Winter is a busy travel season for many. Kids are out of school for the winter break. Snow is accumulating enough for some fun in the sun. It is a perfect timing to check out some of the best ski resorts in the world.
Before packing your ski and snowboarding gears, check out the list of the best ski resorts in North America for 2016. If you haven’t been to one of these places, be sure to add them to your future travel plans. You won’t be disappointed!
Illustrated photo by Barney Moss, licensed under CC by 2.0
Every year around this time, there are many reports on ski resort rankings. We chose Zranking report because their ranking based on an analytical study done over 220 ski resorts in North America with historical data on different statistic like percentage of snow days during Winter months which has more than 6 inches of snow to have pillow-powdery soft snow; percentage of winter months during which it snows less than 30 inches to predict an early season reliability; the terrain facing direction to predict the snow preservation; snowfall score to indicate a snow quantity, quality and consistency. All of these statistic numbers add to the total snow score for each resort to give you the best and most accurate ranking.
Alta Ski resort has an average annual snow fall of 510 inches, total snow score with preservation at 100%.
View of Alta Ski area, photo by Pawel Loj, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Alta Ski resort is part of the Rockies. Alta has it all and top it all: breathtaking scenery, most exhilarating slopes with deep powdery snow, fast lifts and courtesy skiers on the trails. With the wide variety of terrains to suit every level skier, you can spend a whole day skiing here and still want to come back the next day to explore more. This is one of a few ski resorts which do not allow snowboarding to keep the powdery snow on the surface longer. Conveniently located along the ski slopes, there are several places to pop-off your skis, set aside your poles to have a snack or lunch break. Best of all, the average percentage of days within the months December through March when this Resort sees more than six inches of snow, Alta is at 20.3%. What does this statistical number mean to skiers? Six inches of snow is an ideal condition to ski and Alta has more days in the winter time to meet that perfect condition.
So what are you waiting for? Head to Alta Ski resort and experience for yourself!
Snowbird Ski Resort has an average annual snow fall at 449 inches, total snow score with preservation at 95.1%.
Photo by Craig Stanfill, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Neighboring to world-renown Alta ski resort, Snowbird has its own charm and challenges. Snowbird ski resort is known for its steep slopes, deep powdery snow, fast lifts and spectacular views in every turn on every hill and basin. With an average of 449 inches of snow a year, Snowbird is surely a gem waiting for you to discover. Take this vertical challenge on your next ski adventure!
The Canadian Rockie Ski resort Powder King Mountain has an average annual snow fall at 492 inches, total snow score with preservation at 93.5%.
Photo by Robert Nyman, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Powder King Mountain is part of Canadian-Rockies. The resort itself is in Pine Pass, northeast area of British Columbia. Powser King Mountain resort is known for its abundant of powdery snow and more rugged terrain. The terrain here features everything any snow seeker looks for, from powder bowls and chutes to some amazing glade opportunities. When it comes to glade runs, Powder King Mountain is ranked right on top. Every turn opens up a new challenge, an adreline rush when a snowboarder feel his board slicing through the thick, powdery canvas of snow. Even though the resort might be lack of some modern amenities like wi-fi service, not many ski lifts, but for a true nature lover, this one is truly a jewel in the rough.
Grand Targhee ski resort has an average annual snow fall at 466 inches, total snow score with preservation at 92.4%.
Photo by Linda Paul, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
If you look for a substantial amount of snow to ski and a relaxing & tranquil runs, this place will definitely please you. From the picturesque views of the Tetons, to the beautifully groomed runs, green, mostly blue runs and a few challenging black diamonds, this ski resort has it all. The best of all, due to the less popularity compared to other big resort, this place offers reasonably lift prices and dining options. The resort also offers good Nordic skiing as well as fat bike trails.
Head out there soon before this gem turns crowded with snow lovers!
Family-friendly Brighton Ski Resort has an average annual snow fall at 439 inches, total snow score with preservation at 87.9%.
Photo by Skylar Hoellein, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Brighton Ski Resort is located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, only 35 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. The resort is ideal place for family ski vacations because of the great varieties of terrain and the consistent snow fall and good snow preservation. Skiers and snow boarders have unlimited access to some of the best backcountry in Utah. With an open boundary policy, lifts provide this unique opportunity to alpine enthusiasts throughout two mountains. The resort is also home to an acclaimed ski and snowboard school with group and private lessons for every ability level. It also offers night skiing and hosting service for other activities with excellent options for lodging and dining.
