If you’ve been to some of the larger ski resorts in the last few years, you may notice a lot more languages being spoken. That shouldn’t come as a surprise since global tourism has hit record highs. Nearly 1.4 BILLION have traveled abroad for their vacations. The “hip” word in the industry is called overtourism. It means the slopes are just going to get more and more busy. Here’s 5 of the least crowded ski resorts to hit this winter to avoid the global tourism crowds & get some of your own!
Where Are The International Skiers & Snowboarders Going?
It’s not shocking that the ski areas most visited by international tourists within North America read like a hit-list of the most luxurious and amenity rich. Places like:
- Whistler / Blackcomb
- Aspen Snowmass
- Park City
- Deer Valley
So, where do you go instead?
Where To Ski This Winter To Avoid The Global Tourism 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 and avoid the global tourism crowds.
For The Powder Hound
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.
For The Purist
Slopeside Condos? Nope. A heated walkway village. Nuh-uh. Bridger Bowl is a locally owned non-profit 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 (so serious you’ll need avalanche safety gear to hit it) 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 Bridger Bowl is about. Tasty waves in the form of deliciously dry snow as they like to call “coldsmoke.” And it’s only 20 minutes from the charming college town of Bozeman. Featuring art galleries, eateries, coffee shops, bookstores and one of our favorite spots for pancakes in North America.
Brian Head Resort
For The Family
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. 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.
For The Ikon Skier
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 5 reasons to visit June Mountain. And with June Lake itself going through a renaissance, you may want to stay in town as well.
For The Epic Pass Holder
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.
So, for this winter if you want to avoid the crowds and global overtourism pick one of these. These 5 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.