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Resort Guide 2022

The Top 10 Resorts in the West Guaranteed to Make You Want to Return

What is Overall Satisfaction, anyway? These 10 resorts serve up well-rounded ski trips that will make you want to come back for more.

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Ah, the Overall Satisfaction category, the most elusive unicorn of them all. The resorts included in this list can’t be neatly categorized in any one way; they’re not all luxury resorts, they’re not all skiers’ hills. What they are is unequivocally loved by the people who visit year after year—locals and out-of-towners alike. Now that’s something. These 10 resorts earned top scores for Overall Satisfaction in SKI’s 2022 Reader Resort Survey.

Top 10 Resorts in the West for Overall Satisfaction

10. Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.

Score: 9.00
Other Strengths: Local Flavor (#2), Value (#2)

Snow (#23), Lifts (#23)

What Readers Say

“Big mountain with challenging skiing and some of the nicest people you will ever meet at Whitefish Mountain Resort and in the town of Whitefish.”

“Great skiing and great people. Most who come here come to ski and enjoy the outdoors. Wish less people would come here expecting us (or trying to change us) to be like the big corporate resorts.”

“Great mountain for all levels. Love the small resort feel and small crowds. Amazing scenery. Tougher to get there.”

9. Alta Ski Area, Utah

Score: 9.01
Other Strengths: Snow (#1), Value (#11)

Weaknesses: Grooming (#30), Family (#30)

Alta Overall Satisfaction
afternoon pow (Photo: Christopher Whitaker)

What Readers Say

“This is a skiers’ mountain. This is a ski survey so snow, terrain, and challenge are important. Après and dining are silly categories to rate skiing!”

“We love Alta. The accessibility is difficult due to the canyon but once you are there it is great. Varied terrain, great snow and such a great vibe. We love Collins and sitting out on the Adirondack chairs with an afternoon beer. You can just feel that people are there because they LOVE to ski. And it’s infectious!”

“The only problem with having an Alta-Bird pass is deciding which resort to primarily ride throughout the day. I grew up loving Snowbird but the more time I spend skiing Alta, the more I fall I love with the place. Little Cottonwood Canyon Road can be a bit of a nightmare when it’s snowing heavily, but there’s no better place in the world to ski on a powder day. Alta is a classic U.S. ski area and it would be a shame if it got a luxury makeover.”

8. Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Score: 9.02
Other Strengths: Family (#2), Lodging (#2)

Weaknesses: Challenge (#31), Variety (#30)

Deer Valley Overall Satisfaction
(Photo: Deer Valley Resort)

What Readers Say

“I would recommend this resort to any skier of any ability. One of the best ski resort experiences top to bottom.”

“The most convenient skiing ever. Easy access to the lifts, easy travel from one part of the mountain to another. Great huts on each mountain with great coffee. Great dining on the mountain!”

“This is like skiing at a five-star resort. The mountain has everything you could ask for, from easy to very, very challenging.”

7. Banff Sunshine, Alb.

Score: 9.09
Other Strengths: Grooming (#4), Snow (#5)

Weaknesses: Nightlife (#18), Challenge (#18)

Banff Sunshine Overall Satisfaction
(Photo: Nic Groulx)

What Readers Say

“Beautiful part of the Rockies, almost European views. Banff is just down the highway and is a great ski town. No unsightly condos or development. Snow is better than Lake Louise.”

“I buy a seasons pass to Sunshine. It has a seven-month season, November to end of May. The snow is all natural and has consistent snowfall and high elevation. Great family resort with a variety of terrain. Staff and locals are friendly.”

“I have skied in many places before, including in big Colorado resorts. Sunshine is bar far the best resort I have skied in before. Snow is great. The isolated natural setting of the resort is unmatched. It’s an absolutely unique and amazing place to spend the winter doing what you love..”

6. Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Score: 9.13
Other Strengths: Lifts (#2), Access (#3)

Weaknesses: Nightlife (#29), Lodging (#30)

What Readers Say

“Bottom to top high-speed lifts or gondolas and Snowbasin does all of the ‘little things’ really well. I have never, not one time—over the course of nine years of season passes—found the resort to be anything less than immaculately prepared and staffed by individuals who go out of their way to help anyone and everyone.”

“Great vibe, great offering, not pretentious, enough terrain to keep a season pass holder happy and challenged, great adaptive ski program (my wife is an adaptive skier).”

