ski 1415996 1920 The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

The mountain chains of the western U.S. are home to some of the best ski areas in the entire world. Visitors from all over the country, and from many other countries come to the western states in winter to experience the downhill thrills that can only be found in certain parts of the world. For ski lovers and avid snowboarders, the amazing ski resorts of the Rockies, the Sierra Nevadas, and other ranges in the United States are like a second home.

So, how do we decide which ski resort is the best? Well, that’s a very difficult question to answer, because they are all so amazing.

We reached out to our community of travel experts to learn about their recommended destinations, favorite ski spots, and all of the associated travel advice for the resorts. We asked, and they answered! Not only did we get numerous suggestions and recommendations for the best ski areas out west, but also plenty of great tips about where to go and what to see when you arrive. So, if you’re planning a ski trip sometime soon, read on because these are the best (and most favorited) ski resort areas that our travel experts have visited (in no particular order).

Colorado

Vail

Vail, Colorado
Vail, Colorado

On a list of the best ski destinations in the USA, Vail, Colorado always makes the list.  Vail is the Mecca of skiing, over half a million people flock to the mountain every winter to enjoy the slopes.  Vail Mountain has 195 ski runs from greens to black diamonds suitable for all levels of skiers.  
There are plenty of things to do in Vail that make this town the perfect ski destination.  Enjoy ice skating at the outside rink or a snowmobile ride through the mountains.

There are numerous restaurants and bars to indulge at for the mandatory apres skiing cocktail.  Located in the heart of Vail Village, a locals favorite is Vendetta’s that serves cheap slices and tasty beer.  You are bound to rub shoulders with a few ski patrollers as they roll in after the mountain closes.

Splurge for a ski-in/ski-out resort like the Four Seasons or the Sebastian.  There is no better way to relax after a full day on the mountain than soaking in a hot tub.  Not only is the task of getting to the lifts easier but who doesn’t love a world class spa.

Submitted by Jess from I’m Jess Traveling

Breckenridge

usa breckenridge The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States
Breckenridge, Colorado

A great town that is really worth visiting in winter is Breckenridge. Breckenridge is a charming small town that is great to visit throughout the year. However, in winter the place becomes more magical. When you go here you’ll be amazed by how much there is to do and see.

One of the best things to do in Breckenridge is skiing and snowboarding. In fact, this is one of the best places in the United States for that! There are many pistes that are great for both beginners and experts. But there is so much more to do in Breckenridge! For example, you can go for a sleigh ride with horses! It is also possible to have dinner during this sleigh ride. Furthermore, there are guided snowmobile tours during which you explore beautiful places and learn more about the history of Breckenridge. Another great thing to do is to explore the main street of the town. There are plenty of shops here and there are Christmas lights everywhere.

Moreover, this is where you find most of the town’s restaurants. One restaurant that is particularly great is Hearthstone Restaurant. The food is delicious, it is located in a historic building and you have a beautiful view!

Recommended by Dymphe @ Dymabroad

Aspen

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Aspen, playground of the rich and famous and ski resort to the stars, but it is much more than just a snowy millionaires row. The town itself is home to some wonderful little shopping streets and, as you’d expect, some top-notch restaurants. One of my favorites is just at the entrance to the town, Aspen Hickory House, amazing barbecue food. But it’s not actually Aspen I wanted to highlight. Just a 10-minute ski bus ride away is the Aspen Highlands Ski Resort, a small winter village that feels much more down to earth. I was lucky enough to live here for 5 months.

First of all, the mountain itself is fantastic combining a perfect mix of beginner-friendly and advanced runs, as well as a park area. But the highlight is the Highland Bowl. A short hike along (a somewhat scary) ridge from the highest lift gets you to one of the best powder bowls in the USA.

When you are done for the day, the Highlands Alehouse is right at the bottom of the mountain has a welcoming atmosphere, and is the perfect end to an afternoon on the mountain. If you decide to stay in the Highlands, there are a couple of restaurants to try out, or just hop back on that ski bus and you’ll be back in Aspen in no time where you’ll find some of the finest restaurants and cocktail bars in the country.

