What screams winter more than powdery mountain snow sprawling through lush mountain ranges, complete with skiers and snowboarders of all ages zigzagging down slopes? With over 450 ski resorts populating the U.S., choosing the perfect one to entertain your winter activities gets a bit tricky. But this guide detailing 10 of the best ski resorts in the U.S. will help you narrow down your choices and pick the perfect ski resort for your liking.
Time to Hit the Slopes! The Best Ski Resorts in the U.S.
One of these 10 spectacular U.S.A.-based ski resorts just might be your next winter vacation paradise!
1. Okemo Mountain Resort, Ludlow, Vermont
If you love skiing but despise the grueling, frigid ski lift ride toward the top of the mountain, Okemo Mountain Resort is a bucket list destination for you. The resort installed orange, bubble-heated ski lift chairs that implement heated seats and a protective shield that prevents snow, debris, and wind from sneaking into your goggles.
Besides a high-speed heated chair lift, this resort offers equal terrain for every skill level. According to Okemo’s website, out of the 121 paths, 33% are suitable for beginners, 37% are for intermediate riders, and 30% are for seasoned, advanced snow sport enthusiasts. For those advanced riders, Okemo Mountain has the highest vertical drop in South Vermont, clocking in at a 2,200-foot slope.
2. Park City Mountain, Park City, Utah
Park City Mountain comprises 7,300 acres of free, skiable terrain that the U.S. ski team practices on for Olympic runs. The mountain also doubles as a resort with the largest lift access in the U.S., with 40 lifts and over 330 trails. Beginners have fewer options to choose from, as the website states only 8% of the paths have a green circle, while 42% apply to intermediate skiers, and 50% speak to the advanced skiers and boarders in Utah. However, beginners can cruise over to High Meadow Park, a mini park where skiers and boarders put their new skills to the test on freshly groomed snow.
3. Telluride Ski Resort, Mountain Village, Colorado
Telluride’s terrain interests everyone, from those who’ve never strapped into a snowboard to those looking to earn gold medals in international competitions. The San Juan mountain resort incorporates the wildest natural elements into its slopes, such as cliffs, rocks, bare patches, and tree stumps, in addition to manmade terrain park objects like rails and boxes. Patrons peruse 2,000 acres of open area in the 19-lift snow park. The longest run, the Galloping Goose, spans 4.6 miles, and the steepest run, Palymra Peak, requires skiers to hike up a portion of the 13,320-foot trail.
4. Holiday Valley Resort, Ellicottville, New York
This is my hometown ski resort, the one where I learned to butter, ollie, and successfully tackle terrain park objects. Holiday Valley runs on the smaller side, but the crew and maintenance team maintain terrific slope conditions on a day-to-day basis. The resort has 60 slopes with 13 lifts dispersed throughout the stunning Alleghany Mountains in Western New York. Snowboarders and skiers coast over 300 acres of terrain during the day and 180 acres during the night, choosing between terrain parks, slopes carved throughout the woods, and slalom-style slopes.
5. Sun Valley Resort, Ketchum, Idaho
During their visit, Sun Valley Resort customers pick between two favorable mountains, Bald Moutain and Dollar Mountain. Bald Mountain calls out to those skiers looking to zip down the mountain while the sun pats their faces. Bald spreads across 2,054 acres with 12 lifts transporting skiers to the downhill mountains’ 100-plus trails. Dollar Mountain caters to those who enjoy the downhill voyage but also like to spice up their skiing routine with terrain parks, jumps, and flat ground practice. This mountain houses the U.S.’s first-ever ski lift, so step back into history while riding the historic lift.
6. Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, Montana
Miles away from Yellowstone National Park resides a state-of-the-art ski resort traversing 5,850 acres of open ground, perfect for skiers at any point in their journey. Regular Big Sky customers and newer skiers will notice a new invention gracing the mountain this year. Opening on Dec. 19, a new Lone Peak Tram will transport 75 guests at a time from the bottom of the mountain to the peak of the slope. Whether you want to ski down the terrain or gaze at the scenic view, this new addition to the park caters to everyone.
Big Sky appeals more to advanced skiers, given the mountain includes 60% of trails targeting advanced athletes, 25% toward intermediate riders, and 15% toward newcomers. Thirty-six lifts—24 chairlifts and 12 surface lifts dot the mountain adorned with over 400 inches of snowfall annually.
7. Mount Hood Meadows Ski and Summer Resort, Mount Hood, Oregon
Spruce trees pepper, 2,150 skiable acres, 11 lifts, and additional hiking terrain pepper Mount Hood’s Meadow Resort. Visitors rejoice over the 85 available trails and the varied options to increase stunts and freestyle skiing expertise. Skiers and boarders wanting to push their limits trek up the hiking terrain for a bonus vertical drop of 1,700 feet. Those wanting to stay away from the expert cliffs and slopes remain on the main mountain’s powdery 2,777-foot vertical rise.
8. Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine
Maine perpetuates a reputation for miles of jaw-dropping coastline, historic lighthouses, lobster, and Sugarloaf Mountain, the Northeastern state’s biggest ski resort. Situated at 4,237 feet, Sugarloaf Mountain invites avid skiers and novice boarders to test the 14 lifts and 1,240 free-range acres. Depending on your skill level, you can pick between 162 trails, a superpipe—for those training for competitions or looking to catch some air—four terrain parks, and glade paths.
9. Vail Ski Resort, Vail, Colorado
What’s a list of the best U.S. ski resorts without Vail, Colorado? Colorado boasts 28 ski resorts, and Vail remains the biggest one at 5,317 acres of open skiing. The colossal mountain stretches 11,570 feet high, with 32 lifts carrying guests to the 195 trails. Vail prides itself on its variety of bowl and backgrounds skiing—ungroomed trails left in their natural condition—what with their vast selection. Newer bowl skiers enjoy the Mongolia Bowls, as they are less crowded and provide easier terrain than the Siberia Bowls, terrain with cliffs, vertical drops, and harsh conditions.
10. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Teton Village, Wyoming
Step up your skiing reputation with a trip to Jackson Hole. The iconic ski resort welcomes tourists into a 100-person aerial tram, presenting an unparalleled glimpse of the Rockies. The Aerial Tram progresses at high speeds, climbing 4,129 feet in nine minutes. If you’re not ready for the aerial tram, pick between two gondolas, five high-speed chairs, or a double chairlift to transfer you to any point across the 2,500 marked acres of open skiing. Again, for those experts, daredevil skiers and boarders, trek to the unmarked 3,000 acres of backcountry skiing for free-range skiing.
About Gabrielle Reeder
Gabrielle Reeder is a travel enthusiast from St. Petersburg Florida. She boarded her first plane at six months old and blames her love for jet-setting on her mom’s background as a travel agent. She’s been to 41 states and six countries, hoping to up that number to 50 states and 10 countries by her 26th birthday. During her trips, she loves to find the best vegetarian food, desserts, and music venues.