Peak ski season is here, which means it’s time to plan that snowy getaway you’ve been contemplating. There are plenty of stunning alpine escapes throughout the U.S., but the best ski resorts aren’t just about time spent racing down the slopes. Yes, you want to make sure you’ve chosen a spot with great runs, and you’ll want to ensure there are level-appropriate options for you and the other travelers in your group, depending on your ski level. The top ski resorts, however, should also offer lots to do when you’re not wearing skis, whether it’s other snowy activities like snowshoeing or snowmobiling, or perhaps just a lovely gondola ride to take in the dreamy scenery.
And, of course, you want a good après scene, as well as great restaurants and perhaps a relaxing spa moment. While good trails are nonnegotiable, the rest all depends on your individual tastes; certain snowbirds might want a more glamorous and elevated getaway, while others prefer a laidback atmosphere. Luckily, there are tons of wanderlust-worthy ski getaways all over the country, from Aspen and Vail to Tahoe and Jackson Hole, so pack up your favorite snowsuit, a cozy winter hat, ski parka and all your other gear, and get ready for that snowy mountain vacation. Below, see the best ski resorts in the U.S. to book for your next alpine getaway.
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Think of Aspen as the St. Tropez or St. Barth of the skiing world in the US; it’s one of the most well-known and might be the flashiest ski resort town in the country, perhaps because of the frequent celebrity visitors and extremely Instagrammable après-ski and nightlife, but aside from the glitzy ski town, there’s also some very good skiing and snowboarding terrain, with no less than four mountains: Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. The variety of beginner and challenging runs is great for when you’re traveling on a snowy getaway with skiers of all levels, and you can’t beat the luxurious hotels, including The Little Nell and the St. Regis Aspen, plus the restaurants and shopping.
Park City, Utah
Park City is another glamorous ski destination standout, and not just because it’s the backdrop of the Sundance Film Festival. Park City is home to two major resorts; Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. Park City Mountain is the largest ski resort in the USA, offering over 330 trails on 7,300 gorgeous alpine acres, including eight terrain parks and two halfpipes. While Park City Mountain is open to skiers and snowboarders, Deer Valley, located just a few minutes drive away, is accessible exclusively to skiers. There are quite a few luxe Park City hotels, but you can’t go wrong with the iconic Stein Eriksen Lodge, which is ski-in ski-out and has its own personal chairlift access. Park City also has the added bonus of being one of the more reachable ski resorts, as it’s just over a 30-minute drive from the Salt Lake City airport.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
There’s something for everyone in Jackson Hole, but expert skiers are sure to be especially fond of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which has over 100 runs and is widely considered to be one of the most challenging mountains in the country—it’s best for advanced skiers and snowboarders. It’s also home to the infamous Corbet’s Couloir Run, seen as quite possibly the most difficult run in the USA. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is also the site of the largest vertical drop in the USA, at a staggering 4,105 feet. Don’t worry if you’re more of a beginner, though; there’s also the nearby Snow King Mountain, which is smaller and a bit more beginner- and family-friendly, with less challenging runs. There are quite a few chic hotels in the area, including Caldera House and the Four Seasons Jackson Hole.
Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky is in no way new; it’s long been popular with snowbirds drawn to the Montana escape’s nearly 6,000 skiable acres, but the locale has become much more well-known as one of the top ski resorts over the past few years. There are technically three main mountain resorts in the area; there’s Big Sky Resort, Lone Mountain Ranch and more low-key Bridger Bowl, which also has more backcountry ski area access. Big Sky Resort is the winner when it comes to sheer size and number of runs, which don’t get as crowded due to their vastness as some of the other options, and there are about 2,300 acres of beginner and intermediate runs. Big Sky Resort also boasts around 400 inches of annual snowfall, which is a major plus for the ski season.
Let’s not forget about the opulent hotel options—Montage Big Sky, which opened in winter 2021, is located less than an hour from Yellowstone National Park and about 20 minutes from the Big Sky base area as well as the ski town, but you won’t have to go all the way there to hit the slopes, as the hotel has direct ski-in, ski-out access.
Those who are based on the east coast don’t have to head all the way out west for a ski vacation, as there are a few quality ski spots just a roadtrip away. Stowe Mountain Resort is about a five-and-half hour drive from New York City, and is surely one of the top resorts in the northeast, offering 116 trails for all ski levels. The resort recently debuted a new high-speed, six-passenger chairlift, the Sunrise Chair, for its beginner and intermediate runs, and is a part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass program, which offers discounts on food, drinks, ski rentals, lift tickets and more. Those that just want to embark on a snowy getaway will surely adore the charming New England town, with its adorable shops, restaurants and bars.
Sun Valley, Idaho
For a much more low-key and relaxing ski trip, look no further than Sun Valley Resort. The locale has a long, celeb-filled history, as during the 1930s, frequent visitors included Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway (he finished work on For Whom the Bell Tolls while in the ski town), and more recently, Demi Moore, Tom Hanks, Mark Zuckerberg and so many more. Even so, Sun Valley is a far more rustic and unpretentious option as opposed to so many of the other glitzy ski towns in North America, with comfortable hotels sans aggressive flashiness. Sun Valley Resort is made up of two main mountains, Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain, the latter of which is mostly easier runs. The resort is anchored by the quaint town of Ketchum, and while there’s not much in the way of nightlife, there are adorable local shops, bars and eateries, including Gretchen’s and the Ram.
You can’t go wrong with a ski trip to stunning Lake Tahoe, which is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and sits between California on one side and Nevada on the other. There are quite a few choices as to where to hit the slopes here, with about 15 ski resorts in total, including Palisades Tahoe (formerly known as Squaw Valley), the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. There’s also Heavenly Ski Resort (at 113 trails, it’s the largest in Lake Tahoe), though if you’re looking for something more petite, there’s the ultra-family friendly Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village, on the Nevada side.
Taos, New Mexico
Traveling to New Mexico isn’t just about desert getaways—there’s also an impressive ski scene in the state. More specifically, Taos Ski Valley, which offers 110 trails and is one of the most eco-friendly alpine options out there, as it’s the first major ski resort to be awarded B Corporation certification. If you’re planning a ski adventure with beginner or even intermedia skiers, though, you might want to skip Taos Ski Valley, since over half of the runs are deemed advanced, it’s best for those at a more experienced level. Instead, head about 45 minutes away to Angel Fire, which has more beginner-friendly runs.
You can’t talk about the best ski resorts in the U.S. without taking a moment to mention Vail. There’s no shortage of well-equipped ski escapes in Colorado, but Vail Ski Resort is the largest in the state, with over 5,000 skiable acres of terrain. There’s a nice range of beginner, intermediate and advanced runs, and there’s always something to do in the Bavarian-style Vail Village, whether you’re looking to peruse stylish boutiques, relax with a cup of hot chocolate or book a spa treatment in one of the luxurious hotels. It’s also relatively close to a few other popular ski resorts, including Beaver Creek and Breckenridge.