The best ski resort in America – based on facts

We’ve talked about how to plan your ski or snowboarding trip in our past posts. If you didn’t catch it, have a look in our tips section. So, the next question that comes to mind…what is the best ski resort to visit? Instead of basing our judgment on opinion we thought we would base our vote purely on facts. Check out the data below.

First, we selected two popular ski destinations in each of the following regions:

The winner is:

  • #1: Big Sky -> 50 points

Overlooking Lone Peak at Big Sky Resort

Overlooking Lone Peak at Big Sky Resort

The Facts:

  • 81 days of snowfall
  • 400 inches annually
  • 4,350 vertical feet
  • 5,800 acres
  • Uncrowded slopes
  • #2: Jackson Hole -> 47 points

Overlooking the summit of the Jackson Hole tram during a winter storm

Overlooking the summit of the Jackson Hole tram during a winter storm

The Facts:

  • 83 days of snowfall
  • 450 inches annually
  • 4,139 vertical feet
  • 2,500 acres
  • Uncrowded slopes
  • #3: Vail -> 45 points

 

The famous back bowls of Vail on a powder day.

The famous back bowls of Vail on a powder day.

The Facts:

  • 74 days of snowfall
  • 350 inches annually
  • 5,289 vertical feet
  • 3,450 acres
  • 31 lifts to move everyone

 

Here is the breakdown of where the 8 ski resorts ranked:

By_the_Numbers_V2

 


 

How did we determine it?

We based our decision on the following criteria:

  • How many days a season does it normally snow?

    • The amount of days it snows important because you dont want to wait for the next big storm.  For example, on average Squaw Valley has 51 days of snowfall compared to Jackson Hole having 83 days with snow.
    • We took a 4 year average from 2010 – 2013 to determine the average amount of days with more than 1 inch of snowfall.

Days_with_Snowfall

  • How much does it snow every year?

    • Utah is home to some of the snowiest ski resorts in country with Snowbird receiving over 500 inches!!!
  • How big is the ski resort?

    • Besides snowfall, it’s important to have a lot of terrain to explore.  Vail is a massive brute of a ski resort! The resort is over 7 miles wide covering 5,289 acres of terrain.  There are thirty one lifts and 193 trails. Make sure to grab a map!
  • What is the vertical drop of the ski resort?

    • The vertical drop is determine by taking the summit elevation minus the lowest elevation that you can ski or snowboard.  Jackson Hole has one of the longest continuous vertical drops in the country standing at 4,139 vertical feet and it’s all accessible from the famous Tram at Jackson Hole
  • How far is the closest ski town?

    • After a long day of skiing it would be nice to get to a town to have a few or go to grab a bite to eat. The less time spent in the car the better!
  • How crowded is the ski resort?

    • No matter how big the ski resort is or how much snow falls if the lines are long then you won’t be able to enjoy it. We took the average impression of the length of lift lines at each of these ski resorts and ranked them accordingly.

 

For those data geeks like us, here’s a chart that details the information for each resorts:

 

Ski Resort

Days with snowfall

Annual Snowfall

Acreage

Vertical Drop

Distance to major town

Crowds

Mt Bachelor

89

462

3683

3364

22 miles (Bend)

7

Sun Valley

35

220

2054

3400

0 miles (Ketchum)

5

Squaw Valley

51

450

3600

2850

12 miles (Truckee)

3

Mammoth

42

400

3500

3100

5 miles (Mammoth Lakes)

2

Jackson Hole

83

450

2500

4139

14 miles (Jackson)

8

Big Sky

81

400

5800

4350

50 miles (Bozeman)

10

Vail

74

350

5289

3450

0 miles (Vail)

4

Winter Park

85

350

3081

3060

55 miles (Frisco)

5

Park City Mountain Resort

58

360

3300

3100

0 miles (Park City)

4

Snowbird

66

500

2500

3240

27 miles (Salt Lake City)

4

 

 

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