Ski resort size has always been a big issue for resort marketing. The bigger the ski resort the more we can ski, right?

Some people are happy to ski the same runs over and over, believing small is beautiful. But if you’re one of those that think biggest is best, we’ve rounded up the top 10 ski resorts with the most acres of skiable terrain.

1. Whistler Blackcomb, Canada

In North America, the long-standing title-holder for largest ski resort has been Whistler Blackcomb with 8,171 acres. Other ski resorts, however, have been creeping ever closer to that figure. See Whistler Blackcomb lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

2. Park City Mountain Resort & Canyons Ski Resort, Utah

This winter, Vail Resort’s $50m+ “absorption” of Canyons Ski Resort into Park City will make the ski resort the new biggest in the US, and second in North America with a total of 7,300 acres. Prior to the merger, both areas were already in the top ten for size in North America: Canyons ranked fifth biggest and Park City Mountain Resort ninth. See Utah lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

3. Big Sky, Montana

Last year, Montana’s Big Sky was number one for size in the US, but the expanded Park City ski resort now overtakes it. Big Sky did something similar to Park City a few years ago and absorbed its defunct neighbour Moonlight Basin, creating an area of 5,800 acres and trademarking it “The Biggest Skiing in America.”

In an added twist, Big Sky is actually connected by lifts and ski runs to another ski resort of 2,200 acres. That gives it a combined total of 8,000 acres, still the largest in the US and second largest in North America.

The catch, though, is that those 2,200 acres are the privately owned by the Yellowstone Club. To become a member, you need to invest in property worth several million dollars. These super rich skiers can seamlessly ski between Big Sky’s terrain and their own private area, but alas the rest of us can’t go the other way on to Yellowstone Club land. So do we count it or not? It exists if you can afford it but disappears as an option if you can’t. See Big Sky lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

4. Vail, Colorado

Vail in Colorado was formerly the third biggest in North America, but (ironically) knocked itself down to 4th after the $50m+ expansion at Park City. It has 5,289 acres. See Colorado lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

5. Heavenly Mountain Resort, California

Heavenly Mountain Resort, another Vail Resorts owned ski resort which straddles the California – Nevada border, is fifth with 4,800 acres. See Tahoe lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

6. Sun Peaks, Canada

Sun Peaks in Canada has been edging up the ‘size’ table in recent seasons and has just taken the number two biggest slot in Canada and sixth in North America. The resort now has 4,270 acres. See Sun Peaks lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

7. Lake Louise, Canada

Banff Canada’s Lake Louise is seventh biggest in North America and third in Canada with 4,200 acres. See Lake Louise lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

8. Mt Bachelor, Oregon

Mt Bachelor in Oregon recently added 500 acres of terrain. It now totals 3,683 acres and has moved up to fifth place for size in the US and eighth in North America. See Oregon lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

9. Squaw Valley, California

Squaw Valley Ski Resort, also in California, is in ninth place with 3,600 acres. A planned (not yet fully confirmed) lift connection may join the resort with its neighbor, Alpine Meadows, which covers 2,400 acres itself. If joined, the combined ski resort may pop up to the top three or four spot. See Squaw Valley lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

10. Mammoth Mountain, California

Fellow Californian giant Mammoth Mountain is in 10th place. With 3,500 acres, it’s only 100 acres smaller than Squaw Valley. See Mammoth Mountain lift tickets.

Top 10 Largest Ski Resorts In North America

North America Versus the World

Over the years, there have been many attempts to compare ski resorts around the world with one another.

It’s easy to compare figures like vertical drop, longest run, number of lifts and hourly uplift, but when it comes to how big a ski resort is, Europeans come up with those stats differently. Instead of measuring in skiable acres, European ski resorts are measured by the length of all the ski runs lined up end-to-end. Additionally, when Europeans publish an area figure, they tend to include everything, not just the skiable terrain. Some of the biggest areas in the French Alps, for example, claim around 25,000 acres.

Around three years ago, Chris Schrahe (a German journalist, ski resort consultant and cartographic expert) began using newly available digital mapping techniques to precisely measure the length of the ski runs. He found that many ski resorts were exaggerating their claims, often excessively. Only 18% published accurate figures. It was the ski resort stats equivalent of the Volkswagen car emissions scandal! New rules are now in place which some resorts are abiding by, while others aren’t.

Mr. Schrahe now publishes a very detailed annual report each year comparing the world’s top 100 ski resorts on a wide variety of criteria. He has also launched a worldwide service, www.pistelength.com, which allows ski resorts to sign up to be independently verified with a seal of approval.

Using the same digital mapping techniques, here are some other interesting facts from Chris Schrahe’s research on a global scale:

  • If you measure groomed trail length (the way Europeans measure) rather than skiable area, the newly expanded Park City Resort is actually number one in North America in terms of marked trail length.
  • Whistler Blackcomb, Park City and Big Sky with Moonlight Basin are all in the world’s top 10 in size.

So there you have it, but perhaps it is easier to stop worrying about size and just go to some nice little ski hill somewhere and enjoy!

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  • Geoff

    You forgot Jackson Hole.

    • Username_Redacted

      Jackson Hole is “only” 2500 in-bounds acres.

  • AJorgensen

    Shhh… Don’t tell anyone about…

    Powder Mountain.

    • Alan Moroney

      it is amazing,unpretentious and great prices

    • Juanita Hernandez

      Keep it down, Jorgensen! They will HEAR you.

  • Juanita Hernandez

    Sorry but US areas are dwarfed by the Euro areas. Boundaries barely exist, you can ski from town to town or even into another country. Oh and it is much cheaper. And the food is incredible. Sorry, no burgers under heat lamps here.

    • Abe Gold

      For food the best I’ve tried is Deer Valley, gourmet ski resort. Have breakfast and lunch there. Many choices and if they don’t have it will make it fresh.
      As a long term vege burgers aren’t on my menu. Western resort menus are getting much better.
      Yes European resorts are bigger but I love Colorado.

  • Abe Gold

    If you add the 4 mountains of Aspen/Snowmass together that becomes the biggest and best in all of North America. Terrain as good as JHole at Aspen Highlands. The glades of Snowmass and the Big Burn. Get your rest as the lift service is so fast you’ll need it.

    • BG

      That’s maybe true but I don’t think you can get to all of them by skiing and would have to take alternative transportation (bus, car, etc.).

      • Abe Gold

        Free shuttle bus to the different resorts, common in Colorado ski towns.

  • RalphGoodson

    Whatever way you measure it, The 3 Valleys in France and Ski Dolomiti in Italy both dwarf any American resort!

  • juan

    Powder mountain in Utah is 8464 acres

  • Michael Pombo

    At the time of this article number 3 was not Big Sky rather it was Powder Mountain at 5800 acres inbounds, plus helicopter and snow cat skiing. Since this article, they have expanded and are now bigger than Whistler by 500 Acres. They only have another 3500 left to expand with. That’s coming…