Best Ski Resorts in North America

North America is the home to some of the best ski resorts in the world! The US and Canada especially can brag with the four ski resorts we have on our list, including the Breckenridge and the Aspen Snowmass resorts in the US, and the Whistler Blackcomb and the Big White resorts in Canada.

Every ski resort we mention offers world-class terrain and runs where you can ski for days on end. Suitable for both skiers and snowboarders, these resorts also have ski schools where you can learn these amazing winter activities no matter if it’s for you or your kid. The towns and villages are also some of the best ski places in the world, offering plenty of fun activities, diverse accommodation options, and the nightlife you need after a long day of skiing.

Another thing that all the resorts on our list share is the crowds. Given that these are the best ski resorts in North America, it’s logical that the visiting rate is a bit high. But precisely because these are such exceptional resorts, they offer top-notch ski lift systems that do their job perfectly and effectively manage large crowds.

With perfectly-groomed terrain suitable for experienced and non-experienced skiers, modern lift systems which transport thousands of skiers every hour, and breathtaking views, the following resorts are the best ski resorts in North America.

Breckenridge

If you’re looking for that perfect blend of world-class Alpine skiing and a great nightlife, look no further than the Breckenridge ski resort. Located in Summit County, Colorado, you’ll find high alpine terrain, award-winning terrain parks, and plenty of terrain for freestylers. Moreover, Breckenridge was voted one of the best ski towns in the United States with over one and a half million people visiting it each season, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best of the best.

Pros

  • Award-winning terrain
  • Diverse range of accommodation options
  • Great après ski scene
  • Friendly atmosphere

Cons

  • Can get crowded

Famous for: most popular ski resort in Colorado.

Town

Located at the base of the resort, Breckenridge is known as “the perfect mountain town”, and no wonder! You have everything here, so there’s no need to visit the nearby towns and villages. You’ll find plenty of shops, great restaurants, and a great night scene with a lot of bars and clubs. There’s live music, dancing, frequent events and activities, and let’s not forget the beautiful Victorian architecture and the many accommodation options in all price ranges. 

Ski Terrain

With a total of 2.908 acres of ski area, you’ll find 187 runs for all ability levels (11% for beginners, 31% for intermediates, 24% for advanced skiers, and 34% for experts). Even though only one tenth of the runs are suited for beginners, you can expect the best beginner terrain in Breckenridge. You can choose from super mild to super tough trails, and if you’re a more advanced skier looking for more excitement, there’s a large off-piste terrain at your disposal.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

Given that this is one of the best ski resorts in North America, crowds are to be expected, but because of the 187 runs and off-piste terrain, you won’t notice them that much. Moreover, the efficient ski system comprising 35 lifts does its job perfectly, so you’ll rarely wait in long lines in front of the lifts.  

Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, Breckenridge has you covered. You can choose from ski-in/ski-out hotels and lodgings that are just a short walk from the lifts, or other accommodation options like Airbnb rentals and apartments that are further away or in the town center. You can choose according to your budget and book directly on the Breckenridge website.

Verdict

Breckenridge is the perfect resort for your next winter adventure. You’ve got one of the best terrains in North America, a lively mountain town with everything you need, and an après ski scene that’ll create some unforgettable memories.

Aspen Snowmass

Whether you’re a newbie skier or an expert in this winter activity, you must have heard of Aspen. It’s a well-known ski destination worldwide where many movies have been filmed, and the Aspen Snowmass ski resort is our top choice out of the 4 ski resorts that are in this area. It’s the largest one, most suitable for families, and only a short drive to the town of Aspen (9 miles). The terrain is spread over 4 distinct ski areas and there are slopes for all ability levels, the highest summit elevation being 12.510 ft. A great thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be affected by altitude sickness here, so if you frequently experience mountain sickness, you won’t have to worry about it at this resort.

Pros

  • Family-friendly
  • No altitude sickness is experienced due to low elevation
  • Largest ski area in Aspen
  • Great for all ability levels
  • Amazing nightlife

Cons

  • Not the best place if you’re on a tight budget

Famous for: a go-to ski resort for the rich and famous.

Town

The town of Aspen is one of the best mountain towns in the world! With a plethora of après ski activities, you’ll have plenty of things to do every second of the day. From great restaurants where you can taste the most delicious meals to lively bars where you can kick off the night and continue to a club or a live show, the après ski scene in Aspen is like no other. You can also go camping, fishing, or hiking, and witness some special events such as the Winter X Games, the Aspen Filmfest, the Aspen Shortfest, and more.

Ski Terrain

With over 5.550 acres of ski terrain spread across four separate ski areas, you have endless skiing opportunities. You have the Aspen proper area, then the Aspen Snowmass, the Aspen Buttermilk, and the Aspen Highlands, which together have a total of 336 runs. The Snowmass area alone has 96 runs, with a small percentage of the runs suitable for beginners (only 5%) while intermediates can enjoy 48% of the runs, advanced skiers 17%, and experts 30%. 

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

Get used to some crowds because Aspen is one of the most popular ski destinations in the world! That being said, the huge skiing area ensures that everyone has plenty of space for skiing and snowboarding, and the efficient lift system comprising 43 ski lifts ensures short lift lines. You’ll be glad to know that one ski lift ticket is suitable for all 4 ski terrains.

