14 Independently-Owned Ski Resorts to Check Out This Winter

Keeping things in the family.

By: Sara Sheehy + Save to a List

Looking to get off the beaten path this winter? Check out one of the independently-owned ski resorts in the United States and Canada.

Though they are becoming rarer as the years pass, there are still plenty of community- and family-owned ski hills in North America. There may even be one right in your backyard!

Here are just a few of the hidden gems to seek out this winter.

Ski the West

Red Mountain Ski Resort // Photo by Kyle Frost

Beaver Mountain, Utah: Go to Beaver Mountain for the family-friendly beginner and intermediate terrain, stay for the northern slopes that keep their snow well into the spring.

Brundage Mountain, Idaho: 1,920 acres of skiing, with another 420 acres of lift-accessed backcountry terrain all under the tagline of "The Best Snow in Idaho." What more do you need?

Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Montana: Right on the border of Montana and Idaho, this quiet ski resort is known for fluffy powder and a complete lack of lift lines.

Taos, New Mexico: Taos is known for its challenging runs, epic scenery, and heaps of culture in the Southwestern mountain town that lives at the mountain's base.

Apex Mountain Resort, British Columbia: Called a "hidden gem of Canadian skiing," Apex Mountain Resort has steep, open terrain in an intimate setting.

Red Mountain Resort, British Columbia: Fiercely independent, Red Mountain Resort ran a wildly successful crowd-funding campaign that sold partial stakes in the mountain. And, it is in the top ten of skiable acres in North America.

Ski the Midwest

Big Powderhorn Mountain // Photo by Brian Giesen

Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort, Michigan: Loved by families and known for its plentiful lodging options, Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort in the Upper Peninsula is a great weekend getaway in the midwest.

Caberfae Peaks, Michigan: Capitalize on the famous "lake effect snow" at Caberfae Peaks while enjoying 34 runs and 485 feet of vertical drop. Plus, adult lift tickets start at just $39...a steal.

Giants Ridge, Minnesota: Lake views abound at this resort just north of Duluth. In addition to alpine skiing and boarding, Giants Ridge has over 60 kilometers of Nordic trails.

Terry Peak Ski Area, South Dakota: Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Terry Peak Ski Area has a 1,100-foot vertical drop, and it is the biggest ski resort in the state.

Ski the East

Mad River Glen // Photo by flo21

Mad River Glen, Vermont: "Ski it if You Can" has been the motto of Mad River Glen for decades, and big-mountain skiers in the East drive insane distances to ski this powder-filled heaven in northern Vermont.

Bolton Valley Resort, Vermont: 312 inches of annual snowfall grace Bolton Valley, a family-owned resort in Vermont. When you get sick of the powder (if that's possible), check out the 1,200 acres of backcountry and Nordic terrain.

Greek Peak Mountain Resort, New York: Head to the Finger Lakes Region of New York for family-friendly skiing on 55 trails. There's tubing, too!

Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, Pennsylvania: Located within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area is the antidote to the hustle of city life.

Cover photo by Kyle Frost

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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