Best States for Winter Outdoor Sports Activities
Expert Advice

Image: Deposit Photos, Gorilla

Looking to hit the ski slopes, do some winter hiking, or go snowmobiling? A new study by our friends at The Steamboat Group provides a list of the best states for winter sports hobbyists to visit. The list analyzed several factors including the number of winter sports resorts, average snowfall, and access to a range of winter activities like ice skating, snowshoeing, and ice climbing. So, start planning your next outdoor winter activities sports adventure.

Alaska is the state to top the charts with the best all-round winter sports accessibility. While the state’s 10 ski resorts only rank as the 17th most in the country, the Last Frontier takes the top spot with its wide range of winter sports in reach. There are 19 ice skating arenas, close to 400 ice climbing routes, and six cross-country ski areas that boost the state’s winter sports credentials. Meanwhile Alaska’s national parks offer activities including dogsledding, snow play activities, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. All this alongside the fifth-highest average snowfall nationwide of 64.5 inches, puts Alaska in the top spot.

The mountain state of Wyoming takes second place in the study. Again, sporting 10 ski resorts, it is the all-around nature of winter activity in the Equality State that scores it so highly. Wyoming has eight ice skating arenas, seven cross-country ski areas, and over 200 ice-climbing routes. Wyoming national parks also offer snow play, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing to accompany a plentiful average annual snowfall of 51 inches, the ninth highest nationwide.

In third, Vermont leads the East’s winter sport states. The Green Mountain State has an abundance of resorts – 28 – and the largest average snowfall in the country with a huge annual 89.3 inches. A total of 20 cross-country ski areas, 30 ice skating arenas, and 150 ice-climbing routes in the state make it the clear choice for winter sports in the East, while Vermont national parks also offer snowshoeing and snow-play activities for the state to make third place.

Montana and Maine take fourth and fifth respectively. Montana boasts 16 ski resorts, 13 cross-country ski areas, 12 ice skating arenas, and over 250 ice climbing routes. The Treasure State also has a solid annual average snowfall of 37.3 inches. Maine contains 18 resorts, 13 cross-country ski areas, 34 ice skating arenas and close to 120 ice climbing routes. The second-largest average snowfall nationwide also helps Maine to fifth place.

New Hampshire ranks sixth with 26 resorts, 15 cross-country ski areas, 37 ice skating arenas, and the third-most ice climbing routes of any state with 522. For snowfall, New Hampshire’s average annual snowfall is the third largest in the US at 71.4 inches.

Idaho’s 18 resorts, five cross-country ski areas, eight ice skating arenas and 35 ice climbing routes are enough to land seventh place for the state. Snowmobiling and snowshoeing are also available at Idaho national parks.

Colorado ranks eighth with 32 resorts, 20 cross-country ski areas, 49 ice skating arenas, and by far the most ice-climbing routes nationwide with over 1,500. Minnesota takes the ninth spot with its 20 resorts supplemented by seven cross-country ski areas, 137 ice climbing routes and the most ice skating arenas nationwide at 193.

Tenth place goes to Utah with 15 resorts, five cross-country ski areas, 13 ice skating arenas and a significant 410 ice climbing routes. Average annual snowfall of 40.1 inches, and national parks offering snowmobiling, snow-play, and snowshoeing, solidify Utah’s top ten status.