5 body-positive ski resorts, according to plus-size skiers

From wider lift-chair designs to welcoming staff.

I like to think of myself as an adventurer. Over the years, I have amassed a long list of epic things I’d like to do in my lifetime but, honestly, learning to ski was rather low on that list. As a South Florida native with Caribbean roots, I generally eschew adventures where sub-freezing temps are involved. But in addition to my aversion to frigid weather, there were a number of other barriers that kept me from hitting the slopes, including my non-existent coordination, the high cost of ski gear and classes, and the glaring absence of plus-sized skiers (like me) on the slopes.

Earlier this year, in the interest of shaking things up in my life, I decided to start trying the things that scared me and opted to check out the ski school at the Sunday River ski resort in Maine. Once my travel plans were secured, I dug into social media to see the experiences of others and help me figure out what to expect. I was determined that despite my larger body size, I would enjoy the experience—and look cute while doing it.

However, my heart sank when I started searching for ski suits for curvy people. I couldn’t find any cute options that would fit my U.S. size 16 frame and arrive before my trip. My anxiety spiked—but I persevered and eventually found four ski jumpsuits on Amazon that would arrive just in time. I ordered several styles and sizes because, as a plus-size woman, I needed a suit that fit my larger frame, was waterproof, kept me warm, and allowed me to move freely. I settled on a red jumpsuit onesie that made me feel cute and confident.

Although I’m new to the world of winter sports, I learned that ski resorts are increasingly recognizing the importance of inclusivity by offering a larger array of gear sizes, specially designed equipment such as wider lift chairs, and tailored training programs. These six winter retreats earn high marks from plus-size skiers and snowboarders for being welcoming and inclusive of all body types—on top of their stellar, snowy slopes.

“[I got] tips specific to my body when it came to falling and getting off the ground.”

Located about a 40-minute drive from Boise, Bogus Basin is a non-profit dedicated to providing accessible and year-round recreation. “It’s more affordable than other resorts,” said Taylor Jensen, a plus-size skier. “The staff teaching lessons were incredibly welcoming and helpful, and after one night on skis, I bought a ski pass and gear for the next season, knowing I would have a blast.”

The chaos of a gear rental station can add a lot of stress, but Jensen has found a way to avoid it. “I rented my gear through the resort electronically before going to the counter,” she said. “This was great because I wasn’t required to share my weight in front of other patrons.” When it was time for the lesson, Jensen said her instructor asked her about her skill level and never assumed that because she is plus size, she could not ski. “He even gave me tips specific to my body when it came to falling and getting off the ground,” she said.

“[They] have equipment designed for larger frames.”

Killington Resort—known as the “Beast of the East”—sits in Vermont’s Green Mountains and is a great option for those looking for lots of skiable space. (It has the largest ski area on the Eastern Seaboard, after all.) Killington also offers a bunch of wide-width ski equipment to make sure that plus-size skiers have access to gear that fits their body comfortably.

The resort also has lifts designed to accommodate people of varying sizes. Avid skier and travel blogger Tomika Bryant has it on her list of favorites: “As a plus-size skier, I look for resorts that prioritize my comfort and offer the necessary amenities,” she said. “These resorts have equipment designed for larger frames and provide options to ensure a comfortable fit.”

And it’s not just about ensuring all skiers are comfortable for the day—variety out on the mountain also makes a big difference. “It’s important to me that the resort has multiple slopes suitable for my skill level that are well-maintained to minimize the risk of injury,” Bryant said. “I seek out resorts that promote inclusivity and body positivity, making me feel welcomed and accepted regardless of my size. I found a mixture of all of this at Killington.”

“Being plus size, lifts can be challenging, but the lift operators were so kind and super helpful.”

Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Resort—about 1.5 hours from Killington—gets top billing from snowboarder Mary Stermer. This four-season resort sits on 2,600 acres and is surrounded by Mount Mansfield—the highest peak in the state. “I’m a plus-size snowboarder, a size 24/26, and love my sport,” she said.“I’ve been snowboarding for over 10 years—it’s my passion.”

While gear may be a main concern at first, it’s also worth looking into the various modes of transportation available at the resort. All ski resorts will have lifts, but some offer more comfortable options than others. Gondolas, in particular, offer more space and more protection against the elements. “I love that Stowe has a gondola,” she said. “Being plus size, lifts can be challenging, but the operators were so kind and super helpful.”

“They got me hooked up with some great options for my curvier body.”

Snowboarding at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, in West Virginia

Snowshoe Mountain Resort is perched in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains, where it’s hard to find a bad view of the sweeping landscape. Plus-size snowboarder Hannah Upchurch loves the resort for its welcoming vibe and extensive network of trails. “They have a lot of great longer green runs for people who don’t feel as confident or are still learning,” she said. “They also have a great selection of rental gear—the workers at the retail stores there are awesome and got me hooked up with some great options for my curvier body.”

“They helped me get into ski boots that fit over my larger calves.”

Like I mentioned before, I took my first tumbles on skis at Maine’s Sunday River resort. I found many moments where the staff made the experience easier and more enjoyable, like when they helped me get into ski boots that fit over my larger calves. I was immediately paired with an instructor who worked wonders over two sessions and was intentional about helping me build my confidence gradually. I started on the bunny slopes alongside a group of other petrified novices (who happened to be toddlers). During the first day, we slowly inched our way up. But by the second day, I’d graduated to the red (intermediate) slopes. And while I had a few wipeouts and face dives, I did it with aplomb. I felt supported every step of the way.


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