Wolf Creek Ski resort has an average annual snow fall at 389 inches, total snow score with preservation at 86.5%.
Alberta peak at Wolf Creek, photo by Robert Tadlock, licensed under CC by 2.0
Wolf Creek Ski Area is located in Rio Grande National Forest in southern Colorado with 389 inches of snow a year. Because of the Wolf Creek’s base elevation reaches 10,600 feet, it gives the area the advantage of getting the first and last snow falls of the season. Even in mid-April and it still had over a foot of fresh powder on a mid-mountain base of 80" and a top mountain base over 100 inches of snow. Snow accumulation & preservation level of Wolf Creek among the top 6 ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains. For a more adventurous snow seekers, try Alberta peak for a spectacular view of the entire ski area below. But be warned, this is a known avalanche area.
Solitude Mountain ski resort has an average annual snow fall at 381 inches, total snow score with preservation at 84.1%.
Photo by Beth Coll Anderson, licensed under CC by 2.0
Solitude Mountain resort lives up to its name. Just 12 miles from Big Cottonwood Canyon, when you come up here, you are in tune with nature, leaving all the hustle and bustle behind. The resort is known for its high altitude and favorable exposure, with very good snow preservation. It boasts 1,200 acres of different terrain, 3 bowls, 77 named runs, ranging from groomed runs to powder glades. Solitude’s best kept secret is the Nordic Center which has nearly 12 miles of trails perfect for both classic and skating styles of Nordic skiing.
Alyeska ski resort has an average annual snow fall at 503 inches, total snow score with preservation at 83.45%.
Photo by Ben Miller, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
An epic ski resort, with as much as 50 feet of snow, Alyeska Resort located in Chugach State Park in a glacier carved valley in the heart of Girdwood, Alaska. The ski resort is known for its steep terrain (a 3,200 feet vertical rise) and deep snowpack, with the fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding glaciers, sparkling streams and wildlife. It spans out 1,610 acres of accessible terrain and 76 named trails serviced by nine lifts including two 60-person Aerial trams.
Mt. Baker Ski resort has an average annual snow fall at 644 inches, total snow score with preservation at 83.7%.
Photo by JWPhotography2012, licensed under CC by 2.0
Mt Baker locates in the northern part of Washington, Whatcom County. It is the northernmost of the Cascade volcanoes in the United States. Its summit is covered by glaciers. Because of this, the Indians gave Mt. Baker a name meaning "White Steep Mountain." Its ski resort is known its steep and most challenging terrain. I Mt. Baker has the highest lift-served snowfall in the world. It also holds the world record of the most annual snow fall, 644 inches. In 1998 to 1999 ski season, Mt. Baker impressive world-renown record snow fall was at 95 feet high. Image you ski from 9-story high building down!
Kirkwood Ski resort has an average annual snow fall at 459 inches, total snow score with preservation at 83.1%.
Photo by Brian Shamblen, licensed under CC by 2.0
Kirkwood ski resort locates in Kirkwood, California south of Lake Tahoe . Even though Sierra droughts can be extreme, Kirkwood is north-facing so snow preservation is at the top in the Sierra area and the best snow reliability in California, with an annual average of 459 inches of snow fall. Kirkwood’s terrain offers everything, from sauntering beginner runs to knee-buckling chutes. Kirkwood is popular for cliff drops and cornices due to the unique 2-mile ridgeline at the top of the mountain.
If you haven’t been to one of these places, be sure to add them to your future travel plans. You won’t be disappointed!Is your favorite ski resort on the list? Check out the list of the best ski resorts in North America for 2016.
Photo by Élissa Algora
Here is the rest of the ranking list for your reference:
|Ranking||Ski Resort||Zone||Avg Annual Snow Fall||Total Snow Score With Preservation|
|11||Winter Park Ski Resort||Rockies||349"||82.5%|
|12||Loveland Ski Resort||Rockies||346"||81"|
|13||Vail Ski Resort||Rockies||358"||79%|
|14||Arapahoe Basin Resort||Rockies||315"||78.5%|
|15||Beaver Creek Resort||Rockies||328"||77.9%|