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 US
Silverton comes out on top as the most difficult ski area (not really a resort) in the US. This is due to its insane summit elevation of over 13,000 feet, and the fact that 100% of its trails are rated “expert”.
First place actually goes to Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada. Revelstoke has the steepest vertical drop in the continent, with Whistler Blackcomb, also easily within the top 20. Both these resorts have the only real slopes with a vertical drop of over 5,000 feet.
Colorado has two of the top four ski resorts when sorted by max difficulty level. Telluride joins Silverton on this list, but Telluride is also one of the most popular ski resorts in all of North America as well.
Top 25 Difficult North American Ski Resorts
|Rank||Resort||Summit Elev.||Vertical Drop||Expert Trails||Difficulty ScoreTM|
|#1||Revelstoke (BC)||7,300 ft||5,620 ft||45%||100.0%|
|#2||Silverton (CO)||13,487 ft||3,087 ft||100%||99.9%|
|#3||Kicking Horse (BC)||8,218 ft||4,314 ft||60%||90.5%|
|#4||Telluride (CO)||13,150 ft||4,425 ft||54%||90.3%|
|#5||Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (WY)||10,450 ft||4,139 ft||50%||87.4%|
|#6||Panorama Mountain (BC)||8,038 ft||4,265 ft||50%||87.3%|
|#7||Whistler Blackcomb (BC)||7,494 ft||5,280 ft||28%||87.1%|
|#8||Big Sky Resort (MT)||11,166 ft||4,350 ft||52%||86.8%|
|#9||Winter Park Resort (CO)||12,060 ft||3,060 ft||74%||86.7%|
|#10||Breckenridge (CO)||12,998 ft||3,398 ft||64%||84.7%|
|#11||Mt. Bachelor (OR)||9,065 ft||3,365 ft||60%||82.1%|
|#12||Castle Mountain (AB)||7,463 ft||2,833 ft||69%||81.7%|
|#13||Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (CO)||13,050 ft||2,530 ft||73%||81.1%|
|#14||Vail (CO)||11,570 ft||3,450 ft||53%||79.3%|
|#15||Steamboat (CO)||10,568 ft||3,668 ft||44%||78.9%|
|#16||Snowbasin (UT)||9,350 ft||2,950 ft||58%||78.7%|
|#17||Aspen Highlands Ski Resort (CO)||11,675 ft||3,635 ft||53%||78.2%|
|#18||Park City Mountain (UT)||10,026 ft||3,190 ft||50%||78.1%|
|#19||Alyeska (AK)||3,939 ft||3,689 ft||37%||77.1%|
|#20||Timberline Lodge (OR)||8,540 ft||4,540 ft||25%||77.0%|
|#21||Crested Butte (CO)||12,162 ft||2,787 ft||61%||76.9%|
|#22||Keystone (CO)||12,408 ft||3,128 ft||49%||76.0%|
|#23||Bridger Bowl (MT)||8,700 ft||2,600 ft||60%||75.1%|
|#24||Mount Bohemia (MI)||1,500 ft||900 ft||93%||74.5%|
|#25||Taos Ski Valley (NM)||12,481 ft||3,131 ft||51%||73.5%|