If you're a skier or snowboarder, you know there's nothing more dreadful than long lift lines. Spending half your day waiting in line instead of shredding down the mountain is less than ideal. So, to avoid this issue, we've made a list of the top eight least crowded ski resorts in the United States. Some of them even allow you to RV or van camp!
Best Low Key Ski Resorts
Our list contains hidden gem ski resorts around the country - from the West Coast to the East Coast. If you're looking to escape the crowds this winter, consider heading to one of the following resorts for a ski vacation.
1. 49° North, Washington
49° North Mountain Resort is roughly an hour's drive north of Spokane, near Chewelah. This wide-open mountain covers 3 basins with a mix of terrains: groomed runs, desert-dried powder, moguls, and hundreds of acres of tree skiing. Lift lines are basically non-existent.
This resort is continually rated as the region's top family resort, offering many activities for kids. Apart from downhill skiing, there's cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and other winter activities.
Thirty percent of the trails are suitable for beginners, 40 percent for intermediate skiers, and the rest for the advanced and expert levels. Day passes are reasonably priced (under $100), and you can buy them online.
Number of Trails: 86
Number of Lifts: 7
Skiable Acres: 2,325
2. Powder Mountain, Utah
Powder Mountain is North America's largest ski area, with over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. The mountain's massive size, combined with the lift ticket cap of 1,500 daily, makes it an uncrowded ski destination, even on the most powdery days. Be sure to get your ticket in advance, though!
You can find trails for all levels throughout the mountain's vertical drop of 3,346 feet. In addition, the area offers cat skiing on over 1,300 acres of backcountry trails. There's also cheap night skiing from 3-9 pm ($36 for adults).
If you're coming from out of state, you can fly into the Salt Lake City International Airport and then take an easy 90-minute drive to the mountain. Then, have a cozy stay at one of the several lodges around the resort with direct access to trails.
Number of Trails: 154
Number of Lifts: 9
Skiable Acres: 8,464
3. Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte, neighbors with the popular ski resort Aspen, is a low-key, down-to-earth option for those looking to dodge crowds. It's located in the Colorado Rockies-Elk Mountain Range which, on average, receives 236 inches of snowfall per year.
A little over one-third of the trails are suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers, while the rest are dedicated to advanced and expert skiing. In fact, the resort is known for its extreme-terrain skiing. Lift tickets use the EPIC pass system and are sold online.
If you aren't a downhill skier, you can cross-country ski or snowshoe around the surrounding national forest. After a day up in the mountains, you can head to the historic and charming mining village, Crested Butte, and visit its authentic bars and restaurants. An RV resort is open in the winter for those in self-contained vehicles.
Number of Trails: 121
Number of Lifts: 15
Skiable Acres: 1,547
4. Big Sky Resort, Montana
Big Sky is a family-friendly and sustainability-committed resort with stunning views. It's located between Bozeman and West Yellowstone National Park in the Madison Mountain Range, receiving around 400 inches of snowfall annually.
As the name hints, this resort is enormous, with almost 6,000 skiable acres and 4,350 vertical feet. However, there are fewer crowds, tons of space, and trails for all levels.
Many perks come with staying at the resort while you ski, including child care, reduced lift tickets and rentals, slopeside lodging, and more. In addition, after a long day of skiing, you can enjoy live music or hit the spa.
Number of Trails: 300
Number of Lifts: 39
Skiable Acres: 5,850
5. Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley is the birthplace of destination skiing and riding. Its ski area is spread over two mountains and more than 2,400 acres of diverse terrain. Bald Mountain has 3,400 acres of downhill terrain and caters to more advanced and expert skiing, while Dollar Mountain is more fit for beginners and kids. Lift tickets for the two mountains can be bought separately or together.
The resort receives an average of 220 inches of snow annually. Its trails are well-groomed and well-kept. If you're not a downhill skier, the resort offers 25 miles of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails as well.
The resort's isolated and out-of-the-way location (150 miles from Boise) helps keep the trails and lifts less crowded. However, the resort is still very accessible due to the proximity (13 miles) to the Friedman Memorial Airport.
If you're traveling by van, you can reserve a van camping spot at the Meadows RV Park for $25 per night.
Number of Trails: 121
Number of Lifts: 18
Skiable Acres: 2,154
6. Angel Fire Resort, New Mexico
Angel Fire is a family resort in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which are in the southernmost part of the Rockies. The mountain offers skiing, snowboarding, sledding, tubing, and snowshoeing.
Most trails cater to intermediate skiers (56%), while 21% are beginners and 23% are advanced. There's a vertical drop of 2,077 feet, with four glade skiing slopes, over 80 groomed trails, and three ski-and-ride terrain parks. Each year the mountain receives around 210 inches of snow.
The mountain has a nearby RV Resort for van and RV camping and a lodge. After hitting the slopes, you can dine and shop at the resort or head to town for a fine dining experience.
Number of Trails: 81
Number of Lifts: 7
Skiable Acres: 560
7. Okemo, Vermont
Moving over to the East Coast, Okemo Mountain Resort is an incredible place to ski in Southern Vermont. The resort is located in the Green Mountains, receiving 200 inches of snow annually on average. It also makes snow across 98% of the terrain.
With 2,200 vertical feet, this mountain is the tallest in the area. In addition to its slopes, it has six terrain parks, appealing to all ages and abilities. Thanks to its four high-speed quads and one high-speed six-pack lift with protective bubbles, you'll spend less time waiting in lift lines and more time on the slopes at this mountain.
Various lodges and accommodations are located around the mountain, at the top and base of it. You'll come across plenty of places to warm up or grab a bite.
Number of Trails: 121
Number of Lifts: 20
Skiable Acres: 632
8. Sugarloaf, Maine
Sugarloaf is Maine's second-highest mountain in the Carrabassett Valley, Franklin County. It has a vertical drop of 2,820 feet, and its peak reaches 4,237 feet.
Due to its distance from urban centers, it doesn't see many crowds. There are trails for every level, although the majority are rated for intermediate and up.
Sno-Go bikes, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating are also available. In addition, the base lodge has tons of dining, lodging, and shopping options.
Number of Trails: 162
Number of Lifts: 13
Skiable Acres: 1,240
Waiting in long lift lines is unnecessary, especially when there are tons of hidden gem ski resorts around the country. So mix it up this winter and try some of these lesser-known resorts. You won't regret it!