7 underrated ski resorts


(CNN) — You’ve heard of Aspen, Jackson Hole and Whistler, but how about Copper Mountain, Grand Targhee and Revelstoke? These ski resorts may lack the buzz of their more glamorous neighbors, but they make up for it in snowfall, value and fewer crowds.

So hop on a lift and travel to these overlooked resorts before winter winds down:

Revelstoke Mountain Resort – British Columbia

Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia gets about 35 feet of annual snowfall each year and is known for its big mountain terrain and small town character.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia gets about 35 feet of annual snowfall each year and is known for its big mountain terrain and small town character.

Courtesy Joey Wallis

Opened in 2007, Revelstoke has remained largely off the radar thanks to its relative inaccessibility in British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountain range. It’s just under a five-hour drive from Calgary and two and a half hours from the nearest international airport, but it’s unlikely to stay that way for long. With some 35 feet of annual snowfall and 5,620 feet of list-accessed vertical, it’s the longest descent of any resort in North America. Revelstoke Mountain Resort is renowned for its legendary powder, big mountain terrain and small town vibes.

Copper Mountain – Colorado

Long a local favorite, Copper has lately been getting attention like its well-known neighbors, Breckenridge and Vail.

Long a local favorite, Copper has lately been getting attention like its well-known neighbors, Breckenridge and Vail.

Courtesy of Tripp Fay Copper Mountain

Sandwiched between Breckenridge and Vail, Copper Mountain has long been a local favorite, but the new 8-passenger gondola, 6-person chair lift, and ski-in, ski-out lodging put it on par with its big-name neighbors. Naturally divided terrain separates skiers and snowboarders by ability, which gives the entire resort more elbow room. Bonus: Guests get free snow cat access on Tucker Mountain. This season, Copper Mountain offers unlimited skiing and riding for Ikon Pass card holders.

Grand Targhee Resort – Wyoming

Wyoming's other resort, Grand Targhee is beloved for its powder and incredible terrain.

Wyoming’s other resort, Grand Targhee is beloved for its powder and incredible terrain.

BRONWYN ISHII

Perched on the western slope of the Tetons, Grand Targhee is perfectly positioned to reap the lion’s share of powder from eastern-moving storms. “There can be times when Jackson Hole can receive zero snow and Grand Targhee can get a foot,” says Dan Sherman, spokesman for ski.com. Plus, he adds, “The terrain is fantastic.” Kids 12 and under always stay and ski free when booking three or more nights. You’ll also find a great deal on vacation rentals — book three night and the fourth night is free. Slopeside rooms start at $160 per night.

Mount Bohemia – Michigan

Paradise by the back country light is how one might describe Michigan's Mount Bohemia.

Paradise by the back country light is how one might describe Michigan’s Mount Bohemia.

Courtesy of Joey Wallis

Yes, there is, in fact, skiing in Michigan. And this relatively small mountain offers 600 skiable acres and approximately 273 inches of lake-effect snow each year (more than any other Midwestern location). Its sister resort Voodoo Mountain offers the best — and only — cat skiing east of the Rockies.

And Lonie Glieberman, President of Mount Bohemia, calls the mountain “truly wild,” the “best tree skiing in North America.” Much of its 105 runs are in remote, backcountry areas. Though all of Bohemia’s runs are acccessed from just two chairlifts at the summit, skiers and riders who find themselves alone at the base can rest assured that shuttle buses will be by to scoop them up and take them back out for another downhill adventure.

Mad River Glen – Vermont

Home to only one of two one-person chair lifts in North America, Mad River Glen's old-school vibes and solid annual snowfall make it a local favorite and an up-and-coming destination.

Home to only one of two one-person chair lifts in North America, Mad River Glen’s old-school vibes and solid annual snowfall make it a local favorite and an up-and-coming destination.

Courtesy Jeb Wallace Brodeur

Stowe or Killington may be Vermont’s most recognizable resorts, but Mad River Glen best reflects the Green Mountain state’s independent streak. The cooperative-owned ski area doesn’t groom its trails, keeps snowmaking to a minimum and asks that snowboarders hike up the mountain instead of riding the lift.

“We prefer it from the heavens not the hoses,” says resort spokesman Eric Friedman. Ski magazine has ranked its terrain as the most challenging on the East Coast. The resort’s biggest claim to fame is its single-chair lift, only one of two in North America (Alaska is home to the other). The mountain doesn’t own lodging, but there are plenty of classic ski lodges and cozy bed and breakfasts nearby, with rates from $85. Adult lift tickets start at $45.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort – Idaho

Short lift lines (it's somewhat hard-to-get-to location mean it's never too crowded) and 2,900 skiable acres make Schweitzer Mountain Resort an underrated attraction.

Short lift lines (it’s somewhat hard-to-get-to location mean it’s never too crowded) and 2,900 skiable acres make Schweitzer Mountain Resort an underrated attraction.

Courtesy Schweitzer Mountain Resort

High up in Idaho’s panhandle 12 miles outside of Sandpoint, Schweitzer isn’t as accessible as other West Coast resorts. As a result, it’s unlikely you’ll wait more than five minutes in the lift line. Then there’s the 2,900 skiable acres — more than Idaho’s more well-known resort, Sun Valley. While the mountain is known for its off-trail skiing among the trees, the terrain varies from the bunny hill to steep, double-black pitches. The 6,400-foot summit affords skiers panoramic views of Idaho, Montana, Washington and Canada, as well as Lake Pend Oreille. Slopeside digs start at $169; adult lift tickets at $81.

Valle Nevado, Chile

Wallet-friendly heli-skiing in Valle Nevado make it an enticing place to hit the slopes from way up high.

Wallet-friendly heli-skiing in Valle Nevado make it an enticing place to hit the slopes from way up high.

Courtesy Valle Nevado

Serious skiers know the season doesn’t end come summertime. It just shifts south of the equator. Come August, Valle Nevado Ski Resort, 35 miles northeast of Santiago, is blanketed in deep powder. Newer than the storied Chilean resort of Portillo, Valle Nevado has all the bells and whistles of most modern mountains, including an impressive gondola and an onsite heli-pad.

At roughly $1,100 for a half day and up to 6,000 feet of vertical in one run, heli-skiing is a relative bargain here.

Lodging ranges from the wallet-friendly Hotel Tres Puntas to the luxe Hotel Valle Nevado, said to be the resort’s most exclusive accommodation option.

Packages at the resort’s namesake hotel include a welcome drink on Saturdays, ski storage, day care, ski pass and nightly turndown service.

Stacey Lastoe contributed additional reporting to this story.


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