Which state has the best skiing and snowboarding in the US?

Which state has the best skiing and snowboarding in the US?

What makes one snowboarding spot better than the next?

The “best-for-snowboarding” location in the United States is pretty subjective, really. But I believe it’s a mixture of facilities, the quality of pistes, the immersiveness of the snowboarding / skiing experience, and whether you have fun or not.

After traveling to some of the best snowboarding spots in the country, from Jackson Hole (Wyoming) to Snowbird (Utah), I’ve got some solid results.

Colorado is advertised as the best snowboarding state, but it’s kinda touristy for US residents (an incredible experience for “tourists” and non-US snowboarders). In comparison, fan-favorite states like Utah, Wyoming, and Montana have the most unique and immersive snowboarding experiences.

Best Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the United States

1. Telluride Ski Resort and Vail, Colorado

Number of Pistes84
Top Lift12,254ft
Bottom Lift8,727ft
Vertical Drop3,527ft
Best Time of the YearEarly October to Late April
Other ActivitiesStand-Up Paddleboarding, ATVing, Ballooning, Dogsledding, Paragliding

The best part of Colorado’s snowboarding experience isn’t its facilities or some magical routes, but the non-existent queues. It’s even more apparent in Telluride Ski Resort.

Though that’s not to say it’s boring and ignored by tourists. If you time things correctly, you’ll have a fantastic snowboarding adventure all to yourself. No crowd. No long-standing queues.

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado

The resort has routes for both beginners (who can enjoy snowboarding in an open area with beautiful views) and advanced boarders (who can try some of the expert-level routes like the infamous “Plunge.”)

And there’s more – Vail. The Golden Peak Terrain Park in Vail is what Colorado’s snowboarding is most famous for. It’s undoubtedly a tourist heaven.

Contact Information (Telluride Ski Resort):

Contact Information (Vail):

2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Number of Pistes111
Top Lift10,450ft
Bottom Lift6,300ft
Vertical Drop4,000ft
Best Time of the YearLate December to Mid-March
Other ActivitiesWhitewater Rafting, Kayaking, Hiking, Hot Air Ballooning, Helicopter Riding

Jackson Hole is one of the top three snowboarding locations in the United States. The Jackson Hole has something for everyone – the mountain has good trails for beginners. The park is considered best for intermediates and expert snowboarders. It also offers backcountry freeriding if you like that “me-time” like I do.

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Contact Information

3. Park City Mountain Resort & Snowbird, Utah

Number of Pistes100
Top Lift10,000ft – 11,000ft
Bottom Lift6,900ft – 7,700ft
Vertical Drop2,900ft – 3,100ft
Best Time of the YearFebruary and March
Other ActivitiesRiver rafting, Hang gliding, Mountain biking, Motorcrossing

Utah is the best state in the United States for going snowboarding and skiing. It’s not only a favorite and “must-go” in the snowboarding community, but Utah also ranks in the top 10 for various other sports such as mountaineering, rock climbing, etc.

The snowbird in Utah also boasts of having the steepest pistes in Utah, where you can challenge your own skills while having a good time.

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Snowbird, Utah

If you’re not ready for the Snowbird mountains, visit Park City Mountain resort without thinking twice and snowboard on their most famous routes, such as Three Kings and The Ridge.

Contact Information (Park City Mountain Resort):

Contact Information (Snowbird):

4. Big Sky Resort, Montana

Number of Pistes250
Top Lift11,100ft
Bottom Lift6,800ft
Vertical Drop4,300ft
Best Time of the YearLate December to Early April
Other ActivitiesZiplining, Whitewater rafting, Kayaking, Dirtbiking, Snowmobiling, Climbing

The Big Sky is the crown jewel of snowboarding in Montana. With an average snow thickness of 400-inch every year, it’s one of the top three snowboarding states in the United States. At least, according to the snowboarding and skiing community.

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Big Sky Resort, Montana

It also has some of the most challenging and steep routes, such as the infamous 11,166 foot Lone Peak Summit that literally takes your breath away. In short, the Big Sky is not for the faint of heart.

