The 9 Highest Ski Areas in the United States

Andrew | | BrainsBrains
Breckenridge, colorado, highest
The view of alpine summits surrounding Breckenridge Ski Resort – PC: Breckenridge

With over 450 ski areas in the United States spanning from beautiful Lake Tahoe to the corner of Maine, every location has something unique to offer. In honor of the great diversity of skiing across the United States, this article will be recounting the highest elevation ski areas on offer in the United States.

1. Silverton Mountain, Colorado – 13,487 feet

Those brave enough to venture out to the all expert terrain mountain of Silverton get access to the highest ski area peak in the United States… but only if you’re willing to hike up. Their highest lift-served elevation comes in at 12,075 feet off the only chair at the resort that picks people up from the quaint base area at 10,400 feet.

Silverton Chair, colorado, highest,
The only chair at Silverton with Storm Peak in the background – PC: Silverton

2. Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado – 13,150 feet

The famed Telluride Ski Resort nestled in Southern Colorado is surrounded by a plethora of high peaks, including multiple nearby 14ers. Thanks to the prominence of the resort surefooted hikers can ascent the boot pack from the highest lift-served elevation at 12,515 feet up the Gold Hill Stairs that lead to the sub-summit of Palmyra Peak overlooking the extreme terrain below. From there dedicated skiers can, with one short lift ride, travel down to the town of Telluride, located at a base elevation of 8,725 feet.

Telluride, colorado, highest
The view of Palmyra Peak and surrounding extreme terrain at Telluride – PC: Telluride

3. Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – 13,050 feet

A-Basin has long been known as a destination for extreme skiing, and the ski area shows it with a plethora of cliff-filled chutes and extreme lines visible from nearby Loveland Pass. The unique high altitude location of A-Basin, situated under the prominent 14ers, Grays and Torreys allow its lifts to keep spinning until the 4th of July in good snow years. The high lift-served and base elevation of 12,456 and 10,520 feet respectively allow the Basin to offer the longest season in Colorado.

Arapahoe Basin, colorado, highest,
The view up the East Wall at A-Basin – PC: Al’s Blog

4. Loveland Ski Area, Colorado – 13,010 feet

Loveland’s high base elevation, perched at 10,800 feet above the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels on I-70, creates a great environment for fresh snow and powder days. Lift 9 at Loveland Basin shuttles guests up to an elevation of 12,700 feet situated on the Continental Divide. With hiking and the popular “Ridge Cat” servicing the summit of Golden Bear Peak at 13,010 feet.

loveland, colorado, highest,
Skiers sending it on Loveland’s extreme terrain – PC: Austin Grisham

5. Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado – 12,998 feet

The famous Lake Chutes, accessed from the summit of Peak 8 at 12,998 feet, allow access to some of the most challenging extreme terrain in Colorado. Breck’s abundant high alpine terrain is serviced primarily by the Imperial Express Chairlift, which holds the title of the highest chairlift in North America at 12,840 feet. With enough willpower, eager skiers can descend from the summit nearly four miles to downtown Breckenridge at an elevation of 9,600 feet.

The view of the Lake Chutes at Breckenridge – PC: Author

6. Aspen Snowmass, Colorado – 12,510 feet

At Aspen Snowmass, the Cirque platter lift allows access to the highest point at the ski resort. Servicing a unique mixture of alpine bliss and stunning views of the surrounding Elk Mountains the Cirque platter serves as a unique destination when it’s open. The high alpine peak of Aspen Snowmass is in contrast with the hotel-lined base area situated at 8,104 feet.

The view down from the Cirque platter at Snowmass – PC: Liftblog

7. Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico – 12,481 feet

Installed in 2014, the Kachina Peak lift allowed for skiers and riders to access the high point of Taos Ski Valley when avalanche and snow conditions permit. The top terminal of the lift sits just two miles Southwest of the highest elevation in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak. From atop Kachina Peak, expert skiers have access to an infinite number of lines down the headwall of the mountain towards the base area at 9,200 feet.

The view to Kachina peak from across Taos Ski Valley – PC: Taos

8. Keystone Ski Resort, Colorado – 12,408 feet

At Keystone, Independence Mountain serves as an alpine getaway serviced by hiking and snowcat expeditions. Due to the isolated nature of the surrounding terrain, those dedicated enough to make the two mile hike to the bowl must also hike out to protect sensitive wildlife terrain beneath the bowl. On the opposite side of the resort, the Outback Express services the highest lift-served elevation at 11,980 feet, that is until the long-awaited Bergman Bowl Lift is installed for the 2022-2023 season. Additionally, at night guests can take advantage of night skiing from Dercum Mountain down to the base elevation of 9,280 feet.

