Skiing in the USA – here’s what you need to know about the best skiing and ski resorts in the USA.
Skiing has been taking the world by storm over the past few decades. Some of the best ski resorts can be found in the USA. There are over 800 ski resorts in the USA. This spoils you for choice and leaves you with a long list of beautiful resorts to visit before the end of the ski season.
The home of the star-spangled banner has a variety of extraordinary resorts to suit all abilities. Ski holidays in the USA are a far cry from the average European ski holiday with their huge mountain terrain, dry powder snow, quiet pistes and charming towns.
With resorts spread all over the land of the free, skiers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a resort for their trip. A trip across the Atlantic guarantees jaw-dropping scenery, excellent terrain and a whole host of attractions.
There are six main ski areas in the US: New England, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountains and the West Coast. Some of the most popular resorts in North America are located in California and Colorado.
Each of these regions have their own unique atmosphere and attractions, so it is key that you take all of these factors into consideration before deciding where to visit.
Don’t worry, we’ve done all the research for you and have got you covered. The resorts covered in this article were evaluated based on factors such as terrain, difficulty, vertical drop, and accessibility. We have also included some other factors for you to consider when choosing a resort – accommodation, nightlife and food.
To make your life a little easier, the top 10 ski resorts have been grouped into states. The states covered include Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. These states have so much to offer in terms of skiing, accommodation and experiences, let’s check them out!
Jackson Hole, Wyoming offers some of the best skiing in the USA
Jackson Hole is an American classic and the ultimate bucket list destination due to its status as the birthplace of big mountain skiing. Beginner and intermediate pistes make up half of the ski area but Jackson Hole is particularly famous for its backcountry zones, extreme couloirs and huge snowfall.
If you are still getting your feet wet at skiing, Jackson Hole is not the place to test your skills. About 50% of all the runs at Jackson Hole are black. If you have new riders or young ones with you, it would be advisable to consider getting them to a different resort, unless they really know what they are doing.
Jackson Hole receives about 275 inches of snowfall every year, has a vertical terrain of over 4,100 feet and the mountain can be accessed easily via 14 lifts, all heading up to 10 450 feet.
This ski resort, therefore, is designed to cater to veteran skiers in search of a new challenge. Jackson Hole has increased its popularity over the years by installing some amazing trails and fall lines.
It has also become popular for backcountry and side-country skiing options. If you are an intermediate skier, you should find some lines that you can manage. However, you should be prepared for a challenge.
Jackson Hole is home to some amazing hotels and resorts and there are a number of affordable lodgings in the area. But be sure first to check out Hotel Terra as a place to stay and the Piste Mountain Bistro, which offers some of the best dining options in the area, as a place to eat.
Nonetheless, as most of the slopes face towards the south, there’s a tendency for the snow to disappear early. Fortunately, the area receives regular snowfall; thus, there’s always fresh snow around the corner, making for some of the best skiing in North America.
Alta receives some of the best snow in the country, with an average of about 14 meters of snow every year (547 inches). This is 15%-20% more snow than the surrounding areas.
The Alta Ski Resort is famous for being a throwback in the present day, lacking many of the modern luxuries we have come to expect from ski resorts. It does, however, have modern-day conveniences to make you more comfortable. One such example is children’s ski school, leaving you free for the day to explore the more tricky slopes.
Alta’s slopes are ideal for those experienced skiers looking to get their feet on some high-grade snow. The top elevation of Alta’s slopes is 11 068 feet, which is slightly shorter than the slopes in Aspen. However, the early snowfall makes it a great destination to head to if you are wanting to start skiing before the other peaks are ready with snow.
The Alta Ski Resort is usually best accessed around mid-December after massive snowfalls get the slope ready. If you are looking for a place to dine and stay, consider eating at the Tram Bar and resting at the Rustler Lodge, or have a look at some of the top 5 Utah Ski resorts worthy of your visit (besides Alta Ski Resort).
Snowbird, Utah also offers some of the best skiing in the USA
Snowbird might just be the ideal skiing destination. It has one of Utah’s longest ski seasons lasting from mid-November to May, a good number of north-facing runs, has a vertical drop of 3 240 feet and rises to 11 000 feet.
Additionally, it has some quick gondolas that channel you to the bottom of the resort at dizzying speeds. There are also numerous steep fall lines to keep your adrenaline surging. Snowfall averages at 500 inches, which aids in providing some of the best skiing (and snowboarding) in North America.
Snowbird serves up some of the best expert terrain for shredders with steeps and chutes to trees and bowls. It is home to many professional free riders and extreme skiers and plays host to several international free-skiing competitions.
Best of all, Snowbird sees dumps of that famous Utah pow on a north-facing aspect, keeping it fresh and light!
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort caters for all abilities. If you aren’t too steady on your feet yet, Snowbird’s Mountain School gives riders and skiers the chance to gain their confidence before hitting the slopes.
8% of Snowbird’s terrain is suitable for beginners while 41% of Snowbird is dedicated to advanced skiers. However, with a total offering of 170 runs, all skiers should be able to find a route right for them.
