You’re a keen skier, and hitting the slopes hard is a holiday highlight in your calendar.
But have you visited all the best places to ski in the US?
It’s been a record-setting ski season for most of North America this year, with the best conditions for lucky skiers in the last 15 years. Resorts all over the country, from California to Vermont were able to hit the season with 100% of their terrain open and many have been able to push back close dates – even well into the summer!
But there are a multitude of factors, like snowfall, terrain, crowds and town ambiance that determine how awesome a ski resort is. And there sure are few ski resorts that outshine the rest.
So, fancy gliding through the snow at one of the best? These are the sublime spots in the US that avid skiers need to tick off their bucket list – 2019 edition!
1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole ticks all the boxes when it comes to skiing with swooping steeps, immense snowfall, and a quaint little town to relax in after a busy day on the slopes.
Famously known as a ski resort for the experts, Jackson Hole is known for its daunting vertical steeps and extreme terrain, making it one of the best ski resorts in America.
However recent renovations have made the popular ski resort more beginner and family-friendly, so this time you can bring the little ones along. There’s a mid-mountain lodge which hosts a kid-friendly ski-school and family-friendly après events and the opening of the Teton Lift has made intermediate terrain easier to access.
The sublime conditions of Jackson Hole mean it can get a little bit crowded on the slopes, but luckily lining up is unlikely. Plus, winter is the off-season as the town draws in the summer travelers who voyage into Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Whilst this means it’s not the liveliest ski resorts, it does mean that you’ll benefit from lodging deals!
2. Telluride, Colorado
Stunning vistas and jaw-dropping scenery make the historic Western town of Telluride one of the hot spots on our list.
Admiring the imposing San Juan Mountains as you ski through high-quality ‘Champagne’ powder will leave you feeling as though you’re in a blockbuster movie – don’t forget to grab your camera to snap the Insta-worthy views!
And unlike many other high-quality resorts, Telluride offers newbies the chance to fly across high-alpine heights too. And the experts can appreciate the steepness of the Gold Hill chutes and the epic lines that slope straight into town.
The wild western town is another highlight of a ski trip to Telluride. The charming aged buildings set against picturesque snowy backdrops make visiting Telluride a quaint old experience and it one of the best place to ski in the USA.
3. Vail, Colorado
Another top US ski resort in the state of Colorado is the delightful European-style village of Vail. The resort boasts more than 5,000 acres making it the largest ski area in the state and one of the largest in North America. For those traveling to ski in Colorado, it’s usually the default destination for tourists.
It’s one of the most visited resorts in the US and crowds flock to dabble in the expansive ski area and to explore the cute and quaint streets of the town. Plus, every year there’s a very generous heap of snow!
All that snow-covered terrain means that any skier – from the novice to the expert – is satisfied with the slopes.
Unlike authentic Telluride though, the crowds mean that there’s more of a touristic vibe to this Colorado resort, with prices hiked up heavily.
But with high tourism, there are perks. The benefits include infinite drinking and dining options and exciting après ski options to keep you entertained for hours post-ski. There are even heated sidewalks making it a very pedestrian-friendly village!
4. Aspen Mountain, Colorado
It comes as no surprise that world-famous Aspen Mountain in Colorado makes the list.
Offering four distinct ski areas, each with their own benefits yet accessible under one ticket, Aspen Mountain is the go-to spot for versatility in skiing.
These four separate spots are Aspen (also known as Ajax Mountain), Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. All four offer incredible ski-able terrain, but Aspen Highlands is a highlight, with fewer crowds and snowy terrain ideal for the experts. Intermediates should head to Buttermilk or Snowmass for less intimidating slopes.
Part of the fun in a ski trip to Aspen is the après ski – there are plentiful dining and nightlife options to keep you busy post-ski.
You’ll soon see why Aspen is a hot spot for the rich and famous! Remember that the glitz and glamour Aspen offers does come at a charge, with prices hiked up for visitors. The closer you stay to the slopes, the more you’ll have to splurge but we promise, for Aspen, it’s worth it!
5. Snowbird, Utah
Snowbird is a haven for expert shredders, serving up some of the most adventurous terrain complete with steeps and chutes to trees and bowls. In fact, many professional and extreme skiers spend their days zooming across the slopes in Snowbird. But be warned, this is no place for the newbies.
With limited nightlife and shopping, here the focus is on the world-class snow and the slopes. It’s dubbed ‘the best snow in the world’ – get a load of that! Snowbird impressively even keeps serving up turns well into the spring and summer months.
Lodging is clean, comfortable but basic. Again, Snowbird is the spot to head to if you’re visiting purely for epic ski terrain, and not for après ski.
6. Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek is one of Colorado’s newest resorts, with a focus on luxury both on and off the slopes. If you’re seeking spa and luxurious pampering following a hard day’s work on the slopes – Beaver Creek is the resort for you!
Unlike its neighbor Vail, Beaver Creek lacks high-alpine terrain, but the terrain it does have is neat, luscious and impeccably groomed, making it perfect for beginners and intermediates. However, experts too will keep entertained with strips of terrain that roll off the Birds of Prey lift.
Finished early for the day? Indulge yourself down at the cute and compact base village with a massage or facial. Or, head to the performing arts center to enjoy a Broadway play or a movie.
Don’t forget to grab one of the famous free cookies at the end of the day at Beaver Creek’s base. The sweet treats have grown legendary and although nabbing one is a rarer luxury nowadays, the quality is top-notch.
7. Steamboat, Colorado
Steamboat is one of those authentic Western towns we know and love, a place where skiers meet cowboy country.
It’s home to the oldest ski hill in Colorado and more winter Olympians reside here than anywhere else in the US. That may be because Steamboat receives more snow than any other major destination resort in the state and this year proves no exception – skiers have been treated to a thick blanket of snow since mid-November 2018.
Steamboat is full of diverse, snowy terrain but the star of the show is its world-class alpine glade skiing. The special part about its glade skiing is that it isn’t restricted to skilled skiers. In fact, the tree runs are accessible for skiers of all abilities. Plus, the white powder is super light, dry and fluffy making it easy to blow through.
Rustic and reasonably far from major airports, Steamboat’s location does deter the crowds, especially during the week. With low tourism, there are limited lodging and dining options, meaning pricing is slightly higher but if you can afford it, the charm of the resort is worth it.
Don’t forget to take a break from the chilly slopes and relax in Steamboat’s renowned geothermal hot springs – to warm up nice and toasty!
8. Alta, Utah
For pillowy-soft powder, Alta is the one! The resort boasts more snow than almost any other American resort, so prepare to get buried!
All that snow allows for epic steeps, chutes, and scenic tree runs for a truly outstanding ski experience.
Whilst the ski-able area is quite small, there are more than enough runs. If for some reason that’s not enough, you can easily upgrade your ticket to head to neighboring Snowbird, also on our list.
And like Snowbird, Alta is all about the snow and the mountain – not the après ski. Whilst there are comfortable lodge stays and dining packages, there are no nightclubs or shops if you get itchy-footed post-ski. However, Salt Lake City is close enough if you fancy venturing out – you can even hop on a local bus.
9. Breckenridge, Colorado
This historic mining town boasts the highest ski lift – the Imperial Express Super Lift – in North America to marvel at those sky-high snowy vistas.
It’s a busy, bustling town big on character – meaning those crowds come swarming in. Last season it was actually the most visited ski resort in the US!
If you like to plow through powder at great heights, Breckenridge is the ski spot to be. There is a decent selection of terrain spread across five peaks and experts can enjoy the adrenaline rush as they ski daunting chutes and wide bowls.
The elevation and chilly temperatures mean the snow won’t get heavy and sticky until late in the season – although high winds mean the snow can get a little crusted!
For the splurgers, there’s plenty of nightlife, dining, and shopping including saloons older than the ski area itself! Why not pick out some new ski clothes for the family to wear fresh on the slopes?
And from laid-back and affordable to luxurious and high-class, there are a wide range of lodgings whatever your budget.
10. Squaw Valley, California
The only resort on our list in California, this spot on the West coast is unbeatable when it actually snows. Whilst weather can be iffy in Squaw, on powder days, the high-quality snow that blankets the steeps is top-notch.
The best part about Squaw Valley? Skiing with the incredible views of the glimmering Lake Tahoe is certainly one to beat. The resort covers six peaks, conveniently served by a lift system to keep you busy on your feet all day.
Still skiing late afternoon? No worries, you don’t have to stop as you can carry on your skiing adventures into the night, free with a full day or afternoon ticket!
The base village is calm and quiet, but there’s still a nice selection of restaurants and bars. For a bit more bustle, head to the town of Truckee which is only 20 minutes away.
Half the ski area of Squaw Valley faces north which helps preserve the snow, meaning many years the season runs into the summer. This year, the close date is July 7th so there’s plenty more time to grab those skis and head to the hills!
Ready to Visit Some of the Best Places to Ski in the US?
Craving the feeling of plowing through that brilliant white powder? So are we! It’s been an epic season for skiing, and fingers crossed that the next is just as successful.
Whilst the next snow season seems a long time away, why not start planning your next trip? That means you’ll have an awesome holiday to look forward to in one of the best places to ski in the US!