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Resort Guide 2021: Best Challenge in the West

Top 10 resorts in the West for Challenge, according to SKI's Reader Resort Survey.

1. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyo.

Jackson Hole Top 10 Challenge
Jackson Hole, Wyo.Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole has so many challenging areas that it can keep you busy for an entire week. Town of Jackson has great food and shopping options to keep entire family happy.”

2. Taos Ski Valley, N.M.

“I had heard Taos has steep terrain, but I did not believe it would compare to larger, more well-known resorts. I have skied in Colorado, British Columbia, California and the steep runs at Taos can hang with them all. There are lots of options for the steeps, some available only through hiking and others through the Kachina Peak lift.” 

3. Snowbird, Utah

Snowbird powder Resort Guide 2020
Brain freeze-friendly at Snowbird.Photo courtesy of Snowbird / Scott Markewitz

“Best snow, longest season, best big-mountain skiing around. You can find steeps facing almost every direction to find the best snow. Ski the ‘bird!”

4. Big Sky, Mont.

Big Sky Top 10 Challenge
Big Sky, Mont.Jeff Engerbretson

Big Sky is a great resort with challenging terrain and a nice vibe!”

5. Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colo.

Crested Butte, Colo.: Come for tough terrain and a great ski town.
Really exploring the challenge of CBMR.Photo courtesy of Trent Bona/CBMR

Crested Butte has the best expert terrain I’ve skied in the continental U.S. Between the expert terrain and the local flavor, it;s a diehard’s dream. Everything a great skier needs for a real ski trip.”

6. Alta Ski Area, Utah

7. Arapahoe Basin, Colo.

Arapahoe Basin
It just looks steep.Photo credit: Keri Bascetta

“The amount of advanced terrain means Arapahoe Basin punches well above its size.”

8. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, B.C.

“I am an expert skier and Revelstoke has been on my hit list for a few years and didn’t disappoint. Fantastic terrain and lots of easily accessible off-piste areas in the resort. It also has a charming ski town with great bars and restaurants.”

9. Squaw Alpine, Calif.

Squaw Top 10 Snow
Inviting but challenging.Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

“Squallywood is the Mecca of skiing, with everything viewable from the lifts you best bring your “A” game. On top of having some of the most exhilarating runs Squaw Alpine provides challenges that will make any skier think twice! The vibe is so energetic and fun unlike anywhere else I’ve ever skied.”

10. Telluride Ski Resort, Colo.

Telluride Top 10 Challenge
Telluride, Colo.Telluride Ski Resort

Telluride feels much bigger in person than the trail map looks, and there are just so many great areas of the mountain to explore. The variety is awesome, and the expert terrain is crazy, and you can hike to so much extra stuff that really raises your hairs.”

Read More Top 10s in the West from our 2021 Reader Resort Survey: