The Most Challenging Ski Areas in the Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest region of the US has some amazing ski slopes. Everyone focuses on the slopes in Utah or the Rocky Mountains, but the mountains in the PNW are also some of the best in the country.
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.
Mount Bachelor: The Most Difficult Ski Resort in the Pacific Northwest
Mount Bachelor in Bend, Oregon falls just outside our national list of difficult ski slopes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging in its own right. With over 4,300 acres of lift-accessible terrain, Mt. Bachelor is the 6th largest ski resort in the US. Located on the eastern flanks of Oregon’s Central Cascades, Mt. Bachelor is known for its light, dry snow, diverse terrain, family-friendliness, and long seasons.
130 miles north, Timberline (Mt Hood, OR) comes in at second place on our list of difficult PNW ski slopes. This is because it has one of the steepest verticals in the country.
Third place goes to Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho. With a 2,400 ft vertical drop and 50% of its slopes rated as “expert”, this mountain in northern Idaho is only 65 miles from the Canadian border.
Top 25 Challenging Pacific Northwest Ski Resorts
|Rank||Resort||Summit Elev.||Vertical Drop||Expert Trails||Difficulty ScoreTM|
|#1||Mt. Bachelor (OR)||9,065 ft||3,365 ft||60%||82.1%|
|#2||Timberline Lodge (OR)||8,540 ft||4,540 ft||25%||77.0%|
|#3||Schweitzer Mountain (ID)||6,400 ft||2,400 ft||50%||69.4%|
|#4||The Summit at Snoqualmie (WA)||5,420 ft||2,280 ft||53%||68.3%|
|#5||Mt. Hood Meadows (OR)||7,300 ft||2,777 ft||35%||65.7%|
|#6||Crystal Mountain (WA)||7,012 ft||2,612 ft||35%||65.1%|
|#7||Tamarack Resort (ID)||7,700 ft||2,800 ft||35%||64.6%|
|#8||Pebble Creek (ID)||8,560 ft||2,200 ft||45%||62.8%|
|#9||Sun Valley (ID)||9,150 ft||3,400 ft||22%||61.0%|
|#10||Silver Mountain (ID)||6,300 ft||2,200 ft||40%||60.5%|
|#11||Bogus Basin (ID)||7,590 ft||1,800 ft||43%||60.4%|
|#12||Mission Ridge (WA)||6,820 ft||2,250 ft||30%||59.6%|
|#13||Stevens Pass (WA)||5,845 ft||1,784 ft||35%||56.6%|
|#14||Mount Ashland (OR)||7,533 ft||1,150 ft||48%||55.4%|
|#15||Loup Loup Ski Bowl (WA)||5,280 ft||1,260 ft||50%||54.9%|
|#16||Mt. Hood Skibowl (OR)||5,100 ft||1,500 ft||40%||53.3%|
|#17||Willamette Pass (OR)||6,683 ft||1,563 ft||34%||51.2%|
|#18||Mt. Spokane (WA)||5,889 ft||1,689 ft||32%||51.1%|
|#19||49 Degrees North (WA)||5,774 ft||1,851 ft||31%||50.7%|
|#20||White Pass (WA)||6,550 ft||2,050 ft||20%||50.7%|
|#21||Echo Valley (WA)||3,900 ft||900 ft||40%||49.8%|
|#22||Hoodoo Ski Area (OR)||5,703 ft||1,035 ft||41%||49.2%|
|#23||Mt. Baker (WA)||5,000 ft||1,500 ft||31%||48.5%|
|#24||Anthony Lakes (OR)||8,000 ft||900 ft||42%||47.9%|
|#25||Hurricane Ridge (WA)||5,500 ft||700 ft||50%||47.8%|