The Premier Ski Resorts in the United States for Expert Skiers

The Gods of Winter answered the call this year and have brought massive amounts of snow to just about the entire country.  This season has been a welcoming sight considering the dry winters and pandemic restrictions of past seasons.  It’s a winter huckfest at the best ski resorts in the United States, especially in the West where Mother Nature has been a bit hangry!

Many ski resorts have already surpassed their peak snowpack for last season, and it’s barely February.  This season is teed up nicely for skiers and boarders to have an epic winter.  We break down the best ski areas in the U.S. for experts, based on snowfall, terrain and après activities – all critically important to the rugged male.  Let’s send it!

The Best Ski Resorts in America

5. Snowbird, Park City, Utah

Lets start with Snowbird in Utah, located 45 minutes from Park City. Snowbird rates 65% of its trails as expert, with a vertical drop of 3,200 feet.  Famous for its deep powder and steep chutes, bowls and trees, Snowbird is a great spot for expert riders and skiers.  Just look at this bucket list chute the ski patrol is testing in the photo above.  Everywhere on the mountain is a potential line with many cliffs for experienced boarders and skiers.

While Snowbird is in our list of the best ski resorts in America for experts, don’t expect a vibrant après scene.  It’s best to get back in your car and head back to Park City for some post mountain libations and fun, which is why this ranks last in our list of the best expert ski mountains in the United States.  Après is important.

4. Mammoth Mountain, California

Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort lies on the eastern edge of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. It’s a little over 300 miles north of Los Angeles, with the highest lift-served terrain in California at 11,053 feet with 3,500 acres of skiable terrain.  In short, its friggin mammoth!

We would list Mammoth higher if their après, nightlife or even lunch operations had a semblance of a pulse.  The best restaurant (Nevados) was closed a couple years ago so a developer could build condos, which never happened.  The mountain lodges are often so packed you cant even eat lunch or get a beer on Saturdays.  The Village was developed poorly with massive spaces that restaurants & bars struggle to fill in shoulder seasons and eventually close.  But they sure get a f*ck ton of snow most years.  Mammoth is definitely regarded as one of the best US ski resorts for experts.

3. Mt. Rose, Lake Tahoe

Mt. Rose is Lake Tahoe’s closest skiing and riding to the Reno-Tahoe Airport. It’s 25 minutes from Reno and 15 minutes from Lake Tahoe’s (awesome) north shore.  With the highest base elevation in Tahoe surpassing 8,200 feet, Mt. Rose is often the spot for amazing powder runs with 1,200 acres of skiing on 1,800 vertical feet.  The Chutes offer up some of the steepest and deepest powder runs in all of Tahoe with killer lake views.

With less than 20 minute drives to South Lake or North Shore, there are plenty of spots for a quality après, dinner or night on the town.  Mt. Rose is definitely one of the best ski resorts in the US for experts.

2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is located in western Wyoming’s Teton Mountains and situated just 15 miles from the Jackson Hole Airport.  Widely considered one of the steepest ski resorts in the country, Jackson Hole frequently has no friends on its many powder days, and Winter 2023 is no different.

The après-ski scene is equally off the charts. The entire Jackson Hole Valley, from Teton Village to the town of Jackson offers up perhaps the widest selection of après ski activities. Rustic saloons, acoustic guitars, fancy hotel bars and DJ dance parties are all in play for those looking to get rowdy after an epic day of off-piste face shots.  Jackson Hole has it all – great snow, steep terrain and bustling nightlife, one of the very best ski resorts in the United States for experts.

1. Palisades (Squaw Valley)

Palisades, (formerly Squaw Valley) in North Lake Tahoe is off to a record breaking year in terms of snowfall.  Since the merger with Alpine Meadows ski resort in 2012, Palisades is now easily regarded as the most diverse ski resort in Lake Tahoe and has been considered the pioneer of extreme skiing in America. It is the perfect ski resort for expert riders and skiers to enjoy free riding with minimal out of bounds and plenty of cliffs to huck yourself into deep powder amidst a backdrop of the cool blue Lake Tahoe.

Après ski in Squaw Valley could be the best in the country, it certainly used to be before new ownership turned Bar One from a vibrant saloon with Grateful Dead bands to a carpeted kids cafeteria with a sleepy airport-like bar.  Alex Cushing is rolling in his grave! (I digress).

Nonetheless there is so much to do after a day of burning your quads on the steepest and longest runs in the country.  On Saturdays there is typically a DJ on a Humvee right at the base where every single skier & rider must come down. There are several outdoor patios and indoor bars, a vibrant village and a 20 minute drive to Truckee and Tahoe City where you can find multiple spots featuring live music on the lake or Truckee river.  In short, Squaw is the best US ski resort if you want the full package, great snow, expert terrain, après ski and booming nightlife.