Jackson Hole is breathtaking, Park City is action-packed and Breckenridge is an epic ski destination that can’t be overlooked. These well known mountain towns and their famous ski resorts have done a fantastic job marketing themselves. But with the influx of visitors comes crowded trails, long lift lines, and skyrocketing lift ticket prices. We’ve scoured the continent to find some great alternatives to some of the best known ski resorts in North America. Escape the crowds, save time and money, and discover your new favorite ski resort using our recommendations below.
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The Best Ski Resorts to Escape the Crowds
If you love Jackson Hole: try Big Sky Resort, MT
Compared to other top ski destinations, Big Sky is simple and accessible. Getting off the lift at the top of Big Sky’s Lone Mountain can make you feel like you’re on top of the world – at an elevation of 11,166 feet, the air here is thin and the terrain steep. On a clear day, the peak treats skiers to stunning views of 10 Montana mountain ranges, as well as Idaho and Wyoming mountains including the Tetons! Over 5,700 acres of terrain makes Big Sky one of the largest skiing destinations in North America – which means there’s always space for everyone.
Big Sky features beefy terrain for those looking for extreme skiing experiences. Combine that with crazy steeps, impressive backcountry access, and Montana powder that can reach up to 30 feet, you’ll soon understand why Big Sky, Montana is the ultimate skiing destination for big mountain skiers looking for a little more solitude.
Big Sky also features beginner terrain that makes it a great place for family skiing activities. Lone Wolf, Mr. K, and Cinnabar are wide green runs where you can hone your skiing skills before conquering the steeper trails.
Getting to Big Sky Resort
Big Sky is located just 53 miles from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. With shuttle services and shuttle cars available at the airport, getting to Big Sky is easy.
Big Sky Resort Mountain Stats
- Big Sky has a total of 5850 skiable acres and 36 lifts.
- It has a vertical rise of 4350 vertical feet, and has one lone peak.
- Big Sky features over 300 runs!
- The longest ski run is a massive 6 miles and runs from Liberty Bowl to Mountain Mall!
- Big Sky also features 7 terrain parks.
- Big Sky resort receives an average snowfall of 400 inches.
- The percentage of terrain are as follows: 15% beginner, 25% intermediate, 42% advanced, 18% expert.
Where to Rent Gear in Big Sky
For quality ski gear and equipment in Big Sky, book online with Black Tie Ski Delivery. Booking on TripOutside gets you an extra 10% off! They will deliver your rental equipment right to your hotel or accommodation!
If you love Breckenridge, try Copper Mountain Resort, CO
Located in the heart of the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Copper Mountain boasts 140 ski runs across its almost 2500 acres. Copper is a great alternative to nearby Breckenridge with less crowds, fewer lines, and loads of varied terrain for all levels of skiers and riders. One of its main features is its naturally divided terrain – there’s a run for everyone. Beginners can head over to the west side for easier runs, while experienced skiers can ski the intermediate and advanced runs in the center and eastern side of the resort.
Copper also features incredible perks like free snowcat access to Tucker Mountain for expert skiers, free parking, and the free Summit Country bus system that can take you into Frisco or Breckenridge. These freebies combined with the lower lift ticket prices will make your trip to Copper much easier on the wallet.
Don’t jump on the bus too quick though – Copper Mountain’s base village has some great apres ski hangouts that rival Breckenridge. Try out the happy hour at cozy local dives like Jack’s Slopeside Bar and Grill, and Incline’s.
Getting to Copper Mountain Resort
To get to Copper Mountain, fly to Denver International Airport – a two hour drive from Copper Mountain. Shuttle services from the airport to Copper Mountain are available every day. If you prefer to rent a car, you can also pick one up at the airport.
Copper Mountain Stats
- Copper Mountain has a total of 2490 acres skiable terrain and a vertical rise of 2738 feet.
- The resort features 24 chairlifts.
- Average annual snowfall is 305 inches.
- There are 140 marked trails divided as follows: 21% beginner, 25% intermediate, 36% advanced, 18% expert.
- The longest run is 1.7 miles.
Where to Rent Gear at Copper Mountain
For quality gear with free delivery services, you can book online with Black Tie Ski Delivery in Copper Mountain. Booking on TripOutside gets you an extra 10% off! They will deliver your rental equipment right to your hotel or accommodation.
