Revelstroke, BC Skiing

The Most Challenging Ski Areas in North America

America and Canada combined have some of the most amazing ski slopes anywhere. Between the Rocky Mountain, the Pacific Cascade and Appalachian Mountain ranges, North America has some pretty incredible and world-class ski resorts.

Explaining our Criteria

Here at Parks & Trips, we created a proprietary Difficulty Score thats generated by combining a number of metrics for each resort. Primarily, we look at the count of easy-intermediate-expert slopes by acreage and the maximum vertical drop of the overall resort.

Our algorithm compares each resort’s metrics with all others in North America, then gives each a Difficulty Score, which we use to rank them accordingly. Resorts with a lower score are easier than those with a higher one. However, a high score does not mean that the resort does not have any easy slopes, or vice versa. This is just an overall score given to the resort based on all its metrics grouped together.

Silverton: The Most Difficult Ski Resort in North America

Silverton comes out on top as the most difficult ski area (not really a resort) in North America. This is due to its insane summit elevation over 13,000 feet, and the fact that 100% of its trails are rated “expert”.

Colorado has three of the top four ski resorts when sorted by max difficulty level. Telluride and Aspen Snowmass come in as the second- and fourth-most difficult ski resorts in all of North America. Both have vertical drops over 4,500 feet, and about half of their slopes are considered expert-level.

Third place goes to Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada. Revelstoke has the steepest vertical drop in the continent, with Whistler Blackcomb, right behind it. Both these resorts have the only real slopes with a vertical drop of over 5,000 feet.

Top 25 Difficult North American Ski Resorts

RankResortSummit Elev.Vertical DropExpert TrailsDifficulty ScoreTM
#1Silverton (CO)13,847 ft3,447 ft100%100.0%
#2Telluride (CO)13,320 ft4,570 ft54%88.9%
#3Revelstroke (BC)7,300 ft5,620 ft20%86.6%
#4Aspen Snowmass (CO)12,510 ft4,406 ft44%86.0%
#5Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (WY)10,450 ft4,139 ft50%84.6%
#6Taos Ski Valley (NM)12,481 ft3,281 ft70%82.8%
#7Snowbird (UT)11,000 ft3,240 ft67%82.8%
#8Big Sky Resort (MT)11,166 ft3,666 ft60%82.5%
#9Kicking Horse (BC)8,033 ft4,133 ft53%82.2%
#10Whistler Blackcomb (BC)7,494 ft5,020 ft28%82.0%
#11Breckenridge (CO)12,998 ft3,398 ft64%81.9%
#12Castle Mountain (AB)7,463 ft2,833 ft69%78.9%
#13Banff Sunshine Village (AB)8,957 ft3,510 ft56%78.5%
#14Steamboat (CO)10,568 ft3,668 ft44%76.4%
#15Park City Mountain (UT)10,000 ft3,200 ft51%76.0%
#16Palisades Tahoe (CA)9,050 ft2,850 ft59%75.7%
#17Arapahoe Basin (CO)13,050 ft2,270 ft73%75.6%
#18Alyeska (AK)3,939 ft3,689 ft37%74.6%
#19Crested Butte (CO)12,162 ft2,787 ft61%74.2%
#20Mt. Bachelor (OR)9,065 ft2,765 ft60%73.4%
#21Bridger Bowl (MT)8,700 ft2,600 ft60%72.5%
#22Vail (CO)11,570 ft3,450 ft44%72.1%
#23Winter Park (CO)12,060 ft3,060 ft54%71.6%
#24Mount Bohemia (MI)1,500 ft900 ft93%71.5%
#25Heavenly (CA)10,067 ft3,527 ft30%71.0%