Snow way! North America’s Best New Skiing Attractions

By dpa via Reuters

Powder snow slopes and endless downhill terrain are the lure of the major winter sports resorts in the US and Canada like Marmot Basin in western Canada. Reuters DPA
Powder snow slopes and endless downhill terrain are the lure of the major winter sports resorts in the US and Canada like Marmot Basin in western Canada.
Powder snow slopes abound and downhill terrain is endless in the winter sports resorts in the US and Canada, where big never seems big enough.

If your skis or snowboard are waxed and ready for action on a different continent this season, the US and Canadian resorts of the Rocky Mountains have plenty of fresh offerings.

More prime ski terrain near Denver

The Aspen Snowmass ski resort in Colorado, located a good three hours’ drive from Denver, is one of the flagship resorts in North America.

This winter, Aspen Mountain, one of the area’s four mountains, has been majorly expanded for the first time since 1985. Servicing the upper eastern side of Aspen Mountain, the new “Hero’s” high-speed quad lift increases terrain access by 150 hectares – 20% more – for downhill skiing.

Aspen is the biggest ski resort in Colorado, which has some of the best skiing in the US. Reuters DPA
Aspen is the biggest ski resort in Colorado, which has some of the best skiing in the US. Reuters DPA

There’s even more new terrain at Steamboat Ski Resort, also located in the Rockies and which can be reached from Denver in two and a half hours by car. Here, a whopping 655 hectares of terrain on Mahogany Ridge await experienced skiers, serviced by a new chairlift.

From this winter, Steamboat also offers the 10-person Wild Blue Gondola, the longest and fastest gondola in North America. Its upper section, completed in 2023, takes skiers to Sunshine Peak.

According to the operators, the new projects will transform Steamboat from the fifth to the second largest ski resort in Colorado, behind Aspen.

The resort of Keystone is even closer to Denver than Aspen or Steamboat, being just over an hour’s drive from the city. From this winter, a six-seater chairlift will open up 550 hectares of terrain with 16 new runs in the Bergman and Erickson Bowls.

Remember: In North America you can ski anywhere within the secured area, which is why the terrain area in hectares is a relevant parameter alongside the number of pistes.

Utah: Deer Valley to double in size

There are big plans too at the Deer Valley Resort in Utah, a good half hour’s drive from Salt Lake City. The operators are looking to more than double the skiable terrain here by the winter of 2025/26 with an additional 3,700 hectares.

The “Expanded Excellence” project will boast 16 new chairlifts, a new 10-person gondola and 135 pistes with several bowls and skiable forest terrain. However, snowboards are prohibited on the slopes of Deer Valley, which is a ski-only resort.

Mammoth Mountain California. Image / dpa

Snow bonanza in California

Californian ski resorts can look back on the second snowiest season in their history, according to the industry association Ski California. In Mammoth Mountain, for example, the season ran from November 2022 to the beginning of August 2023.

The new winter season started on November 10 at the resort in the Sierra Nevada in eastern California, around five hours’ drive from Sacramento, and includes a new six-seater lift at Canyon Lodge.

Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine

Even if the most celebrated ski destinations tend to be in the western United States, the east also offers a good variety, for example in the state of Maine, where the Sugarloaf ski resort is planning an expansion.

The West Mountain Expansion will open up 450 hectares of new terrain, including around a dozen new pistes, increasing the total terrain by almost 10%. The area, which will be accessed by the Bucksaw Express four-seater chairlift, is due to open in February 2024. Sugarloaf Mountain is around four hours’ drive north of Boston.

Canada’s Marmot Basin ski resort in the province of Alberta is around four hours’ drive west of Edmonton. Image / dpa

New lifts in the Canadian Rockies

Like the large resorts in the western US, their counterparts in the Canadian part of the Rocky Mountains are flush with improvements.

One is Marmot Basin in the province of Alberta, around four hours’ drive west of Edmonton. This season, the new four-seater Knob Quad chairlift will open up the high alpine Cirque mountain basin, where skiers and snowboarders previously had to scramble up. However, this location requires advanced skills.

The Whitewater ski resort is located in British Columbia, not far from the US border. A new four-seater chairlift runs to the summit of Silver King Ridge, adding 123 hectares and 14 new pistes.

The resort is located near the town of Nelson on the Powder Highway, a 1,300-kilometre ring route through south-eastern British Columbia, which is home to some of Canada’s best-known ski resorts.

Whisked up in Whistler

The largest and most famous Canadian resort is Whistler Blackcomb, not far from Vancouver. Winter sports devotees will be in their element after heavy snowfall in its 7th Heaven terrain, which now has improved access.

One of the entrances to the resort, the Fitzsimmons lift has been upgraded to get to the area faster: instead of a four-seater chairlift, an eight-seater now courses up the mountain from Whistler Village and, according to the operator, can transport 73% more people than its predecessor.

This will also be a boon in the summer, according to Destination British Columbia, because reduced waiting times at the lift will increase the capacity of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park – meaning more visitors will be able to race down the trails. But now it’s winter and for the time being the terrain belongs to snowboarders and skiers.


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