The Best Ski Resorts in North America (Which You Don’t Already Know About)

The Best Ski Resorts in North America (Which You Don’t Already Know About)

America is home to over 400
ski resorts
. Sadly, a large number of these are now
manufactured for the masses – owned by large corporations, the
small-town charm and the very things which made Whistler Blackcomb,
Mammoth Mountain, Heavenly and
so special are being lost. Lift tickets have
significantly increased along with lift lines, while B&Bs,
small shops and local delis have been replaced by Starbucks,
designer stores and multi-million dollar homes where the lights
only come on during holiday time.

Thankfully, should you wish to get back to the roots of what a
ski or snowboard trip should be – a picturesque town, great
terrain, no crowds, affordable prices and an experience which will
leave you desperate to return, there are
a few secret spots
that still exist. Here are our

Forget Aspen, these are North America’s best alternative ski

Grand Targhee


While Jackson Hole steals the spotlight where Wyoming skiing is
concerned, vetted skiers harbour a soft spot for nearby Grand
Targhee. Next to the Idaho border, this resort sits on the western
side of the Teton mountain range – which means its slopes get first
dibs on storms rolling in from the Pacific Coast. Powder is
probable most days and you’re likely get pristine runs all to
yourself (albeit ones that aren’t quite as challenging as Jackson
Hole’s). True, fancy lodgings and restaurants are better in Jackson
Hole, but there’s no reason you can’t hit up both ski resorts in
the same trip. Only an hour apart via the Teton Pass, regular
shuttles run to and from the Jackson village.

Silverton Mountain

Silverton, Colorado

If you’ve been dreaming of
untracked powder
, a capped number of skiers and snowboarders or
being able to jump out of a helicopter all summer long, Silverton
is calling your name. It’s not easy to get to (expect one or two
connections from most major West and Coast cities) and you won’t
find any luxury accommodation here. What you will find is a single
chairlift which gives you access to some of the best big-mountain
terrain in the country. Tickets start at $59/day and there is the
option of guided skiing. For an extra $179 you can book a
heli-drop, or fit in a full day of heli-skiing for $999 – some of
the most competitive rates in North America. Silverton is open
Thursday to Sunday with new terrain opening most days, meaning
fresh powder is yours for the taking regardless of when it last
snowed. You won’t find any beginner pistes or groomed runs here so
a beacon, probe and shovel are all mandatory equipment.

Retallack Lodge

Retallack, British Colombia

Be sure to book a cat skiing or boarding package early, as this
is the only way you can experience Retallack. Tucked away deep in
the Selkirk Mountains, having visited Retallack you’ll struggle to
return to ‘normal’ skiing – this is where backcountry dreams are
brought to life. Averaging over 550 inches of snow a year,
Retallack promises eight to 15 runs a day and accommodates a total
of just 24 guests at a time. The powder here is so good that the
feeling of weightlessness is one you may never experience again –
until you return, which you doubtless will. Packages start at
$750/day and include all food and accommodation.

June Mountain

June Lake, California

Twenty minutes north of its much larger sibling Mammoth
Mountain, and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, lies June
Mountain. This is the gem of southern
; lift lines are shorter; the powder more untracked;
and the out-of-bounds options are almost limitless if you know
where to go. The resort is family friendly, with a top-notch ski
school and a world-class terrain park. It’s no wonder that iconic
snowboarders such as Danny Kass got their start here. June Lake
Loop often gets closed during heavy snowstorms, but should you find
yourself inadvertently stuck here, nothing beats sitting inside at
Tiger Bar, having a drink and watching the snow fall outside. The
seclusion is almost eerie at times, but the tranquility of it is
what makes June Mountain so special.

Mount Snow

West Dover, Vermont

Ski and snowboard during the day and then embark on a culinary
adventure in the small town of West Dover, VT by night. Vermont is
home to world-class food scene and West Dover is no exception.
You’ll find local produce, hearty portions and creative dishes all
served in a small batch of restaurants spread across both sides of
. Chances are you won’t go wrong with any of the restaurants
you step foot into, but Two Tannery Road is a firm favourite. The
Waffle Cabin at the base of Mt Snow is also not to be missed.

Taos Ski Valley

Taos, New Mexico

New Mexico
is not a winter destination which first comes to mind, but those
who take a chance will be generously rewarded. Up until 2008, Taos
was a ski-exclusive resort; no snowboarding was allowed. Although
the slopes are now open to everyone, Taos prides itself on having
kept its rugged, authentic quality. Solitude feeds the soul here
and you can feel the spirit which reverberates throughout all of
New Mexico go right up into the mountain. Come to Taos to ski the
steep, often tough terrain, and to experience the rich spiritual
traditions, art scene and natural beauty of the town, all of which
makes for one of the most unique on and off hill experiences out
there. Be sure to go the Rio Grande National Monument and the Taos
Pueblo, the only living Native American community designated both a
UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark.