Fantastic scenery is one of the best assets for the sports of skiing and snowboarding. The immediate feeling of coming down the mountain may be exhilarating, but the scenic beauty lasts even longer through photographs. North America has literally thousands of pretty ski trails, but here are ten runs that are particularly remarkable.
Diamond Peak, Lake Tahoe – Crystal Ridge
Diamond Peak Ski Resort may not be the best-known ski area in the Lake Tahoe area, but the views are certainly recognizable from countless Tahoe stock photos. Located in Nevada on the northeast corner of the lake, Diamond Peak features Crystal Ridge, an intermediate trail coming from the top with stellar views of the lake. Skiers and boarders can come down for about 1,000 vertical feet looking right down at the lake.
Homewood, Lake Tahoe – Rainbow Ridge
Another family-friendly Tahoe ski area, Homewood Mountain Resort, has the unique distinction of actually coming right down to lake level. Not surprisingly, Homewood is also a go-to locale for Tahoe photographers looking for lake views. Rainbow Ridge, the resort’s signature beginner run off the top, provides a perfect spot for the family Christmas card photo.
Schweitzer, Idaho- Pend Oreille
Lake Tahoe has a worthy Idaho cousin in the family of beautiful lakes. Lake Pend Oreille provides the scenic backdrop for Schweitzer Mountain Resort. The 2,900-acre ski resort is basically split between Schweitzer Bowl and Outback Bowl. The lake is visible from pretty much anywhere on the Schweitzer Bowl side. The appropriately named black-diamond Pend Oreille run offers a particularly good angle for seeing its namesake lake.
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada – Paradise Bowl
Canada’s Banff National Park is considered one of the most scenic areas in the entire world. As a result, Lake Louise Ski Resort features amazing views throughout its 4,200 skiable acres. Skiing on the ridgeline and then dropping into Paradise Bowl can be a particularly sublime experience.
Alta, Utah – Big Dipper
Alta Ski Area sits at the end of the narrow Little Cottonwood Canyon just about 30 miles from the Salt Lake City airport. Alta’s dramatic natural scenery makes it hard to imagine that a major city is so close. With impressive crags of Devil’s Castle looming above, the intermediate Big Dipper off the Supreme chairlift serves up a combination of nearby scattered pines and lovely vistas to feel at one with nature.
Grand Targhee, Wyoming – Teton Vista Traverse
Although Grand Targhee Resort is located in Wyoming, visitors must come from the Idaho side to access it. While nearby, better-known Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is scenic in its own right, the slopes of Grand Targhee are situated at a better angle to see the Grand Tetons’ iconic Cathedral Group. The trail map reveals where to go for this view on a blue run logically named Teton Vista Traverse.
Telluride, Colorado – See Forever
At Telluride Resort in Colorado, See Forever also lives up to its name. The blue run follows a ridgeline with Revelation Bowl on the right and the main part of the resort’s skiable terrain on the left. Describing the surrounding San Juan Mountains as “spectacular” still seems like an unfair understatement. For those wanting a glass of wine to accompany the views, the Alpino Vino restaurant with a heated deck is located near the top of the run.
Aspen Highlands, Colorado – Upper Robinson’s
The Maroon Bells are likely the most photographed mountains in Colorado. To view these iconic peaks from a ski run, Upper Robinson’s at Aspen Highlands is the best spot. Coming down the mountain, the blue trail curves around the far left edge of the layout. From there, skiers and boarders can look back up a valley to the iconic Maroon Bells.
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – East Wall
The East Wall at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado consists of hike-to-terrain on a ridge that traces along the Continental Divide. The East Wall itself is an impressive sight from below. For expert skiers and boarders willing to hike up the East Wall, the views extend all the way to Breckenridge.
Wildcat, New Hampshire- Polecat
Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire typically ranks in surveys among the most scenic ski areas in the East. With views of Mount Washington, the green Polecat trail extends for 2.75 miles and 2,212 vertical feet from summit-to-base.
What is your favorite on the list, and if you know of one we missed, leave a comment!
Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico-Gayway: Intermediate run from top at 12K feet overlooking Rio Grande valley and city of Santa Fe. You can see over a hundred miles.
Schoolmarm at Keystone with views of the lake and the 10 mile range. Pretty spectacular
Have been to several on the list
Believe it or not, there is a run that should be on the list that is completely off of your radar
The River Shot
Jack Frost Mountain
Lake Harmony, Pa
Two beautiful East Coast views:
The view of Mount Washington across Pinkham Notch from the top of Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire and a sunset over Stowe as seen from Smuggler’s Notch Ski Resort across Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont.
Nothing in the Upper Midwest with great views of Lake Superior from ski runs at Lutsen, Mt. Bohemia, or Marquette Mountain?
Hey! You left out all of those EPIC Lake Tahoe view runs at Heavenly! Oh… yeah… that’s why…
Polecat! Upper wildcat has great views but isn’t open all the time.
Skyward on Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, NY is pretty sweet ! I
A basin 👍👍
Smaller, but Powderhorn on the Grand Mesa near Grand Junction has a fantastic view of the surrounding valley.
I would love to visit all of these ski mountains so thanks for a bucket list. I do believe Whiteface has spectacular views from the summit. My favorite trail is Wilmington Trail. Gotta try it if you get the chance.
Homewood is by far the best. And I’ve skiied a lot of different resorts. You can practically ski right into the lake! Spectacular views, great prices and not touristy.
It’s a step down on the list but the view of Mt Mansfield and surrounding VT terrain from Madonna peak at Smugglers Notch was pretty special early this week
Cypress mountain has at least one trail (panorama?) that provides an unobstructed view of Vancouver harbor and the city- what other ski resort provides such a view of a major metropolitan city on the water? I’ve skied many of those on your list and none provide such a unique vista.
I thought this article would be more about the scenic nature of the trails themselves. Along those lines, I’d nominate 49er at Pico in VT, which twists and winds narrowly through islands of snowy evergreens and Paradise at Mad River Glen, also in VT with its steep pitch, narrow cuts, little ice cliffs, and plenty of trees left on trail.
Mount Timpanogas from Sundance
Left out Le Masiff from the list
Glad to see you made an east coast area part of the 10! I think everyone will have at least a couple locations they could add. I know that I still enjoy the view from the top of Sugarloaf with all the vast wilderness with minimal man made items.
Grande Alle At Le Massif in Baie St Paul Quebec. You are almost skiing over the St Lawrence River
‘View of 1,000 Peaks at Panorama’, must be a top ten trail with a view – or perhaps Pitch Black in Revelstoke?
Excellent choices in this collection of ten locations and views. Mammoth would have been a good one to include. Thanks. New Hampshire res — glad to see Wildcat in the mix.
I think Homeward Bound at Deer Valley should have been on this list. It has almost 360 degrees of scenic views. From that run you can see for miles in all directions and all of the mountains around it. You can also see into Park City, Jordanelle, Heber and Midway.
The view of Gothic Mountain, top of the Painter Boy lift in Crested Butte, CO is pretty great.
Good idea Jeff Mastracchio about the scenery of the runs themselves. I might have to use that idea for a future post. 🙂 Off the top of my head for that list, I’d probably include Grand Review in Blue Sky Basin at Vail and Hell Fire in Hellroaring Basin at Whitefish Resort in Montana. If I remember them right, they’re both kind of meandering blues with lots of tree islands.