North America is home to some of the most beautiful ski resorts in the world, but with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is right for you.
However, whether you are a complete beginner or have been hitting the slopes your whole life, one thing is guaranteed, the most beautiful scenery and picture-perfect views will be all around you in the US mountains.
To find out about some of North America’s most popular ski resorts, I have asked fellow travel writers to tell me about their favourite places to ski in America, from Colorado, Wyoming and Tahoe to North Carolina, Utah and Montana. I think you will agree they have chosen some of the best places to ski on the planet!
Colorado Ski Resorts
Steamboat Springs Ski Resort
Contributed by Anna of Stuck On The Go
Steamboat Springs Ski Resort is one of the best ski resorts in the US because of its Champagne Powder® snow, world-class ski school, and variety of terrain.
To get to Steamboat Springs, fly into the Yampa Valley Regional Airport and take the shuttle or rent a car. Many condo complexes and hotels have shuttle service around town, so renting a car isn’t necessary unless you want to explore outside the resort in the Steamboat Springs downtown areas.
There are some great Steamboat Springs accommodations to choose from, including two condo complexes with a shuttle and great places to stay. The Phoenix and Kutuk are within walking distance of the slopes, or if you prefer hotels, The Sheraton is right at the mountain’s base.
Steamboat Springs is an excellent place for beginners, advanced skiers, and boarders alike because they have 170 named trails with 14% beginner, 42% intermediate, and 44% advanced trails. They have one of the highest return rates in the country for professional instructors in their snowsports school, so you know you’re in good hands, making this the perfect place to learn how to ski or board in North America!
Apres Ski in Steamboat Springs
After a day of skiing, head to the restaurants and bars at the base of the slopes. Truffle Pig is one of the most popular, but it’s on the expensive side. Timber & Torch is also a good option for drinks. You can also go downtown and visit three Steamboat Springs breweries – Storm Peak, Mountain Tap, and Mahogany Ridge. All three have great food options either in-house or next door.
If you’re visiting Steamboat Springs and don’t like skiing or boarding, there’s no need to worry. There are plenty of Steamboat Springs activities, including tubing, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and even a visit to Strawberry Park Hot Springs. There are also many excellent shopping opportunities downtown.
Winter Park Ski Resort
Contributed by Rachel Schulze of Bucketlist Places
Winter Park is the longest continually operated ski resort in Colorado, and it’s easy to see why it’s been running for so long. This beautiful family-friendly resort has an array of crisscrossing slopes and trails across 3000 acres of snow, ranging from beginner greens to expert double black diamonds. It’s the perfect place for new and expert skiers, especially those travelling together.
From the base camp, which has plenty of shops, restaurants, ski rentals, bathrooms, and more, there’s a main 10-person gondola heading up the mountain. For those who want a quick trip (or to avoid getting off a traditional ski lift), you can ski straight back down to the base area or ski school on an easy trail. For those who want to keep going, you can follow the conspicuous signs and maps to find whatever combination of trails looks the most fun. It’s truly a choose-your-own-adventure!
The Zephyr Mountain Lodge is the perfect place to stay at Winter Park, with ski lockers, hot tubs, and direct access to the slopes– only 110 feet from the door to the gondola. You’ll also have access to a parking garage if you choose to drive, and all the restaurants and cafes at the base camp are within easy walking distance.
If you decide to come during the off-season or want to break up your ski days, there are plenty of hiking trails and activities. Try tubing down the mountain, go on a snowshoe hike for a truly unique experience, come back in summer to ride Colorado’s longest alpine slide, or join an astronomy tour at night.
How To Reach Winter Park
Winter Park is the closest major mountain destination to Denver, which makes it easy to access. Most visitors will fly into the city, then either rent a car or take a bus from Denver to Winter Park (an especially great option if you’re not comfortable driving on a mountain with snow).
Vail Ski Resort
Contributed by Keri of Bon Voyage With Kids
Vail in Colorado is America’s most beautiful ski resort known for its ‘Legendary Back Bowls’ and epic skiing. The resort is also a fantastic place for beginners and kids to ski.
Vail Mountain’s Back Bowls are unlike most and are only for experienced skiers. They are a collection of epic hills that advanced skiers will love. It’s free skiing with barely a tree in sight down hills in every direction and is some of the most fun skiing for those who love the sport.
Families will love Vail’s top-notch ski and ride program, as will novice skiers, which is suitable for all ages. Kids get highly experienced instructors who will get them on skis or snowboards to develop their skills. There are plenty of green and cruising slopes for those who want to enjoy long runs down the mountain. Adult beginner skiers also have a variety of lessons from which to choose.