From Matthew @ The Travel Blogs

Durango

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Durango, Colorado, is one of the most cheery, friendly places to visit and go skiing over the winter. It is a small college town with a world-renowned ski area. The city has about 60,000 people and is adorable. In town, there are several excellent restaurants, from five-star restaurants to delicious local spots. The town is in a bowl of sorts, which allows for 360-degree views of snowcapped peaks. Many of the historic buildings in town showcase the old wild west, as you’ll find many of the buildings date back to the 1800s.

It is a ski haven of sorts because it is in the high desert. The days typically warm-up, and you’ll get the sunny, bluebird skies. The ski runs and resorts are second to none when it comes to photo opportunities. The resort itself is about 30 minutes north of town, which makes for comfortable back and forth. Durango is a place you’ll fall in love with and return season after season. You may love it so much that you’ll even return in the summer for stellar hiking, rafting, and tubing. 

Submitted by Lindley Loraine

Steamboat Springs

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Colorado is known for its amazing ski towns and Steamboat Springs is one of the best. While I’ve been there it has snowed nonstop each time and the snow falls as beautiful white powder, perfect for skiing and snowboarding.

Skiing and boarding aren’t the only reasons to visit this town though. There are so many fun things to do off the mountain. You can go tubing at Saddleback Ranch where they have three different trails to slide down. Take a guided snowshoeing tour of the mountain and learn about the resort as well as plants and animals in the area.

You can also rent snowmobiles, take a sleigh ride for dinner, or head to Strawberry Parks Hot Springs. The hot springs are also a great way to relax after a day on the slopes or on your off day. Exploring the shops downtown is also a fun way to spend a day.

A few restaurants to try on the mountain are Los Locos, Gondola’s Pub & Grill, and Truffle Pig for happy hour. For fantastic Italian food don’t miss Mazzola’s but it can get pretty busy so make a reservation. Go to Winona’s and order a cinnamon roll for breakfast and you will not regret it.

By Anna Cook @ Stuck On the Go

Keystone

Keystone Ski Resort
Keystone Ski Resort

After moving to Colorado to work for Keystone ski resort 20 years ago and never leaving, Keystone is still my favorite ski resort in Colorado. The skiing is great, the scenery beautiful, and there are so many fun winter activities to do besides skiing.

Bundle up and go ice skating on the five acre frozen lake. Or, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride to dinner at a cozy lodge deep in the woods. The tubing hill at the top of Keystone mountain is something that you won’t want to miss. The hill is incredibly steep and it is quite the adrenaline rush.  Night skiing is also a unique experience that is included in your day pass.

My favorite bar for drinks after skiing is the Last Lift in the Mountain House base area. Tip the bartenders by throwing quarters into a bucket high above the bar. Sleep in and get a late breakfast at my favorite restaurant in Keystone, the Haywood Café.  The benedicts are fabulous and they make the best Bloody Mary around.

Lodging is available right in the village at the base of the resort.  Or, there are plenty of hotel and vacation rental options in the surrounding towns, too.

By Diane from travelswitheli.com

Winter Park

usa winterparkcolorado The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

Winter Park Resort in Colorado is the best ski resort in North America that has about 3000 acres of skiable area. It was voted as the #1 ski resort in North America by USA Today. Located 90 miles away from Denver International airport, Winter Park Resort offers several other snow activities other than skiing. These include snowcat tour, snow tubing, snowmobiling, ice-skating, dog-sledding, gondola ride, fat biking and snowshoe twilight tour.

If you are a beginner at skiing, worry not! Winter Park Resort also has a Ski + Ride school where experts teach you the art of skiing. The resort also offers amazing lodging facilities with balconies of the rooms opening up to the incredible snow-covered mountains. Another plus is that the Winter Park village is a foot-traffic only village that restricts the entry of any kind of motorized vehicles. The village is filled with boutique shops, classy restaurants and quaint cafes, where you could spend time with your family and friends.

