Elk Mountain has been providing superb conditions for 60 years.
Not all ski areas are created equally. There are the mammoth mountains such as Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, which boasts an astounding 5,280 vertical feet and Snowmass in the Colorado Rockies’ Elk Mountain Range which features 4,406 feet of downhill excitement. On the other end of the spectrum are smaller mountains such as Four Lakes Ski and Snowboard Area in Lisle, Illinois with 100 vertical feet and Cloudmont Ski Area, Mentone, Alabama with 150 vertical feet.
The vast majority of ski areas fall somewhere in between and attract skiers to their slopes by providing varied terrain for all ability levels. Regardless of vertical feet, each distinct ski area offers its own personal brand of fun. Here are six of the very best ski areas throughout North America at 1,000 vertical feet or less.
Advanced skiers test their skills on Elk's Tunkhannock slope.
Elk Mountain, Uniondale, PA
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Elk’s tag line, “It’s like skiing in Vermont without the drive,” is certainly fitting considering its 1,000 vertical feet and wide undulating trails cut from the natural fall line of the mountain. This northeast Pennsylvania ski area brings out the best in skiers by offering superb conditions on a consistent basis via a powerful snowmaking system and expertly groomed terrain, which makes it a cruiser’s paradise. Elk challenges skilled skiers on its bump-filled Tunkhannock slope while also offering such fun-filled runs as the twisty Kickapoo and scenic Delaware. Considering its 180 acres, Elk seems to ski much more than its 1,000 vertical, and the best skiers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and beyond come to Elk to test their skills on 27 runs while snowboarders can choose from two terrain parks. Currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, Elk knows how to train young skiers and its renowned racing program consistently develops some of the state’s best junior racers. No matter if you spend a day or week here, you’ll find a unique experience with each exhilarating run.
Washusett offers 28 trails for all levels on 110 acres.
WACHUSETT MOUNTAIN PROMOTED
Wachusett Mountain, Princeton, MA
Providing a 2000-foot elevation and 1000-foot vertical drop, Wachusett offers 28 trails for all levels on 110 acres of skiing terrain and annually attracts between 350,000-400,000 visits. Eight lifts, including three high-speed quad chairlifts and four easy-to-ride carpets, move skiers and riders around the mountain efficiently. With more than 300 instructors the Wachusett Ski & Snowboard School teaches more than 10,000 beginners annually. An expansive 28,000-square-foot base lodge features a full-service Black Diamond Restaurant and Coppertop Lounge for an active apres-ski crowd serving a variety of craft beers and specialty cocktails. Ideally located 20 minutes from Worcester, one hour from Boston and just over an hour from Providence, Wachusett is considered one of New England’s most accessible ski areas.
The brand new Catamount Lodge adds 350 more seats for guests.
CATAMOUNT MOUNTAIN RESORT
Catamount Mountain Resort, Hillsdale, NY
This mountain packs so much punch into its 1,000 vertical feet. Variety is the trademark of Catamount with 40 trails and 130 skiable acres that feature four double black diamonds, six single diamonds, 15 blues and 15 greens. Snowmaking covers 37 trails. Catamount feels like home to so many guests who often run into friends here by coincidence. Catamount is a go-to mountain for skiers primarily coming from the Hudson Valley south to NYC and east into Connecticut. The Catamount Snow Sports School offers kids the Mountain Cats Program, and there are also private lessons, group lessons and special programs for first-timers. The brand new Catamount Lodge adds 350 more seats for guests and is part of a tremendous investment in the mountain and facilities over the last 18 months. Catamount is located 50 miles from Albany, Hartford and Poughkeepsie.
Blue boasts 720 feet of vertical drop along with 43 trails.
Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario, Canada
Blue Mountain Resort is Ontario’s largest ski and snowboard destination located along the Niagara Escarpment overlooking beautiful Southern Georgian Bay. Blue boasts 720 feet of vertical drop along with 43 trails including six glade areas and 30 lit for night skiing. A welcoming destination for all abilities, Blue offers advanced terrain at the north end, long cruising runs at the south and everything in-between including accessible beginner trails and three freestyle terrain areas. At the base of the Resort is the Blue Mountain Village where guests can apres, shop and dine in one of the over 50 establishments. Off-hill, guests can stroll through the European-inspired pedestrian village, take in mountainside events including the Blumination Dream Trail or enjoy one of the resort's fun winter attractions such as the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster.
Granite Peak has the terrain variety, long runs and reliable snow.
GRANITE PEAK SKI AREA
Granite Peak Ski Area, Wausau, WI
With the high-speed six-passenger and two high speed quad chairs, not to mention two other chairs and two conveyor lifts, Granite Peak ensures that skiers spend more time on the mountain than on the lifts. Granite Peak has the terrain variety, long runs and reliable snow that you'd normally expect to find only out west with 68 runs, a 700-foot mountain and skiing mid-November through early April. A variety of learn-to-ski programs for the young ones are available including the Peak Explorers Program and First Turns, each designed to get kids skiing the mountain at a young age. Thanks to Granite Peak's proximity to Wausau, a ski trip and a vacation with all the amenities you expect can be one and the same. You'll want to explore the quaint city of Wausau with a vast array of lodging, dining and shopping.
Guests can now enjoy Village Oasis, a new townhouse development.
Mont Blanc, Quebec, Canada
Skiers and riders can swoosh down 43 trails across 140 acres with a vertical drop of 682 feet. Seven lifts whisk skiers up the mountain which is serviced by 85% snowmaking. With a variety of gentle slopes and easy lifts, Mont Blanc is an ideal mountain for learning how to ski. Great lift ticket rates, an excellent daycare and the Laurentian’s largest indoor play park help make Mont Blanc an ideal Quebec ski resort for the entire family. Mont Blanc also boasts one of the largest ski schools which offers instruction for all ages and ability levels. A new and improved snoZone snow park features well-defined and groomed jumps and nearly double the number of snow park features. Construction has begun on Village Oasis, a new ski-in, ski-out townhouse development. Inspired by the beauty of the Laurentian landscape, Village Oasis blends the best of contemporary function, refined design and a bright, open-concept that perfectly complements and showcases the natural setting.