New Formula Ranks World’s Largest Ski Areas

Dylan Craig | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Largest Ski Area, Largest
Les 3 Vallées in France is the World’s largest Ski Area. Photo Credit: Les 3 Vallées

Ski Industry experts Montenius Consult have released a 40-page report detailing and ranking the world’s largest ski areas. The report was compiled by Christoph Schrahe, known in the industry for accurately measuring ski area statistics. In The Snow reports that Schrahe used an updated and more comprehensive formula for his 2019 report, using a measurement called “SkiMiles” to rank the ski areas.

According to the report, SkiMiles takes numerous values into account, including a ski area’s total skiable area, vertical drop, number of peaks, and the average length of runs. Ranking a ski area’s size can be a challenging prospect, due to ambiguous boundaries and varying definitions over what counts as “skiable” or not. However, the report states that the SkiMiles measurement reports size more accurately than previous models.

Biggest Ski Resort
Les 3 Vallées is six resorts merged into one ski area. Photo Credit: Les 3 Vallées

The World’s ten largest ski areas:

  1. Trois Vallées, France – 609 SkiMiles
  2. Sella Ronda, Italy – 513 SkiMiles
  3. Paradiski, France – 459 SkiMiles
  4. Matterhorn Ski Paradise, Italy & Switzerland – 409 SkiMiles
  5. Ski Arlberg, Austria – 387 SkiMiles
  6. Les Portes du Solei, France & Switzerland – 364 SkiMiles
  7. Skicircus Saalbach, Austria – 349 SkiMiles
  8. Whistler Blackcomb, Canada – 345 SkiMiles
  9. Espace Killy, France – 342 SkiMiles
  10. Voie Lactée / Via Lattea, Italy & France – 340 SkiMiles

It may be disappointing for North Americans to see European ski areas dominating the list, but all of the areas listed are the combination of two or more ski areas, with the exception of Canada’s Whistler/Blackcomb (which merged in 1997). Of the ten largest stand-alone ski areas, six are North American.

Whistler Blackcomb biggest Ski resort, Largest
Whistler Blackcomb is North America’s largest Ski Area. Photo Credit: Whistler Blackcomb

North America’s ten largest ski areas:

  1. Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia – 345 SkiMiles
  2. Vail, Colorado – 320 SkiMiles
  3. Park City, Utah – 311 SkiMiles
  4. Big Sky, Montana – 266 SkiMiles
  5. Snowmass, Colorado – 251 SkiMiles
  6. Beaver Creek, Colorado – 240 SkiMiles
  7. Mt. Bachelor, Oregon – 210 SkiMiles
  8. Breckenridge, Colorado – 208 SkiMiles
  9. Copper Mountain, Colorado – 200 SkiMiles
  10. Alta-Snowbird, Utah – 197 SkiMiles

Of North America’s largest ski areas, all are located in the west, predominantly in the Rocky Mountains. The East Coast’s largest ski area is Vermont’s Killington at 160 SkiMiles. Of course, these rankings aren’t entirely accurate. As any skier knows, certain mountains may be statistically smaller, but their terrain and sidecountry access mean they “ski bigger” than they actually are.

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