Top 10 highest ski areas in America

Smacpats
4 min readMar 12, 2020

Higher elevations lead to colder temperatures and deeper snowpacks. So what are the highest ski areas (by lift-served summit elevation) in America?

1. Breckenridge, Colorado

Lift Summit elevation: 12,840'

Hiking summit: 12,998'

Base elevation: 9,600'

If you didn’t know Breck has the highest chairlift in North America by this point, you’ve been living under a rock. Breck’s Imperial chair reaches a staggering 12,840' above sea level, and you can hike even higher than that.

2. Loveland, Colorado

Lift Summit elevation: 12,700'

Hiking summit: 13,010'

Base elevation: 10,400'

The entirety of Loveland is high above sea level, so it’s no surprise to see chair #9 reaching 12,700'. As with Breck, you are able to reach higher elevations by other means.

3. Telluride, Colorado

Lift summit elevation: 12,515'

Hiking summit: 13,150'

Base elevation: 8,725'

Telluride is well known as a high elevation mountain and as a result often can see solid conditions while other Colorado ski areas suffer.

4. Snowmass, Colorado

Lift summit elevation: 12,510'

Hiking summit: N/A

Base elevation: 8,104

Snowmass has a surprisingly high summit due to the rarely-open Cirque lift. This also gives the mountain a very impressive vertical drop of 4,406'. No hiking here unfortunately.

5. Taos, New Mexico

Lift summit elevation: 12,450'

Hiking summit: N/A

Base elevation: 9,202'

When Taos added the Kachina Peak chairlift, it drastically changed their summit elevation and removed the need for the hike. Unfortunately many of the benefits of their high elevation are lost by how far south they are compared to other resorts, but most people don’t even know that there’s skiing in New Mexico at all.

6. Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Lift Summit elevation: 12,434'

Hiking summit: 13,050'

Base elevation: 10,520'

Over the years, A-basin has been open on July 4th 7 times. That alone shows the impressive effects of high altitude.

7. Copper Mountain, Colorado

Lift Summit elevation: 12,441'

Hiking summit: N/A

Base elevation: 9,712

8. Silverton, Colorado

Lift summit elevation: ~12,350'

Hiking summit: 13,487'

Base elevation: ~10,350

Silverton is well known for being extremely difficult and receiving large quantities of snow, with its high summit being an added benefit leading to high quality snow late into the season. Silverton also offers plenty of ways to higher elevations than even the chairlift summit.

9. Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico

Lift summit elevation: 12,075

Hiking summit: N/A

Base elevation: 10,350'

Bet you weren’t expecting to see this on here! Ski Santa Fe is so far south that it isn’t too shocking to see it being such high elevation, but it still is ironic to see Santa Fe’s local hill beat out all but 8 resorts in North America, even if it only is one stat.

10. Winter Park, Colorado

Lift summit elevation: 12,060'

Hiking summit: N/A

Base elevation: 9,000'

Winter Park just barely breaks past 12k in elevation thanks to the high reaching Panoramic chairlift.

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