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Resort Guide 2023

Top 10 Resorts in the West for Grooming

The expertly manicured slopes at these ski areas keep corduroy junkies coming back for more all season long.

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When powder is no longer your Holy Grail—or it never was—then you know the importance of an expertly groomed surface. When you set an edge and feel the way it melt into the grooves like hot butter over popcorn. When you’ll happily wake up early for the promise of first tracks down your favorite pitch.

Resort Guide 2023: Top 50 Resorts in North America

The Grooming category is a love-hate relationship for some, but at the end of the day, resorts that know how to tend to their trails and cultivate perfect corduroy boulevards are becoming fewer and far between. These 10 ski areas still embrace the art—and excel at it—according to the results of our 2023 Reader Resort Survey.

Top 10 Resorts in the West for Grooming

No. 10: Vail Mountain, Colo.

Score: 8.15
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses: Value, Local Flavor

Vail Grooming RG23
106001 (Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts/Jack Affleck)

What Readers Say

“Best combination of terrain, snow, grooming, scenery, and weather of any place I have ever been. It can get crowded, but when the whole mountain is open, you can always find place to hide. Love it!”

“Vail has done a great job keeping its Back Bowls both open and skiable. They almost always have at least one black slope groomed, and of course when there’s powder back there, it’s simply the most fun place to ski without grooming.”

“Vail is my go-to resort. Runs are super wide, excellent grooming, and huge variety of terrain. Go days without skiing the same runs! Epic Pass makes skiing affordable including its 20 percent discount on food and rentals. Nonstop flights to Eagle makes traveling there easy too! Great places to eat along with great shopping in the village. Love Vail!

No. 9: Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho

Score: 8.17
Other Strengths: Challenge, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Dining

Schweitzer Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Schweitzer Mountain Resort)

What Readers Say

“A bit of a drive to get to but well worth the drive. Groomers everywhere and long runs. Lifts well placed for all mountain access. A true hidden jewel!”

“This is a really great ski area. I hope it does not get overrun by future skiers. Grooming and terrain are good. They need to run their T-bar every day.”

“Love Schweitzer! I love how much terrain there is, especially the trees. The steep trees are superb. The free bus service up that mountain road is also incredible, makes getting up there easy.”

No. 8: Powder Mountain, Utah

Score: 8.20
Other Strengths: Overall Satisfaction, Value
Weaknesses: Dining, Nightlife

Powder Mt Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Powder Mountain)

What Readers Say

“There is nothing like Powder Mountain anywhere! Although most people love it for the snowcat experience, I love it for the hours I can spend on groomed intermediate slopes with no lift lines and no crowds.”

“Just a great place to be. Family loves it. Not a lot of frills but that’s how we like it.”

“My favorite resort—variety of terrain, no lines, family friendly, amazing views.”

No. 7: Banff Sunshine, Alb.

Score: 8.21
Other Strengths: Overall Satisfaction, Snow
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Access

Banff Sunshine Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Banff Sunshine)

What Readers Say

“Sunshine is a fabulous mountain. I also like to ski Lake Louise when in the area but I enjoy Sunshine more. I have a blast on the runs on Goat’s Eye.”

“Best consistent snow in North America. You have to hike to ski challenging terrain but it is there. Best all-around family resort.”

“Great for taking the kids during their Easter break late in the season because the snow is still good there at that time of year! Lodging and dining at the resort are extremely limited, but there are excellent options in Banff.”

No. 6: Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Score: 8.31
Other Strengths: Access, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses: Lodging, Nightlife

Snowbasin Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Snowbasin)

What Readers Say

“Best snowmaking in the world. Best grooming in the world. Below-average snow year, but the staff made it work all year. Skied three days a week until the end.”

“Short lift lines, 111 runs, two gondolas, nine chairlifts, numerous choices of runs, three gorgeous lodges, wonderful grooming, lots of snowmaking, and no resort pretentiousness!”

“Snowbasin rocks. A few highlights: Luxurious Euro style lodges with good food for a fair price. Awesome terrain, especially for intermediates through experts. Good grooming crew and snowmaking. Amazing lift infrastructure. Our kids did a multi-week ski school program and came out of it skiing black diamonds confidently.”

No. 5: Copper Mountain, Colo.

Score: 8.31
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Family Friendly
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Après

Copper Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Copper Mountain)

What Readers Say

“Best laid out mountain in Colorado. Excellent grooming, easy to get to.”

