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6 Best Ski Resorts in the US

The United States boasts premier ski resorts, forming the ultimate skiing bucket list. Predominantly located in the West, these destinations offer diverse experiences.

The Rocky Mountains provide a snowy haven with countless slopes catering to all skill levels, making it a skier’s paradise. Colorado, Utah, Wyoming’s Tetons, Sierra Nevada Range, and Idaho’s Sawtooth Range house top resorts like Jackson Hole, Palisades Tahoe, and Sun Valley. Montana’s Big Sky is another gem further north. In the East, Vermont shines among various options.

While planning for the best vacation spots and selecting ski resorts, skiing conditions matter most for skiers, but the ambiance of mountain towns and après-ski activities also play a crucial role. The resorts we have picked prioritize customer experience and cater to a range of skill levels, not just experts.

Best Ski Resorts in the US

For insights into the best ski resorts in the US, explore our curated list.

1. Telluride Ski Resort

Telluride Ski Resort

Nestled in the picturesque southwest Colorado Valley, Telluride emerges as a top-tier ski destination, celebrated for its diverse terrain, abundant lodging options, and the quaint ski town at its base. Positioned at the end of a valley in southwest Colorado, it boasts short lift lines and fewer crowds, albeit with pricey accommodation and a lengthy journey.

Receiving around 23 feet of snow annually, it promises thrilling powder days, with 60 percent of its 2,000 skiable acres catering to beginners and intermediates. The recent addition of the Plunge Express, a high-speed quad chair, delights intermediate and advanced skiers.

Offering ski-in/ski-out accommodations and a free gondola accessible to all, Telluride is part of the EPIC pass program, with unrestricted daily tickets. Nearby, Durango and Purgatory Resort provide a family-friendly alternative with lower prices and a smaller mountain experience.

Total trails: 148
Total skiable acres: More than 2,000
Longest run: 4.6 miles

2. Palisades Tahoe (Squaw Valley)

Palisades Tahoe
Image By: tahoe

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have combined to create Squaw Alpine, offering premier terrain and Lake Tahoe views. While not lift-connected, a short shuttle ride allows skiing on one pass. Squaw, famous for extreme terrain, appeals to advanced skiers with diverse amenities, but crowds and long lines are common. Alpine Meadows, overshadowed by Squaw, boasts great terrain sans the crowds, despite outdated lifts.

Highlights include being California’s largest ski resort, renowned for snowfall and steeps, along with well-groomed trails.

Total trails: 177+
Total skiable acres: 3,600
Longest run: 3.2 miles

3. Big Sky Resort, Montana

Big Sky Resort
Image By: wikimedia

Experience abundant snowfall averaging 400 inches annually. Marvel at panoramic vistas spanning three states and two national parks atop the Lone Peak Tram. After conquering 5,800 acres of terrain, zip along a 1,500-foot adventure line high above the forest. Opt for serene snowshoeing or tour Yellowstone in a cozy snowcoach.

If you are heading to Big Sky Resort with kids in your car, make sure you follow our guide about traveling with young children.

Total trails: 300
Total skiable acres: 5,850
Longest run: 6 miles

4. Whiteface Mountain, New York

Whiteface Mountain

Whiteface Mountain, a former Olympic site, offers diverse terrain despite its smaller size. With the East Coast’s largest vertical drop, it boasts 94 trails catering to all levels, including bobsledding and dog-sledding for a nostalgic Winter Games experience and leisurely rides on Mirror Lake.

Total trails: 94
Total skiable acres: 299
Longest run: 2.1 miles

5. Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

Aspen Snowmass

Aspen Snowmass boasts four mountains and diverse terrain, making it a top global ski destination. From the local vibe at Ajax to family fun at Snowmass, and iconic steep skiing at Aspen Highlands, it offers something for all skill levels. Snowmass Village offers recent upgrades in dining and lodging, ideal for families. Expert skiers shouldn’t miss the Highland Bowl. Upscale amenities, shopping, and access to four ski areas on one ticket are pros, but the experience comes at a cost.

You might also need to take ski lessons in Aspen to conquer challenging terrains. A better idea is to take professional ski lessons in your area at a ski school. However, if you did not take them before hitting Aspen, you can always opt for private ski lessons.

Total trails: 362
Total skiable acres: More than 5,600
Longest run: 5.3 miles

6. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Jackson Hole stands as the ultimate haven for avid skiers, catering predominantly to intermediate and advanced levels. A scarcity of beginner terrain highlights it’s challenging nature, pushing even the most skilled skiers to their limits. Ascending the tram with newfound companions, the exhilarating anticipation builds, especially when glimpsing the famed Corbet’s Couloir, an extreme double black diamond run considered a skier’s rite of passage.

Recent enhancements, such as the replacement of the ageing Thunder Chair with the Leitner-Poma quad chair, have remarkably improved skiing experiences. The upgraded lift has halved the ride time to 3.6 minutes, effectively doubling uphill capacity.

With an annual average of 38 feet of snow, the 2,500-acre resort boasts 133 named runs, numerous terrain parks, and the impressive mid-mountain Solitude Station facility. Located just 20 minutes from the Western-themed Jackson town, the resort provides easy access with air connections and, albeit costly, excellent accommodation options.

Participating in the IKON and Mountain Collective pass programs, Jackson Hole now requires reservations for pass utilization and limits lift tickets for non-pass holders. Securing tickets 14 days in advance ensures a 10% discount, enhancing the overall skiing experience.

Total trails: 133
Total skiable acres: 2,500
Longest run: 4.5 miles

Ana is an internet entrepreneur and one of the founders of iGuides, she loves to give adequate time to her passion which is writing. She holds a PHD in English Literature.

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