10 Mountains You've Never Heard of but Need to Ski This Winter

Pizza or french fry your way down one of these crowd-free mountains this season.

Tourists on ski slope at Whitefish, Montana
Photo: Noah Clayton/Getty Images

Nothing says "winter" quite like bundling up and hitting the slopes. Unfortunately, those slopes are often swarming with other powder seekers sharing the same objective. Turns out the key to avoiding crowds while skiing is to opt for mountains you might not know about.

Eschewing the major, high-traffic resorts for lesser-known alternatives doesn't even have to mean compromising on the quality of skiing. Did you know that a resort near Anchorage, Alaska, has longest continuous double-black diamond run in North America? Or that another one in northern Colorado comes with a free snowcat ride to the top? (Take that, overpriced lift tickets!)

Some of the least crowded ski resorts also happen to be the coolest. Here are 10 North American ski destinations you've probably never heard of but should definitely consider for the upcoming ski season.

1. Mad River Glen, Vermont

A chairlift at Mad River Glen with sunset in background
Courtesy of Mad River Glen

Find it: 57 Schuss Pass Road, Waitsfield, Vermont

Top elevation: 3,637 feet

This East Coast gem is steeped in history. It opened its doors in 1948 with a single chair lift that still exists today. But, the charm doesn't stop there. The mountain is also part of a co-op founded in 1995, making it one of America's few cooperatively-owned ski areas, and is one of the few skier-only mountains left.

Mad River Glen has plenty of skiing for beginners, with 20% of trails set aside for novice skiers, and features 800 acres of tree skiing access. And the mountain is even unique when it comes to the snow itself. Its bylaws explicitly restrict snowmaking above 2,300 feet, resulting in some of the only natural snow skiing in New England.

2. Le Massif de Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada

People skiing down Le Massif de Charlevoix
Jean-Sébastien Chartier/Courtesy of Le Massif

Find it: 185 Chemin du Massif, Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Quebec, Canada

Top elevation: 2,644 feet

Le Massif de Charlevoix, located about an hour from Quebec City, boasts the highest vertical drop east of the Canadian Rockies and has more than 400 acres of skiable terrain. Even though Club Med opened its first all-inclusive ski resort in North America (and its first Canadian outpost) on the mountain in December 2021, Le Massive de Charlevoix remains overshadowed by nearby Mont-Sainte-Anne and the farther-away-but-even-more-popular Mont-Tremblant.

Those who head to the Canadian resort can hit the slopes while looking out over the St. Lawrence River as they ski more than 50 different trails (including a four-plus-mile-long run). While 70% of the ski area is groomed, the mountain also has more than nine miles of skiable and rideable backcountry and off-piste terrain appealing to all levels.

3. Camden Snow Bowl, Maine

Snowboarders on the lift at the Camden Snow Bowl
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Getty Images

Find it: 20 Barnestown Road, Camden, Maine

Top elevation: 1,070 feet

This mountain located in coastal Maine is small but mighty with 15 trails that service mainly intermediate skiers and snowboarders, including the mile-long Spinnaker, which starts at an intermediate level but turns beginner-friendly. But the crowning jewel of this mountain is its backdrop: It's the only ski area on the East Coast to boast ocean views.

Beyond skiing itself, winter enthusiasts who head to the Camden Snow Bowl can get a thrill with the mountain's 400-foot-long wooden toboggan chute (the only remaining original, gravity-operated one in the country), where riders are shot out onto a frozen pond.

4. Crystal Mountain, Washington

Snowy slope with evergreen forest
Wolfgang Kaehler/Getty Images

Find it: 33914 Crystal Mountain Boulevard, Enumclaw, Washington

Top elevation: 6,872 feet

Crystal Mountain may be the largest ski resort in Washington state, but it's also one of the most underrated in the country. It features incredible views of Mt. Rainier, 2,600 total acres, and an average of more than 348 inches of snowfall each year. And the fun extends beyond the slopes with winter RV camping available at the base of the beautiful mountain, conveniently within walking distance of the lifts.

Those who prefer the lodge over the slopes can still take in the views with a scenic ride on the Mt. Rainier Gondola, which takes passengers up 2,400 vertical feet to the summit over about 12 minutes.

