One of the most enjoyable winter pastimes is spending a day (or weekend! Or week!) skiing on the slopes. Unfortunately, what should be a fun and relaxing getaway is often made less so by the overwhelming crowds that flock to the most popular slopes.
That’s why we went on the hunt for 30 great uncrowded ski resorts in America. To construct our list, we consulted some of the biggest names in the ski industry to ask their advice, then considered such factors as:
- Size of the resort in skiable acres
- Number of trails for every level: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert
- Average annual snowfall in inches
49 Degrees North Ski and Snowboard Resort
Washington’s 49 Degrees North Ski and Snowboard Resort offers a family-friendly atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and of course, excellent skiing without the overwhelming crowds. The resort consists of 2,325 patrolled skiable acres, 82 marked trails, and a vertical drop of approximately 1,850 feet. Conveniently, 49 Degrees North is suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. Thirty percent of the trails are labeled beginner, 40% intermediate, 25% advanced, and 5% expert.
Tahoe City, California
With seven major ski resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe, it’s no wonder Alpine Meadows is often forgotten by the big crowds. But that’s good news for those who like to enjoy the slopes without being surrounded by a massive herd! Alpine Meadows is laid back, family-friendly, and boastsover 100 trails suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. And since this great uncrowded ski resort averages more than 450 inches of snow per year, it’s a great place to experience powder.
Alaska may be a wonderful vacation destination, but it’s hardly known as a ski destination. That is surprising considering Alaska is home to Alyeska Resort, a great uncrowded ski resort which averages a whopping 661 inches of snow annually! Located just 40 minutes from Anchorage, Alyeska attracts skiers of all ability levels thanks to its varied terrain. Conveniently, the resort includes a lodge onsite, with ski in/ski out access and an aerial tramway that drops guests off at an elevation of 2,500 feet.
Big Sky Resort
Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky Resort is pretty well known, but thanks to its absolutely massive size, the lines to ski down Big Sky’s epic runs are never long. The resort consists of four mountains, each of which is connected by chair lifts. This means there is plenty of opportunity to experience a variety of ski trails for each ability level. A consistent snowfall means there’s almost always fresh powder. Perhaps most appealing, however, is Big Sky’s huge list of potential activities: skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, ice climbing, snow coach tours, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice skating, and more.
With nearly 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and an average snowfall of about 350 inches, it’s downright shocking that Bridger Bowl ski resort remains so uncrowded. The resort is located a convenient 20 minutes from Bozeman, making it the go-to place for snow-loving students at nearby Montana State University. Peak summit elevation here is roughly 8,700 feet, leaving skiers with myriad choices of slopes and trails.
Cooper, located in Leadville, is one of the most uncrowded ski resorts in Colorado. In fact, the majority of its daily crowd is made up of locals! Situated at 10,000 feet, Cooper is ideal for novice and intermediate skiers who will feel most comfortable on Cooper’s relatively humble hill and trails. Of course, Cooper’s experienced skiers can take the Snowcat ride to Chicago Ridge, a much more exhilarating run which has been compared to the back bowls of Vail.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Crested Butte, Colorado
Colorado is one of the best places in the world for skiing and other snow sports, and people flock from all over the world to enjoy its high-altitude resorts. While some Colorado ski towns, such as Breckenridge and Aspen, are packed to the gills all winter, others like Crested Butte remain remarkably uncrowded. Located in a laid-back former mining town, Crested Butte Mountain Resort boasts a thrilling vertical drop of 3,000 feet and more than 1,550 acres of skiable terrain.
Crystal Mountain Resort
Crystal Mountain, Washington
Whether you’re looking for gentle beginner runs or challenging, rugged terrain, Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington state has got it. Located about a two-hour drive from Seattle and situated within the shadows of beautiful Mt. Rainier, Crystal Mountain is the largest ski area in the state. With 2,600 acres of skiable terrain, the resort almost never feels crowded, even on the busiest of weekends. An eight-person gondola, the only one in Washington, shuttles skiers up the mountainside to both trailheads and The Summit House, the highest restaurant in the state.
Eldora Mountain Resort
About a 40-minute drive from Boulder is the underrated, an often totally uncrowded, Eldora Mountain Resort. Eldora boasts nearly 700 acres of skiable terrain, the majority of which is set aside for intermediate and advanced skiers. Uniquely, Eldora Mountain Resort also offers Nordic ski trails for those who prefer cross-country skiing to downhill skiing.
Grand Targhee Resort
The big crowds of skiers head to nearby Jackson Hole, leaving Grand Targhee one of the best uncrowded ski resorts in America. Grand Targhee is pretty no-frills compared to Jackson. Skiers won’t find luxurious hotels and A-list celebrities, though they will find excellent snow — about 500 annual inches of it, in fact. Even better, Grand Targhee boasts a slew of trails, some of which run for as many as three miles. Hard to believe skiers can have it all to themselves!