A view of a Keystone cat skiing expedition – PC: Keystone

9. Aspen Highlands, Colorado – 12,392 feet

At Aspen Highlands, the Loge Peak lift located at 11,532 feet allows skiers access to the daunting Highland Bowl boot pack. Committed hikers can trudge a mile up to the summit of Highland Peak at 12,392 feet while planning their drop into the expert terrain below. The Highland Village base area, placed at 8,040 feet, allows for an expansive 4,000+ vertical drop from the peak that is sure to tire the legs of any snow sports enthusiast.

A view of the Highland Bowl at Aspen Snowmass – PC: Snowmass 

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16 thoughts on “The 9 Highest Ski Areas in the United States

  1. No Worries Sir Smoke a Lot. I “highly “ recommend Mt. Alyeska in Goodweed, AK and Skistoned Resort in Keystone, CO

  2. Dear Moana & Groana.
    Happy is having friends in all of these states. I love visiting them for skiing and 30 and 40 day road trips yearly. Nice to be an east coast snowbird and listen to this. Just back from a cabin near Cedar Breaks / Brianhead, nice snow and only the trees whistling ❤️

  3. CO will always be the highest STATE with the highest SKI AREAS…period. Hell….lowest elevation in state is 4000ft.

  4. I’m glad that my local resort never makes these lists even though it is higher than several on the list and has higher lift serviced terrain than many of these resorts. Fortunately, it always seems to be the forgotten resort, resulting in short lift lines and awesome skiing.

    1. I Love to keep this secret too and let the unknowing to willing drive past this Land!

  5. The gold hill stairs do not lead you to Palmyra peak in Telluride. You access the highest point from the prospect lift.

  6. Colin,

    As a person with snowmobiles you should be aware the higher you go in elevation the more likelihood it’s going to be snowing. That’s like common sense 101.

    As a person in California you should be aware the last attempts to open resorts in California have all been shut down by enviros.

    We’re you aware the one up by lake almanor was shut down by Sierra Watch and Sierra Club?

    Yes small out of the way resorts are closing. It’s because they are remote, with mediocre terrain often at lower elevations.

    Resorts in Europe at higher elevations are having less trouble than resorts in Europe a lower elevations. The whole point is elevation. Elevation is something Tahoe doesn’t really have. California does have a lot of places with higher elevation where it does snow despite recent global warming. But it’s all closed. Because of Enviromentalists.

  7. LOL you really aren’t aware of what climate change is doing to the European snow pack are you? Keep crying about living in California and being at the mercy of the socialist republic. Pretty funny how you think environmentalists are to blame for new ski areas not opening. Meanwhile so many of those vintage ski areas that are now gone are closed for one primary reason…..lack of sustainable snowpack. Without snowmaking most ski areas would have closed as well. Very few can sustain without it. I’m watching my local ski area have a few weeks of good skiing a year these days even on primarily north facing terrain. Mother nature is an angry beeyotch and anthropogenic impacts have her really on edge.

  8. Not really, just busy getting rich so I can afford my own heli and endless trips to Europe here in about a decade. I’ll be at higher elevations without any crowds while you’re stuck at Palisade Tahoe wearing a rain coat battling the crowds wishing there was more ski resorts at higher elevations so you could go enjoy some pow like the good ole days.

    You’ll look back and think wow maybe I should have listened to that anonymous whacko and done something like starting an environmentally friendly pro-new-ski-area organization. And I will be in a helicopter loving my life more that I already do.

  9. California has the highest mountain in the continental US.
    It has 15 peaks over 14,000′.
    It has 147 peaks over 13,000′.
    It has hundreds upon hundred of peaks over 12,000′.

    However, due to extremist groups like the Sierra Club it has 1 ski resort at just over 11,000′ (Mammoth) and only 2 ski resorts over 10,000′ (Heavenly & June).

    I’m excited to see what a couple degrees of global warming which will equate to a couple thousand feet change in the snow level will do the ski industry in Tahoe.

    Too bad we can’t go open any new resorts in America anymore.
    They do however somehow open new resorts all over Europe. Crazy how they somehow are able to do that without all the Enviro’s having melt downs.

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