By Pooja Shah from Feels Like Life

Telluride

Telluride, Colorado
Telluride, Colorado

Surrounded by steep mountains, this small town is a perfect blend of stunning natural beauty and Victorian charm. It was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964. The most obvious reason to visit it in winter is its relatively less-crowded and gorgeous ski slopes. For people like me who enjoy a mix of winter activities, Telluride has a lot to offer, such as all of these activites: 

Ice-skating – bring your own gear or rent to enjoy ice skating at Telluride Town Park or in Mountain Village.

Sledding – a fun activity for the whole family, bring your sled or rent one to zoom down the Firecracker Hill. 

Snowshoeing – I would highly recommend exploring the pristine winter landscape by snowshoeing. If you are a first-timer take a guided tour. 

Snowmobile rides – plenty of groomed trails around Telluride is another option to explore gorgeous alpine beauty. 

Historic Walking tours – Telluride is only eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long town brimming with history. Take a walk down the well-preserved main street lined with Victorian homes, clapboards, and mining shacks. Start your walk after visiting Telluride Historical Museum that is located in the restored 1896 miners’ hospital. 

Gondola rides – The telluride trip is not complete without taking a free gondola ride.  

Telluride has many restaurants to choose from depending on your mood and budget. From southern-comfort food to world-class cuisine, everything is available in this little town. My favorite ones are Cosmopolitan and Village Table. To enjoy local beverages, you must visit Telluride Distilling Company and Telluride Brewing Company.

Whether you like window-shopping or indulgence, Telluride will surely captivate you. Independent galleries at the historic downtown are fascinating and offer hand-made jewelry, gifts, chocolate goodies, and home decor items. Mountain Village Plaza is another option to satisfy your shopping needs.

By Binny Marwaha from A Speck in Time

California

Mammoth Lakes

mammoth lakes The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

A charming mountain town in the eastern Sierra Nevada Range, Mammoth Lakes, California makes for an excellent winter skiing destination. Two resorts in town, Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain, offer terrain for all levels along with stunning mountain scenery. Plus, there is plenty to explore beyond the slopes!

When you’re ready to take a break from skiing, you won’t run out of things to do in Mammoth Lakes. A gondola ride up to the summit of Mammoth Mountain provides panoramic views of the Sierra Nevadas and you can also book a snowcat tour of Minaret Vista to explore other scenic landscapes. Continue your winter adventures by lacing up your ice skates and taking a spin around Mammoth Ice Rink or try out cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails in the area.

If you get cold, Mammoth Lakes has a bunch of wonderful restaurants and bars where you can warm up. 53 Kitchen & Cocktails is a great après ski destination featuring delicious food along with unique cocktails. And definitely don’t miss Schat’s Bakery, a European-style deli that is iconic in Mammoth. Schat’s makes a great stop for sandwiches and snacks to fuel up for all your winter adventures.

With so much to offer, be sure to add Mammoth Lakes to your list of awesome winter skiing destinations!

From Allison @ She Dreams of Alpine

Heavenly Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe

For travelers who are looking for a laid-back, family-friendly ski destination in the USA, Heavenly Ski Resort is a perfect vacation spot known for its scenic views of clear blue Lake Tahoe, stunning snowy mountains, and forests. Located at Lake Tahoe (at the border of California and Nevada), Heavenly is one of the best ski resorts in California. January to March is the best time to visit Heavenly when it receives the best quality snow and the maximum footfall of visitors. The ski area has 94 km of slopes and 40 km of ski runs and 28 ski lifts to transport the guests and skiers. The heavenly ski resort has ski terrain for all levels of skiers. However, you will find less ski runs for beginners and more for intermediate and expert skiers.

On the other hand, if you are not skiing here, you can still enjoy the jaw-dropping views of Lake Tahoe with a Scenic Gondola Ride. The top view of the Heavenly village will leave you awestruck. They operate the gondola ride from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm and tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

At the top of Heavenly Gondola, you shouldn’t miss snow tubbing, it is pretty fun especially if you’re here with your kids. If you feel hungry, grab a snack at Tamarac Lodge and enjoy the surrounding view from the top.

