It costs a lot of money to go on a ski vacation. You should know what you’re getting yourself into without having to deal with sites that push you on amenities or vacation packages. That’s why we formed PeakRankings, the first and only alpine site to weight resorts entirely by mountain experience.

For any skier, some of the categories we rate will be obvious. Snow provides the main foundation for any ski resort and differences in quality and quantity can be felt on any trip. Consistency is important—if you’re booking a trip months in advance, it can be hard to tell whether a resort will have good conditions or not. The best resorts have resiliency measures in place, such as snowmaking, to make the experience as consistent as possible and ensure you’ll have a good time even if Mother Nature doesn’t deliver.

Terrain provides another major basis for any mountain. If you’re dropping a lot of money on an expensive destination resort, you’ll probably expect much better terrain than you’ll get locally. You’ll likely want to consider both terrain diversity and challenge level when booking a trip; the best mountains will have a range of below-tree line groomers and mogul runs, glade terrain, and bowls, as well as terrain that can be challenging for any ability level.

When you’re traveling all the way to get some good skiing in, you’ll want to get as much as possible out of your day. That’s why we factor ease of navigation, lift infrastructure, crowd logistics, and on-mountain facilities into our ratings. Mountains that fail to handle these well may look good on paper but cause you to waste considerable time during your ski day on undesirable runs, slow or crowded lifts, or annoying catwalks.

Lastly, when you’re paying for ski tickets, you’re also paying for the mountain vibes. That’s where our last category—mountain aesthetic—comes in. The best resorts should feel special and offer views, isolation, or experiences unmatched by any regular place.

With our rankings, reviews, and industry updates, we aim to inform you on the categories you care about most. Our opinions are independent of any travel agencies or ski resorts, meaning we don’t have to sugarcoat anything we write. We use personal experience along with knowledge from resort locals to ensure all our reviews are unbiased, transparent, and accurate.