We’ve talked about how to plan your ski or snowboarding trip and what après activities to consider in past posts. So, the next question that comes to mind… “What is the best popular ski resort in the US to visit?” Instead of basing our judgment on opinion, we thought we try our hand at picking one based on some facts.
First, we selected two popular ski destinations in each of the following regions:
The Best Popular Ski Resort In The US Based On Facts Is…
#1: Big Sky -> 50 points
- 81 days of snowfall
- 400 inches annually
- 4,350 vertical feet
- 5,800 acres
- Uncrowded slopes
#2: Jackson Hole -> 47 points
- 83 days of snowfall
- 450 inches annually
- 4,139 vertical feet
- 2,500 acres
- Uncrowded slopes
#3: Vail -> 45 points
- 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 10 ski resorts ranked:
How Did We Determine The Best Popular Ski Resort In The US?
We based our decision on the following criteria:
How Many Days A Season Does It Normally Snow?
- The amount of days it snows is important because you don’t want to wait for the next big storm. For example, Squaw Valley on average 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.
How Much Does It Snow Every Year?
- Utah is home to some of the snowiest ski resorts in the 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 31 lifts and 193 trails. Make sure to grab a map!
What Is The Vertical Drop Of The Ski Resort?
- The vertical drop is determined 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 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:
Days with snowfall
Distance to major town
22 miles (Bend)
0 miles (Ketchum)
12 miles (Truckee)
5 miles (Mammoth Lakes)
14 miles (Jackson)
50 miles (Bozeman)
0 miles (Vail)
55 miles (Frisco)
Park City Mountain Resort
0 miles (Park City)
27 miles (Salt Lake City)