Special Report

Ski Area With the Largest Vertical Drop in Each State

Like other recreational outlets, ski resorts took a tumble during the COVID pandemic. Statista.com reports that 462 ski resorts were open during the 2020-21 winter season, eight fewer than in the previous year. Over three decades from the 1991-92 ski season, the number of ski resorts overall in America has declined by 15.4%.

Yet the ski industry still thrives. Statista also estimates the ski and snowboard resort industry in the U.S. reached a market size of $4.28 billion in 2022. And nothing is going to stop hardcore skiers from hitting the slopes – not when there are tall ski areas in nearly every state on which to swoosh down. (These are the states with the most ski resorts.) 

To identify the ski area with the largest vertical drop in every state that has ski areas – 37 of them in all – 24/7 Tempo reviewed several ski area and ski resort databases and ranked the 420 ski areas and resorts in the U.S. with available data by the vertical drop of their skiable trails. We then independently verified the vertical drop for the top-ranked example in each state. In the case of a tie within a single state, the ski area with more skiable acres was chosen. Data on the year each ski area opened is from the industry advocacy group National Ski Areas Association. (Here’s a look at the newest ski area in every state.)

Click here to see the ski area with the largest vertical drop in each state

As expected, the ski areas with the largest drops are concentrated in Western states. One slope at Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado has a vertical drop of 4,425 feet, with a total of 2,000 skiable acres. The Big Sky Resort in Bozeman, Montana, sports one vertical drop of 4,350 feet and more than 5,000 acres of ski trails. Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Resort’s highest vertical drop stands at more than 4,000 feet. Skiers at that trendy resort can glide down more than 2,500 acres of snow cover. 

Yet even warmer climates provide skiers a chance to race down hillsides – albeit at lesser heights. In Alabama, the Cloudmont Resort near Mentone has a vertical drop of only 150 feet and nine skiable acres. Looking for a higher ski area in the South? Check out Sugar Mountain Resort near Banner Elk in North Carolina. Its greatest vertical drop measures 1,200 feet with 125 skiable acres. 

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