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
|Rank||Resort||Summit Elev.||Vertical Drop||Expert Trails||Difficulty ScoreTM|
|#1||Silverton (CO)||13,847 ft||3,447 ft||100%||100.0%|
|#2||Telluride (CO)||13,320 ft||4,570 ft||54%||88.9%|
|#3||Revelstroke (BC)||7,300 ft||5,620 ft||20%||86.6%|
|#4||Aspen Snowmass (CO)||12,510 ft||4,406 ft||44%||86.0%|
|#5||Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (WY)||10,450 ft||4,139 ft||50%||84.6%|
|#6||Taos Ski Valley (NM)||12,481 ft||3,281 ft||70%||82.8%|
|#7||Snowbird (UT)||11,000 ft||3,240 ft||67%||82.8%|
|#8||Big Sky Resort (MT)||11,166 ft||3,666 ft||60%||82.5%|
|#9||Kicking Horse (BC)||8,033 ft||4,133 ft||53%||82.2%|
|#10||Whistler Blackcomb (BC)||7,494 ft||5,020 ft||28%||82.0%|
|#11||Breckenridge (CO)||12,998 ft||3,398 ft||64%||81.9%|
|#12||Castle Mountain (AB)||7,463 ft||2,833 ft||69%||78.9%|
|#13||Banff Sunshine Village (AB)||8,957 ft||3,510 ft||56%||78.5%|
|#14||Steamboat (CO)||10,568 ft||3,668 ft||44%||76.4%|
|#15||Park City Mountain (UT)||10,000 ft||3,200 ft||51%||76.0%|
|#16||Palisades Tahoe (CA)||9,050 ft||2,850 ft||59%||75.7%|
|#17||Arapahoe Basin (CO)||13,050 ft||2,270 ft||73%||75.6%|
|#18||Alyeska (AK)||3,939 ft||3,689 ft||37%||74.6%|
|#19||Crested Butte (CO)||12,162 ft||2,787 ft||61%||74.2%|
|#20||Mt. Bachelor (OR)||9,065 ft||2,765 ft||60%||73.4%|
|#21||Bridger Bowl (MT)||8,700 ft||2,600 ft||60%||72.5%|
|#22||Vail (CO)||11,570 ft||3,450 ft||44%||72.1%|
|#23||Winter Park (CO)||12,060 ft||3,060 ft||54%||71.6%|
|#24||Mount Bohemia (MI)||1,500 ft||900 ft||93%||71.5%|
|#25||Heavenly (CA)||10,067 ft||3,527 ft||30%||71.0%|