Thanks to numerous mountain ranges, including the Rockies and the Appalachians, there are hundreds of ski resorts scattered throughout the United States. Some ski areas are smaller and in places that rely on natural snowfall to operate, so they may not open each and every year due to weather. Therefore, the numbers always fluctuate, though there are nearly 500 of them.
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Alaska, the largest state in the U.S., is often considered the last American frontier due to its expansive wilderness and over 665,000 square miles of land. With so much acreage to explore, it’s no wonder that Anchorage is near one of the most sought-after ski resorts in the world. Bob Ross, everyone’s favorite TV painting …
Ski Resorts by American State
Most American states have some raised topography and many of them experience four seasons, including a freezing winter. There are 37 states that boast at least one ski area. They range from tiny hills perfect for just learning the sport to world-class ski and snowboard destinations. The greatest concentration of ski areas is out west and in the northeast.
Visit Uncover Colorado for a list of ski resorts in Colorado, featuring all the resorts and ski areas.
Map of American States with Ski Areas
Top Ski Towns to Live by State
With outdoor recreation at your fingertips, ski towns make terrific places to reside year-round. In the winter, locals will be able to take advantage of all the fresh powder as it falls, and experience the best of the spring, summer, and fall on weekdays when the crowds are slimmer. Whether you’re looking for a quaint New England ski town or a bustling hot spot like Park City, UT, and Breckenridge, CO, there’s a place for every skier and snowboarder in the U.S.
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If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do. [Warren Miller]
Downhill skiing has been a popular sport in the United States for more than a century, beginning with the country’s first reputed ski resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Today, there are approximately 460 lift-accessed ski areas operating in America in 37 states.
However, depending on snowfall, some smaller ski areas may not open each year, as they depend on bountiful natural snowfall for their base. And other resorts do close from time to time, just as new ones may periodically open. Even without fresh powder, they usually boast plenty of morning corduroy (groomed tracks), which has an exciting feel of its own and makes for an easy carving and learning experience.
Several states have massive resorts like the largest, Park City, which has 7,300 acres of skiable terrain, a 3,100-foot vertical drop, and 341 runs over six mountain peaks. Big Sky in Montana and Vail in Colorado are also among the 5000+ acre ski resorts. These
Fortunately, for beginners just looking to learn, many states also have community ski hills, some with only one or two slopes. They may have a short vertical drop and fewer than 100 skiable acres but are affordable for skiers to practice skiing and snowboarding.
Luckily, with so many options, there’s a resort for every type of skier across the country.
The Oldest Ski Area and Facilities in the US
Howelsen Hill, still operational, opened in 1915 and since then has been the training ground for around 100 Olympians. Over the past hundred years, the interest in skiing accelerated in America as resorts appeared across the country. The popularity created a lot of firsts at these ski areas.
The world’s first chair lift was introduced in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1936. Snowmaking was first introduced in the Catskills in 1952, at the now-closed Grossinger’s Ski Area. The world’s first terrain park opened in Bear Valley, California during the 1989-90 season.
Skiing and Snowboarding East to West
Although Colorado is the most visited state for skiing, New York has more ski resorts than any other state. There are approximately 50 different places to ski in New York (the number of official resorts on the internet varies from 43 to 50+) where the Adirondack, Catskill, and Appalachian Mountain ranges pass.
Michigan is second with around 3 dozen ski resorts thanks to its hilly terrain on the Lower Peninsula and the Huron Mountains in the Upper Peninsula.
The multitude and variation of mountain ranges across the country’s topography help when it comes to skiing. The three main mountain ranges consist of the Appalachians in the east, the Rockies to the west, and the Sierra-Nevada Range along the west coast.
All three provide many opportunities for ski resorts to incorporate different types of terrain for skiers and snowboarders. These main mountain ranges encompass many smaller ranges like the Tetons or Allegheny Mountains.
To the east, the Appalachian Mountains start in Alabama with one of the country’s southernmost ski resorts, Cloudmont. The mountain range extends through 13 states, past Maine and into Canada. All but one of the states is able to take advantage of skiable terrain with 177 resorts along the way.
The greatest number of ski resorts lie within the Appalachian Mountains, which include many smaller mountain regions such as the Blue Ridge, Allegheny, Poconos, and Catskills.
West of the Appalachians, around 126 ski resorts can be found in the Rocky Mountains, which begin in New Mexico and extend north to Montana, into Canada. The Rockies are the longest mountain range in North America and the second longest in the world.
The high elevation, steep vertical drops, and consistent snow make these resorts incredibly popular, with Colorado being the most popular state for skiing in the country. Within the Rockies are many smaller ranges such as the Tetons in Idaho and Wyoming, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico and Colorado, and the Wasatch Range in Utah.
Stretching along the west coast, the Sierra-Nevada Range begins in Nevada and then extends through California. This range is home to about 25 ski resorts.
Where the Sierra-Nevada ends, the Cascades begin, running from northern California, into Oregon and Washington. This section of mountains features North America’s snowiest resort, Mount Baker.
Snowfall and Ski Season
The Cascades are also among the snowiest ski areas in the world. Beyond the continental United States, the Chugach Mountains in Alaska are among the snowiest places in the country.
For the most snowfall, look no further than Vermont, which has 54 days of snow each year on average. It’s no wonder that the state’s ski areas benefit from consistent powder.
Generally, the ski season in the United States begins in mid-November and ends in late March or early April, depending upon the ski resort’s location. In certain areas of Colorado, California, and Oregon, the season can stretch into the summer months and begin earlier in October.
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