Last year when announcing the top 50 resorts we began by stating the obvious: there are a lot of great ski resorts out there. While that hasn’t changed, our list of the top 50 certainly has—thanks to our readers.
In 2013 we asked avid skiers and boarders to vote on 80 North American resorts to determine which of those was worthy of top 50 status. This year, we brought the number of nominated resorts to 103 and asked our readers to vote once again.
Though there are more than 600 ski areas throughout the continent, with the help of publically available statistics, industry lists and expert opinions we narrowed the initial list to 103. Then with the help of our voters we narrowed it down even further to a ranked list of the top 50 ski resorts in North America for the 2014-2015 season.
A lot can change in a year. Resorts across the continent have made additions like offering cat-skiing and completely new beginner programs, they’ve made enhancements in snowmaking capabilities, lifts and trails—and those are just some of the more notable on-mountain improvements. There have also been additions and improvements to the après scene at many of these great resorts. Those changes—along with the opinions of our voters and data—were reflected in this year’s rankings.
From the famous massive mountains out west to some of the smaller gems hidden away in the east and some top competition from Canada—see if your favorite ski resort ranked on this year's list.
1. Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.
"This mountain jumped from #6 on our list last year to snag the top spot and it’s not hard to see why. This wildly popular ski area is made up of two side-by-side mountains, which combined provide the most skiable acres on the continent. Each of the mountains offer astounding vertical drops, 16 alpine bowls, more than 200 marked trails and six different terrain parks. Add the average 458 inches of pure dry powder annually and you’ve got the recipe for perfect mountain days. Take into account the incredible backcountry terrain, the après amenities and the Peak-2-Peak Gondola and this ski area simply can’t be beat." - Diana Gerstacker
2. Breckenridge, Colorado
"Breck came in at number 18 in last year’s ranking, so it’s no exaggeration when we say, it moved up quite a few spots this year. This large jump is a result of reader input, which recognized the popular Colorado resort for its excellent snow and terrain. One of the most visited ski resorts in the Western Hemisphere, Breckinridge boasts four mountains, five peaks, nearly 3,000 acres and North America’s highest chairlift, the Imperial Express SuperChair."
3. Vail, Colorado
"As the second largest ski resort in the United States, Vail offers over 5,200 acres of skiable terrain that attract passionate athletes from around the world. From wide, open runs such as the popular Riva Ridge or Bear Tree, to Terrain Parks and even Kid’s Adventure Runs, this resort has something to offer all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Top off the terrific well-groomed snow with epic views and enjoy an adventure that will be remembered for years to come."
4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
"Known for its challenging terrain, half of the terrain at Jackson Hole is for experts only. Because of the terrain, Jackson Hole is visited by some of the the world’s best freeskiers and is home to one of the most popular expert ski runs in the world, Corbet’s Couloir. It has over 4,100 vertical feet of skiing and an even larger area of off-piste areas that can be accessed by expert skier and snowboarders with appropriate avalanche safety gear and training." —Catarina Cowden
5. Deer Valley Resort, Utah
"From our readers, Deer Valley earned points for its exceptional après ski culture and family-friendly environment. Recently voted the number one Ski Resort in the U.S. by the World Ski Awards for the second year in a row, the resort often receives acclaim for its luxurious atmosphere. “This is my absolutely favorite place to ski,” one user wrote on TripAdvisor.com."
6. Mammoth Mountain, California
"The high elevation at Mammoth mountain allows for one of the longest ski seasons in North America, averaging from November to June. From the challenging chutes at the top of the mountain, to the eight unbound terrain parks including Unbound Main (a highly praised terrain park by extreme enthusiasts) this mountain attracts some of the top professionals in the industry. The mountain also offers three different-sized halfpipes often frequented by Olympic gold medalist Shaun White."—Catarina Cowden
7. Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado
"A well-loved resort all around, our readers bumped Snowmass to the top of this year’s list with points for best terrain, best snow, a top-notch après ski scene and a family-friendly environment, too. While Aspen Mountain may be small compared to others in the area, its 675 acres offers slopes for serious skiers only; more than half the courses range from black diamond to extreme."
8. Sun Valley, Idaho
"Across the board, Sun Valley ranked high in almost all of our survey categories. From the terrain and snow quality to the après ski scene, our readers made it clear that there’s a lot to love about this historic resort. “Baldy,” as the locals call the resort’s Bald Mountain, offers trails for skiers of all levels and Dollar Mountain, which is home to the world’s first ever ski lift, houses plenty of park terrain, including a 22-foot superpipe."—Katie Rosenbrock
9. Crested Butte, Colorado
"Crested Butte Mountain Resort is a popular resort for those wanting to experience extreme and diverse terrain. As one of the birthplaces of freeskiing, Crested Butte is home to adventure-filled trails ranging from green and blue to the famed extreme double black diamonds. And after a long day out on the trails, experience the picturesque, friendly ski town in all its charm."—Catarina Cowden
10. Aspen Highlands, Colorado
"It's no surprise to see the highlands in the top 50 once again. While many resorts are touting their variety of terrain, the highlands is leaving the family skiing and riding to its partner resorts. Hardcore skiers can challenge themselves and enjoy the highland bowl—one of the best in the country, after a hike 717 feet up from the top of the Temerity Lift. Though skiers and boarders have to put in some extra effort, they’re rewarded with some of the best inbounds terrain on the continent."—Diana Gerstacker
See if your favorite ski resort made the top 50 list.
More from TheActive Times