Wintertime means many things to all of us. For some, it means shoveling the walkway, dreary sunless days, and chilly evenings. Others have a different outlook, they think hot chocolate, cuddling by the fireside, and snow sports. Indeed, winter can actually be really fun, especially if you’re a skier. November marks the beginning of ski season in much of the U.S. and this is the time to get your winter ski vacation on the books! The country’s biggest snows are just around the corner, and you won’t want to miss the chance to hit your favorite slopes. Here are some of the best ski resorts in North America to check out this winter!
The east coast doesn’t get the love that the Rockies, the West, and Canada receives in the skiing community, and while it’s true the Adirondack Mountains aren’t as massive as the Rockies, that doesn’t mean you can’t do some great skiing. Many of the East Coast’s mountains are fit for expert skiers, and though the resorts are less flashy, they’re just as satisfying.
Most of the great skiing in the North East happens in Vermont. This snow flush state hosts power houses like Sugarbush, which is as massive as it is inclusive. Complete with some of the east’s highest mountains including Lincoln Peak coming in at 3,975 feet high, this resort has something for everyone. Experts can head out to the outback wooded terrain, and everyone can enjoy a good bite to eat at Common Man, in nearby Warren.
It’s hard to choose between Stowe and Killington for number one in Vermont, but it’s safe to say you can’t lose with either one. It depends more on what you’re looking for. Killington’s 4200-foot-high peaks and six mountain ranges make help make it one of the most diverse terrain in New England. Experts find moguls and gladed trails, while beginners enjoy nice gentle groomers. Non-skiers can scoot around in snowshoes, fat bikes for rent, and even take a sleigh ride.
Stowe is reminiscent of that European Alpine town you just can’t get to this winter. This tough resort features terrain parks, and groomed back country. The park is 85 percent geared toward advanced and intermediate skiers, though there are options for beginners, too. The village of Stowe is quaint and sweet, very stereotypical New England meets Europe. Check out the Cliff House for a good meal, or the Pantry for some après ski beers.
And just to make a point, recall the Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY – you too can ski the same slopes as Olympians on Whiteface Mountain. Featuring what could be the steepest vertical drop in the east, this resort favors expert skiers first and foremost, although of course there are some palatable options for mere mortals, too. Bobsledding, snowshoeing, and an easy commute from New York, Boston, and Montreal make this a popular destination for all skiers.
The most famous west coast ski resort is probably Park City, but mostly for its renowned film festival than its skiing (which, coincidentally, is a great time to actually ski since everyone is at the movies!). Even though the state of Utah is less prone to libations, Park City makes up the difference. This party town lights up at night on Historic Main Street. Considered the largest ski resort in America, this destination has something for everyone – ahem, even the skiers. Park City skiers can shred hard with flips and spins on one of 7 terrain peaks, as part of their terrain park.
California’s Squaw Valley gets double duty perks now that it’s united with neighbor Alpine Meadows. Squaw Valley is big in every way, from major steep terrain skiing, peppered amid mountain top hot tub bars. Alpine is a more low-key experience, featuring backcountry trails for their version of a challenge. You can’t stay in Alpine, rather you need to take a shuttle from Squaw, so the good news is you can experience both resorts for the same ticket.
Finally, far be it for Canada to miss a list on skiing. The granddaddy of them all, Whistler’s resort is home to the largest mountain in North America. A short ways from Vancouver, Whistler expands an astounding 8171 acres, and with its 37 lifts, the resort holds the title for the longest continual life system on the planet. The 6 parks feature options for beginner to elite skiers, and snow abounds as Whistler gets an average of 464 inches of powder a year.
The best skiing in America is generally in the Rocky Mountains. The high elevation gives skiers a view and a great workout, all under sunny skies. Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico make for some of the best skiing in the United States.
The most popular resort in America is Vail. Needing little introduction for hardcore skiers, Vail features 5200 developed acres with multiple connecting peaks. This classy resort has manicured slopes, luxury hotels, and a wide range of terrain that appeals to just about any level. Expert skiers might be disappointed by its lack of hike to ski options, but for most visitors, Vail really has it all as far as anything for anyone.
In the other part of the state, Telluride claims a respectable nod for serious skiers. This resort reserves the fall for its film festival, unlike Park City, so skiing is to be enjoyed for all of winter. This is a resort truly made for everyone. Blended terrain options, and a design built with a 60 per cent favor to beginners and intermediate skiers who can get a glimpse of the spectacular views their advanced friends commonly enjoy. That said, a run with a 2000-foot vertical drop and in-bound terrain still make this a favorable choice for expert and advanced skiers.
Finally, the hardest resort in the nation belongs to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the Grand Teton Mountains. The Corbet’s Couloir is the nation’s toughest run (not to be attempted unless you are truly an ultimate expert), featuring a deathly difficult 50-foot drop between two rock walls that requires skiers to wear avalanche gear, can be found at this intense mountain park. While the resort is working to add more intermediate options, and there are some, this destination is great for the advanced skier, but maybe not the person who’s just trying out the bunny slope. That said, Jackson Hole has some fun things to do in town. Grab a drink at the Mangy Moose to take a load off after an intense day.
Are you a winter reveler? What’s your favorite ski resort in the country?