Despite being one of the best uncrowded ski resorts in the United States, Jay Peak actually receives the most natural snowfall of any resort in the Northeast. With pretty consistent snow and an average annual snowfall of nearly 400 inches, it’s often possible for find backcountry powder in Jay days after a snowstorm. The resort, which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border, consists of 20% novice trails, 40% intermediate trails, and 40% advanced trails. The latter includes The Face Chutes, one of Jay’s most popular runs.
Killington Resort is another Vermont ski destination that is so huge it just never quite feels overly crowded. Consisting of more than 3,000 acres, 800 of which are graded, Killington guests usually feel as if they have the 212 acres, six mountain peaks, and five base areas entirely to themselves. Yep, we said 212 trails! Additionally, Killington has one of the longest ski seasons in the Northeast, extending from the days just before Halloween to as late as May or even June.
Mad River Glen
Skiers interested in challenging themselves would do well to consider buying their next lift ticket at Mad River Glen. This resort — which, for some reason, never quite draws the crowds like nearby Stratton — is laid back and old school. You won’t speed up the mountain on a high-speed chairlift or ski down a meticulously groomed trail, but you will sail over fun challenging terrain that receives approximately 250 inches of snow each year.
Monarch Mountain may be located in the Rocky Mountains, but it sure doesn’t get the Rocky Mountain crowds like some of its nearby resorts. This means there are a lot of people missing out! Thanks to its location, Monarch Mountain nearly always has fresh powdery snow to offer its skiers — all the better for enjoying the mountain’s wide variety of terrain suitable for all skill levels. Conveniently, all ski and snowboard trails end at the same base area, so friends and families can ski at their own pace without worry of getting lost for good. Finally, after a long day on the slopes, visitors to Monarch Mountain can relax in the indoor Salida Hot Springs, located nearby.
Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort
The charming town of Bend, Oregon has become somewhat of a trendy destination for those who love the outdoors. One of many reasons for this sudden rise in popularity is the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. The resort has nearly 37,000 acres of skiable terrain, all of which is easily accessed via a convenient lift. The ski season is long here, thanks in part to the 387 inches of snow the mountain averages each year. That means plenty of time to enjoy the many trails and downhill runs, some of which are thrillingly steep.
Mt. Hood Meadows
Mount Hood, Oregon
Named one of the “best-kept secret ski resorts” by Flight Network, Mt. Hood Meadows is a huge resort. Its 2,150 acres consist of dozens of runs for every skill level, including plenty of novice trails and experienced trails starting from elevations of 2,200 feet and up! Local skiers and snowboarders love how much snow Mt. Hood gets each winter season, as well as the variety of terrain one can experience in a single trip. Mt. Hood is known as an especially fun place to ski.
Powder Mountain Resort
Ogden Valley may be a go-to ski destination, but you’ll never find an overwhelming crowd at Powder Mountain. Management caps the number of day tickets sold at only 1,500. Considering Powder Mountain is an impressive 8,000 acres of skiable terrain, that works out to about four acres for every single skier. Not bad! But it gets better! Powder Mountain gets a ton of powdery snow each year, and is one of the more consistent slopes in this area of powerhouse ski resorts. The Summit Group, which recently purchased Powder Mountain, has big plans for the area, but for now, it’s a great ski destination for those hoping to avoid the big crowds.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort
Powderhorn Mountain Resort is a relatively isolated ski destination that has been called “the only true ski area in the Western Slope.” This stunning resort is almost never crowded, despite its impressive offerings of fast, modern lifts, a seemingly endless supply of fresh powder, and lots of trails suitable for beginners.
Red Lodge Mountain
Red Lodge, Montana
Ask your friends if they’ve heard of Red Lodge Mountain and they’ll likely say no. The fact that Red Lodge remains so underrated is a mystery, as this unique resort is nothing short of awesome. The mountain boasts more than 1,600 acres of skiable terrain, with a peak summit elevation of over 9,400 feet and a vertical drop of about 2,400 feet. Add these numbers to the fact that Red Mountain receives an average of 240 inches of snow per year, and you’ve got a setup for some great skiing.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort
First of all, it’s worth mentioning that Schweitzer Mountain Resort is utterly charming. Rustic and friendly, visitors might make the mistake of thinking they’ve landed in some European mountain town instead of Sandpoint, Idaho. Secondly, Schweitzer offers a slew of different kinds of trails over nearly 3,000 skiable acres, making it a great uncrowded ski resort for skiers of all skill levels. The resort receives a whopping 300 inches of snow per year, too. Besides traditional downhill skiing (Schweitzer’s longest continuous trail is roughly two miles!) and snowboarding, visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, cat skiing, and snowmobiling.
