Best of the Best - Ski Resorts North America West

This time of the year, many magazines, newspapers, and websites list their “Best Ski Resorts” list. Each publisher will use different ways to make their rankings. Many of them put a high emphasis on snow. Others will look at the resort and the facilities. To try to see who the “Best of the Best Ski Resort in North America (West), we analyzed 15 different lists ranging from USA Today, Ski Magazine, Forbes, Men’s Fitness and many others.

Our analysis was done by taking the top 10 resorts on the various lists. We gave the resorts 10 points for 1st, 9 points for 2nd, etc. We also looked at the number of times the resort was on a list and the average place that the resort had when mentioned. None of the resorts made the top 10 in all the lists which goes to show how different everyone’s approach was.

Below is how the resorts stacked up when we were done. 

  • 1. Whistler-Blackcomb


    With two huge glorious mountains and a vibrant ski village, Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is consistently one of the highest rated mountains in North America and was mention in 13 of the lists we looked at. The biggest reason is that Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort has it all. It can boast to being North America’s largest ski resort with 8,171 skiable acres, 200 trails, and a whopping 5,280 vertical foot drop. Throw in a 22’ superpipe, 6 terrain parks, a lively village, and you can see why Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is one of the top ski resorts in the world.

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  • 2. Jackson Hole

    Jackson Hole

    In 2015, Jackson Hole is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In those 50 years, it has become known as one of the premiere ski mountains in the U.S. known for its amazing scenery and for having some of the most challenging terrain anywhere including Corbet’s Couloir. This is why it was listed as the #1 resort in 4 of the 15 lists. Jackson Hole Ski Resort receives an average of 450 inches of snowfall each year amply covering its skiable terrain of 2,500 acres. It boasts a vertical drop of more than 4,139 feet and a run total of 116.

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  • 3. Telluride


    Telluride Ski Resort has been called the “Most Beautiful Place you’ll Ever Ski”. It boasts some of the steepest, deepest and most diverse terrain of any ski resort in the U.S. and it averages more than 300 inches of snow annually along with 300 days of sunshine each year. Telluride Ski Resort is home to more than 2,000 acres of terrain with a top elevation of 13,150 feet and a whopping 4,425 foot vertical drop. With 127 trails over this huge mountain and uniquely breathtaking scenery, it’s easy to see why Telluride Ski Resort is rated as one of the top overall mountains by numerous ski magazines including 11 of the 15 lists we looked at.

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  • 4. Snowbird


    Snowbird Ski Resort is known for its ample amount of snow and challenging terrain. Snowbird Ski Resort is a powder lover’s dream with over 500 inches of ultra-light powder falling annually allowing them to boast the longest ski season in Utah. The mountain has a 3,240 foot vertical covering 2,500 acres of terrain and 85 runs. It is also home to The Cliff, considered by some to be the best ski hotel in America.

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  • 5. Squaw Valley

    Squaw Valley

    Squaw Valley Resort was host of the 1960 Winter Olympics and it is home to some of the most challenging terrain in the United States. Even though Squaw Valley Resort does have some tough slopes, with a vast 3,600 acres of terrain and 170 trails, Squaw Valley Resort offers an excellent variety of trails for all levels including groomers, steeps, trees, and bowls, skiers and riders are sure to find the perfect challenge. The village was built in a European style and the views are stunning. Taking a trip up the gondola to High Camp is a must when going to Squaw Valley Resort. This funitel is a high-speed gondola that runs on two wires instead of one, allowing it to operate at ultra-fast speeds even in windy conditions.

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  • 6. Vail


    Vail Resort, located in Colorado, is one of the world’s premiere ski resorts. With 5,289 acres of skiable terrain, seven bowls spanning seven miles, and the most groomed terrain in the world, it is one of the largest and most incredible ski resorts in the world that provides skiers/riders an experience that truly is “Like nothing on Earth”. This is why Vail Resort is home to many world-class skiing and snowboarding athletes. Couple this with a Bavarian style village and all of its great restaurants, après-ski, and shops and you see why Vail Resort is one of the highest rated resorts in the world.

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  • 7. Aspen Snowmass

    Aspen Snowmass

    Snowmass Mountain is part of the Aspen Snowmass resorts group of mountains which includes Snowmass Mountain, Aspen Mountain (formally known as Ajax), Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Snowmass has been called the perfect mountain due to its size and variety of terrain. You can ski on this mountain all week and never get bored. By having four resorts located in the same vicinity, you get access to four mountains on one lift ticket offering skiers/boarders a large variety of terrain covering 5,300 acres and close to the town of Aspen giving you access to a large amount of dining, nightlife, and shopping. All of this makes Aspen Snowmass one of the world’s most popular ski resorts and one of the best overall resorts.

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  • 8. Deer Valley

    Deer Valley

    Deer Valley Ski Resort, located just outside of Park City in Utah, is one of the top resorts in the world known for its superior service, on-mountain food, lodging, dining, and kids-activities. If you are looking for a 5 star resort that will pamper you, Deer Valley Ski Resort is the place. The friendly staff is known for paying attention to detail and is often mentioned as the best all-around staff of any vacation destination. Deer Valley Ski Resort has dining to suit everyone from cafés and grills to elegant and upscale rustic restaurants and are some of the best you will find at any ski resort.

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  • 9. Alta


    Alta Ski Resort, located to the east of Salt Lake City, Utah, is one of the oldest ski areas in the United States and has been operating since 1939. It features 2,200 acres of skiable terrain across 116 trails. Alta Ski Resort is considered a ski purists mountain. With an average of 560 inches of snowfall each season, skiers can always depend on having an abundance of natural snow and they tend not to groom many runs giving you a natural skiing experience.

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  • 10. Revelstoke


    This is probably the biggest surprise on our list. Located in British Columbia, Revelstoke is not as was well known as the other mountains on our list. Even though the area is known for heli-skiing, the mountain resort is relatively new. But, people that have gone, simply love it. This is why it is on numerous lists for best resort including, Snow Magazine, and Rough Guides. It has North America's largest vertical drop, at 5,620 feet meaning that you can travel more than a mile in altitude from the resort's peak to its base. It is also the only resort world-wide to offer lift, cat, heli and backcountry skiing from one village base.

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