If you love Aspen, try Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO
Crested Butte lies just 12 miles from Aspen as the crow flies, with the remote Maroon Bells wilderness and some of Colorado’s highest peaks separating the two towns. In winter, Kebler Pass closes and the drive between the two can take almost 4 hours. Nicknamed Colorado’s last great ski town, Crested Butte’s remote location adds to its intrigue. There’s a number of things that will draw you to Crested Butte – the towering Mt. Crested Butte, the quaint Victorian town nestled in it’s shadow, and the breathtaking mountains that surround the valley. Add in the diverse and expansive terrain at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and you will agree that Crested Butte is the perfect destination for your next ski trip.
Crested Butte attracts advanced skiers willing to put their skiing skills to the test with it’s advanced inbounds terrain. Beginners will also enjoy skiing or snowboarding at Crested Butte – the front of the mountain are uncrowded trails that are perfect for beginner skiing. For intermediate and expert skiers, the resort features tons of more advanced terrain off the Paradise and East River Express Lifts, The North Face Lift, Gold Link Lift, and Teocali Bowl.
A trip to Crested Butte also won’t break the bank – lift tickets and accommodation are some of the most affordable in Colorado!
Getting to Crested Butte
There are two regional airports you can fly to if you’re planning to visit Crested Butte. Gunnison Crested Butte Regional Airport is 30 minutes from Crested Butte and Montrose Regional Airport 90 minutes away.
Alternatively, you can fly to Denver International Airport, which may have more flight options. From there, you can rent a car for the 4 hour drive, or choose from several charter ground transportation services from Alpine Express.
Crested Butte Mountain Stats
- Crested Butte has a total of 121 runs – 14% beginner, 25% intermediate, 25% advanced runs, and 36% expert runs.
- The longest run is 2.61 miles.
- Crested Butte has a skiable terrain of 1547 acres.
- The resort features a vertical lift of 2775 feet.
- Average annual snowfall is 217 inches.
Where to Rent Gear in Crested Butte
Butte and Co provides top quality ski and snowboard rentals right on the mountain. Book your ski or snowboard gear online easily, and pick it up slopeside!
If you love Winter Park, try Steamboat Resort, CO
If your ski trip is a family affair, head up to Steamboat Springs this year. Steamboat is known for it’s incredible tree skiing for skiers of all abilities, and their fluffy “champagne powder”. The town’s more distant location in northern Colorado keeps the crowds at bay.
Steamboat has enough steeps to satisfy the experts, but it’s really known for it’s expansive and unintimidating intermediate terrain. Kid-friendly activities with an emphasis on it’s Wild West roots make Steamboat an excellent family-friendly destination.
The base village has plenty of great happy hour spots, but for a party that lasts all night head to the Double Diamonds bar – recently named America’s best apres ski spot. Finally, don’t miss the namesake hot springs, a fantastic way to relax after a day on the slopes.
Getting to Steamboat
Steamboat’s regional airport has nonstop flights from 14 cities during the ski season, as well as 2-3 daily express flights from Denver. Alternatively, fly to Denver and rent a car for the 3-hour drive to Steamboat Springs.
Steamboat Resort Stats
- Steamboat has a total skiable terrain of 2,965 acres.
- The resort features a total of 165 runs – 14% beginner, 42% intermediate, 44% advanced
- Average annual snowfall is 314 inches.
- Vertical lift is at 3,668 feet.
Where to Rent Gear in Steamboat Springs
Book your ski or snowboard rentals online with Black Tie Ski Delivery in Steamboat. Booking on TripOutside gets you an extra 10% off! They will deliver your rental equipment right to your hotel or accommodation.
TripOutside also allows you compare gear rental prices at the local shops before you book.
If you love Park City, try Sun Valley Resort, ID
Park City is busier than ever since it’s acquisition by Vail Resorts, so we suggest heading to Utah’s neighbor to the north, Idaho. Named for it’s copious amounts of sunshine, Sun Valley Resort is a fantastic ski destination that sees less crowds but offers the same incredible mountain resort experience. More popularly known as the “birthplace of destination skiing,” Sun Valley has diverse terrain spread across two different mountains. Bald Mountain is considered one of the best ski destinations in the world with it’s 13 lifts and 65 runs, while Dollar Mountain is a great place for beginners to learn.
Bald Mountain has a delightful base village perfect for apres ski, and the charming nearby town of Ketchum offers everything one could want from shopping to dining and nightlife.
Sun Valley Resort Mountain Stats
- Sun Valley has a vertical rise of 3400 feet and skiable terrain of 2054 acres.
- The resort features a total of 78 trails – 36% for beginners, 42% for intermediate skiers, and 22% for expert/advanced skiing.
- Sun Valley has 18 lifts.
- Average annual snowfall is at 220 inches.
