Best 10 Small Ski Resorts in North America

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*** For the sake of this article, “small” ski resorts are considered under 3,000 acres of skiable terrain. 

Bigger isn’t always better. These 10 awesome small ski resorts in North America pack a punch in less than 3,000 acres.

1. Donner Ski Ranch, CA

While this Tahoe ski resort is among the smallest in the area, it’s known for its awesome local feel & gorgeous views of Donner Lake.

Total Acreage: 435 acres
Annual Snowfall: 400″
Vertical Drop: 750 ft

Base Area Elevation: 7,031
Number of Lifts:  8

2. Kicking Horse, British Columbia

image: kicking horse

Known for it’s large alpine bowls, long steep chutes and short lift lines, Kicking Horse has one of the longest vertical drops in North America.

Total Acreage: 2,750 acres
Annual Snowfall: 275″
Vertical Drop: 4,133 ft
Base Area Elevation: 3,900 ft
Number of Lifts: 3


3. Crystal Mountain, WA

Located on the Northeast corner of Mt. Rainier National Park, Crystal Mountain has plenty of terrain for beginners, intermediates, and even backcountry access for advanced skiers and riders.

Total Acreage: 2,600 acres
Annual Snowfall: 350″
Vertical Drop: 3,100 ft
Base Area Elevation: 3,912 ft
Number of Lifts: 11

4. Brighton Ski Resort, UT

With immaculate groomed trails & a wide variety of beginner to advanced terrain, Brighton Ski Resort is perfect for every type of skier, and also offers night skiing with over 200 illuminated acres.

Total Acreage: 1,500 acres
Annual Snowfall: 500″ inches
Vertical Drop: 1,745 ft
Base Area Elevation: 8,755 ft
Number of Lifts: 6


5. Sierra-at-Tahoe, CA

A Tahoe local’s favorite, Sierra offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs – not to mention a killer park AND incredible backcountry access via gates to Huckleberry Canyon.

Total Acreage: 2,000 acres
Annual Snowfall: 480″ inches
Vertical Drop: 2,212 ft
Base Area Elevation: 6,640 ft
Number of Lifts: 12

6. Steamboat Springs, CO 

Famous for it’s “champagne powder”,  Steamboat Springs has been dubbed Ski Town, USA – more Olympians call Steamboat home than any other ski resort.

Total Acreage: 2,965 acres
Annual Snowfall: 349 inches
Vertical Drop:3,668 ft
Base Area Elevation: 6,900 ft
Number of Lifts: 16


7. Smuggler’s Notch, VT

While Smuggler’s Notch is notorious for being a family resort, it’s got the only triple-black diamond trail in the east – “The Black Hole”.

Total Acreage: 1,509 acres
Annual Snowfall: 250″
Vertical Drop: 3,050 ft
Base Area Elevation: 1,030 ft
Number of Lifts: 16


8. Grand Targhee, WY

Known for its deep powder and excellent terrain options, Grand Targhee is situated on the west side of the grand Tetons and is consistently hit by pacific-born storms.

Total Acreage: 2,602 acres
Annual Snowfall: 500+ inches
Vertical Drop: 2270 ft
Base Area Elevation: 7851 feet
Number of Lifts: 5


9. Alyeska, AK

With more expert terrain than beginner, Alyeska is notorious for having more snowfall annually than any other resort in North America.

Total Acreage: 1,400 acres
Annual Snowfall: 643 inches
Vertical Drop: 2,500
Base Area Elevation: 250 ft
Number of Lifts: 9


10. June Mountain, CA

While 80% of June is beginner or intermediate terrian (including three terrain parks), visitors can also partake in backcountry tours to Gnome Zone, Upper Glass Creek, San Joaquin Ridge, the Negatives, Fern Creek, Carson Peak, Devil’s Slide, Four Seasons, and many more.

Total Acreage: 500 acres
Annual Snowfall: 250 inches
Vertical Drop: 2,590 ft
Base Area Elevation: 7,545 ft
Number of Lifts: 7



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17 thoughts on “Best 10 Small Ski Resorts in North America

  1. Smuggs and not Mad River? No Bridger Bowl? Whitefish is only 3020 acres, can’t include that cause you might crowd Steamboat off the list. This whole site is an ad, including all it’s content. Highlight the resorts that pay us to do so.

  2. Steamboat Springs Small? in what universe do you ski? You can’t even park at the mountain- you have to park in town and take a bus-The sad thing is there are so many very nice small areas that yourcould have mentioned

    1. I agree. I’d only consider areas with less than 10 lifts to be small. I would not consider Steamboat a small ski area with 2965 acres, 16 lifts, and $160 lift tickets! I would not consider Crystal Mountain small either with 11 lifts. With only 3 lifts, I’d consider Kicking Horse “small”. Some small ski areas worth mentioning: Bridger Bowl, Wolf Creek, Ski Cooper, Silverton, A-Basin, Alta, Solitude, Powder Mountain, Red Mountain, Fernie, Revelstoke.

  3. Kicking Horse and Crystal are not small by even the most loose definition. Maybe the writer is trying to mean “under the radar/” But even there Steamboat which is both large and gets 900K skier visits makes no sense.

  4. I realize you say “For the sake of this article, “small” ski resorts are considered under 3,000 acres of skiable terrain”, but did you know that means you are excluding less than 20 areas in North America?

    Donner Ski Ranch and maybe June Mountain are the only ones in your list that I would consider small and June is not “small” especially if you can ski to the bottom.

  5. Great ,
    Have skied Kicking Horse a number of times ,its the real deal . Pay attention skiing for sure ,David

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