, Nightlife
Weaknesses: Value, Service

Breckenridge
(Photo: Liam Doran)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.17, Breckenridge Resort, Colo.

What Readers Say

“Breck offers the ambiance of a small town with big-mountain skiing right outside your door. The variety of terrain, excellent grooming, outstanding local lodging/dining/entertainment options and easy access from Denver make it my top pick for Colorado skiing.”

16. Beaver Creek Resort, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.20
Strengths: Grooming, Service
Weaknesses: Value, Variety

Beaver Creek, Colorado
(Photo: Jon Resnick/Vail Resorts)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.16, Beaver Creek Resort, Colo.

What Readers Say

“Beaver Creek is the best-kept secret in skiing. Just 10 miles west of Vail, it gets 1/4 of the skier traffic, with terrain that in some cases eclipses that of its older brother. It’s the only place in the United States where you can sample a mainstay on the World Cup downhill circuit. I guarantee you’ll never forget the first time you ski past the double-black diamond warning sign that says ‘Race conditions may exist’ and plunge over the Brink, not knowing whether said conditions exist until after it’s too late to turn back.”

15. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyo.

Overall Score: 8.21
Strengths: Challenge, Snow
Weaknesses: Family, Access

Jackson WY
(Photo: Greg Von Doersten)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.15, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyo.

What Readers Say

“Ever since I can remember or maybe since the first time I saw Warren Miller’s “Steep and Deep” (which was when I was pretty young), it was a dream of mine to ride the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram. This dream came true during the ’19/21 season, when my parents and I got out there for a few days. I absolutely loved the chutes at Jackson Hole! Even with poor snow conditions they were still fully covered, and they are long enough to have a lot of fun. I can’t say Jackson Hole would be my first recommendation for beginner skiers, but it is an absolute must for people who are looking for some awesome steep terrain.”

14. Lake Louise Resort, Alb.

Overall Score: 8.23
Strengths: Access, Variety
Weaknesses: Lodging, Overall Satisfaction

"There’s not a bad view to be found across Lake Louise’s 4,200 acres. This shot was taken on the mountain’s frontside, off the Summit lift."

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.14, Lake Louise Resort, Alb.

What Readers Say

“Lake Louise has dry snow and it’s windy so it refreshes most nights even without new snow. You can find dry fresh pow days after a snowfall. The Lake has more expert terrain than the other areas close to home. The avy crew is the best around and the trail crew farm snow better than most ski hills anywhere, capturing our dry snow as it blows over the mountain leaving fresh lines each morning. The views from the hill are some of the best in the world of endless snow-covered mountain peaks. It’s like a dream—no really, just ask people who come here from around the world. There is always good skiing to be had at the Lake, you just need to go.”

13. Park City Resort, Utah

Overall Score: 8.24
Strengths: Access, Dining
Weaknesses: Snow, Value

Park City Utah
A speedy lift network makes getting around Park City’s sizable slopes easy for families. (Photo: Andrew Braden)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.13, Park City Resort, Utah

What Readers Say

“If you are traveling with a larger group, Park City is sure to meet the needs of everyone in your party. The mountain is so ginormous, if you can’t find terrain that interests you, it probably doesn’t exist anywhere. The town of Park City has plenty of shopping and dining options. Overall, Park City should serve any traveling group well. With a huge selection of on-mountain terrain, in-town shopping and dining, and lodging to fit any need, if you can’t find what you need here, you probably aren’t going to find it anywhere else.”

12. Winter Park Resort, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.25
Strengths: Family, Lifts
Weaknesses: Dining, Nightlife

"None"

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.12, Winter Park Resort, Colo.

What Readers Say

“My husband and I try to visit all the different resorts in Colorado in order to find our favorite, and out of the eight we have visited, Winter Park ranks up at the top for both of us. The mountain has a good flow, lift lines were short, the runs were challenging, but not too challenging. It was an overall great experience as we skied first to last lift!”

11. Copper Mountain, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.30
Strengths: Lifts, Access
Weaknesses: Dining, Nightlife

Copper Mountain Colorado
(Photo: Curtis DeVore)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.11, Copper Mountain, Colo.

What Readers Say

“Copper has a huge variety of terrain spread across this large resort, so there are plenty of options for every level. Great, long groomers in both lower-intermediate and upper-intermediate ranges. Limited truly extreme terrain, but even some pockets of deserving double-diamonds in several locations. And much more and better tree skiing than most people know.”

10. Steamboat Resort, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.40
Strengths: Family, Dining
Weaknesses: Challenge, Value

Steamboat Colorado
Billy Grimes blasting through a pillow on the East Face of Steamboat Resort. (Photo: Noah Wetzel )

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.10, Steamboat Resort, Colo.

What Readers Say

“A great family resort. Lots of terrain on the mountain and lots of things to do off the hill. The area around the resort and the town have lots to offer. Great restaurants, bars and a few breweries make Steamboat a great destination. Spring skiing is fun and the outdoor après facilities are a fun time. They even have live music daily outside. ”

9. Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.