Accommodation

Expect to find all kinds of accommodation options in Aspen, but prepare for some high prices. There are plenty of luxurious hotels, some ski-in/ski-out while others a short walk from the lifts. Some great lodgings can be found at the base of Aspen Mountain, which is very close to the center of the town of Aspen, where you’ll find warm lodges, condominiums, rental properties, and whatever else your heart desires.

Verdict

Aspen Snowmass is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best ski resort in North America. Just beware that Aspen is one of the most expensive ski towns in the US, so if you’re on a tight budget it might be good to check out some of the other resorts in our list.

Whistler Blackcomb

Canada also has the world’s best ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb being one of them. It is the biggest ski resort in North America which has one of the best ski villages in this area. You’ll get a vast ski area with over 8.000 acres of world-class ski terrain with runs for all ability levels. This resort hosted the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, and is now one of those epic resorts that every powder-junkie wants to visit.  

Pros

  • Perfectly-groomed snow
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • Lively town atmosphere
  • Easy to access from Vancouver

Cons

  • Can get crowded

Famous for: host of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010; the biggest ski resort in North America.

Town

Similarly to the town of Aspen, the town of Whistler, known as the Whistler Village, has everything that a great mountain town should have, and more! With plenty of après ski activities, you could choose whether to continue with heli skiing or relax at a spa after a long day of skiing. The nightlife is like no other, so after enjoying a delicious meal at some of the world-class restaurants, you can continue for a drink in some of the bars, and end your night dancing at a club or enjoying live music.

Ski Terrain

With over 8.000 acres of ski terrain spread across 5 terrain parks, Whistler Blackcomb offers excitement for everyone. Beginners can enjoy 18% of the runs, intermediate skiers a whopping 55%, advanced skiers 22%, and experts have only 5% of the runs suited for this skiing level. However, there’s a lot of off-piste terrain, so a lot of excitement can be found there as well. You’ll be glad to know that each of the 5 parks is being groomed twice in 24 hours, so expect to ski on perfectly-groomed runs and get nothing short of an exceptional skiing experience.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

Given that this is the biggest and one of the most popular ski resorts in North America, crowds are to be expected, but because of the vastness of the terrain you won’t feel them as much. With 31 operational lifts and 3 gondolas, Whistler Blackcomb’s lift system is able to handle large crowds, so you shouldn’t waste a lot of time waiting in front of the lift lines.

Accommodation

As opposed to Aspen, here you can find accommodation options for every budget and requirements. From luxurious ski-in/ski-out hotels to more budget-friendly ones that are a bit further away, and you also have plenty of condos, hostels, and single apartments. 

Verdict

With a perfectly-groomed snow and exceptional terrain, vibrant town that offers a myriad of après ski activities, and plenty of accommodation options, no wonder the Whistler Blackcomb is considered one of the best ski resorts in North America.

Big White

If you’re looking for the best family-friendly resort in North America, look no further than Big White. It’s Canada’s biggest ski-in/ski-out resort that’s known for its great customer service, amazing scenery, and family-friendly activities. Are you a fan of night skiing? You’ll be happy to know that this resort offers the largest night skiing area in Western Canada. Do you want to teach your kids how to ski? There’s the award-winning Big White Kid’s center that offers skiing lessons for the youngest, but you can also find adult and teen programs to take your skiing to the next level.

Pros

  • Breathtaking views
  • World-class champagne powder
  • Friendly atmosphere
  • Plenty of family-friendly activities

Cons

  • The terrain can get foggy
  • Can get crowded

Famous for: largest night skiing area in Western Canada; biggest ski-in/ski-out resort in Canada.

Town

The village of Big White offers everything a skier or a snowboarder would want after an exciting day on the slopes. From supermarkets, restaurants, and bars, to fitness classes, ice skating, snowshoeing, and plenty of other activities, you’ll find plenty of things to do here.

And as we already mentioned, this resort including the village, are very family-friendly, so besides the Kid’s Center you also have Tot Down Daycare which is voted the “Best Place to be Abandoned by Your Parents” by Ski Canada Magazine.

Ski Terrain

Big White offers 2.765 acres of skiing area where you can find 118 runs for all ability levels (18% for beginners, 54% for intermediates, 22% for advanced skiers, and 6% for experts). The runs are regularly groomed, and experts can also enjoy off-piste terrain that’ll offer the necessary challenge they’re seeking. You’ll find the best skiing conditions in February and March, which is when you can enjoy fluffy powder and longer days, but also more crowds, so beware of that as well.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

Again, crowds are to be expected at this resort as well, especially during the best months (February and March). The 16 ski lifts and the village gondola, however, ensure that no long lines form in front of the lifts. The lifts can transport up to 28.000 skiers per hour, so you can enjoy skiing without having to wait for hours in order to get to your preferred run.

Accommodation

Whether you come by yourself or with your family, partner, or friends, you’ll find the accommodation you’re looking for. With options for all budgets and requirements, you can choose from luxury hotels and apartments to condos and townhouses that you can rent in great locations that are close to both the resort and the village.

Verdict

All in all, the Big White resort offers something to everyone, especially families with kids who want to learn how to ski. If you’re looking for a great snow, vast terrain, a vibrant village, and plenty of lodging options, then you’ll have a great time at the Big White ski resort.

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated April 2021