The Top 10 Longest Vertical Drops at Ski Resorts in North America.



Classic Post: The 10 Longest Vertical Drops in North America


#1 REVELSTOKE – British Colombia, Canada

Mount MacKenzie, Revelstoke Ski Resort.  photo:

– 5,620 Vertical Feet (most continuous lift served vertical in The New World)

– Video of insane pillow skiing at Revelstoke


#2 BLACKCOMB – British Colombia, Canada

Blackcomb Ski Resort…yep, it’s huge.

– 5,133 Vertical Feet (resort claims 5,280 so they can say “a vertical mile”)

– Whistler (literally attached now) is at 4,978 Vertical Feet

– Video of the miniature world of Blackcomb


#3 TELLURIDE – Colorado, USA

Telluride, Colorado

– 4,425 Vertical Feet 

– Video from “Blizzard of Ahhs” at Telluride


#4 SNOWMASS – Colorado, USA

Snowmass, Colorado

– 4,406 Vertical Feet (includes hiking or infrequently running rope tow, 3,723 w/o hiking/tow)

– Aspen Highlands (right next door) has 3,635 vertical feet

– Video of Freeskier peeps going nuts at Snowmass

#5 BIG SKY – Montana, USA

Big Sky, Montana

– 4,350 Vertical Feet (3,650 vertical feet is skiable in one long run from top of Lone Peak Tram) 

– Video of high level snowboarding at Big Sky by Erik Morrison


#6 JACKSON HOLE – Wyoming, USA

Cody Peak at Jackson Hole, Wyoming

– 4,139 Vertical Feet (most continuous lift served skiing in USA)

– Video of the Squaw Boys skiing at Jackson Hole


#7 KICKING HORSE – British Colombia, Canada

Kicking Horse, British Colombia.  photo:

– 4,131 Vertical Feet

– Video of big mountain skiing at Kicking Horse


#8 BEAVER CREEK – Colorado, USA

Beaver Creek, Colorado

– 4,040 Vertical Feet

– Video of cheesy skiing & riding & some faceshots at Beaver Creek


#9 PANORAMA – British Colombia, Canada

Panorama Ski Resort, British Colombia

– 3,820 Vertical Feet

– Video, marketing style, of  Panorama’s panorama



Timberline on Mount Hood, Oregon

– 3,620 Vertical Feet (with a small amount of hiking, you can get 7,250’ of vertical)

– Longest vertical drop in North America….November – September

– Video of the Timberline Lodge in….”The Shining”…you know that it was filmed there, right?  

  • cormac

    Snowmass AKA the gaza strip. flattest mountain ever. Theres a few steep ones up top that last about 10 seconds then its basically a green run all the way down for the rest of the 4000 vert you have left

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  • Jamie Jones

    Effective vertical. Like the Jackson tram. Or better yet the top of the Midi to
    downtown Chamonix, now that can be proper vert.

  • torn edge

    It’s a meaningless statistic unless you can ski continuous vertical. What does count is the size of the features, and the angle of decent. Large faces, long couloirs, big cliffs, vast ridges. Places like Jackson, KH.
    I get 40K at Squaw, just ride the lift a few times, heh heh. I’d stop gazillion times anyhow on a 4400′ run, unfortunately.

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  • Anonymous

    Arguing about Vertical in North America is so lame. There’s hardly anything in it and stupid, expensive decisions get made so resorts can claim it (e.g. Revelstoke building top lift station in dangerous location).
    If you really care about being able to drop 2km in one run, get your ass over to the Alps, but in reality how often do you get consistent, decent snow over such vertical inbounds?

  • BigSkyRider

    Continuous vertical from the top of Lone Peak to the bottom of the Six Shooter lift at Moonlight Basin Resort is 4,150 feet. One of the best runs in the US, the North Summit Snowfield, takes you from the top. You need a ticket to both resorts to access the run (called the Biggest Skiing in America Ticket). How this article fails to mention this is beyond me and exemplifies that most writers don’t really know what they are talking about.

