Northwest ski resorts are in relatively good supply, and as you might expect in a region this mountainous, there are some gems to select from. Only adding to the allure of a Northwest ski vacation is the fact that there are good ski resorts in all of the Northwest states, and even more options await when you cross the border into Canada. The Canada ski resorts certain deserve a look if you aren't stuck on staying within the boundaries of the U.S.
The state of Washington definitely deserves some attention when it comes to discussions about the top ski resorts in the Northwest. Several high-quality ski resorts call Washington home, and they include the 49Degrees Mountain Resort in Chewelah. This resort is known for being very family-friendly, which has a lot to do with the fact that there are runs for all levels. An excellent array of kids programs only accentuate the family friendly appeal. As for the terrain at 49Degrees Washington, moguls runs mix with groomed trails, and there is plenty of tree skiing for those who wish to indulge. As is true of many a ski resort these days, 49Degrees has a fantastic terrain park to go with its diverse array of trails.
Crystal Mountain Washington
Another top Washington ski resort, Crystal Mountain is less than ten miles from Mount Rainier National Park's northeast entrance and offers splendid views of the state's most famous peak from its 6,872-foot summit. In order to get to the Crystal Mountain summit, skiers and snowboarders can hop on the Mt. Rainier Gondola. The trip up from the base takes less than ten minutes, and once at the top, it is possible to break for a meal at the Summit House restaurant. This high altitude eatery specializes in Northwest cuisine and is the highest restaurant in all of Washington. There are 2,600 acres of skiable terrain at Crystal Mountain, and this makes it the largest ski area in the state. Powder enthusiasts will be happy to know that an average of 367 inches of snow fall on the resort on an annual basis.
Mount Bachelor Oregon
Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts shouldn't overlook Oregon when considering a winter escape, as that is where you will find one of the best ski resorts in the Northwest. That resort is the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort. The largest ski resort in Oregon, Mount Bachelor has a relatively high elevation when compared to other Oregon ski resorts. The summit tops out at around 9,070 feet above sea level, and the vertical drop is 3,365 feet. Together with the location on the drier side of the Cascade Mountains, the elevation allows for more reliable skiing and snowboarding conditions. In other words, the snow is usually very good. More than 70 different runs await at Mount Bachelor, and the numerous lifts allow for access to more than 3,600 acres of terrain.
Mount Hood Meadows Oregon
A number of ski resorts can be found on Oregon's Mount Hood, so skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts who are planning a winter trip to the Portland area might want to bring their gear. The best Mount Hood ski resort is arguably Mount Hood Meadows. It's certainly the largest ski resort in the immediate area, and the more than 2,000 skiable acres cater to all levels. The advanced skier or snowboarder can often find steep powder runs at Heather Canyon, and just above this area are the double blacks of Super Bowl. As for intermediate riders, some of the best cruising terrain that you will find anywhere in the Northwest can be found on the Mount Hood Meadows slopes, while beginners might prefer easier runs like South Canyon. Numerous lifts are in place to get visitors around the mountain, and since it is such a big mountain, more than one day on the slopes is recommended.
Sun Valley Idaho
As is true of the other Northwest states, Idaho has little trouble satisfying recreational enthusiasts, and both skiing and snowboarding figure among the top winter pursuits. The very best place to make some turns in the snow if you are focusing on Idaho is Sun Valley. Found in the southern part of the state near Ketchum, Sun Valley is perhaps best known for the challenging terrain that it offers on Bald Mountain, though beginning skiers and snowboarders are likely to be more interested in the easier terrain on Dollar Mountain. There are runs for all levels, and down at the bottom of the mountains, visitors will have little trouble finding fun things to do or a good place to stay.
Jackson Hole Wyoming
Easily one of the top ski resorts in the Northwestern United States, Jackson Hole impresses on so many different levels. For starters, there's the 4,139-foot drop, and both skiers and snowboarders can choose from two different mountains. These mountains are called Apres Vous and Rendezvous. Between them, there is more than 2,000 acres of in-bounds terrain, and as you can expect at a high mountain resort of this quality, there is plenty of backcountry terrain to explore as well. Complementing the amazing skiing and snowboarding are sumptuous mountain views, and there is no shortage of ways to keep busy when a break from the slopes is in order. Other winter activity options including snowmobiling and sleigh riding.
Big Sky Montana
To the north of Wyoming unfolds the beautiful state of Montana. In the western portion of this state, the Rocky Mountains rise high into the sky, and this is where you will find the renowned resort of Big Sky. Offering no less than three different mountains, Big Sky is known for its diversity, and it's not all about the slopes. Cross-country skiers can also find their bliss at Big Sky. Around 400 inches of snow fall on the resort on an annual basis, so there's usually plenty of white stuff to delve into either way. Another impressive stat is the vertical, which comes in at 4,350 feet. Lodging is available at the base of the mountain, as are spas, shops, and restaurants.