Getting to Sun Valley
You can easily reach Sun Valley by flying to Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey. From there, it is a 12 mile drive to Sun Valley. Rent a car for the short drive, or take a shuttle with Sun Valley Shuttle company. Ketchum is a compact, walkable town so a rental car is not always necessary.
Where to Rent Gear in Sun Valley
For ski and snowboard gear in Sun Valley, you can’t go wrong with the 5-star rated Black Tie Ski Delivery. Booking on TripOutside gets you an extra 10% off with Black Tie Ski Delivery!
If you love Beaver Creek, try Telluride Ski Resort, CO
Thanks to its legendary terrain, Telluride is considered one of the best skiing destinations not only in the US, but also in the world. Telluride is home to 2000 acres of terrain which is known for its steep, vertical drops. Almost 50% of Telluride’s trails are advanced/expert which means Telluride is a great destination if you’re looking for a challenge.
It also delivers wide open slopes and a low pressure atmosphere which welcomes beginner snowboarders and skiers. With over two miles of blue and green runs, Ute Park, Sunshine, Prospect Bowls are runs that newbie skiers will love.
Surrounded by the nearby San Juan Mountains, the resort showcases spectacular scenery. Because of it’s remote location, Telluride is known for its lack of lift lines. This makes it a fantastic skiing getaway where you can enjoy a variety of runs all to yourself.
Telluride Ski Resort Mountain Stats
- Telluride has a total vertical lift of 3790 feet, and 2000 acres of skiable terrain.
- The ski resort has 17 lifts.
- There are 148 trails in Telluride – 23% beginner, 36% intermediate, 41% advanced/expert.
- Average annual snowfall is 280 inches.
Getting to Telluride
The closest airports to Telluride are regional airports, which means you may have to connect. Telluride Regional Airport is a short 15 minute drive, Montrose-Telluride International Airport is a 1.5 hour drive, and Durango-La Plata Regional Airport is 2.5 hours from Telluride village. Shuttle services from Telluride Express are available at all airports mentioned above, as are car rentals.
Where to Rent Gear in Telluride
Looking for ski or snowboard gear for your Telluride ski trip? Book all of your ski and snowboard equipment online with Black Tie Ski Delivery and get it delivered directly to your hotel or accommodation. Booking on TripOutside gets you an extra 10% off with Black Tie Ski!
If you love Stevens Pass, try Schweitzer Mountain Resort, ID
Looking for a less crowded ski getaway in the Pacific Northwest? Schweitzer Mountain Resort is northern Idaho’s best kept secret. The resort is located in the panhandle region east of Spokane, WA. It’s panoramic views extend across the town of Sandpoint, Lake Pend Oreille, and all the way to Canada. This tranquil ski resort is the largest in Idaho and Washington but offers quiet, uncrowded runs and lots of solitude. Don’t assume Schweitzer is an easy ski destination, though – its epic steeps will also challenge you!
For top notch lodging near the runs, check out Schweitzer Mountain Resort Lodging. Other nearby accommodation options abound in nearby Sandpoint.
Schweitzer Mountain Stats
- Schweitzer Mountain has a total of 2900 skiable acres, and a 2400 foot vertical lift.
- The resort features a total of 10 lifts.
- Schweitzer has 92 trails – 10% beginner, 42% intermediate, 35% advanced, and 15% expert.
- Average annual snowfall is 300 inches.
Getting to Schweitzer
Schweitzer Mountain is just a 2 hour drive from Spokane International Airport. Or take the Amtrak from Seattle or Portland right to Sandpoint!
Where to Rent Gear at Schweitzer
Schweitzer offers gear rental for all of your resort activities right on the mountain.
If you love Vail, try Wolf Creek Ski Area, CO
If deep powder runs all to yourself is what you live for, Wolf Creek Ski Area will be right up your alley. With an annual snowfall of 430 inches, Wolf Creek is known to have “The Most Snow in Colorado.” Known for its one of a kind hike-to-terrain features, it’s favored by adrenaline junkies. With runs that are equally divided for beginners and more experienced skiers, there’s something for every skier and rider here.
The place may be more laid back than its neighbors, but its wide open powder runs are just as exciting. If you can’t wait to start the skiing season, visit Wolf Creek. It opens as early as mid-October depending on the snowfall!
Wolf Creek Ski Area Mountain Stats
- Wolf Creek features 1600 feet of skiable acres, and 1604 feet vertical lift.
- The resort has a total of 9 lifts.
- Wolf Creek has 120 trails – 20% beginner, 35% intermediate, 25% advanced, and 20% expert.