Apres Ski in Vail
The beauty of Vail is unmatched with its lovely village that looks like you have stepped into the Austrian Alps. The picturesque village is perfect for Apres Ski, with plenty of restaurants (including two Austrian restaurants), ice skating, and shopping.
If you are looking for fun winter activities away from the slopes, like ski-biking, snow tubing, and snowmobiling, Vail’s Adventure Ridge has it all! Everyone loves the mountain coaster, and on non-ski days, you can enjoy mountain tours and discover nature.
Flights for skiers heading to Vail arrive at Eagle Country Airport, which is minutes away from the resorts in Vail and surrounding areas, including Beaver Creek.
Visitors can find accommodation in Vail here.
North Carolina Ski Resorts
Sugar Mountain Ski Resort
Contributed by Victoria of Southern Trippers
You can’t beat Sugar Mountain Ski Resort if looking for one of North America’s most beautiful ski resorts.
Located in the Blue Ridge mountains, not only is it the single biggest ski resort in the state, but it features over 21 different runs with the largest vertical drop in the state, measuring upwards of 1200 feet.
So, if you’d like to visit one of the best North Carolina ski resorts, fly into Raleigh Durham International Airport and drive four hours to the resort. Alternatively, fly into Tri-Cities Regional Airport in Blountville, Tennessee, then drive for around an hour and a half to the mountain.
Once there, you can try beginner runs like the Lower Flying Mile or more advanced slopes like those found on the Oma’s Meadow (intermediate), Gunther’s Run (intermediate), Tom Terrific (advanced), or Boulder Dash (advanced). If you’re new to skiing, stay away from the summit since there are no beginner trails here.
Although, if you’re not confident in your abilities, you can enrol in the Snowsports mountain ski school, which is designed for skiers of all ages and abilities. However, if you’re travelling with kids between the ages of 5 and 10, they’ll love taking ski lessons at Sugar Bear Ski School.
If you’re not into skiing, you can always try ice skating, snowshoeing, and even snow tubing within the mountain’s 700-foot-long tubing park before grabbing a piping hot mug of hot cocoa at the Sugar Mountain Resort eatery. You can also fuel up on some delicious cajun cuisine at Bayou Smokehouse or dig into some epic North Carolina BBQ at Pedalin’ Pig.
Are you looking for places to stay near Sugar Mountain Ski Resort? Check out availability and pricing for the Sugar Ski and Country Club.
Wyoming Ski Resorts
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Contributed by Melissa of Parenthood and Passports
Jackson Hole is considered one of North America’s most extreme ski resorts. Known for its steep runs with intimidating exposure, the resort in western Wyoming has earned a reputation for being a challenging mountain.
Of the 133 ski runs within the resort’s boundaries, half have a black or double black rating, and only ten per cent of the runs are considered suitable for beginners. However, that shouldn’t discourage novice skiers from skiing in Jackson Hole.
Jackson Hole has a world-class ski school, where you’ll learn to ski or board through trees and navigate steep runs. For kids, the ski school even has runs that lead through a pirate ship hidden in the woods, and children earn a helmet sticker for every run they ski.
For non-skiers, Jackson Hole in winter also offers epic views of the snow-capped Teton Mountain Range, a posh yet rustic atmosphere, and lots of après activities to keep you entertained away from the slopes.
Located close to Grand Teton National Park, you can take a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge, wander through the adorable Wild West town of Jackson, or go snowmobiling on the Continental Divide.
When planning a winter ski trip to Jackson, you can choose to stay at the base of the mountain in Teton Village or in the town of Jackson, which is about 15 minutes away by car.
In Teton Village, Hotel Terra is a superb ski-in option, while in Jackson, The Wort Hotel is inside one of the most historic buildings in Jackson. If staying in town, you can take the commuter START bus to and from the mountain for just a few dollars each way.
Utah Ski Resorts
Park City Mountain Resort
Contributed by Dan of HoneymoonAlways.com
Park City Mountain Resort is a world-class ski resort nestled in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, offering something for everyone, from beginners to experts. With over 7,000 acres of skiable terrain, Park City is one of North America’s largest and most beautiful ski resorts.
One of the best things about the Park City Mountain Resort is the variety of terrain. There are groomed runs for those who want to cruise and intermediate and advanced ungroomed runs throughout the resort. For riders looking to practice doing tricks, there are four terrain parks with two halfpipes, jumps, rails, wallrides, and boxes, as well as a few bowls and tree runs throughout the resort.
