Underrated Ski Destinations in North America

Sugarbush in Vermont is one of the most underrated ski resorts in North America
Sugarbush in Vermont is one of the most underrated ski resorts in North America | © John Lazenby / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Nina Zietman
Commissioning Editor7 September 2020

Wide slopes and deep powder come to mind when you picture skiing in North America. Snowfall is higher on average in US and Canadian ski resorts compared to their European counterparts, so if you love skiing off-piste, North America is definitely the continent for you. From Vermont to Quebec, discover the most underrated North American ski destinations.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, British Columbia, Canada

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Kicking Horse direction sign with mountains in the background, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden, British Columbia, Canada
© Keith Levit / Alamy Stock Photo
Dreaming of long runs with hardly a soul in sight? Hidden in the town of Golden is the infamous resort of Kicking Horse, known as the champagne powder capital of Canada. With over 3,500 acres (1,416ha) of terrain and the fourth-highest vertical drop in North America, it is a favorite of backcountry aficionados, but that’s not to say it’s not family-friendly. The quiet-town vibe and wide groomers suit everyone from eight to 80 years old.

Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah, USA

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As the name suggests, Solitude is an off-the-beaten-track gem, away from the Park City crowds. Quiet slopes and views across the untarnished Utah landscape make it a must-visit. With 40mi (64km) of slopes and 500in (1,270cm) of snow each winter, there’s something to suit all tastes, from family-friendly green runs to Honeycomb’s steep chutes. Stay overnight and get first lifts to beat the day-trippers onto the pistes.

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, USA

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Taos, New Mexico / USA - April 24 2020: Empty chairlift in Taos Ski Valley in Taos, New Mexico on a sunny day
© Raisa Nastukova / Alamy Stock Photo
Biting into hot tamales while watching the snow fall may seem incongruous, but you can find deep snow in the New Mexican high desert. Soak up the bohemian vibe of Taos, where off-the-grid living was hot way before everyone else caught on. While it’s renowned for advanced terrain, there is a new beginner hill among the 110 runs on offer. Snow-making facilities ensure that there’s good snow all winter long.

Sugarbush, Vermont, USA

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While the East Coast doesn’t have the snow assurance of the West, it’s home to underrated resorts such as Sugarbush. Sandwiched between two legendary ski resorts, it offers some of the longest runs on the Eastern Seaboard and great late-season snow. Boasting 24 beginner runs, 51 intermediate and 36 expert, plus two terrain parks, this resort is very family-friendly, with enough tree runs to keep the speed demon in your life happy.

Alyeska, Alaska, USA

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View from the The Alyeska Resort Hotel overlooking the ski runs and cable car in Girdwood, in the Chugach mountains, Alaska, USA
© Jenny Bailey / Alamy Stock Photo
When it comes to natural beauty, Alaska is off the chart. Head to Alyeska for non-existent lift queues, plentiful heli-ski options and endless spring skiing. Enjoy 2,000 vertical feet (610m) of night-lit terrain, plus the longest continuous double-black run known as the North Face – spine-tingling stuff. This resort is best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers.

Le Valinouët, Quebec, Canada

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The Saguenay people are known for their friendliness, and nowhere more so than at the rustic ski resort of Le Valinouët. It’s not all about the downhill here – there’s also cross-country skiing, snow tubing and snowshoeing. With its own natural microclimate, Le Valinouët is one of only two ski resorts in Quebec operating on 100 percent natural snow, so you can look forward to plenty of crisp flakes in this remote corner of Eastern Canada.
These recommendations were updated on September 7, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.