While the masses flock to the more widely-known ski resorts across the United States, these 5 ski areas (and their powder) are being left off the beaten path…
Top 5 Most Underrated Ski Resorts in the USA:
Grand Targhee, WY
Lift passes – $85 full day, $68 half day, $1219 season’s pass
Elevation – 7851 ft base, 10121 ft top, 2270 ft vertical
Skiable Terrain – 2602 acres, 96 runs, 5 lifts
Annual Snowfall – >500 inches
Date Established – December 1969
What you are missing – With the lowest skier-visits to off-trail-powder ratio in the United States and over 500″ of snowfall per season, Grand Targhee is known for its lack of crowds and incredible snow conditions. It’s the place to be if you want untracked pow. Hike Mary’s Nipple if you want fresh tracks even days after the storm. A short bootpack up Peaked Mountain from Mary’s allows access to Reliable and Bobcat, some of Grand Targhee’s most advanced terrain. Also, check out Toilet Bowl and Das Boat from the top of the the Sacajawea chair. Kids have their own mountain in the Kids Adventure Zone, with features just for them. This is THE ski resort for families as there is something for everyone…and I have it on good authority that the tubing park is not just for kids!
Mad River Glen, VT
Lift passes – $89 full day, $59 half day, $922 season’s pass
Elevation – 1600 ft base, 3644 ft top, 2044 ft vertical
Skiable Terrain – 120 acres, 45 trails, 5 lifts
Annual Snowfall – 250 inches
Date Established – December 1948
What you are missing – Mad River Glen is the ultimate skier’s mountain – and there are still no snowboarders allowed! Maintaining the spirit of the sport (rather than profit), the Mad River Glen Cooperative was formed December 5th, 1995. The ski hill is owned by over 1800 individual skier-owners. North America’s only remaining single chair lift was refurbished in 2007 with the intention of keeping skier density down and maintaining the resort’s heritage rather than upgrading it. Skiers visit Mad River Glen for the unique combination of legendary terrain, a sense of community, low skier density and an intimate atmosphere. Their motto: Ski it if you can!
Bridger Bowl, MT
Lift passes – $60 full day, $51 half day, $825 season’s pass
Elevation – 6100 ft base, 8800 ft top, 2700 ft vertical
Skiable Terrain – 2000 acres, 75 runs, 8 lifts
Annual Snowfall – 350 inches
Date Established – informally in the mid 1940’s
What you are missing – At Bridger Bowl, 2 miles of ridgeline terrain funnels down into 1 base area. The most extreme terrain requires the use of avalanche transceivers and is accessed by a bootpack from the Bridger chair and the Schlasman’s Chair. Bridger has a tendency to attract expert skiers and is known for its backcountry access but they also have a fairly extensive beginner area. Bridger has operated as a nonprofit since 1954 and is known for its community culture.
Lift passes – $79 full day, $69 half day, $1250 season’s pass
Elevation – 4464 ft base, 6917 ft top, 2453 ft vertical
Skiable Terrain – 3000 acres, 105 runs, 14 lifts
Annual Snowfall – 300 inches
Date Established – December 14, 1947
What you are missing – Whitefish Ski Resort on Big Mountain is known for deep snow and a well developed family atmosphere. The extensive trail network provides some of the best groomers in the country. But there’s more to Whitefish than just the skiing. The resort has >200 on-mountain lodging options and legendary après at the Bierstube and Hellroaring Saloon. The ski culture spills over into tremendous nightlife in town. Whitefish Mountain Resort also may just be the stag party capital of Canada!
Lift passes – $88 full day, $71 half day, $1199 season’s pass
Elevation – 8005 ft base, 10035 ft top, 2030 ft vertical
Skiable Terrain – 1200 acres, 77 runs, 8 lifts
Annual Snowfall – 500 inches
Date Established – Fall 1957
What you are missing – There’s a reason why they call it “Solitude.” While the larger resorts close to Salt Lake City have attracted crowds for years, Solitude retained its reputation as a small local hill. Solitude has varying levels of terrain, plenty of ski-in ski-out accommodations and a pedestrian-only European style village. Solitude receives the same amount of snowfall as the busier resorts but the culture is laid back since the locals don’t have to compete for fresh tracks.