From Trijit Mallick from BudgetTravelBuff

Big Bear

BigBear The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

Big Bear is one of the go-to winter getaway and skiing destinations in Southern California. Here you can experience “real” winter, snow and ice. While Big Bear is a great spot to hit the slopes, there is more to it than skiing and snowboarding. Cozy up on a cold winter night under bundles of blankets and hot drinks to keep you warm and watch movies in the meadow. Or how about a fun tube sledding adventure at Grizzly Ridge Tube Park? If you are into nature and  hiking, visit Big Bear Discovery Center and join a tour around San Bernardino National Forest lead by a naturalist. Alternatively, you can also go on a guided winter hike and take in the stunning view of the San Bernardino mountains and Big Bear Lake below.
If you do like to ski, January is one of the snow-safest months in Big Bear. With 2 mountains, about 35 combined miles of slopes and 20 lifts, it is the largest ski resort in Southern California. Just about 3 hours from San Diego and  2.5 hours from Los Angeles, Big Bear is a great winter weekend getaway for anyone in Southern California. 

By Maria @ San Diego Explorer

Utah

Park City, Utah

Andrea Cannon at Deer Valley in Park City Utah The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

Park City, Utah is an amazing winter destination. At approximately 40 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport and even closer to downtown Salt Lake, Park City is conveniently located. There are 4 Park City Ski Resorts and each will offer something a little different depending on what you are looking for. However, if you want the best amenities outside of the actual mountain, look no further than Park City.

The ski areas in Park City include Park City Mountain Resort which merged with Canyons Resort a few years ago. Both Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort are on the Epic Pass. Deer Valley is also located in Park City and it is known for groomed runs, fancy treatment, and it does not allow any snowboarders. Deer Valley is on the Ikon Pass. Woodward Park City is more of an adventure destination than a ski resort. For those that have visited Utah previously, Woodward Park City took over the old Gorgoza Tubing Hill. Woodward Park City has a lot to offer from a terrain park and tubing, in addition to indoor activities and perfect for the whole family.

The incredibly charming Park City Main Street has restaurants, bars, and shopping. The Park City hotels offer spas, nice restaurants, and incredible après-ski. If you are planning your trip with family or people who don’t absolutely love spending every open moment on the slopes, choosing one or several of the Park City Utah ski resorts will insure a great vacation.

By Andrea Cannon from BeaUTAHful World

Brighton Ski Resort 

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Brighton Ski Resort is located in the heart of Big Cottonwood Canyon, just minutes outside of Salt Lake City.  From SLC airport, you can be on the slopes in less than 40 minutes. 

Utah does boast the ‘best snow on earth’, and you might just agree!  You will love the light and fluffy powder to float down.  

If you’re skiing with family, Brighton’s ‘Kids Ski Free’ program will be a huge perk!  Lift tickets for kids under 10 are completely free.  Brighton Ski Resort offers ski school for young and old. 

If you need any ski gear, you can rent the best gear fit to your exact needs at Brighton Ski Resort. Once you have the gear and lift ticket, scan your card and jump on one of 5 main lifts to bring you to the top of 4 peaks.  You’ll find multiple ski routes for all levels of skier or snowboarder.  All day you’ll be riding various exciting and new runs.  Advanced skiers will love the terrain park with jump, slopes and rails to try twists and flips.  

Stop for food and drink prepared hot and ready at the lodge as you watch the other skiers.

From Jamie Harper of Fly by the Seat of our Pants

Alta, Utah

IMG 7798 The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

If I had to pick, the Alta ski resort area would have to be one of my favorite winter destinations in the US! Not only is the area stunning and the amazing skiing with 55% of its ski runs rated black (and snowboarders are not allowed), but you’re not far away from plenty of other great attractions to keep you entertained with a nice aprés ski (or on the rare day that you take off to rest your tired legs).

For one, you have Salt Lake City to explore just 30 minutes to the west, which could also be your accommodation base. And if you’re here near the holidays, you can join in on festive activities like the Christkindlmarkt (a traditional German Christmas market) or wander through the light displays at Temple Square or Hogle Zoo.