“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.”

5. Aspen Snowmass, Colo.

Score: 9.14
Other Strengths: Lifts (#3), Variety (#4)

Value (#22), Access (#19)

Aspen Overall Satisfaction
(Photo: Matt Power)

What Readers Say

“Formerly skied Ajax but now like Snowmass as at 87 don’t have to fight the chutes at end of the day. Aspen and Snowmass are very different and should not be lumped together. While great bus service between both, people tend to stay at one resort. Snowmass has few restaurants while Aspen many good spots.”

“I visited Snowmass for the first time this year. I thought Aspen was going to be a snooty town but I was so wrong. People were nothing but friendly and welcoming. Snowmass is a wonderful mountain with terrain for all levels. Yes, it’s expensive but I can’t wait to come back!”

“We have returned to Snowmass 22 years in a row. It is our benchmark for all other ski resorts. The convenience factor cant be beat. Shuttle at the airport delivers us to our hotel. Snowmass Mountain Chalet is slope side. They serve breakfast and lunch as part of their lodging fare.”

4. Arapahoe Basin, Colo.

Score: 9.17
Other Strengths: Value (#3), Local Flavor (#5)
Weaknesses: Lodging (#31), Grooming (#29)

Arapahoe Basin Overall Satisfaction
Skier: Scott Wilkins – Photo: Casey Day – Location: Steep Gullies, Arapahoe Basin, Colorado (Photo: Casey Day)

What Readers Say

“This was my first visit to A-Basin. Scenery wasn’t part of the rankings this year, but A-basin is definitely underrated in that category. Beautiful craggy mountains above and a great view of more distant mountains.”

“I learned here, grew up here and love every day I come back. Usually first to open and last to close, the Basin exudes the essence of the sport. To hell with nightlife and lodging, this place is like Chaz Michael Michaels … it IS skiing!”

“Come for the skiing, stay for the Bloody Marys! A-Basin has some of the tastiest and most affordable on-mountain dining around. Parking is super easy and free, but that’s assuming you successfully make it over Loveland Pass or Swan Mountain Road in the early hours.”

3. Telluride Ski Resort, Colo.

Score: 9.23
Other Strengths: Lodging (#4), Variety (#3)

Weaknesses: Overall Satisfaction (#34), Service (#34)

Telluride Overall Satisfaction
Brody Leven and Chason Russell booting up towards Palmyra Peak, Telluride Ski Area, Colorado (Photo: Fred Marmsater)

What Readers Say

“The resort and mountain feels 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!”

“This is our favorite resort to travel to. We can have the whole family skiing and don’t ever feel over crowded or rushed. Gorgeous runs for mom and dad with the best ski school for young kids!”

2. Taos Ski Valley, N.M.

Score: 9.29
Other Strengths: Challenge (#1), Value (#5)

Weaknesses: Access (#27), Nightlife (#23)

Taos Overall Satisfaction
(Photo: Claire Mylott)

What Readers Say

“Regular visitor since 1975!! Have recommended it to many friends who all rate the resort as one of the very best. Friendly and unique resort with plenty of groomers and enough challenges for any one.”

“Taos is an extremely challenging mountain that provides a great experience for everyone. The ski school is the best in the country, and all of the instructors are great teachers and great people. Taos Ski Valley is the one place I have ever been where everyone is happy.”

“Taos Ski Valley has amazing terrain, a fantastic ski school, and a great community. We have made many friends who have become family—other guests and locals. I learned to ski in Taos as an adult, thanks to the ski school, I’m now skiing double-black-diamonds regularly (in less than 10 years).”

1. Sun Valley, Idaho

Score: 9.49
Other Strengths: Local Flavor (#1), Après (#2)

Weaknesses: Snow (#22), Access (#24)

Sun Valley Overall Satisfaction
(Photo: Sarah Mansfield)

What Readers Say

“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. Locals are friendly, jerry factor is small due to the difficulty of getting there, and best of all, the snowboarders have their own mountain. Ah, peace, quiet, and safety. Priceless.”

“I love Sun Valley. So much variety. Something for everyone. My kids and family love it. All kinds of entertainment. This place is an absolute gem.”

“Sun Valley is pretty much Deer Valley without the crowds. Authentic town, great food, perfect groomers, more vertical, and less crowds. Not to mention the lodges.”

“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.”