    • The Real Will

      that’s mentioned hardly anywere online and is a good point… I think it’s because it’s two different resorts… everyone just says the 4350 of big sky which isnt continuous because you have to ride ramcharger… and the “lift served” vert of moonlight from the top of headwaters is a lot less impressive… but that’s fine with me… let’s keep north summit a secret

  • Golden

    hahaha. Revelstoke. Good luck skiing that vertical. rain much? how many lifts? How about those cat tracks. I would hardly even claim that the revy Gondola accesses any skiing terrain based on how often the skiing is any good below it’s top elevation

    14 minute Gondola at Kicking Horse that gives you 3800 vertical feet that you CAN and want to ski every single day of the season. No cat track, all fall line, all steep.

  • turnearner

    pesh, you can get almost 10k off Shasta, but its all about quality/quantity, so I’ll still give it up to the ‘Stoke.

  • Corey

    Its more a matter of usable vertical feet, as I guarantee you don’t ski all of it in one shot at most of these places. How about a list of longest vertical chairlifts? I know Challenger in Sun Valley does about 3,200 ft of vertical in one shot, certainly the Jackson Hole tram comes to mind as well (4,139 ft up in one ride).

  • Oregonoutback

    Don’t forget that if you ride from the top of Palmer at Timberline and ride the Glade trail all the way down to Government Camp you get about 4 miles of riding with 5,500 feet vertical. The Glade is in no way really challenging but it’s still a fun ride and lasts for-fucking-ever. Plus you can literally ride from Timberline through govy (if there’s enough snow down there) and across the street to Charlie’s Bar!

  • BroMass

    Lift served at telluride is only 3,800 or so. Snowmass has 4,400+ lift served, and the Cirque lift runs at least 6 out of 7 days so don’t call it infrequent. Love Snowmass and T-Ride but get your facts straight!

  • jj jones


    I skied 9,000ft+ of lift served vertical off the Midi in Chamonix this morning. North America hardly even rates a mention in this contest.

    • Cali brah

      Yeah but you’d have to ride the chair with you. I got 46,000 vert at Squaw today in the beautiful sun, zero D-bag attitude. A lovely Brit said” I hope you don’t take all this beauty for granted, you’re very lucky!” Priceless!

  • SLUsoulskiing

    Honorable mention?
    Whiteface, 3400 ft of ice, corn, rock hard bumps, deathcookies, and/or all of the above at the same time… Best vert on the east, more than Aspen…

  • george

    Ha but the alps have much better vertical descent! with a smalll amount of hiking you can get 10,000ft of vertical drop or with a climb you can get 13,000 feet!!

    • Minnesota

      Maybe because you can ski everything at the boat with a .34 BAC on a lunch tray with a mocha in one hand and a baby in the other. i.e. it’s an over glorified spring break sledding hill. Yawn.

  • Freedom35

    Just a note, the “Video of Freeskier peeps going nuts at Snowmass” is actually peeps going nuts on Aspen Mountain (Ajax)

      • JH1983

        If we looked at vertical drop based on highest and lowest points (no additional hiking) the Top 10 would be:
        1. Revelstoke
        2. Whistler-Blackhomb
        3. Jackson Hole
        4. Snowmass
        5. Big Sky
        6. Panorama Ski Resort
        7. Telluride
        8. Kicking Horse
        9. Timberline
        10. Aspen Highlands

      • stanton

        You say that Revelstoke also have the most vertical in the World?
        Chamonix has 9,200 vertical from lift access but requires some of piste, but in addition Cham has 6800 feet vertical if you just stick to groomers with no need for lifts in between. Are you talking about a Single lift?

  • Selmer

    Timberline on Mt. Hood offers several unassuming 55 degree pitches on the way off the summit. Then you switch gear over at the car and throw down in the park for the rest of the day! 4 hours round-trip with the right tools. Timberline!- If you just cant cope with anything less than 250 days of shredding a season!

  • jeff williams

    The Minden Mile off the top of Monument Peak @ Heavenly deserves at minumum an honorable mention (it’s definitely 5000+) & Firebreak from the top of East Peak is around 3500 vert(it’s about 3000 from the Gondola mid-deck), both lift served more or less…

    • @ Jeff

      Don’t forget to mention the 1.5 miles of FLAT traversing you must do at Heavenly on your run… what a sleepy mountain zzzzzz. If I am going to pay $100 for a view of the lake, I might as well do it from a plane on its way to Jackson Hole, or Telluride…

      • jeff williams

        if you are hiking a mile and half in flats you are just lost, on a board the minden run requires only a little hiking if you aim over the bottom ridge properly and the gondola done right i’m unstrapped for less then 2 min…i’ll take it sleepy and fresh rather then wide awake and tracked out anyday…heavenly is all about knowing exactly where to go and that takes time not many hardcores will put in luckily i sucked when i moved here so i didn’t care where i rode and i lived at base of heavenly so i explored the shit out of that place always finding something new to take it to the next level took 8 seasons before i was bored enough to buy a squaw pass

      • Squallykook

        If it took you 8 seasons to get bored at Heavenly then you are being modest when you say you sucked. That place is boring in 2 hours.