If you were to head the other direction, you’d find the charming town of Midway about an hour and 20 minutes east of Alta. At Midway, there are two things you don’t want to miss: the Ice Castle and the famous Homestead Crater (a geothermal hot spring that you can swim in!). Just be sure you buy tickets for the Ice Castle ahead of time and that you call beforehand to make your reservation for the crater.

Unfortunately, the town of Alta doesn’t have much going on besides the amazing skiing. But its mountains and the possible ski connection with Snowbird, more than compensate for the lack other activities besides the slopes.

By Rodrigo from Out of Your Comfort Zone

Snowbird

snowbird gondola The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

Did you know that Utah has the greatest snow on Earth? It is true! A study performed by the University of Utah confirmed it.  If you are looking for a great place to ski, Utah should be at the top of your list! 

The Salt Lake City metropolitan area is surrounded by mountains. This makes Salt Lake City one of the most convenient places to ski.  You can literally fly into Salt Lake and be at a resort in less than an hour.  

One resort we love is Snowbird Ski Resort.  It is located about 35 minutes from Salt Lake City. Snowbird is in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  This canyon gets some of the best snow in all of North America. Snowbird is a favorite among locals because it allows both snowboarders and skiers to enjoy the best Powder in the state. 

Snowbird also offers a ski in ski out lodge.  The Cliff Lodge is a convenient place to stay. There are spa services, pool and hot tubs, and fine dining.  You really do not even have to leave the resort at all during your ski trip.   

We have stayed at the Cliff Lodge and loved it. The rooms are really nice. It was amazing that we could walk right out of the door and onto the slopes. There is also a ski rental shop on site, and a pedestrian ski village located within a short walking distance.  After a long day of skiing, soaking in the nice hot tubs and heated pool is just what we needed. The food was amazing at the Cliff Lodge. There are two restaurants.  We ate at the Atrium which offers fine dining. It was an amazing experience. I highly recommend Snowbird Ski Resort! 

Contributed By Lisa @ Planningaway.com

Snowbasin Resort

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If you’re looking for a ski resort that has great snow, fantastic access to city life, and high end lodges, you’ll want to head to Snowbasin Resort outside of Ogden Utah.  Located about 45 minutes from Salt Lake City, Snowbasin feels remote and isolated even though it’s just a quick jaunt down the the bustling city.  The skiing here was made famous when the 2002 Winter Olympics held several downhill events at Snowbasin, so you’ll be skiing right where history was made.  

While the skiing and snow are fantastic, the real stand out of Snowbasin is the day lodge.  Adorned with gorgeous carpets, a massive fireplace, and stunning chandeliers, you’ll feel like you’re getting a royal treatment, even though you’re getting a great deal on Utah skiing.  And while it sounds a little crazy, the basement bathrooms must be visited, as they are hands down the nicest ski bathrooms that we’ve ever seen.  

Snowbasin does not have overnight accommodations, so plan on staying in the little town of Eden where you’ll have quick access to snowmobiling as well as tubing and night skiing at Nordic Valley.  For more of a night life with a wider variety of restaurants and hotel options, Ogden is only a 20 minute drive from the resort. 

By Jessica from Bring The Kids

Montana

Whitefish

One of the best places to visit during the winter is Whitefish, Montana in the northwestern corner of the state.  While many people think traveling to this area is better in winter, Whitefish Mountain Resort, one of Montana’s premier ski resorts, makes it an epic winter destination and one with a lot to do aside from skiing and snowboarding.

First and foremost, visiting Whitefish means that you’ll be surrounded by incredible nature that is accessible and desirable during any season of the year.  One of the best things to do in Whitefish is to venture off to Glacier National Park, one of the most popular US national parks.  Whitefish is an ideal base for seeing Lake McDonald, Logan Pass, Avalanche Lake, and more.  There are also many trails in Glacier National Park that are accessible during winter with a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis.

