Top 5 Major Ski Resorts To Avoid Crowds

Top 5 Major Ski Resorts To Avoid Crowds

Skiing

Top 5 Major Ski Resorts To Avoid Crowds

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The Legend of the Pallavicini Lift | Old Ski Lift History

Credit: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

We’re all trying to avoid crowded lift lines when we go skiing on a weekend or holiday, right? The conditions and terrain certainly matter in choosing the resort we spend our hard-earned money at, but surely we’d all pick wide-open slopes over lift lines from hell.

These ski resorts are major players with great terrain, big verticals, and pretty-much nonexistent lift lines.

*All stats and info pulled directly from each ski resort’s website*

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, CO

Ski & Snowboard Trails | A-Basin Trail Maps

Arapahoe Basin might have gotten a bad rap the last couple of seasons that they were included on the Epic Pass, and that’s exactly why The Legendary ski area decided to remove themselves from Vail’s mega-pass product. They’ve since joined the IKON pass, and I can confirm from first-hand experience that lift lines are significantly down.

Avoid the I-70 traffic that’s flowing to all of the big Vail resorts and take a little trip up Loveland Pass (as long as the weather isn’t too bad) to Arapahoe Basin. The Legend is chock-full of excellent terrain, lots of snow, and a palpable “mom and pop” ski area vibe. Pro tip- head over to Pallavicini if the lines are getting a little busy on The Black Mountain Express. Take two or three laps over on Pali and you’ll really be feeling it in the best way possible. That lift offers some of the most fun and challenging terrain in all of North America.

Arapahoe Basin’s Montezuma Bowl. Photo: Matt Lorelli

Vertical: 2,530′

Skiable Acres: >1,400 ac.

Average Snowfall: 350″

Number of Lifts: 9

Sun Valley Resort, ID

Sun Valley - Bald Mountain - SkiMap.org

Sun Valley Resort is pretty well-known for being one of the least crowded ski resorts in the country. That’s most likely because the resort displaces skiers excellently across the mountain with it’s maximum uphill capacity of 29,717 skiers per hour. Combine that with less than 3,000 skiers a day, and you get wide-open slopes and empty lift lines.

This means you can score pretty much endless turns on Sun Valley’s legendary groomers, or venture out into the resort’s new Sunrise terrain for over 350 acres of pristine glades.

Vertical: 3,400′

Skiable Acres: 2,054 ac.

Average Snowfall: 200″

Number of Lifts: 18

Powder Mountain, UT

Image

Powder Mountain is the largest ski resort by skiable acres in all of North America. Did you know that? It’s crazy that this place gets overshadowed by the other ski areas close to Salt Lake City, and I’m sure the PowMow faithful aren’t complaining.

Powder is also one of a few ski areas that limits lift ticket sales on a daily basis. They do this to prevent overcrowding on the slopes, and to preserve the uncrowded skiing experience that makes the mountain so incredibly awesome.

Powder is just a little over an hour’s drive from SLC International, and it’s also a featured resort on The Indy Pass! Indy passholders get two days of skiing or riding at North America’s largest ski area. Pretty sweet, huh?

Credit: Powder Mountain/Indy Pass Press Kit

Vertical: 2,205′

Skiable Acres: >8,464 ac.

Average Snowfall: 500″

Number of Lifts: 9

Brian Head Resort, UT

Brian Head Resort Winter Trail Maps | Brian Head Resort

Most people don’t think to drive south of Salt Lake City to go skiing, and that’s exactly what keeps Brian Head free from overcrowding. Don’t let the unassuming trail map above deter you. Brian Head is a bona fide ski resort with excellent terrain, and lots of natural snowfall.

The resort is kind of in the middle of nowhere (over 3 hours from SLC, 4 Hours from Las Vegas) making it the perfect place to get away from the crowds. It’s also not too far from Zion National Park! Could be an awesome little getaway to a ski resort you can tell your friends about after they’re done complaining about the long lift lines they stood in at the some of the resorts in Northern Utah.

Brian Head Ski Resort | Utah.com

Brian Head Resort. Credit: Utah.com

Vertical: 1,320′

Skiable Acres: >650 ac.

Average Snowfall: 360″

Number of Lifts: 8

Gore Mountain, NY

Trail Maps - Gore Mountain

Major ski resorts on the east coast can be an absolute hellscape on weekends and holidays. People flock to the mountains from the coastal cities, and the narrow-cut winding east coast trails can quickly turn into downhill ice-skating rinks in a matter of minutes on the busiest days. So, how does Gore stay uncrowded during these times?

For one, Gore is pretty damn big when it comes to east coast ski areas. The mountain has 14 lifts spread out over 439 skiable acres and 122 trails. Gore is also a little bit off the beaten path with other major ski areas closer to NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia.

Trail Maps - Gore Mountain

Credit: Gore Mountain

Unofficial Networks’ founder, Tim Konrad, is a regular at Gore Mountain, and he’s told me on numerous occasions that he thinks it’s the best place in the area to beat the crowds, even on the busiest days of the season. I’ll take his word on that!

Vertical: 2,537′

Skiable Acres: 439 ac.

Average Snowfall: 150″

Number of Lifts: 14

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I know there will be a bunch of people in the comments section that say, “Hey! You’re blowing up the spot! Now it will be crowded!”.

My response to that is this- Unofficial Networks is one of the most-read online skiing and snowboarding blogs out there, but if you think that we have enough pull to permanently change the average number of skiers that visit a particular resort with one blog then you got another thing coming buddy. I appreciate that so many of you believe that we have that immense of a level of influence on the skiing community, but I think you might be blowing it a little out of proportion… 🤣

Featured Image: Powder Mountain. Credit: Indy Pass Media Kit

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