Defining the oldest U.S. ski areas can be a little challenging. The sport’s pioneers would often just gather to trudge up a local hill and then slide down. They were too busy skiing to write down when they first gathered. Plus, reports of exact dates for an area’s first rope tow installation and such sometimes vary by a few years.
Nevertheless, according to the National Ski Areas Association at least, the places listed below are the country’s oldest ski areas that are still in operation.
1. Howelsen Hill (1915)
Steamboat Resort may the destination resort in the neighborhood, but Howelsen Hill directly above downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado, has seniority. Along with skiing and boarding, ski jumping is a big part of the ski area’s history.
2. Eaglebrook School (1922)
This Massachusetts private boys school has its own ski area that boasts snowmaking and a chairlift. Not surprisingly, the ski racing team is a popular activity.
3. Granlibakken Tahoe (1927)
Now on the grounds of the Granlibakken conference center and lodge, this place to ski was originally called “Olympic Hill.” Now a platter pull is the way to climb the 300 vertical feet to the top of this tiny ski hill on the California side of Lake Tahoe.
4. Mount Hood (1927/1928)
Three ski areas on or near the 11.250-foot Oregon volcano opened right around the same time. Opened in 1927 on Mount Hood itself, Summit and Cooper Spur are both very small areas catering to beginners. Across the way, the much more expansive Mt. Hood Skibowl officially dates back to 1928. Now, the 960-acre resort is best known for its night skiing.