SKI Magazine lists Top 30 Resorts in the West and Vail misses out on the top 10 (again) |

SKI Magazine lists Top 30 Resorts in the West and Vail misses out on the top 10 (again)

Where do Vail, Beaver Creek rank?

SKI Magazine’s Top 30 Ski Resorts in the West rankings are based on its annual Reader Resort Survey.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

With 5,317 skiable acres and its legendary Back Bowls, Vail Mountain dwarfs every ski resort in Colorado. Yet, according to readers of SKI Magazine, it’s only the 14th-best ski resort … in the West.

Sun Valley, Idaho, topped this year’s SKI Magazine Top 30 Ski Resorts in the West rankings and Deer Valley, Utah, claimed No. 2. For comparison, Vail’s acreage is more than both of those combined, with over 1,000 acres left over. It’s the second straight year Vail has finished outside the top 10 in the annual readers poll after coming in at No. 11 last season.

Aspen-Snowmass, which was going for a three-peat as the top resort area, slid to No. 5 — the top spot for a Colorado resort. That’s counting all four Aspen-area mountains, even though their combined acreage doesn’t match Vail’s … and you’ve got to drive or take a bus between all four resorts.

Resorts in Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming, Canada and, of course, Colorado showed up on the list before No. 14. However, Colorado was well represented with 12 resorts in the Top 30.

SKI Magazine bases its rankings on its annual Reader Resort Survey.

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“Whether you are searching for sunny bluebird days, scenery that stops you mid-run, or powder up to your chest, ski resorts of the West have you covered,” the rankings list reads. “From large family destinations to old-school local mountain vibes, these are readers’ top-ranked resorts and why they keep coming back for more.”

Based on that loose criteria, it’s no wonder Colorado dominates the list again this year (sorry, Utah) with 12 of the 30 resorts. However, the top four are located outside of the Centennial State.

Locally, Beaver Creek came in at No. 9, while Telluride (No. 6), Steamboat (No. 8), Crested Butte (No. 10) and Breckenridge (No. 12) all came in ahead of Vail.

About Beaver Creek, SKI Magazine posted with the rankings: “No lift lines, cliff drops, free cookies, and a side-country to get lost in. What’s not to like?”

While Beaver Creek is always a popular mountain on this list, remember the No. 1 rule about skiing at the Beav’ — you go home and tell everyone about Vail. This year, there will be no free cookies at Beaver Creek due to COVID-19.

“The mountain and the village are what bring us to Vail,” the SKI Magazine list says of Vail Mountain. “Vail feels like 3 different mountains — front, back bowls, and Blue Sky. Each has a different feel and each has a tremendous amount of terrain. We love Vail Village — being able to walk everywhere is a plus.”

Vail is scheduled to open Nov. 20 and will be using a reservation system this season. Beaver Creek is set to open Nov. 25.

Also on the Top 30 Resorts in the West list is Copper Mountain (No. 24).

“Copper has a down to earth vibe, plus great and varied skiing,” the rankings say. “Enough challenging slopes on different pitches that you can always find some great snow and a good run.”

For the full list, visit

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