- Average annual snowfall is 430 inches.
Getting to Wolf Creek
To get to Wolf Creek, Co, your best bet is to fly to Durango Airport. You can rent a car at the airport for the 1 hour drive to Wolf Creek.
Where to Rent Gear at Wolf Creek
Wolf Creek offers gear rental for all of your resort activities right on the mountain.
If you love Whistler, try Mt. Baker Ski Area, WA
Abundant in snow and backcountry secrets, Mt. Baker is an incredible off the beaten path ski destination. Here, adventure is king. Time moves slow, and cell service is pretty much non-existent. Mt. Baker only recently hit the radar for top ski resorts, so it still has loads of serene runs and virtually line free lifts. There is one thing Mt. Baker guarantees – you’re going to have an epic ski adventure. The lift ticket prices are some of the lowest in North America, and couple with the resort’s unmatched powder experience make it a ski destination not to miss.
The resort does not have a base village, but stop at any of the small restaurants along highway 542 for a unique apres ski experience.
Mount Baker Ski Area Mountain Stats
- Baker has 1000 acres of skiable terrain, and 1589 feet of vertical lift.
- The resort is serviced by 10 lifts.
- There are 38 trails in Mt. Baker – 24% beginner, 45% intermediate, 31% expert.
- Average annual snowfall is a whopping 663 inches!
Getting to Mount Baker
If you are coming from Canada, Vancouver National Airport is a little over 2 hours away from Mount Baker (you will cross the border so have your passport with you!). You can also fly to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and drive 3 hours north to Mount Baker.
Where to Rent Gear at Mount Baker
Mount Baker offers gear rental for all of your resort activities right on the mountain.
If you love Park City, try Brighton Resort, UT
Brighton Ski Resort rose to fame as Utah’s first skiing hub. Over the years, it has become a favorite of adventurous locals who enjoy its natural freestyle hits, terrain parks, and deep layers of Utah dry snow. Thanks to its good value skiing and distinct family friendly atmosphere, Brighton has become a big hit with families, couples and singles alike.
Brighton boasts that all of it’s terrain can be reached by high speed quads, making it easily accessible for all. Furthermore, the inexpensive lift tickets and gear rental make it a budget-friendly destination.
Molly Green’s low key atmosphere and scenic views from the unique A-frame structure make it a perfect spot to enjoy apres ski after you’ve tackled Brighton’s fantastic terrain.
Brighton Resort Mountain Stats
- Brighton boasts 1050 acres of skiable terrain and a 1875 vertical lift.
- The resort has a total of 66 trails – 21% beginner, 39% intermediate, 25% advanced, 15% expert.
- Average annual snowfall is 500 inches.
Getting to Brighton
The closest airport to Brighton is Salt Lake City Airport, just 39 miles away. From there you can rent a car for the short drive, or take a shuttle.
Where to Rent Gear at Brighton
Brighton offers gear rental for all your resort activities right on the mountain.
If you love Jackson Hole, try Grand Targhee Ski Resort, WY
Tucked on the quieter western side of the Tetons in Wyoming, Grand Targhee is a hidden gem in the shadow of its more famous neighbor. With it’s incredible annual snowfall of 500 inches, backcountry skiing and powder stashes that last all day, the resort caters to those longing for exhilarating, deep snow skiing. Grand Targhee may get fewer visitors than the more popular Jackson Hole, but that just makes its epic powder and grand scenery even more enjoyable. Skiing the Teton Vista Traverse, Lost Groomer, and Painted Pony gives visitors a grand, panoramic view of the Grand’s stunning landscapes.
Grand Targhee is also far easier on the budget with inexpensive lodging in the base village and lower lift ticket prices than Jackson Hole. The base village is small but still has several great options for apres ski and dining.
Affordable and family friendly, Grand Targhee should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.
Grand Targhee Ski Resort Mountain Stats
- Grand Targhee has 2602 skiable terrain, and 2270 feet vertical lift.
- The resort is serviced by 5 lifts.
- It has a total of 95 runs – 33% beginner, 37% intermediate, 25% advanced, and 5% expert.
- Average annual snowfall is 500 inches.
Getting to Grand Targhee
To get to Grand Targhee, book a flight to Jackson Hole Airport and rent a car for the 1.5 hour drive across the pass.
Where to Rent Gear at Grand Targhee
Grand Targhee offers gear rental for all of your resort activities right on the mountain.
Underrated ski resorts are often off the beaten path, but that just means you get to enjoy their scenic beauty, uncrowded trails and happy hour specials without the crowds!