The Top 9 Resorts in North America and a Breakdown of SKI Magazine’s Annual Resort Guide

Brent Thomas | | Industry NewsIndustry News
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What are the top resorts in North America? Credit: Deer Valley Resort

Recently SKI Magazine released their Resort Guide for 2023, where they rank the top 50 resorts in North America—30 in the west and 20 in the east. It is the most comprehensive and longest-running ranking in the industry. These rankings are unique because they are based on surveys from their readers. There is no better way to gauge how good a resort is than from the people who are visiting.

Elements of the rankings include guest service, snow, access, terrain variety, value, lodging, nightlife, challenging terrain, family friendliness, local flavor, and après skiing.

Grand Targhee, WY, came in at number 24 on the list. Credit: Getty Images

The List

We have some thoughts and observations on the rankings, but in case you missed it, here are the top nine in both the west and east. You can see the entire list here.

West Overall Score East Overall Score
1 Sun Valley Resort, ID 8.61 1 Smugglers’ Notch Resort, VT 8.4
2 Deer Valley Resort, UT 8.4 2 Bretton Woods, NH 8.38
3 Aspen Snowmass, CO 8.31 3 Killington Resort, VT 8.35
4 Banf Sunshine, AB 8.21 4 Mad River Glen, VT 8.3
5 Whistler Blackcomb, BC 8.14 5 Mont Tremblant, QC 8.3
6 Whitefish Mountain Resort, MT 8.12 6 Holiday Valley, NY 8.28
7 Telluride Ski Resort, CO 8.05 7 Jay Peak Resort, VT 8.11
8 Copper Mountain Resort, CO 8.03 8 Waterville Valley, NH 8.11
9 Winter Park Resort, CO 7.96 9 Magic Mountain, VT 7.91


It isn’t necessarily the biggest, well-funded mega-resorts with the most vertical that rise to the top of the list. Vail Mountain still makes the list but comes in at number 20. What matters is the overall experience.

Visitors tend to be less willing to deal with unreasonable crowds, packed parking lots, and long lift lines. Perhaps this is most noticeable, with Deer Valley coming in at number 2 on the list while close by Park City is number 30. This was a drop from number 13 last year for Park City. It just goes to show that management makes a difference.

Another trend was seeing the smaller, independently owned ski areas gain more traction in the rankings. Of the Top 10 resorts in the east, six are independently owned ski areas.

Credit: Mad River Glen

In the west, Grand Targhee, WY, and Powder Mountain, UT, both made the list this year after not being on before. These are where things like full parking lots, long lift lines, and exorbitant lunch offerings are not the norm. This shows a desire for skiers to seek out less crowded and more authentic ski experiences.

Making its debut on the list was Schweitzer Mountain, ID. Not only was it the first time making the list, but it came in at number 11 overall. Pretty impressive what is going on in northern Idaho. I visited Schweitzer for the first time last winter and was very impressed.

Use this list to plan your next trip or to validate what you already know. Or maybe you’re glad your local area wasn’t on the list, so you can keep it to yourself. Either way, we hope resorts pay attention to what the surveys say and can strive to provide an ideal experience for their guests.

You haven’t skied Tahoe until you’ve skied iconic Palisades Tahoe (#19 on the list). Credit: Jeff Engerbretson / Palisades Tahoe

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