There are over 300 ski resorts or ski areas in the US and Canada. However, only one can take home the title as the largest.
When you look for the largest, you are technically looking for the ski resort with the most skiable acres.
What are skiable acres, you might ask? Well, the metric only includes terrain that’s skiable within the resort’s owned or leased property boundary. This does not, however, mean that all these acres are accessible via lifts or gondolas.
In fact, most of the acres at the largest ski resorts in North America aren’t easily accessible. In fact, only about 3,000 acres at the largest ski resort, Powder Mountain, are served by lifts. It is this way with most of the resorts in our top 25 list. It is also a good bet that if the acres are served by lifts, that the majority of them are likely groomed as well.
The rest of the acreage can be accessed a variety of different ways. Helicopters, snowcats, snowmobiles, and even good old-fashioned backcountry hiking are the other ways to reach the remaining slopes.
1. Powder Mountain
Powder Mountain proudly wears the crown of “largest ski resort in North America”. Located 55 miles north of Salt Lake City, they regularly see around 500 inches of some of the driest, lightest snow imaginable.
In 2016 Powder Mountain added two new chair lifts, which added over a thousand acres to their already impressive footprint. This expansion saw them overtake Whistler as the largest ski resort in North America, and Park City/The Canyons as the largest in the US.
2. Whistler Blackcomb
Until 2016 when Powder Mountain expanded, Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort held the title as largest in North America. The two previously separate ski areas of Whistler and Blackcomb were integrated into one operation in 1997, which is when they became the largest.
However, don’t feel bad for Whistler Blackcomb. This ski resort still holds the record for most skiable acres accessible via a lift (8,171 acres). Whistler Blackcomb is also more often than not the busiest ski resort, often surpassing 2 million visitors a year… which is not surprising since it boasts a lift capacity of 78,000 skiiers per hour.
3. Park City Mountain
Park City Mountain was the largest ski resort in the US until Powder Mountain’s expansion in 2016. In 2014 Park City merged with Canyons Village to create one of the largest ski resorts in the country. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as Powder Mountain eclipsed it less than 2 years later.
4. Big Ski Resort
Stretching all the way up to Lone Peak, the slopes at Big Sky live up to its name. Big Sky opened in 1973, and continually added skiable acreage to their resort until supercharging the growth with the purchase of Moonlight Basin in 2013. Big Sky has added virtually no acreage to their resort since that acquisition.
Many resorts in this list have gotten huge by purchasing up neighboring hills and combining them with their existing resort. Not Vail. Vail was enormous right from the beginning.
The Other Largest Ski Resorts
So, those are the top five… but what about the rest of the list?
Well, here is the full list of the 25 largest ski resorts in US and Canada. Canada is well represented, with 11 resorts in the top 25, all coming from either Alberta or British Columbia. Colorado has the most in this list within the US, with California and Utah hot on its tail.