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Resort Guide 2023

Top 10 Snowiest Resorts in the West

Pack your fat skis and snorkel when you visit these 10 ski areas known for their copious dumps and powder days.

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No matter how many water parks, bowling alleys, and paint-your-own-pottery studios resorts might open, nothing takes the place of cold, hard smoke during your ski vacation. Blame it on the jet stream, El Niño, or wacky mountain weather patterns, but some resorts get more snow than others; the smartest thing you can do is hedge your bets and plan accordingly. According to SKI’s 2023 Reader Resort Survey, these are the resorts that get the most snow in the West. See the entire survey results here.

Top 10 Resorts in the West for Snow

No. 10: Lake Louise, Alb.

Score: 7.94
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses:
Nightlife, Après

Lake Louise Snow RG23
Stan Rey skiing at Lake Louise (Photo: Courtesy of Lake Louise)

What Readers Say

“What a spectacular place! The variety of terrain was excellent but the highlight is the back bowls, with so many ways down, and generally good access (although some of the lifts are old and slow).”

“Lake Louise is a great mountain with lots of different terrain. The snow is usually fantastic. Lines can be long on weekends but the slopes never feel crowded. A really cool vibe with the Kokanee cabin and other areas to stop for a bite and beverage. The only downside is it can be really cold. Upside is the snow stays great all season.”

“Gobs of ultra-light powder. Unparalleled views. Great terrain. Mountain layout makes accessing all terrain easy. Great vibe with stoked, friendly people everywhere. My favorite day skiing ever. Can’t wait to go back.”

No. 9: Taos Ski Valley, N.M.

Score: 8.02
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Local Flavor
Weaknesses:
Nightlife, Après

Taos Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Taos Ski Valley)

What Readers Say

“Great charm, challenge, and uniqueness. Weather, snow, scenery and terrain are also magnificent.”

“Very family friendly, variety of terrain, though extensive expert terrain available. Amazing and copious amounts of snow!”

“Terrain, terrain, terrain. Some of my best powder days ever were there this year.”

“Best skiing in North America when the snow is good.”

No. 8: Winter Park, Colo.

Score: 8.04
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses:
Nightlife, Après

Winter Park Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Winter Park)

What Readers Say

“This is my main mountain. It has a great local vibe, good terrain variety, lots of snow, and a long season.” 

“It is a great Colorado resort that has everything from groomers to the best bumps and steeps in Colorado.”

“I love challenging myself on bumps and Winter Park is the place to ski bumps!”

No. 7: Arapahoe Basin, Colo.

Score: 8.18
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses:
Lodging, Nightlife

Arapahoe Basin Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Arapahoe Basin)

What Readers Say

“If you’re looking for a place with local flair that feels like skiing 25 years ago (in the best possible way), A Basin is your spot. Setting aside the fact that I can be there in an hour from Denver, the Basin is a true skier’s mountain, built for purists who don’t want (or need) the pomp and glitz of a Vail or Beaver Creek. What it lacks in high-speed quads, the Basin makes up for on variety of terrain, gnarly hike-to options and length of season.”

“Extremely easy to get to, parking is free, parking is close to lifts. A-Basin has experts-only terrain and a lot of it and greens that all filter to the same lifts. Dad and mom can go drop some chutes and the kids can rip some groomers.”

“I live in PA now, but was a Colorado resident for 15-plus years. It’s hard to pick a favorite ski location in CO, they’re all amazing. But, A-Basin has kept the small mountain vibe that I love. It’s a local’s locale. Amazing terrain, epic views—it’s truly the best.”

No. 6: Aspen Snowmass, Colo.

Score: 8.31
Other Strengths:
Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses:
Value, Access

Aspen Snowmass Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Aspen Snowmass)

What Readers Say

“Three of the four mountains in the Aspen area are great. Buttermilk is okay for the more beginner group or the park rat. Love the steeps of the Highlands!! If you’re willing to hike Highland Bowl the juice is well worth the squeeze. Snowmass is huge and has a great variety of terrain. Ajax is the biggest small resort that I’ve ever skied. Plenty of steeps and when you ski to the base it feels as if you are going to ski right into town. The Aspen area usually has great snow. Our family makes 2 or 3 trips to the area every year. Although we usually stay in Basalt or Carbondale to get better, more affordable lodging and restaurant options, we highly recommend this place.”