If you want to learn to ski or improve your skills, the ski school at Park City Mountain Resort is top-notch. They offer both group and private lessons for all levels. The Park City side of the resort does have a better variety of bunny slopes for someone looking to learn.
After a long day on the slopes, you can relax in one of Park City’s many luxury hotels or spas. The Westgate Park City Resort & Spa is popular, offering ski-in/ski-out access and plenty of amenities.
Check out the historic Main Street in Park City, lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. There are also various nightlife options, from bars and clubs to live music venues. And one unique activity you won’t find in many other places is bobsledding at the Utah Olympic Park, the course used for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Are you looking for accommodation in Park City Mountain Resort? Check out the availability and pricing of Park City properties here.
Alta Ski Resort
Contributed by Lisa of Planning Away
Alta is a beautiful Salt Lake City ski resort and a local favourite when planning a ski trip to Utah. Alta is one of the best ski resorts in Utah, and according to a study by the University of Utah, Alta has the best snow on earth! It averages over 700 inches yearly, 200 inches more than any other Utah resort!
Alta is at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, a skier-only resort with no snowboards. You can take one of six high-speed chairlifts to the top and choose which runs you want to ski. There are over 116 runs which are a mixture of easy and more complex.
Alta has an excellent ski school, with options for ages four and upwards. You can join a group lesson or have a private one-to-one lesson with a ski instructor. One nice thing is that there is a daycare on-site if you have kids under four, so you can hit the slopes knowing they are in good hands.
If you are flying, Salt Lake City airport is the closest airport to Alta Ski Resort. You will probably want to rent a car; however, Salt Lake City has an excellent public transportation system. A ski bus will pick you up and take you up the canyon, which is helpful because parking can be difficult during peak ski season.
Unfortunately, Alta does not have resort lodging, but there are many Airbnbs near Alta. You can also stay in Salt Lake City, a 20-minute drive from the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Alta ski resort.
Tahoe Ski Resorts
Northstar California Ski Resort
Contributed by Patricia of Ze Wandering Frogs
With dozens of beautiful ski resorts in North America, Lake Tahoe in winter is the perfect destination for snow lovers. And among all these different resorts, Northstar California stands as one of the most famous mountain resorts in the western US, thanks to the terrain diversity, an average of 350″ snowfall, and the number of winter activities offered.
Skiers and snowboarders of all levels can find their preferred trails among 100 runs available, mostly groomed trails. Beginners can take their first lessons from the Northstar Ski and Snowboard School, with classes for kids and adults alike.
Intermediate skiers and snowboarders will appreciate that around 60% are for their level. Expert riders can test their skills in the back runs and among the tree sides, skiing some of the 2280′ vertical drops of challenging alpine terrain; The Lookout Mountain and The Backside slopes are indeed adventurous riders’ favourites! Confident skiers looking for jumps and tricks can head to one of several terrain parks.
Non-skiers will enjoy skating on the ice rink, cross-country skiing, telemark skiing, snowshoeing, or fat biking. Treat yourself to one of the outdoor spas to relax after a cold day, swim a lap at the heated pool, or roast s’mores by a campfire.
Northstar village is packed with lodging, providing different types, from mountain lodges, village condos, or wooden chalets, for all budgets and group sizes.
The resort is about 200 miles, a 4-hour ride from the San Franciso Bay area and the major international airports of San Jose and Oakland. Alternatively, it is a 40-minute drive from the Reno/Tahoe International Airport.
Montana Ski Resorts
Big Sky Ski Resort
Contributed by Anwar YF of Beyond My Door
One of the largest ski resort’s in the western US and certainly in Montana is Big Sky, a skier/snowboarder’s playground. The mountain is vast; it would not be possible to explore all of it in a day, and you could constantly ski new terrain all day as well if you chose.
With nearly 300 trails, there’s something to experience for all skill levels, and for those who want to test their mettle, big couloir offers one of the most challenging inbound slopes in skiing. Skiing big couloir requires going with a partner and signing an additional waiver.
Big Sky is a destination resort, with the mountain village being pretty small with only several restaurants and bars on offer. For visitors staying locally, there are some great bars and restaurants in the town, such as the Standard or Independent, for drinks or bites to eat.
Big Sky ski resort is about an hour from Bozeman, Montana or West Yellowstone, Montana. Staying in Bozeman will give you more lodging and food options as Big Sky hotels and Airbnbs can be incredibly expensive during the winter.
Tickets for Big Sky cost over $200 US a day (even more if you add in the lone peak tram); however, a few days are included for those with full Ikon passes.
You may also like to learn about the Best Ski Resorts in Europe for Beginners.
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