With over 450 ski areas in the United States ranging from beautiful Lake Tahoe to the corner of Maine, each location has something unique to offer. In honor of the great diversity of skiing across the United States, this article will chronicle the highest ski areas offered in the United States.
1. Silverton Mountain, Colorado – 13,487 feet
Those brave enough to venture up the all-terrain mountain of Silverton have access to the highest peak in the ski area in the United States…but only if you’re willing to hike.. Their highest lift-served elevation is at 12,075 feet from the resort’s only chair that picks people up from the scenic base area at 10,400 feet.
2. Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado – 13,150 feet
The famed ski resort of Telluride, nestled in southern Colorado, is surrounded by a plethora of high peaks, including several nearby 14ers. Thanks to the resort’s prominence, sure-footed hikers can climb the boot bag from the highest elevation served by the lifts at 12,515 feet to the Gold Hill stairs that lead to the sub-summit of Palmyra Peak overlooking the extreme terrain below. From here, dedicated skiers can, in a short lift ride, descend to the town of Telluride, located at a base elevation of 8,725 feet.
3. Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – 13,050 feet
A-Basin has long been known as a destination for extreme skiing, and the ski area shows it with a plethora of cliff-filled chutes and extreme lines visible from nearby Loveland Pass. A-Basin’s unique high-altitude location, located below the prominent 14ers, Grays and Torreys, allows its lifts to continue running until the 4th of July in good snow years. The high elevation served and the base elevation of 12,456 and 10,520 feet respectively allow the basin to offer the longest season in Colorado.
4. Loveland Ski Area, Colorado – 13,010 feet
Loveland’s high-altitude base, perched 10,800 feet above the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels on I-70, creates an ideal environment for fresh snow and powder days. Elevator 9 at Loveland Basin transports guests up to an elevation of 12,700 feet located on the Continental Divide. With hiking and the popular “Ridge Cat” serving the summit of Golden Bear Peak at 13,010 feet.
5. Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado – 12,998 feet
The famous Lake Falls, accessible from the top of Peak 8 at 12,998 feet, provides access to some of Colorado’s toughest extreme terrain. Breck’s lush alpine terrain is served primarily by the Imperial Express chairlift, which holds North America’s highest chairlift title at 12,840 feet. With enough willpower, avid skiers can descend nearly four miles from the summit to downtown Breckenridge at an elevation of 9,600 feet.
6. Aspen Snowmass, Colorado – 12,510 feet
At Aspen Snowmass, the Plateau du Cirque chairlift provides access to the highest point of the ski resort. Offering a unique blend of alpine bliss and sweeping views of the surrounding Elk Mountains, the Cirque Plateau is a one-of-a-kind destination when open. The high alpine peak of Aspen Snowmass contrasts with the hotel-lined base area at 8,104 feet.
7. Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico – 12,481 feet
Installed in 2014, the Kachina Peak Lift allowed skiers and snowboarders to access the highest point in Taos Ski Valley when avalanche and snow conditions permit. The upper elevator terminal is just two miles southwest of New Mexico’s highest elevation, Wheeler Peak. From the top of Kachina Peak, expert skiers have access to endless lines along the headwall of the mountain towards the base area at 9,200 feet.
8. Keystone Ski Resort, Colorado – 12,408 feet
In Keystone, Independence Mountain serves as an alpine getaway served by hikes and snowcat expeditions. Due to the isolated nature of the surrounding terrain, those dedicated enough to make the two-mile hike to the bowl must also hike to protect the sensitive terrain from wildlife below the bowl. On the other side of the resort, the Outback Express serves the highest elevation serviced by lifts at 11,980 feet, until the highly anticipated Bergman Bowl Lift is installed for the 2022-2023 season. Additionally, at night, guests can enjoy night skiing from Dercum Mountain up to the base elevation of 9,280 feet.
9. Aspen Highlands, Colorado – 12,392 feet
In Aspen Highlands, the Loge Peak lift at 11,532 feet gives skiers access to the dreaded Highland Bowl boot pack. Committed hikers can hike a mile to the summit of Highland Peak at 12,392 feet while planning their fall in the expert terrain below. The base area of Highland Village, located at 8,040 feet, allows for a vertical drop of over 4,000 meters from the summit that is sure to tire the legs of any snow sports enthusiast.