“Snowmass is huge with a great variety of terrain. Snow quality is usually good from mid-winter on. Ski in/ski out lodging is great. Entire Aspen experience is pricey.”

“Maybe we lucked out due to being there during a storm but roads were closed in and out, we had the best five ski days! It was our first time there and we want to go back again for a week at Christmas like we did last year!”

No. 5: Powder Mountain, Utah

Score: 8.57
Other Strengths:
Value, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses:
Dining, Nightlife

Powder Mountain Snow RG23
Powder Mountain – Ian Matteson (Photo: Courtesy of Powder Mountain)

What Readers Say

“I’ve been skiing Powder Mountain long enough now to know how it works and I love the fact that it controls the number of people on the hill on any given day. That makes lift lines easy and backcountry access excellent. They do it the right way and when the snow is good, it’s reallllllyyyyyy good!”

“More elbow room than I knew what to do with. Found plenty of fresh snow days after it last stormed. The snowcat add-on was great and a must-do. The powder keg bar had a great lunch/après vibe.”

“Powder Mountain is my home! It has been the most amazing place to improve my riding. The resort is NEVER crowded (even at full cap days), the vibe is always friendly and you can even find untracked pow a few days post storm. Pow Mow is special for so many reasons, my favorite resort!!”

“Pow Mow is for serious powder skiing. You will not find more untouched powder due to size and capacity limits.”

No. 4: Snowbird, Utah

Score: 8.57
Other Strengths:
Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses:
Après, Nightlife

Snowbird Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Snowbird)

What Readers Say

“Alta and Snowbird are my favorite resorts. Best snow in the West. My best powder days there are the reason I keep coming back.”

“Serious skiers love this place for good reason. Beautiful area, great terrain, and powder caches to be found long after a storm if you know the resort.”

“When you’re at or near the top of the resort, it’s almost like you’re in the Alps. The snow is some of the BEST and there is a great variety of terrain. I love this place … so very, very much.”

“Wonderful expert terrain right off the lift, great snow, and always friendly and welcoming staff.”

No. 3: Grand Targhee, Wyo.

Score: 8.62
Other Strengths:
Value, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses:
Lodging, Nightlife

Grand Targhee Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Grand Targhee)

What Readers Say

“Grand Targhee is a really fun hill and when the snow is good, it’s great! Changes being made on the hill sound like they will really make it an even better hill. Small resorts really are the best bet in skiing as the vibe is always better than any of the giant resorts (I hope that Mammoth and all of the megaresorts are listening but, I doubt it!!!).”

“Some of the best and most reliable snow anywhere. Not much super expert terrain but lots of variety and tons of black terrain that’s perfect for the frequent powder days you’ll have. Uncrowded slopes that you can ski powder on a day or two after a big snowstorm.”

“We love Grand Targhee—it’s a quirky, friendly alternative to Jackson, with usually excellent snow conditions, though a lot of fog. I always recommend it.”

No. 2: Banff Sunshine, Alb.

Score: 8.68
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses:
Nightlife, Access

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

What Readers Say

“Banff Sunshine has a great variety of terrain and had tremendous snow cover this year. The dining was a bit limited due to staffing issues. Staff was all very friendly. And you can’t beat the proximity to the town of Banff, with its great dining, local charm, etc.”

“Elevation allows for great snow, no fake snow here!”

“Is a very unique vibe with a lot of variety. I describe it to people as skiing on the moon on a big mountain terrain park because of how high the base is and all the cool natural features all over the place. Awesome parks too. Big wide-open bowls above tree line. The snow is always great and the season goes until late May which is really cool. Sunshine has two freeride zones in bounds that require avy gear. The town of Banff is really close. So much to do in Banff and the local vibe is great. The additional parking added this year fixed the old parking issues. Other than a flat spot here and there and some wicked cold days it is an awesome place.”

No. 1: Alta Ski Area, Utah

Score: 9.00
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses:
Après, Nightlife

Alta Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Alta Ski Area)

What Readers Say

“Steep and deep. Expert terrain that demands attention and an aggressive (yet chill) attitude. Alf Engen’s gift to expert skiers!

“There is no love greater than what I have for Alta. It feels like (and is) the cradle of skiing. The charming old lodges and the grungy fun of the Peruvian bar. Fantastic and challenging terrain, the best snow anywhere. Love love love.”

“When Alta gets one of its signature dumps there’s no better place to ski!”