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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.