Peruse through any ski resort's brochure and you'll find a myriad of claims: the most-family friendly ski resort, the longest ski run, the biggest snowfall ever recorded in the history of man, etc. But who exactly has the MOST skiing in North America? Big Sky, Montana claims to have "America's Biggest Skiing," Utah's Powder Mountain claims to have 7,000 acres, making it the "most [acreage] of any ski resort in the United States," and British Columbia's Revelstoke gets in on the action with "North America's Greatest" vertical drop. Curbed Ski decided to get to the bottom of all of this by investigating and ranking North American ski areas in two areas: vertical drop and skiable acres.
***Please note, the following figures were all obtained from ski area websites and have not been independently verified. Wherever possible we've tried to use numbers that reflect the lift-accessed vertical drop and skiable acres, not including backcountry access or hiking.
Ski Area Rankings By Vertical Drop: Vertical drop is calculated by subtracting the base elevation from the highest lift-serviced elevation. For powderhounds, vertical drop might be the best assessment of great skiing. There's nothing better than a sustained pitch for thousands of vertical feet; it's skiing or snowboarding at its best.
1. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia: 5,620 feet
2. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia: 5,280 feet
3. Snowmass, Colorado: 4,406 feet (includes infrequently running rope tow, 3,723 feet without)
4. Big Sky Resort, Montana: 4,350 feet
5. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming: 4,139 feet
6. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, British Columbia: 4,133 feet
7. Panorama Resort, British Columbia: 4,019 feet
8. Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado: 3,845 feet (4,425 feet if you hike)
9. Timberline Lodge, Oregon: 3,690 feet (7,250 feet if you hike)
10. Aspen Highlands, Colorado: 3,635 feet (4,406 feet if you hike)
Ski Area Rankings By Skiable Acres: Size matters when it comes to skiing, as more skiable acres usually means fewer crowds and more untracked turns. And while Powder Mountain in Utah often touts itself as the biggest ski area in the country, that's only if you include 4,200 acres of backcountry access. In terms of lift-accessed acreage, Powder "only" has 2,800 acres. Including non-lift serviced acreage can be misleading. Take for example Vermont's Sugarbush Resort, which has 578 lift-serviced acres but access to 4,000 acres in the backcountry.
1. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia: 8,171 (includes both mountains)
2. Big Sky Resort, Montana: 5,750 acres
3. Vail Mountain Resort, Colorado: 5,289 acres
4. Heavenly Mountain Resort, California: 4,800 acres
5. Canyons Resort, Utah: 4,000 acres
6. Squaw Valley Ski Resort, California: 3,600 acres
7. Mammoth Mountain, California: 3,500 acres
8. Snowmass, Colorado: 3,332 acres
9. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah: 3,300
10. Northstar, California: 3,170 acres
So there you have it, Curbediverse! Want the biggest skiing in North America? Head to resorts that have both a long vertical drop and a ton of acreage, like Whistler Blackcomb, Snowmass, and Big Sky Resort. Now, just for fun, can you name the three ski areas in North America that have the highest number of chairlifts (including surface lifts)?
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