If you’re looking for something less costly and closer to the town, Whitefish Lake State Park and Les Mason State Park are two options that are located on Whitefish Lake and offer many picturesque views and peaceful surroundings.  Alternatively, you can stick around Whitefish itself and take in all that it has to offer.  You will find art galleries such as Sunti World Art Gallery, cozy cafes that serve local Montana Coffee Traders beans, and elk burgers on the menu of many restaurants, like Tupelo Grille.  While Whitefish may be renowned for its skiing opportunities and access to Glacier National Park, it is the perfect resort town getaway for all of the fantastic things to do there.

By Megan Starr

Big Sky

Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky

Once the largest ski resort in the United States, Big Sky, Montana is well worth the trip to this lesser visited, northern state. With 300 named runs and 5,850 acres of skiable terrain, Big Sky is now second in size only to Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. 

Although it is known for its steep runs and intimidating vertical drops, Big Sky is a great ski resort for beginners, also. Because of its somewhat remote location about 2 hours from Bozeman, Montana, Big Sky is rarely crowded, lift lines are short, and you never feel like you are dodging other skiers on the slopes.

There is also a variety of terrain suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Expert skiers will enjoy the runs off Lone Peak, one of the highest skiable mountains in the US. While beginners can test their skills off Explorer lift. 

Although the skiable area is massive, the base at Big Sky is quite small and intimate. With a handful of restaurants and shops, and of course, a few ski-in/ski-out hotels, Big Sky is the perfect place for a family ski holiday. 

Off the mountain, Big Sky offers many of the popular winter activities, like snowshoeing, ice skating, dog sledding, and snowmobiling that will keep non-skiers entertained, as well. 

Submitted by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports

Bridger Bowl

bridger bowl bozeman montana The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

While not nearly as well known as the nearby mega-resort of Big Sky, Bridger Bowl is one of the best ski areas in Montana (and one of the most beloved by locals), with 2,600 vertical feet, 2,000 acres of terrain, and 350 inches of snow each year. 

There’s something for everyone at Bridger. Almost half of the runs are suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers, but there’s also an experts-only lift accessing the Ridge – an off-piste region filled with bowls, chutes, and cliff faces, where an avalanche transceiver is a requirement. Or, if nordic skiing is more your style, the nearby Crosscut Mountain Sports Center has 28 miles of scenic trail to explore. For apres-ski, Bridger has two base lodges serving pub grub next to a roaring fire, along with two mid-mountain lodges where you can grab a coffee or beer.

Bridger Bowl is also just twenty minutes from the town of Bozeman, arguably the state’s craft beer capital, with a whopping eight breweries to serve a population of just over 50,000. Boutique stores, artisan coffee shops, and farm-to-table restaurants line the streets downtown, and a beautiful, wooded trail system connects downtown with Montana State University and the Museum of the Rockies.

Submitted by Ryan Victor and Jen Ambrose of Passions and Places

Idaho

Sun Valley & Ketchum

For skiers who want to ski impressive trails without breaking the budget, head to Ketchum, Idaho. Previously a ranching and mining town, the area is isolated from other large cities and visitors appreciate the cheaper hotel rates and smaller crowds compared to other popular resort towns.

The nearby Sun Valley Resort was the United States’ first “destination” resort and is full of fun for the whole family. There are 121 total ski runs between Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain, and you may not even have to wait in line for a lift. The downhill skiing is complemented by some of the greatest Nordic skiing in the nation. 

The resort has a 26,000 square foot family center and a variety of activities, including ice skating, live music, bowling, and spa treatments. The resort has more than 20 different dining options ranging from lodge restaurants with local and international dishes to a delicious chocolate experience. 

Off the resort tourists learn about the history of the area at the Ketchum / Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum which shows off a variety of cultural and economic exhibits as well as its relation to Ernest Hemingway. While the skiing is fantastic, there are a ton of other things to do in the area, like an arts center, dark sky preserve, and a host of restaurants and breweries. If you’re looking for an incredible winter destination with skiing and fun activities for the whole family, check out Ketchum and Sun Valley.

