America’s best ski resorts named

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LYNDHURST, NJ – One of the most beloved winter past times is hitting the slopes. The industry, worth close to $3 billion in the U.S., attracted more than 53.6 million visits last year.

Thanks to advances in equipment, like rocker skis which make learning to ski easier, as well as the addition of terrain parks and glade trails to lure thrill seekers, ski resorts are bustling. But skiing can be a dangerous sport. Skiers are prone to lower-leg fractures and knee problems, while snowboarders sustain wrist or collarbone fractures and ankle injuries.

Surprisingly, the industry is under no obligation to disclose the number of accidents and injuries at their facilities. However, researchers at Johns Hopkins estimate about 600,000 people are injured each year as a result of skiing or snowboarding.

The latest Vitals Index ranks America’s Best Ski Resorts based on a ski area’s proximity to emergency medical facilities, like hospitals and urgent care centers. It also considers average snowfall, number of runs, lifts and cost of a day pass.

Utah resorts, Snowbird, Park City and Alta, took the three top spots in Vitals’ ranking. Not only does the Beehive State’s ski areas boast high snowfall totals and affordable lift tickets, they also offer lots of medical options surrounding the slopes. Squaw Valley and Heavenly Mountain, both in California, made up the top five spots.

Famed Colorado resort, Vail, ranked near the bottom. Not only does Vail charge skiers over $150 per day for a lift ticket, it also has only three nearby medical options. Taos, Telluride, Jay Peak and Mammoth Mountain rounded out the bottom five, with limited available local care options.

The top ranked ski resorts are listed along with key data.

Rank
Resort Average Snowfall No. of Runs No. of Lifts Cost of Day Pass Nearby medical centers

1 Snow Bird 500 169 11 70 56
2 Park City 355 314 40 75 50
3 Alta 560 116 11 89 56
4 Squaw Valley 450 197 42 134 36
5 Heavenly Mountain Resort 360 97 28 135 37
6 Stowe 314 115 13 92 18
7 Aleskya 650 76 9 75 15
8 Big Sky 400 306 34 106 5
9 Mt Hood Meadows 430 85 14 79 23
10 Crystal Mountain 486 57 11 72 29
11 Jackson Hole 450 133 13 118 6
12 Aspen 300 329 43 139 5
13 Mt Bachelor 462 88 12 84 7
14 Sugarloaf 200 162 13 86 8
15 Grand Targhee 500 95 5 75 4
16 Vail 353 195 31 151 3
17 Taos 305 110 15 86 3
18 Telluride 309 147 18 114 3
19 Jay Peak 377 78 9 79 8
20 Mammoth Mountain 400 151 28 135 2