“Favorite day visit Colorado resort. Rarely any lift lines. Quickest resort to get from parking lot to the top of the mountain. Great variety of terrain. Nice village with good food options (though not a ton of variety).”

“I love Copper! The terrain is great, staff so friendly, great visibility of ski patrol, great lodging and food options, easy to get to. The lift system is great. I would recommend it to all levels of skiers. Great for families and new skiers and plenty of expert terrain. Wish there were a few more places open to grab dinner on the resort and wish there were a few more non-expert level glades to ski. I’ve been coming here for years with my family and the overall vibe, friendliness, ease of getting around and great on-mountain bars make it special!”

No. 4: Beaver Creek, Colo.

Score: 8.41
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Family Friendly
Weaknesses: Value, Nightlife

Beaver Creek Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“Beaver Creek is surprisingly gnarly as far as terrain goes, and has some great chutes and steeps. Their groomers are world class, and the mountain has something for everyone. However, the resort amenities are definitely catered to wealthy tourists and the valley is definitely pricing out locals. Good experience, but not the spot if you want reasonably priced après as a local or budget-minded skier.”

“First time at the Beav this year and it will now be a regular destination mountain for me. My wife loved McCoy park as a beginner skier and being able to ski two fabulous bowls and then work my legs on Grouse Mountain and Birds of Prey was a treat. Lift lines were very short on MLK weekend and the grooming was terrific. Met lots of great locals (multiple people on chairs invited me to their restaurant/bar) and our hotel, being on Epic, was 20 percent off and about 10 feet from a chairlift. Had a blast and can’t wait to go back!”

“Grooming is the best, hands down. At my age, grooming is everything. Personalized shuttles to mountain if you rent on property is the best. The chocolate chip cookies handed out by the Hyatt chef is a perk I remember and my grandchildren remember.”

No. 3: Aspen Snowmass, Colo.

Score: 8.54
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses: Value, Access

Aspen Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Aspen Snowmass)

What Readers Say

“Snowmass has the best-laid-out lift network of any resort I have ever been to. And almost all high-speed lifts with good vertical. Snow grooming is spectacular. Great glades.”

“I have always enjoyed my ski days there and it is one of my two favorite resorts. I recommend it to every skier I know. I love the variety of runs, the grooming, the attitude of employees.”

“The day after we arrived was a sleeper eight-inch powder day on Ajax, and when I strolled up to the gondola in the morning I got a private bucket. In this day and age of resort consolidation and increase lift lines, Aspen Snowmass is still uncrowded on the mountains.”

No. 2: Sun Valley, Idaho

Score: 8.96
Other Strengths: Guest Service, Lifts
Weaknesses: Access, Snow

Sun Valley Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Sun Valley)

What Readers Say

“Crowds have not become an issue here. Service is always great. Quality runs and grooming.”

“Great mountain, steeper than it looks. Great snowmaking/grooming which is important as the snow can be more iffy than Rockies or Wasatch. Difficult to get to but less crowded. A lot less crowded than Park City or Colorado resorts.”

“Great terrain, lifts, and on mountain services, that were fully open (even though there weren’t a lot of guests). Excellent grooming on the primary runs, great snow coverage from a base of manmade snow, and blessed with fresh snow several nights throughout the week.”

“Sun Valley is a very special place. It is one of the few remaining ski towns with true local flavor and unspoiled atmosphere. No huge condo complexes, no lift lines, excellent ski terrain with comprehensive snowmaking and grooming. A real pleasure to ski here, especially with the constant care of the yellow-jacked guest services staff on the mountain. Because it can be tricky flying into Sun Valley during heavy snowfall, getting to the resort is sometimes a challenge. Once there, it is brilliant.”

No. 1: Deer Valley, Utah

Score: 8.99
Other Strengths: Guest Service, Access
Weaknesses: Value, Nightlife

Deer Valley Grooming RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Deer Valley)

What Readers Say

“Best grooming I have ever seen. Lift lines were not bad at all. Staff is super friendly and nice.”

“Deer Valley is Park City plus an additional level of refinement. Grooming and service are a notch better, but the price is higher in exchange. Terrain is mostly groomed to perfection (which is great), but you can find ungroomed steeps and bowls if you seek them out. Great mountain (with a bit of the wild removed).”

“Deer Valley service even in the post-Covid era was still on par. Drought took a toll on snow this year, like everywhere, but grooming was still top notch. Dining quality and variety was excellent. Friendly staff and services you don’t see in other resorts. Still the best in the business.”