5. Brian Head Resort, Utah

Snowy winter in Brian Head, Utah, surrounded by trees and clouds
Brandon Colbert Photography/Getty Images

Find it: 329 South Highway 143, Brian Head, Utah

Top elevation: 10,970 feet

Brian Head is lesser-known than Utah's other major ski mountains — Park City, Deer Valley, and Snowbird — but it comes with more than its fair share of unique attributes, including the fact that it boasts the highest base elevation in the state. The resort is actually two different mountains — Giant Steps and Navajo — that connect to form 71 runs. Difficulty is very evenly spread among the trails, with 30% of runs considered easy, 35% intermediate, and 35% expert.

Those who prefer snow tubing will find a 100-foot vertical drop and a 600-foot-long slope at the Giant Steps Tube Hill.

6. Marmot Basin, Alberta, Canada

Skier on a slope with panoramic Rocky Mountain view
EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

Find it: 1 Marmot Road, Jasper, Alberta, Canada

Top elevation: 8,570 feet

Alberta, Canada's Marmot Basin sits in Jasper National Park, part of the UNESCO Canadian Rockies World Heritage site and one of the most breathtakingly beautiful spots in North America. An abundance of dry, natural snow makes skiing and snowboarding feel like gliding on air, and with the longest run coming in at 3.5 miles, you can coast along while admiring the view. The mountain also features diverse terrain with 30% of runs for beginners, 30% for intermediate, 20% for advanced, and 20% for experts.

Marmot Basin is certainly the most popular ski resort in Jasper, but most of the crowds flock to the wildly popular trio of resorts in and around Banff — Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Mt. Norquay — instead.

7. Loveland Ski Area, Colorado

Lift going up Loveland Ski Area
Helen H. Richardson/Getty Images

Find it: I-70, Exit 216, Dillon, Colorado

Top elevation: 13,010 feet

There are many mountains with great slopes — especially in Colorado — but adventurous skiers and snowboarders can go one step further at Loveland Ski Area. Hop aboard the Ridge Cat, a free 18-passenger snowcat that will take you to unparalleled runs and views along the Continental Divide. Anyone with a season pass or lift ticket can pick up a Ridge Cat Pass free of charge. Perhaps it's the way this mountain is accessed — by foot or snowcat only — and the advanced-level runs that help keep the mountain relatively quiet.

For those less advanced, the mountain has the Loveland Valley, a separate area specifically for beginners with its own lifts and easier terrain.

8. Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota

The gondola going down Lutsen Mountains
Per Breiehagen/Courtesy of Lutsen Mountains

Find it: 467 Ski Hill Road, Lutsen, Minnesota

Top elevation: 1,088 feet

When it comes to skiing, most flock to the known high points — the Rockies, the Sierras, the Cascades — not usually the Midwest, often mistaken as being totally flat. However, Midwestern powder seekers should know about Minnesota's Lutsen Mountains, which offer stunning views, access to tree skiing, and massive terrain. The resort has four interconnected mountains and features 95 different runs set over 1,000 acres and 60 acres of tree skiing. On top of that, visitors will be awed by the gorgeous views of Lake Superior — and the more than 120 inches of lake-effect snow is just a bonus.

Those looking to get out and explore can also hit up the more than 250 miles of cross-country trails (the area is home to the largest cross-country trail network in North America) or the 450 miles of snowmobile trails.

9. Alyeska Resort, Alaska

Winter at Alyeska Resort near Anchorage, Alaska
christiannafzger/Getty Images

Find it: 1000 Arlberg Avenue, Girdwood, Alaska

Top elevation: 3,939 feet

Alyeska Resort, which gets more than 650 inches of annual snowfall, boasts some of the most incredible scenery anywhere on Earth, with both glacier and ocean views. Experts will love heading down North America's longest continuous double-black diamond run or challenging themselves with the available heli-skiing and cat-skiing.

In the evening, you can look for the Northern Lights dancing across the sky as you night ski. Or, take a break from the slopes and hop aboard the winter aerial tram for a scenic ride to the top of Mt. Alyeska.

10. Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana

Couple skiing at sunset on Whitefish Mt
Noah Clayton/Getty Images

Find it: 1015 Glades Drive, Whitefish, Montana

Top elevation: 6,817 feet

Whitefish Mountain Resort is nicknamed the "Big Mountain" because it offers 3,000 acres of skiing and snowboarding, 111 marked trails, and plentiful bowl and tree skiing. Those new to the mountain can sign up for one of the free daily mountain tours to learn all about the terrain. Or, guests can take advantage of a late-day storm with night skiing.

After time on the slopes, take a break and head to nearby Glacier National Park or check out the Summit Nature Center, where kids can sign up to be a Junior Snow Ranger to learn about where animals go in the winter, snow safety, and more.

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