Which Ski Resorts Have the Most Vertical?

Newsroom Best Of Topics Which Ski Resorts Have the Most Vertical?

When it comes to mountain stats, the stat that many skiers are most interested in is vertical drop. After all, steep and deep is what skiers’ dreams are made of. However, just because a ski resort has a lot of vertical doesn’t mean it’s primarily for advanced skiers. These ski areas often have plenty of friendly groomed slopes, too. Consider Beaver Creek in the Vail Valley, which is considered a great family ski resort with lots of fun, long groomers, yet boasts more than 3,000 feet of vertical drop.

So what does it actually mean when we talk about a ski resort’s vertical? Simply put, vertical is measured from the highest to the lowest points on the mountain. In other words, vertical is actually just the difference, presumably the “skiable difference,” between the peak and base of a ski resort. Take Breckenridge as an example. The base elevation of 9,600 feet and a peak just under 13,000 feet equates to a vertical drop of just under 3,400 feet. Vertical is simply a very useful measurement of how “tall” a ski resort is. That’s the amount of elevation change that you’ll actually be able to ski.

Continue reading as we take you around North America, highlighting the ski resorts with the most vertical.

Ski Resorts With The Most Vertical Drop

Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada: 5,620 feet of vertical

Revelstoke, in British Columbia’s Canadian Rockies, has the longest vertical in North America. While it’s a bit of a trek to Revelstoke from the closest airport in Kelowna, you’ll never get bored with 5,620 feet of vertical. Revelstoke Mountain is the only resort in the world offering lift, cat, heli, and backcountry skiing from one village. Though it may not be as convenient as other ski resorts, Revelstoke is hard to beat for its vertical terrain.

Nat Geo 100 slopes of a lifetime, Revelstoke.
A heli-skier rides below a corniced peak in the Columbia Mountains of Revelstoke, British Columbia. ©Topher Donahue / Cavan Images

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada: 5,279 feet of vertical

Whistler Blackcomb makes up the largest ski resort in North America. It has 5,279 feet of vertical between the two mountains, and an astonishing 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. Whistler Blackcomb boasts one of the longest ski seasons in North America, often extending into May, while there’s summer skiing available on Horstman Glacier, too.

Powder skiing at Whistler Blackcomb.
@Whistler Four Seasons

Telluride, Colorado: 4,425 feet of vertical

Telluride is a great example of a ski area with a lot of steep, challenging terrain for advanced skiers, yet plenty of terrain for everyone else. Fittingly, Telluride was rated Best All-Mountain Terrain Resort by OnTheSnow users for the 2022-23 ski season. Telluride’s 2,000 acres of skiable terrain is nicely divided between challenging chutes, bowls, steeps, bumps, and wide-open groomers. You could ski all week and still just touch the surface of all that Telluride has to offer.

Telluride Ski Resort skiers on run in powder.
©Telluride Ski Resort

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming: 4,139 feet of vertical

Few U.S. ski resorts have the vertical and skiable terrain of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, where skiers and riders are greeted with an incredible 4,139 feet of vertical and 2,500 acres of terrain. You can make it a whole week of skiing with nearby Grand Targhee, home to 2,270 feet of vertical, and Snow King, which is the only nearby ski area with night skiing. Bonus: Jackson is arguably one of the most fun ski towns in America.

The Chute at Jackson Hole, WY.
The legendary chute Corbet’s Coubir at Jackson Hole Resort @Shutterstock

Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado: 4,406 feet of vertical

You’ll find some of the most vertical in the U.S. in Aspen. Snowmass, which is a favorite of families for its groomers and activities for kids, boasts 3,500 acres of skiable terrain and 4,406 feet of vertical. But don’t overlook Aspen Highlands’ 4,352 feet of vertical and 1,500 acres of skiable terrain. Highland Bowl is one of America’s most iconic places to ski and ride for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada: 3,790 feet of vertical

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, located near Golden, British Columbia, offers a diverse mix of challenging terrain and excellent snow conditions, with a vertical drop of 3,790 feet and 3,486 acres of skiable terrain. The ski area is home to large alpine bowls and long steep chutes, while lift lines are consistently short. Though it may not have the convenience of some of Canada’s other ski resorts, Kicking Horse is a can’t-miss ski destination.

Skiers on top of Kicking Horse, BC, Canada.
©Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Timberline Lodge, Oregon: 3,690 feet of vertical

Timberline, located just 60 miles from Portland, boasts the most vertical in the Pacific Northwest, where skiers and riders shred just below the summit of Mt. Hood. The historic, rustic Timberline Lodge, which is just steps from the lifts, is the perfect place to unwind after a day on the slopes. Bonus: Timberline has the longest ski season in North America, often open until August.

Beaver Creek and Vail, Colorado: 3,340 foot and 3,450 feet of vertical

Beaver Creek and Vail, about 20 minutes apart by shuttle or car, offer thousands of feet of vertical between the two ski areas. The family-friendly, upscale Beaver Creek has 3,340 feet of vertical with 2,000 acres to ski and ride. It has a lot of groomers, yet tons of terrain for advanced skiers and riders to play in. Vail is no slouch at 3,450 feet of vertical with 5,317 acres of skiable terrain. Vail’s incredible back bowls are not to be missed.

Snowbird, Utah: 3,240 feet of vertical

Just a short jaunt from Salt Lake City up Little Cottonwood Canyon is Snowbird, a unique resort with 3,240 feet of vertical and 2,500 acres of skiable terrain. The cable car takes you to the top, where the fun is just beginning. Snowbird is virtually next door to Alta, a more rustic, laid-back ski area. Alta has 2,538 feet of vertical drop and 2,614 acres of skiable terrain.

Must-See Panoramic Views at Utah Ski Resorts
©Scott Markewitz / Snowbird Resort

Sun Valley, Idaho: 3,400 feet of vertical

World-famous Sun Valley, America’s first destination ski resort, has long been a favorite for skiers and riders. Located near Ketchum, Sun Valley is one of those very few resorts where “magical” is the only description that really applies. Sun Valley’s magic extends to its slopes, where it has an impressive 3,400 feet of vertical.

Sun Valley, Idaho aerial.
©Sun Valley Resort

Breckenridge, Colorado: 3,398 feet of vertical

Breckenridge’s mountain stats speak for itself: 5 peaks, 3,398 feet of vertical, 2,908 skiable acres, 187 trails, 4 terrain parks, and the tallest chairlift in North America. It offers subperb skiing and riding for all ability levels, while boasting some of the most vertical in Colorado. Plus, the old West town of Breckenridge is a gem to experience after a day on the slopes.

Skiers bowl Breckenridge.
©Breckenridge Ski Area/Vail Resorts

Mammoth Mountain, California: 3,100 feet of vertical

Mammoth Mountain is the playground for California skiers and riders willing to make the trek for incredible powder, plenty of advanced terrain, and one of the longest seasons in North America. Boasting more than 170 runs across 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, and home to a great village, Mammoth truly is a ski destination for everyone. Beat the crowds and lift lines by going during the week.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area wide view mountains.
©Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Snowbasin, Utah: 2,900 feet of vertical

While many skiers and riders head east from Salt Lake City to the likes of Alta, Snowbird, and many more Utah ski resorts, Snowbasin Resort is a great option just north of Salt Lake City. Opened in 1940, Snowbasin is one of the oldest operating ski areas in America, and was a host of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Its 3,000 acres of skiable terrain and 2,900 feet of vertical has a bit of something for everyone, from wide-open bowls to glades to groomers to multiple terrain parks and more.

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