The resort is easy to access and Snowbird offers accommodation themselves in their Cliff Lodge. The lodge is located by the ski-in-ski-out beginners run, allowing guests to easily access the beginner’s trail.
Afterski life is limited at Snowbird, but there are a handful of restaurants and souvenir shops for guests to experience after their day on the slopes.
Aspen, Colorado offers some of the best skiing in the USA
With it’s famously challenging runs, glamorous, cultured town and celebrity visitors, there may only be one Aspen. But, in fact, the Colorado resort has four separate ski areas known jointly as Aspen Snowmass, all linked by a free shuttle bus service.
The Aspen Snowmass slopes have a top elevation reaching 12 510 feet and a vertical drop of 4 404 feet. This allows for the snow to stick around until March. Aspen Snowmass has four separate skiing areas – Aspen, Snowmass, Highlands and Buttermilk.
Snowmass is the largest, with about 3300 acres of skiing terrain that encompasses all levels of difficulty. With snowfall reaching 62 inches, there will be a slope for everyone to try!
Aspen is situated in the tranquil Pitkin County in Western Colorado and is idealized as a little, traditional skiing town. Although most true, that vision has been changing over the past couple of decades.
Today, Aspen is full of frolicking tourists looking to have a good time, both in and out of the snow. Aspen’s spectacular slopes are constantly in open season for those looking to experience some of the best skiing in North America.
Aspen has the most consistent daily flights out of any ski town in North America. This allows you to access the slopes any time that you want.
For a place to stay, consider Viceroy Snowmass, The Snow Queen Lodge & Cooper Street Lofts, The Little Nell and The Inn at Aspen. Also be sure to check out the cuisines at Toro Latin Kitchen.
If you are a fan of sharp and steep runs that get you into town, then Telluride should service your tendencies, and more. The town is located in the southern part of Colorado, built on an old mining town. Telluride is one of the most beautiful ski resorts on the continent, but this comes at a fairly hefty price.
The resort has over 2000 acres of skiable area, which makes it perfect for skiing, snowboarding and other snow adventures. It averages on 330 inches of snow, 3 150 feet in elevation, 4425 feet of a vertical drop.
Telluride has 127 runs, catering for all abilities. There are free gondola services which make for more comfortable transportation. The resort prides itself on having some of the finest and most sophisticated lift systems.
There are a total of 18 lifts, 2 gondolas, 7 high-speed quads, 2 double chairlifts and 2 magic carpets.
The Telluride Ski Resort offers more than just some of the best skiing in North America. It offers breathtaking views and a serene environment too.
Consider eating at La Marmotte, walking along Colorado Main Street and West Colorado Avenue and staying at the Inn at Lost Creek.
Vail, Colorado too offers some of the best skiing in the USA
Vail was built from scratch in the 1960s. The founders envisaged a “little Bavaria” in Colorado. The original Vail Village is full of Bavarian/Tirolean-style buildings and is a very pleasant place to stroll around. Vail has become huge – stretching almost four miles along the I-70 highway from Denver.
Vail is exactly what one would envision if they were asked to think about their ideal ski resort. Top-quality snow (370 inches), excellent terrain (a 3 450 feet vertical drop and a top elevation of 11 570 feet), and stellar accommodations are some of the reasons why many people have listed Vail as as their best spot for skiing in North America.
Additionally, up to 40 percent of the slopes are North-facing, thus ensuring that the powder stays put for longer.
Vail also caters for all levels of skills; thus junior and other novices will not miss out on the fun. Vail has a sophisticated lift system, comprising of 31 lifts, 2 gondolas, 2 triple chairs and 9 surface lifts. These take you to over 5000 trails Vail has developed and groomed over the years.
Vail, is like as they say, ‘nothing on Earth’! It is one of the most visited resorts in the US, with crowds flocking for their immensely huge ski area, impressive picture-perfect village and infinite dining, lodging and après ski activities!
But beware, its prices are also ‘nothing on Earth’ with one of most expensive walk-up lift tickets in the country!
Consider eating at the Mountain Standard while staying at The Sebastian, Sonnenalp or the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort. After a day on the slopes, you would do best to experience some of the afterski/nightlife in Vail. Places to check out include The Los Amigos, Garfinkels, Tavern on the Square and The Red Lion.
If you are looking to try out some of the best skiing in the USA, you will certainly not be at a shortage of options. When you search for the best ski resorts in the USA, you are spoilt for choice.
World-class skiing, wild west towns and some of the quietest slopes around – there are lots of reasons to ski the USA. Resorts in Colorado sit at high altitude, so there’s lots of light powder. And with over 300 days of sunshine, you’ll be going home with a great goggle tan.
The resorts also have real American character, from swing-door saloons against breathtaking backdrops to high-end hotels and finger-licking cuisine.
You would do well to remember that your ideal ski resort will depend on your needs and preferences. Questions to ask yourself when choosing a ski resort include: “Do I want to spent my day skiing and then cuddle up next to the fire with a good book?” and “Do I enjoy some nightlife on the side?”