Overall Score: 8.42
Strengths: Local Flavor, Value
Weaknesses: Grooming, Snow

Whitefish Montana(Photo: Grant Gunderson)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.9, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.

What Readers Say

“Once you have skied or snowboarded in Whitefish, you will always want to come back. It is the perfect mountain to ski, snowboard and après-ski for beginners, experts and everyone in between. It has everything you want and nothing you don’t want.”

8. Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Overall Score: 8.45
Strengths: Lifts, Service
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Lodging

Snowbasin Utah
(Photo: Cam McLeod)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.8, Snowbasin Resort, Utah

What Readers Say

“I hate letting people in on our secret but sharing is caring. Our resort is one of the best. They work hard for opening day and maintain the mountain so well during the ski season. It can be super busy on Saturday but that’s because the secret is out.”

7. Taos Ski Valley, N.M.

Overall Score: 8.45
Strengths: Challenge, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Access, Nightlife

"None"
Taos Ski Valley

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.7, Taos Ski Valley, N.M.

What Readers Say

“I love the mountain and the vibe of TSV—I’ve been traveling there every winter for over 22 yrs. It has a feel all its own, and their Adult Ski Week program is unparalleled—every time I go I advance my skills. Everyone should experience Taos at least once, but it’s addicting! They get a good amount of snow each season, but even during dry spells the snow is kept in great condition.”

6. Telluride Ski Resort, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.50
Strengths: Variety, Dining
Weaknesses: Value, Access

Telluride, Gold Hill
(Photo: Brett Schreckengost)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No. 6, Telluride Ski Resort, Colo.

What Readers Say

“Telluride is our favorite resort for two reasons. First, the most beautiful ski area, hands down, in the US. Secondly, for the most part, best snow you’ll ski anywhere. A perfect blend of light, yet dense, so you’ll ski better on this snow than on any other. A complete boost for the ego.”

5. Banff Sunshine, Alb.

Overall Score: 8.59
Strengths: Lifts, Snow
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Challenge

Sunshine Village, Alberta, Canada
Curt Hiller takes flight at Sunshine Village. (Photo: Graham McKerrell)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.5, Banff Sunshine, Alb.

What Readers Say

“Once you take the gondola up the mountain you have a variety of lifts to take you to several different peaks with virtually no lines. And the best part is your pass only gets scanned once for the gondola and then never again! On each run I can take easier paths while kids do more challenging runs, then we meet at the lift for another long run.”

4. Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.

Overall Score: 8.55
Strengths: Variety, Nightlife
Weaknesses: Snow, Value

Whistler Blackcomb, BC
Austin Ross bathing in warm light and cold smoke, Whistler Blackcomb, BC. (Photo: Guy Fattal)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.4, Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.

What Readers Say

“Whistler is the total package. You’re surrounded by beautiful mountains and there is a village at the base of the mountain that you can walk to with nightlife and very good restaurants. Everything is right there. You never have to travel again once you get to your destination. And the snow is typically awesome!”

3. Aspen Snowmass, Colo.

Overall Score: 8.68
Strengths: Nightlife, Lifts
Weaknesses: Value, Access

Aspen Mountain, Colorado
Adam Moszynski scores first tracks under the Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain. (Photo: Matt Power)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No. 3, Aspen Snowmass, Colo.

What Readers Say

“Aspen is a wonderful vacation for Coloradans looking to get away from the closer-to-Denver mountains. Downtown Aspen is fantastic and as a somewhat local you can still feel at home and not under the pressure to buy into a ritzy trip. Highlands is a family favorite, but Bonnie’s at Ajax is still one of the best—take a break to grab a sweet treat and coffee.”

2. Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Overall Score: 8.74
Strengths: Family, Access
Weaknesses: Challenge, Variety

Deer Valley, Utah
(Photo: Deer Valley Resort)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.2, Deer Valley Resort, Utah

What Readers Say

“Deer Valley has been the best resort we have skied at thus far. The customer service is exceptional, the Utah powder is like no other, the food/restaurants/amenities/après both at the resort, and in town, are exceptional. I recommend Deer Valley, and Park City, to everyone. These are the reasons why we have skied there numerous times and will continue to go back every opportunity we get.”

1. Sun Valley Resort, Idaho

Overall Score: 8.91
Strengths: Grooming, Service
Weaknesses: Access, Snow

Kent Kreitler in the Burn, Sun Valley
Sun Valley local Kent Kreitler in the Burn. (Photo: Keri Bascetta)

Read the resort review and get trip-planning tips: No.1, Sun Valley Resort, Idaho

What Readers Say

“Sun Valley is just magical. The village and the Lodge can’t be topped. The mountain is perfectly maintained and has perfect pitch on every run. The history makes it fun to be a part of. The Holding family are supreme stewards of this jewel. “