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 is one of the hardest ski areas in the country. It ranks in the top 10% of most-difficult ski resorts in all of North America, mostly due to the fact that it has 100% of its trails rated as expert-level, and a vertical drop of 3,447 feet.

Mountain Stats

Summit:  13,847′
Vertical:  3,447′
Base:  10,400′

Terrain Stats

Trails:  69
Lifts:  1
Acres:  1,819

Trail Breakdown

Beginner:  0%
Intermediate:  0%
Expert:  100%

More Information…

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. Aspen Highlands, Telluride and Aspen Snowmass come in as the second-, third- and fourth-most difficult ski resorts in all of North America. The latter two have vertical drops over 4,500 feet, and about half of their slopes are considered expert-level. Aspen Highlands has zero (yeah, Z. E. R. O.) beginner trails.

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%
#2Revelstoke (BC)7,300 ft5,620 ft45%97.4%
#3Aspen Highlands Ski Resort (CO)11,675 ft3,635 ft77%92.9%
#4Telluride (CO)13,320 ft4,570 ft54%89.2%
#5Kicking Horse (BC)8,218 ft4,314 ft60%87.9%
#6Aspen Snowmass (CO)12,510 ft4,406 ft44%86.2%
#7Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (WY)10,450 ft4,139 ft50%84.8%
#8Taos Ski Valley (NM)12,481 ft3,281 ft70%82.8%
#9Snowbird (UT)11,000 ft3,240 ft67%82.8%
#10Big Sky Resort (MT)11,166 ft3,666 ft60%82.6%
#11Whistler Blackcomb (BC)7,494 ft5,020 ft28%82.3%
#12Breckenridge (CO)12,998 ft3,398 ft64%81.9%
#13Aspen Mountain Ski Resort (CO)11,212 ft3,267 ft52%79.3%
#14Castle Mountain (AB)7,463 ft2,833 ft69%78.9%
#15Banff Sunshine Village (AB)8,957 ft3,510 ft56%78.6%
#16Vail (CO)11,570 ft3,450 ft53%76.8%
#17Steamboat (CO)10,568 ft3,668 ft44%76.6%
#18Park City Mountain (UT)10,000 ft3,200 ft51%76.1%
#19Palisades Tahoe (CA)9,050 ft2,850 ft59%75.7%
#20Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (CO)13,050 ft2,270 ft73%75.5%
#21Alyeska (AK)3,939 ft3,689 ft37%74.8%
#22Crested Butte (CO)12,162 ft2,787 ft61%74.3%
#23Mt. Bachelor (OR)9,065 ft2,765 ft60%73.4%
#24Bridger Bowl (MT)8,700 ft2,600 ft60%72.5%
#25Winter Park Resort (CO)12,060 ft3,060 ft54%71.7%
Author Image
Chris Cagle

I love traveling the United States. I hunt down fantastic places to visit in the summer and great slopes to ski down in the winter. The first national park I ever visited was the Smokies, but since then, I've been to dozens. However, my favorite by far has been Zion.