Enjoy your ski experience to the fullest at these scenic slopes

Just because your group isn’t vacationing on a tropical island doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have picture-perfect views. Mountains provide some of the most scenic vistas around the globe. If you prefer a small resort to a mountain like Vail (5,280 skiable acres) you’ve got plenty of options. Here are some smaller resorts (by skiable acres) with breathtaking views:

Wildcat Mountain – New Hampshire


Outlook from the top of Wildcat Mountain. Courtesy of Wildcat Mountain.

Wildcat Mountain, located in the White Mountains’ Mt. Washington Valley, may be small, but provides the highest amount of annual snowfall in the region.

By the Numbers:

  • 225 acres of skiable land
  • 5 lifts
  • 49 runs
  • 4,092-foot summit
  • Vertical drop of 2,112 feet

The mountain has been ranked among the East’s Top 10 ski resorts for scenery by SKI magazine.

How to See the Sights:

  • Wildcat offer zip rides over treetops, ski trails and the Peabody River
  • The Wildcat Express Scenic Gondola offers eye-level views of Tuckerman Ravine, Washington and the Presidential Range
  • The Appalachian Trail is also accessible to hikers directly from Wildcat Mountain’s summit

Shames Mountain – Canada


Shames Mountain backcountry.

Located 30 minutes from Terrace, British Columbia, Shames Mountain is Canada’s first non-profit ski community co-operative.

By the Numbers:

  • 252 skiable acres
  • 28 runs
  • 3 lifts, including a T bar and tow rope
  • 3,900-foot summit
  • Vertical drop of 1,600 feet

For those who favor the backcountry, Shames could be the place for you. The backcountry is vast and provides 26 challenging areas for skiers of all levels. Like Shames’ backcountry, the mountain’s views are no joke.

How to See the Sights:

  • Venture into Shames Mountain’s endless backcountry, which receives an average of 475 inches of fresh powder each year.

A view of North Bowl at Shames Mountain.

Matterhorn Mountain – Switzerland

Located on the border of Switzerland and Italy, Matterhorn Mountain boasts one of the highest peaks in the Alps. Zermatt ski resort is a car-free resort at the foot of the mountain.

By the Numbers:

  • 394 acres of skiable terrain
  • Tenth highest mountain in Switzerland
  • 1 of 48 mountains with a summit over 4,000 meters high, or about 13,000 feet
  • Vertical drop of 7,250 feet

With peaks that high, skiers are able to take in views of the Monte Rosa massif and the Matterhorn. Another fun fact about the mountain: according to sightsmaps.com, the Matterhorn is the most photographed mountain in the world. In this case it seems a picture is worth well over 1,000 words.


View of the Monte Rossa massif from below the tip of the Matterhorn.

How to See the Sights:

  • Take in the picturesque peaks from one of the many restaurants located in the mountains
  • Book an Air Zermatt helicopter adventure and see the Matterhorn from above
  • Heli-ski your way down the Matterhorn

Grands Montets – France

Grands Montets is part of Chamonix ski area located in the French Alps. Chamonix, considered the birthplace of alpine skiing, hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924.


View of Chamonix Valley from Grands Montets.

By the Numbers:

  • 762 acres of skiable terrain
  • 74 runs
  • 10,826- foot summit
  • Vertical drop of 6,561 feet

Chamonix is the go-to place for daredevils with 38% of its runs red (advanced) and 14% black (expert), not including the backcountry. This area is extremely vast and can be reached by cable car. While in the off-piste powder, skiers will witness a wide spectrum of scenery including clifftops, caves, ice falls, chutes, glaciers and high bowls.

How to See the Sights:

  • Snowshoe the more remote areas of Grands Montets and the rest of Chamonix
  • Walk along the 10 miles of marked trails between Chamonix and Argentière
  • Take the Lognan cable car for a panoramic view of Les Drus, Aiguille Verte, Aiguilles de Chamonix and Argentière glaciers

Homewood Mountain – California

A little larger than the previous four, but still a fourth of the size of Vail, Homewood Mountain in Tahoe, California offers some of the best views in the house, or should we say lodge?


Photo by Robyn Scarton; Courtesy of Homewood Mountain Resort.

By the Numbers:

  • 1,260 acres of skiable terrain
  • 64 runs, all with lake views
  • 7,880-foot summit
  • Vertical drop of 1,650 feet

Ranked by SKI magazine among the Top 10 resorts in California and Nevada in 2013, Homewood Mountain boasts 300 days of sunshine and approximately 450 inches of snow per year.

How to See the Sights:

  • Homewood’s terrain parks are especially scenic
  • Head to the Money Booter terrain park located just downhill from the Big Blue View Bar on Cradle run for a 12’ step down with the famous view of Tahoe in the background

Icy weather doesn’t have to mean dreary views. When planning your next ski-cation, be sure to keep these scenic destinations at the top of your list. Did we forget one of your hidden gems? What’s the sixth mountain that should be on this list? Comment below and be sure to let us know.

By Kira Byczek