Ski Granby Ranch
Equidistant from Steamboat Springs and Winter Park, Ski Granby has long been a favorite resort for families, thanks in part to its affordable prices. Despite its popularity among parents, Ski Granby remains far less crowded than some of Colorado’s larger resorts. Granby is ideal for novice and intermediate skiers because of its gentle slopes and constant trail grooming. A sledding hill is available for those who want a break from their skis and snowboards, while those just learning can take part in Granby’s excellent lesson program.
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
Although it’s located only about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort never quite sees the same crowds as some of the other local resorts. This is surprising considering Snowbird’s impressive snowfall (more than 480 inches annually!), trails and runs for all skill levels, and convenient lodgings right on the property. Experienced skiers will especially love the resort’s areas known as Cirque, which has been called “some of the nation’s best expert terrain.”
Sugar Bowl Resort
Lake Tahoe, California
The areas surrounding Lake Tahoe are packed with ski resorts, but Sugar Bowl tends to have the smallest crowds and shortest lift lines. The whole resort consists of four mountain peaks, providing guests with plenty of room to ski, snowboard and even snow kite through trails both well-groomed and backcountry. And between Sugar Bowl’s average of 500 inches of snow per year and open-boundary policy, this resort is a favorite amongst those who want the freedom to find the best backcountry terrain with the deepest powder.
Sundance Mountain Resort
Sundance Mountain Resort is easily one of the best and most famous ski resorts in Utah, so what is it doing on a list of great uncrowded ski resorts? Thanks to its location nearly 60 minutes from the nearest airport, plus a slew of other great resorts in the area, Sundance never really experiences the big crowds. This is excellent news for those who brave the trek out here. Everything about Sundance has been carefully designed to provide skiers with an intimate snow experience. Rustic cottages are tucked into the mountainside, views of Mount Timpanogos are accentuated from every possible window, and the restaurants are world-class. In addition to traditional downhill skiing and snowboarding, guests can also take part in night skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Sunlight Mountain Resort
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Though it’s located a stone’s throw from popular (and crowded!) Aspen-Snowmass, Sunlight Mountain Resort couldn’t be more different. Instead of $1,000 lift ticket prices and champagne served slope side, Sunlight skiers pay a fraction of the cost to enjoy the snow and have access to some of the best hot chocolate in the state. Families in the know love Sunlight thanks to its impressive offering of beginner- and intermediate-friendly terrain, and its thoughtful layout. All 67 trails lead right back to the lodge, making Sunlight the type of place where parents are comfortable allowing their intermediate young skiers to ski at their own pace without fear of getting lost. Perhaps most impressive is the resort’s proximity to Glenwood Hot Springs, the perfect place to end an exhausting day on the slopes.
Taos Ski Valley
Taos, New Mexico
You may not think of New Mexico as a go-to destination for skiing, but in fact, the southwestern state is home to a great (and uncrowded!) ski resort: Taos Ski Valley. The entire 1,295-acre resort area receives a whopping 305 inches of snow per year. Taos Ski Valley offers myriad types of trails, including multiple runs for beginners, and steep advanced trails which run along the 2,612-foot vertical drop of the mountain. One of Taos’ biggest draws as a ski destination is its consistent weather. Indeed, the mountain enjoys upwards of 300 sunny days per year.
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Located near the peak of the Mt. Hood volcano, the totally underrated Timberline Lodge enjoys small crowds and a long season extending from mid-November until Labor Day. Twenty-five percent of Timberline Lodge’s terrain is suitable for beginners, making it an ideal ski destination for families. Of the resort’s total 1,415 skiable acres and 41 trails, another 50% is labeled intermediate level, while the final 25% is for the most advanced skiers.
Vermont’s Twin Farms ski resort may be on the smaller side, but it’s a great uncrowded snow destination. High-powered snowmobiles take skiers to the top of the mountain, where six different trail options can be found. No matter which trail is chosen, skiers can be sure they’ll sail down a wide, well-groomed run.
Whitefish Mountain Resort
Head to Whitefish Mountain Resort for great skiing. Experience epic views of Glacier National Park, Flathead Valley, and the Canadian Rockies. All this and surprisingly few crowds. Whitefish experiences consistent snowfall throughout the season, making it a pretty reliable place for powdery terrain. The resort’s 3,000+ acres of skiable terrain consist of 105 marked runs spanning all ability levels, though the majority are labeled advanced or expert. Uniquely, Whitefish’s terrain is amazingly varied, and includes everything from bowls to glades, long cruisers to steep chutes.
Notch, New Hampshire
Covering approximately 225 acres in the beautiful White Mountain National Forest, Wildcat Mountain boasts a vertical drop of 2,112 feet. That makes Wildcat Mountain one of the steepest on the East Coast. Though Wildcat Mountain has trails appropriate for all skill levels, its 2.75-mile novice trail, the longest of its kind in the state, makes it especially appealing for beginning skiers.