By Robin from Road Affair

Brundage Mountain & McCall

Brundage Mountain in McCall, Idaho is one of Southwest Idaho’s best ski resorts! There is so much to do on and around the mountain that a weekend in McCall is a must during the winter season. The mountain itself boasts more than 18,000 acres of backcountry terrain, making it one of the best ski resorts to pave your own adventure. And for a more unique dining experience, they offer an experience called “Dinner After Dark” where guests are taken up to a warming hut on the mountain via Snow Cat and served a candlelit dinner by a world-renowned chef.

Trail Creek Hot Springs
Trail Creek Hot Springs

Off the mountain, Brundage Mountain is nearby several natural Idaho hot springs, which are a relaxing ski past time for many. Hot springs are a perfect way to spend a winter afternoon, soaking away sore muscles from an exciting morning on the mountain. Soak at the historic Burgdorf pools (only accessible by snowmobile in the winter season!), Trail Creek Hot Springs, Gold Fork, and several others just a short drive from town.
Brundage Mountain ski resort is a great option for those who are visiting with family because there are a wide variety of activities to do that will surely keep the whole group occupied!

Wyoming

Jackson Hole

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Jackson Hole is a perfect ski destination in the US, as it not only offers a unique ski area, but also a beautiful national park next door and a charming historic city to stroll around.

Jackson Hole is located in Wyoming and is just a very small city with around 10.000 inhabitants. However, compared to other ski destinations in the US, it has its unique charm thanks to its historic timber buildings, wooden walkways along its streets, and plenty of Wild West style saloons. The result is a rustic but cozy vibe of the historic center.

Those attributes were also taken over by the local ski resort, where you get greeted with live bands in front of the waiting lines and western music inside the gondola. While you have downhill runs for all levels of skiers here, Jackson Hole offers more expert terrain than most other ski resorts in the US, including one of the steepest chutes in the world, Corbet’s Couloir.

When visiting Jackson Hole, you should not forget to explore the nearby Grand Teton National Park, which is open in winter as well, unlike other national parks. Thanks to its untouched nature, the majestic mountains and several frozen lakes, the park offers amazing scenery. You can explore it either cross-country skiing, hiking or snowshoeing.  There are even guided tours to see the wildlife and scenery if you want to make it easier. If you like a bit of adrenalin, you also can rent snowmobiles to explore the Grand Teton National Park the faster way.

By Chris from Punta Cana Travel Blog

Grand Targhee Skiing

Located at the foot of the Teton mountain range in Wyoming, Grand Targhee Ski Resort is well known for its steep terrain and jagged mountains.  While experts love skiing at Grand Targhee, it’s a great ski resort for all abilities and has one of the best beginner areas and ski schools that we’ve ever experienced.  Targhee is located about 10 miles outside of the small town of Driggs, Idaho, so if you’re looking for a booming nightlife, this probably isn’t the place for you.  However, if quiet evenings at the resort and soaking in the hot tub are your thing, or early morning snowshoe tours sound great, then you’ll love it here.  

The Branding Iron restaurant is the best place to eat at the resort and their Bison Steak is absolutely incredible. 

While you can easily fill your days with nothing but skiing, it’s worth making time for other adventures at Grand Targhee as well.  Some of the best winter activities are snowshoeing, tubing, cross country skiing and of course, fat biking.  If you want to take a day off from the resort, Grand Teton National Park is only and hour away and Yellowstone is only two hours away, and are both absolutely magical during the winter months!

Submitted by Jessica Averett from Skiing Kids

Washington

Crystal Mountain

DSC 0451 The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

Crystal Mountain Resort, located in Washington state, is one of the US’s best ski destinations. Furthermore, it is rated by SKIING magazine as the #7 ski resort in North America. It is the largest ski resort in the Pacific Northwest, and is located just southeast of Seattle. It is primarily a day-use area, with nine chairlifts, various dining locations, and multiple hotels. Accommodation can be found in Crystal Mountain, Enumclaw, Greenwater, or Ashford.

The skiing area is 2.600 acres. There are 57 runs, over 1/3 for advanced runs for experienced skiers, 54% intermediate runs, and 11% beginner runs.