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5. Whiteface Mountain, New York

Number of Pistes75
Top Lift4,416ft
Bottom Lift1,200ft
Vertical Drop3,350ft
Best Time of the YearJanuary and February
Other ActivitiesShark diving, Skydiving, Flying, Helicopter flying, Ziplining, Rock climbing

Finally, the city that never sleeps! I know you have wanted to visit New York for quite a while, well here’s a reason: the Whiteface Mountain ROCKS when it comes to freestyle snowboarding. So much so that it has hosted the Olympics twice. 

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Whiteface Mountain, New York

It’s just the right amount of steep trails, open-area and beautiful views that make it the safe haven of freestyle snowboarders. Who needs a piste (trail) when you can just go out in the snow and have a good time doing awesome stuff? Not me.

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6. Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon

Number of Pistes71 – 87
Top Lift7,300ft – 9,065ft
Bottom Lift4,524ft – 5,900ft
Vertical Drop2,800ft – 3,100ft
Best Time of the YearLate April to Late May
Other ActivitiesWindsurfing, Whitewater rafting, Paragliding, Rock climbing, Paddleboarding

Mount Bachelor is the only snowboarding spot on this list known for its winds more than the terrain itself. Often described as a skatepark for snowboarders, Bachelor’s pistes have good enough wind to keep you going downhill. Thanks to the high speeds, it’s way more fun once you’re adept at controlling the snowboard.

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Mount Bachelor, Oregon

And once you’re done with this one, you can visit the second famous Mount Head Meadows (for similar reasons, just more great routes).

Contact Information (Mt. Bachelor): 

Contact Information (Mt. Hood Meadows): 

7. Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows, California

Number of Pistes100 – 170
Top Lift9,050ft – 11,053ft
Bottom Lift6,200ft – 7,953ft
Vertical Drop2,850ft – 3,100ft
Best Time of the YearDecember to March
Other ActivitiesSkydiving, Flying, Scubadiving, Highlining, Slacklining, Rock climbing

Any “best snowboarding locations” list can’t be called complete without California’s Mammoth mountains. The altitude is high enough to take your breath away with some of the most mesmerizing panoramic views I have ever seen.

Mammoth Mountains are considered THE BEST family-friendly snowboarding locations in the United States. The 5.46 miles big terrain park has something for everyone – from beginners to experts and children to adults.

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Mammoth Mountain, California

And if you’re not too fond of the dormant mountain, you can always go to the ever enchanting Squaw Valley located between Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows supposedly have the most consistent snow ratings over the past decades. 

Contact Information (Mammoth Mountain):

Contact Information (Squaw Valley): 

8. Mount Baker, Washington

Number of Pistes30
Top Lift4,900ft
Bottom Lift3,498ft
Vertical Drop1,493ft
Best Time of the YearFebruary and March
Other ActivitiesDiving, Surfing, Rock climbing, Biking, Windsurfing, Ziplining

Mount Baker might as well be the most underappreciated location on this list. The world-famous spot falls right behind Wyoming and Utah and gets overshadowed when considering the “best location out there.”

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Mount Baker, Washington

Seriously though, you won’t find a single skier at the world-famous domain of snowboarders. With their current open-boundary policy, Mt. Baker is where snowboarders go to ride hard and genuinely rediscover their love of snowboarding. Including me.

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9. Stratton, Vermont

Number of Pistes90
Top Lift3,875ft
Bottom Lift2,000ft
Vertical Drop1,873ft
Best Time of the YearLate Winter to Early Spring season
Other ActivitiesRock climbing, Surfing, Hiking, Rollercoaster on a hill, Ziplining

With 90+ easy to intermediate trails, Stratton is where you can take things easy and just have a good time. Stratton, in Vermont, is unanimously considered the best snowboarding location for beginners in the United States.

9 Most Amazing Skiing and Snowboarding Locations in the US!
Stratton, Vermont

Oh, and did I mention you can learn to snowboard from pros like Ross Powers (Olympic bronze-medalist) at Stratton Mountain School.

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So, these were the top 9 states in the US with world-class snowboarding and skiing experience. Pick your poison; any one you choose is guaranteed to be a wild ride.

If you’re not yet sold, check out my other top locations articles to pin down the state with the most fun activities for you.

Jonathan Spaeth

I got into extreme sports about 20 years ago and am a die-hard adrenaline junkie. Just like in business, I choose my outdoor adventures based on how much they scare me. My goal is to share the lessons I've learned over the past couple of decades braving the unknown to encourage you to do the same.