      • Jordan

        Best lift accessed side-country, most vertical, best tree skiing.. Heavenly has everywhere in Tahoe beat. The best runs have low usage because of the tourists and squawkooks who cant find their way off the trail map. More for us, have fun shredding the one powder run you get on KT before its thrashed

      • Obverse

        Motts and Killebrew Have epic terrain. Firebreak and Minden Mile are both epic terrain as well. I prefer Kirkwood to the Heav, but Heav is quite worthy if you know where to go.

    • JOJO

      Lived in South Lake Tahoe for 13 years, 2 words come to mind—- HEAVENLY SUCKS! And Motts and Killabrew get thrashed just as fast as KT, have fun on lame fire-break, lol, barely enought snow to get down it last season. There is one nice thing about Heavenly and that’s the fact that it keeps a lot of the dumb tourists who prefer convenience away from the mountains I wanna ride

  • Zzzzzzzzzzz

    Gotta think outside the resort boys. I skied 7k off of Shasta in July. There has to be several other longer decents.

    • douchee magoo

      Ya but you got one run and your legs were worked from hiking everything that you eventually skied. Oh, and you ate granola the entire time.

  • Chuck u. Farley

    Timberline is somewhat dubious. Palmer does not run in the winter. I will say it is pretty sweet in spring though. Wide open corn out west of the lift.

    • Nick

      Second. Awesome post spring storm skiing and corn harvesting. You can catch a lift on the snowcat weekends during the winter, if you are willing to wait. Totally worth it if there is freshies.

  • mylesV

    the thing about those that are “bigger” than jackson, they dont have 1 lift that brings you straight to the top, let alone a tram. so basically its 2-3 lifts to get to the top then you have that verticle. plus its a chairlift lol. so they might be the longest but thats if you include the 2-3 chairlift rides to get that.

    • Learn prior to speaking

      Clearly being from Jackson you know everything. I to lived in Jackson for 2 years so also know everything.

      1stly.. Kicking Horse (9 vertical feet less than Jackson) accesses pretty much the entire vertical in a Gondola, not a cramped tram, standing only, 2hrs waiting to get on, 1 lap and the hill is worked, but a 12 minute Gondola ride chilling with you buddies.

      2ndly.. The base lift in Revelstoke is also a gondola, it takes you up 3,547ft (just under 600ft of Jacksons total) to the MID MOUNTAIN. Then the stoke lift takes you the remainder of the vertical .. 5620ft.

      Granted Jackson is a better hill than both.. But just sayin’

      • Skip

        I have never waited 2 hours for a tram ride–and I’ve been in Jackson a lot longer that two years. You must’ve slept through your turn.

        That being said, I’ve never skied those other mountains and have no comparison. May never–I never get tired of skiing here.

  • Launchpad McQuack

    Actually, “The Shining” was filmed in Estes Park, CO. Yes, the outside view of the building is Timberline Lodge, but all the live filming was done in CO.

    • Eamon

      Actually King was only inspired by the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. The original 1980 film was filmed on soundstages at EMI Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, Britain. The set for the Overlook Hotel was then the largest ever built, including a full re-creation of the exterior of the hotel. A few exterior shots by a second-unit crew were done at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon. These shots are notable because of the absence of the hedge maze, a nonexistent feature at the actual hotel. Some of the interiors are based on those of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. The Timberline Lodge requested Kubrick change the number of the sinister Room 217 of King’s novel to 237, so customers would not avoid the real Room 217.

    • many glacier

      I recently visited Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park in MT last summer. The staff said that King visited the hotel and was inspired by the hauntings that occur. Every winter, until the last few years, a ‘snowed inn’ keeper stayed at the hotel for five months every winter, alone!!! The stories were endless about the winter keepers and the hauntings they encountered.

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