So you've heard the rumors and want to see if the West Coast lives up to the hype huh? If you can get past the nauseating ticket prices, we assure you that you'll be in for some of the best snowboarding of your life. Here is a list of ten mountains you'll definitely want to check out if you find yourself out west.
Alta Ski Area (UT)
One of the first official ski areas in the U.S., Alta refers to themselves as a "powder family" and for good reason. They average an astonishing 545" of snowfall every year. The resort is comprised of five peaks all sitting around 11,000' in elevation. As you can imagine, with that kind of elevation comes some spectacular views going both up and down the slopes. Alta has developed a reputation for its steep runs making it the perfect option for those who like to live life on the edge - both figuratively and literally.
As I write this, Alta is experiencing some of the most snowfall of anywhere not just in the U.S., but across the globe. If you've been waiting to hit this resort, now is the time.
Big Sky Resort (MT)
Big Sky has a trail map that any west coaster can recognize in a heartbeat. It's Lone Mountain Peak, sitting at over 11,000', towers over the surrounding scenery and is coated in triple black diamonds. During the winter, Big Sky averages 5' of snow per month across nearly 6,000 acres of skiable terrain. With a resort of that size, you can imagine that Big Sky contains something for everyone. Bowls, parks, triple black diamonds. You name it and it's here.
Crystal Mountain Resort (WA)
Sitting in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, Crystal Mountain is Washington's largest ski resort with over 2,600 acres of terrain to explore. The resort has a variety of basins and bowls, as well as numerous blue and black trails. Crystal offers night boarding which, as I'm sure most of you know, always ends up being enjoyably reckless time. The resort does experience avalanches from time to time so if you're looking for that little added "wow-factor", Crystal Mountain could be just what you need. (In all seriousness be safe out there friends!)
Heavenly Ski Resort (CA and NV)
High above the sapphire-blue waters of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly is one of the most unique snow resorts on the planet. How many times can you say that you snowboarded in two different states in the same day without leaving the resort? Not often, that's how many.
Heavenly sports 34 miles of groomed trails, double-black diamond canyons with 1,600' plunges, and some of the most outrageous tree terrain in North America. As their website states, you can make Heavenly your own playground every time you visit. If challenging terrain is your style, this is the resort for you.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (WY)
Sitting between the Gros Ventre and Teton mountain ranges lies Jackson Hole, a staple in the winter sports world. The mountain is full of bowls, gullies, and ridges that throw you every which way across the mountain. When the majority of the traverse trails running horizontally across the mountain are blue and black, you know that you're in for some excitement. They've experienced 285" of snow already this year, second in the U.S. behind only Alta (which actually speaks volumes about Alta's nearly 100" more this year).
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (CA)
Weighing in at 175 trails, 10 parks, 2 halfpipes, and 3,500 acres of terrain, Mammoth Mountain definitely lives up to its name. It's not unheard of for Mammoth to get up to 30" of snow in a day, meaning plenty of fresh powder turns both on and off the trails. However even with all that snow, this resort is known to get tons of California sun averaging an incredible 300 days of sunshine per year.
To get an idea of the scope of Mammoth, take a look at their interactive trail map found here. Without zooming in, the mountain is covered in color. You quickly notice that the color is just their insane array of 25 lifts sprawling all throughout the mountain. Never mind once the color from the trail lines start popping in.
Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort (OR)
If shredding down a stratovolcano is on your bucket list, then this is the mountain for you. Clocking in as the sixth largest ski resort in North America, Mt. Bachelor has over 4,300 acres of lift-accessible terrain, 101 runs, and a top elevation of 9,065'. The mountain is known for its long seasons, keeping all 4,300+ acres open through the end of April. From the summit you can take down bowls, ungroomed black diamonds, or a relaxing blue if you are feeling a more scenic route. With three distinct park areas - including a half pipe and performance zone - Mt. Bachelor has everything that you need to prep for your 2024 Olympics run...
Palisades Tahoe (CA)
Being California's largest resort comes with some high expectations and boy does Palisades Tahoe deliver. In the past WEEK alone, Palisades has experienced over 5' of snowfall. However, just like Mammoth, Palisades is known to receive plenty of that California sunshine, making it perfect for those who appreciate a good bluebird day. As you're bombing down the mountain you also get insane views of Lake Tahoe. I could bore you trail and elevation numbers, but when it comes to Palisades, its the scenery and conditions that steal the show.
Snowbird Ski Resort (UT)
Utah is absolutely crushing the snowfall leaderboards this winter. Similarly to their neighbor Alta, "The Bird" has gotten immense amounts of snow this winter including a fresh 55" over the past 4 days. The mountain is known for its expert terrain, comprising of mainly black diamond level trails. Two bowls, Baldy's and Pipeline, sit intimidatingly at the mountain summit approximately 11,000' above sea level. No need to worry though - there are a couple of blue trails down from the peak should you find yourself traveling with less skilled or adventurous individuals. Nonetheless, if you want to experience some of the most thrilling and powder covered terrain North America has to offer, definitely plan to venture over to Snowbird.
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort (BC, Canada)
You're going to want to break out the passport for this one. Just 90 minutes north of Vancouver lies a massive resort comprised of two mountains - Whistler and Blackcomb. Together these mountains make up an impressive 8,171 acres of skiable terrain and over 200 trails. They average 448" of snowfall every year and pride themselves on having the longest snowboarding seasons in North America. However, their most impressive (and obscure) stat by far is Whistler Blackcomb's SEVENTEEN different mountain restaurants with the capacity to seat almost 7,000 people. The resort has trails to suit every experience level and terrain parks packed with immediate and advanced features. If you're booking a snowboarding getaway with a group of friends or family, Whistler Blackcomb has everything you would ever need.