North America’s Northernmost Ski Resorts
Some skiers and snowboarders are willing to got to the ends of the earth to get their fix.
But where, exactly, are these ends?
You could consider the North Pole as one, but that’s a pretty tough ask considering 90-degrees North latitude sits on the frozen plains of the Arctic Ocean and you’d probably need some exotic and/or expensive means of transport to get you there.
So, just how close to the top of the world can you arc some turns without having access to helicopters, snowcats, ice-breakers and the like?
The following, from south to north, are North America’s five most northerly latitude lift-serviced ski resorts (the aurora borealis is complementary):
Located at 60.1149 degrees North Latitude, Mt. Maichen is small hill just outside the southeastern Yukon Territory town of Watson Lake and just across the border from British Columbia. The resort has nine runs and a 500-foot vertical drop served by a pair of T-bars. The ski school and racing programs are run out of a modern chalet, which also houses Mt. Maichen’s dining facility and bar.
Nearly half degree north of Mt. Maichen and more than 270 miles to the west is Mt. Sima (60.7212 degrees N). A playground of nearby Whitehorse, the provincial capital of Yukon Territory, Mt. Sima has 1,043 feet of vertical and 10 runs served by a fixed-grip quad and surface lift. There are also three terrain parks and a full-service base lodge.
This small hill (one lift, couple hundred feet of vert, three or so runs) is part of the Fort Wainwright Army base on the outskirts of Fairbanks, Alaska. Birch Hill (64.8698 degrees N) also has a snow-making system, night riding and a highly regarded terrain park.
About a dozen miles north of Fairbanks lies Moose Mountain (64.9429degrees N), which has one of the most unusual lift systems around: turbo-charged terrestrial trams (a.k.a., buses with ski racks). The south-facing 750-acre resort has a respectable 1,300 feet of vertical and a couple dozen runs of mostly intermediate and advanced skiing and riding.
This Fairbanks area’s claim to fame is that it has “the farthest north chairlift in North America”, and at 65.0457 degrees N they are spot on. Along with Skiland’s single double-chair you get more than 30 runs of all abilities, 530 skiable acres, 1,027 feet of vertical drop and the knowledge that there are no other lift-served Alpine skiers between you and the North Pole.