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Resort Guide 2021: Best Lifts in the West

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

1. Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley Top 10 Lifts
Sun Valley, IdahoSun Valley Resort

Sun Valley is beautiful with the best 3,000 vertical feet of steep, uninterrupted runs that is unmatched in all the other resorts I’ve traveled. Plus first-class lodges and lifts that other resorts can’t match. Never lift lines and best snowmaking in the world. Immense western town charm and friendly locals. You can’t beat it.”

2. Deer Valley, Utah

Resort Guide 2018 Deer Valley Overall
Wondering which lift to go to next.Photo courtesy of Deer Valley / Ross Downard

“Love everything about Deer Valley. There is tons of varied terrain for skiers from beginners to experts: great groomers, bountiful bumps, tremendous trees and glades, and challenging chutes. Lifts are incredibly well organized without a lot of traverses and flats.”  

3. Beaver Creek, Colo.

4. Big Sky, Mont.

“I love the feel of Big Sky. It is big enough to spread the skiers out without feeling crowded even at the base. The terrain is challenging for all levels. The lifts are set up in a logical order and you don’t get stuck in sections of the mountain. The town is still small enough to feel relaxed and not over-commercialized.”

5. Aspen Snowmass, Colo.

Skiers under the Aspen Silver Queen Gondola
Great terrain right under the Silver Queen.Photo credit: Keri Bascetta

Aspen Snowmass is huge with efficient lifts that allow you to ski big vertical, plus has great kids lessons and lots of ski-in/ski-out lodging.” 

6. Vail, Colo.

7. Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

8. Snowbird, Utah

Snowbird Top 10 Lifts
The tram is the centerpiece of the Snowbird lift system.Matt Crawley

“Snowbird is in your face fun. High-speed lifts everywhere make it easy to rack up big vertical fast. I love the massive amount of challenging terrain.”

9. Keystone, Colo.

River Run Gondola at Keystone Resort
Powder day!Photo courtesy of Branden Smith

Keystone has an incredible variety of terrain, and it is very accessible through a perfectly designed set of lifts. One can stay close to a beginner while still being able to go through glades and well-spaced tree runs.”

10. Steamboat, Colo.

Steamboat has a bit of something for everyone. The terrain is such that when skiing with friends of different abilities, there are trails that intertwine to allow for you to ski with the group but honor your ability. The on-mountain experience is great, with plenty of helpful staff, high-speed lifts, and skilled ski patrol. It is the best all-around resort I have ever visited.”

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