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Many people still think that Whistler Blackcomb has the highest vertical rise in North America but that has now been trumped by a ski resort in Canada known as Revelstoke which boasts a vertical of 6000ft. In the US many people think that Jackson Hole has the highest vertical (around 4100ft), This was beat by Snowmass in Colorado up until 2008. Snowmass had the highest in the US at (4406ft) however, now that Telluride has opened up Palmyra Peak they have the highest vertical of any ski resort in the country. Their new total vertical rise is 4425ft. Of course, this is just a measurement from the top of Palmyra Peak to the lowest base area in the town of Telluride. Unfortunately, there is no way of skiing all of this vertical (4425ft) in bounds and without riding at least one ski lift on your persuit of getting to the lowest base area (town of Telluride). However, one can ski just over 4000ft of vertical from the top of Palmyra Peak to the base of chair #1. Telluride also offers the highest in bounds ski terrain in the world. Palmyra Peak at over 13200 feet is now the highest inbounds ski terrain in the world, higher than Zermatt, South America, French Alps and any ski resort in the world!

-Telluride Ski Resort has the highest @ 4425 vertical feet

Correction: Plamyra Peak is the highest in-bound ski terrain in the US, not the world. The highest in the world is Chacaltaya (Bolivia) at about 5300m (or 17388ft.).

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14y ago
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13y ago

Here are a few of the resorts in Europe with very high amounts of vertical drop. While vertical drop is a key statistic for North American resorts, it is not a data point that has traditionally been used much in marketing European ski resorts. Therefore, this list is not exhaustive. There are many other resorts that fall within the range represented here.

Chamonix, Mont Blanc, France : 2,738 m / 8,983 ft

Matterhorn ski paradise Switzerland & Italy 2,279 m / 7,477 ft

Lauterbrunn, Switzerland : 2,171 m / 7,123 ft

Alpe d'Huez, France : 2,193 m / 7,195 ft

Davos, Switzerland : 2,034 m / 6,673 ft

Les Arcs, France : 2,026 m / 6647 ft

Les 3 Vallées; France : 1,920 m / 6,299 ft

Cortina, Italy : 1,882 m / 6,178 ft

Sol y Nieve, Spain : 1,378 m / 4,521 ft

To put this in perspective for North American skiers, Revelstoke has the most vertical drop in North America at 1,713 m / 5,620 ft.

Vertical drop as a lone statistic does not provide a very good idea of how enjoyable a resort will be for an individual at a particular skill level, or with particular interests. For instance, the vertical drop number does not provide any indication of the total number of trail/runs/pistes, or the percentage of those trails/runs/pistes designated at a specific skill level. Most individuals who desire "more vertical drop" either want:

1. Longer runs, or ...

2. More expert trails/runs/pistes.

If you look at the vertical drop statistic for Cortina (1,882 m / 6,178 ft) it is very impressive. However, only 5% of the trails/runs/pistes at Cortina are rated "expert".

On the other hand, at Chamonix 46% of the trails/runs/pistes are rated "expert". Other factors to consider:

1. Whether you are a skier or a snowboarder, you should try to figure out the mix at the resort and the inter-format dynamic.

2. Are you going to be with a big group of friends? It might make sense to select a resort that is more relaxed, less crowded, slower pace, and that provides more and better venues for socializing. My most enjoyable ski trip was to Maranza, Italy, a resort with "only" 807 m / 2,648 ft of vertical drop. The skiing was great, but it was the group of friends, the relaxed atmosphere, and the great food and drink that really made it a week of ski heaven!

There are many spectacular resorts in Europe. Wishing you many days with the sun on your face and fresh powder beneath your feet!

SOURCES:

Some numbers from resort brochures.

Some approximate numbers from http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2006-01-13-europe-and-us-skiing_x.htm.

Some precise numbers from http://www.soft-adventure-tourism.com/european-ski-resorts.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistler-Blackcomb and http://www.all-mountain.com/pdf/2005All-Mountain-Brochure.pdf

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13y ago

Revelstoke at over 5600 vertical feet of life seviced skiing is king of North America. It is over 6000 if you do a short hike. End of topic.

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Q: What ski resort in Canada has the highest vertical drop in North America?
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