Rise & Glide At The Least Crowded Ski Resorts On Your Next Vacation

June Lake June Mountain Ski Resort Winter Powder Februburied Photo by: Local Freshies®

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If you’ve been to some of the larger ski resorts in the last few years, you may notice the lift lines have gotten worse. That shouldn’t come as a surprise since Vail has nearly doubled their season pass holders in under two years. And in 2022/23 they continued adding pass holders with an increase of 6% bringing it up 2.3 MILLION owning one. The “hip” word in the industry is called overtourism. Here’s 7 of the least crowded ski resorts to hit this winter to help avoid the crowds & get some of your own!

Where To Ski This Winter To Avoid The Crowds

Fortunately, you just need to seek a ski area that’s a bit further away from an international airport and large cities or head to the lesser known ski area next to it. Simply put, get off the beaten path. Here’s just a small taste of the least crowded ski resorts to visit this winter.

Big White

For The Powder Hound

Learn more about Big White

skier in powder by snowghosts at Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna British Columbia
Photo by: Geoff Holman – Image appears courtesy: Big White Ski Area

Its name says it all. It’s BIG for an Indy resort. Clocking in at over 2,655 acres! And it is WHITE… as in they get a decent amount of snowfall. Nearly 300 inches of the good stuff falls annually. And the closest major metropolitan area (Vancouver) is 5.5 hours away so you’re pretty much guaranteed to have all that snow to yourself. While it may not have a ton of steep trails, there’s plenty of expert terrain to be found in the off-piste within the trees. Simply put, it’s the perfect trifecta for those looking to avoid the global tourism crowds and feast on all your own powder.

Lost Trail

For The Purist

Learn more about Lost Trail

Powder skiing on Christmas as Lost Trail Ski Resort in Montana
THIS is what we want for Christmas! Image appears courtesy: Lost Trail Resort

Slopeside Condos? Nope. A heated walkway village. Nuh-uh. Lost Trail is still a locally owned Mom & Pop ski area focused on what all ski areas should be about… the skiing! Within its confines, you’ll find plenty of steep and challenging descents alongside a good selection of terrain suited for beginners and intermediates. As Mr. Spicolli from Fast Times At Ridgemont High once said, “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” That’s what Lost Trail is about. Tasty waves in the form of deliciously dry snow as they like to call “coldsmoke.” As other parts of Montana have begun to explode at the seams from a population aspect, Lost Trail is still far enough away that you still can find epic snow to ride.

Sun Valley Resort

For The Lap Of Luxury

Learn more about Sun Valley & the town of Ketchum

snowboarder carving at Sun Valley Ski Resort
If you can’t get there early – skier’s left of Challenger is where it’s at for afternoon shred session – Photo by: Local Freshies®

To try and define Sun Valley and the town of Ketchum poses a unique challenge. More so than any ski town we’ve ever visited. Yes, it is luxurious and yet it’s cozy. It’s American as apple pie and yet it has European flavors of an apfelstrudel as well. The dining scene mirrors that of a bustling city, offering everything from affordable eats to Michelin-starred excellence, ensuring a satisfying palate for all.

Now, let’s talk skiing. Addressing the elephant in the room, it is true that it lacks those heart-stoppingly steep slopes. Instead, what you’ll find is terrain that offers consistent, exhilarating fall-line skiing. This allows speed demons to notch up 70,000 vertical feet in a day, while us ordinary folks can easily manage 20-30,000 feet, enjoying a leisurely lunch and perhaps a hot toddy or two. Your legs will beg for mercy before the mountain does. For a comprehensive exploration of what sets skiing here apart, delve into our article: “Farewell To Arms – All There Is To Skiing Bald Mountain Sun Valley.”

Brian Head Resort

For The Family

Learn more about Brian Head

powder skier with snorkel at Brian Head Ski Area To Avoid Overtourism and crowds
Photo by: Mike Saemisch Photography – Appears Courtesy: Brian Head Resort

When you’re visiting a ski resort, the price tag can be a bit hefty. Besides the lift tickets, you have to pay for lodging, food, and maybe even rentals, so going on a family ski vacation can be daunting. For those wanting to enjoy the “greatest snow on Earth” but at an affordable price, consider a visit to Brian Head Resort. This cozy 650-acre resort gets over 360 inches of that world class pow at a fraction of the price.

This ski area’s terrain is also particularly suited for beginner and intermediate skiers meaning it’s a great option for families with 1st timers. But don’t worry. They also have some good powder stashes (as you can see by the photo above) and some advanced terrain too. Finish off the journey with a pit stop in Vegas (if that’s your thing) which is about 200 miles away before you jet home. And the best part? There’s a good chance you’ll pretty much have the entire place to yourself.

June Mountain

For The Ikon Skier

Learn more about June Mountain

June Lake June Mountain Ski Resort Winter Powder Februburied
Photo by: Local Freshies®

Mammoth is everything that it’s cracked up to be. Big bowls, lots of snow, and tons of acreage. It’s a must for “Ikon”-ic powder days. But if you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe, consider heading to their sister resort just down the road – June Mountain! This quiet ski area is nestled above the town of June Lake and even on the busiest days gets at most 2,000 skiers. While the queue for the 1st lift can get a bit long, once your up top, you’ll feel like the only one on the mountain! Lastly, for those with kids 12 and under, they can ski and snowboard for free at June Mountain – every day of the season, including holidays. For those that need a bit more coaxing, here’s 6 reasons to visit June Mountain. And with June Lake itself going through a renaissance, you may want to stay in town as well. 

Kicking Horse

For The Epic Pass Holder

Learn more about Kicking Horse

Kicking Horse ski areas to avoid Overtourism and crowds
Image Appears Courtesy: Kicking Horse Resort – Photo by: Jay Dash Photography

The Powder Highway in Canada is truly heaven for skiers & snowboarders. The amount of cat, heli, and lift-accessed skiing operations available to you is just staggering. For those on the Epic Pass, Kicking Horse should be on your to do list now before the secret gets out. Just on facts alone, the ski resort has 4,314 vertical feet of butt-puckering terrain. Over 3,486 acres of skiable terrain. 5 alpine bowls and typically gets the light dry powder that we all love. Definitely a great option if you feel like hitting a ski area outside of your local haunts.


For The New Englander

Learn more about Saddleback

Maine Ski Mountains Saddleback Ski Resort on a powder day
Image appears courtesy: Saddleback Ski Resort

The East is home to a lot of great ski resorts with legendary terrain. The front four at Stowe. The bumps on Outer Limits at Killington. After many years of slumbering, a giant has re-awoken in the deep woods of Maine. We’re not talking just any ski area either. It’s the third largest in Maine. One of seven in ALL of New England with a top-lift elevation that reaches above 4,000’.  Home to a vertical drop of 2,000 feet, plenty of steep glades, and over 225″ of snow! This is THE year to visit before everyone else figures it out.

So for this winter, if you want to avoid the crowds and overtourism, pick one of these. These 7 of the least crowded ski resorts will ensure you come home with a smile and stories to tell. Looking for more trip ideas or inspiration for your next vacation? Check out our in-depth guide: Ski Trip Planning – Plan The Best Ski Holiday Ever! We give you tips on when to go visit certain ski areas, highlight Indy ski areas that feel less corporate and have big personalities, and even how to avoid crowds.

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