Since 2011, it is also possible to take a ride Mt. Rainier Gondola, offering a ten-minute ride from base to summit, 7,012 feet elevation. The Summit House restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner year-round. The summits offer a spectacular view of Mount Rainier, located 13 miles from the world-class ski resort.

The fabulous Mount Rainier National Park area means that the resort has much more to offer than skiing. Therefore, the great idea is to combine skiing holidays with a winter national park visit.

The best idea for visiting the park during winter is a snowshoe hike. There are some great Snowshoe trails like Alta Vista Snowshoe, a 1-mile roundtrip trail located at Paradise Inn. Or, the longer 6-mile Reflection Lakes Loop snowshoe hike from Paradise. Families looking for fun winter activities in Mt Rainier National Park, such as sledding, have lots of options at the Snowplay Area at the upper parking lot of Paradise.

From Agnes @The Van Escape

And here’s another great recommendation for Crystal Mountain:

Crystal Mountain sits under the majestic, 14,400 ft tall, Mt. Rainier which provides some of the best views of any ski resort in the United States. With over 2600 acres and 50 ski runs to explore, Crystal is the largest ski resort in Washington State. Even if you’re not looking to hit the slopes, the scenic gondola ride which connects the Crystal Mountain Village to the tallest peak in the park, offers breathtaking 360 degree views of the Cascade Mountains and Mt. Rainier. The many snowshoeing trails through this winter wonderland are also fun to explore. Be sure to check out the Sun Deck for a great patio, delicious food, and tasty local beers from the Pacific Northwest. Also, pay a visit to the famous Snorting Elk Cellar & Deli for a true local experience. Located just 2 hours and 45 minutes from Seattle, Crystal Mountain is one of the best day trip destinations from Seattle.

Submitted by Rachel & Clark from Seeking Our Someday

Leavenworth

Leavenworth, WA may not make the list of “Top 10 ski resorts in America”, but visiting Leavenworth in the winter should definitely be on your bucket list. 

Picture a Bavarian-style town surrounded by snowcapped mountains and you have Leavenworth. Although it’s a year-round destination there’s something magical about winter there. A layer of powdery-white snow covering the Bavarian-esque buildings, twinkling lights in the village square, and an abundance of winter sports and activities make it a great cold-weather destination.

There are two options for skiing near Leavenworth. The closest is the Leavenworth Ski Hill which offers downhill and cross country skiing as well as snowboarding and sledding. It’s perfect for beginners. Just 40 minutes from town is Stevens Pass with a good variety of ski hills to suit every level of skier. They even offer night skiing 5 days per week.

After a day on the slopes, you can return to your cozy inn or guesthouse in town and prepare for a fantastic meal at one of the many German, American, or International restaurants. If you feel like taking a day off from skiing Leavenworth has plenty of other activities including skating, sledding, sleigh rides, a reindeer farm, and shopping at the lovely boutique shops around the village square.

From Sarah & Nathan @ Discover the PNW

Oregon

Mount Bachelor & Bend, Oregon

ski 1415996 1920 The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States

Located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, Bend, Oregon’s high desert climate makes it an ideal ski town. With winter storms getting hung up in the mountains the majority of the snowfall is actually happening in the mountains while Bend enjoys crisp, sunny days. 

When it’s time to hit the slopes, Mt. Bachelor ski resort is just a 20-minutes drive away from downtown Bend. As the 6th largest ski resort in the U.S. the resort offers diverse terrain for all levels. This powder-filled paradise offers everything from alpine skiing, snowboarding, nordic skiing, tubing, dog sled rides, and more.

After hitting the slopes, head to one of Bend’s many microbreweries for après ski. The outdoor fire pit at 10 Barrel Brewing is an excellent place to start and from there you can move on to several other breweries just minutes away.

For a bite to eat, you’ll find many restaurant options in Bend, such as Spork which dishes up flavorful cuisine from around the globe. If you are out for a date night, Ariana offers stellar meals with a cozy atmosphere. Alternatively, visit one of Bend’s many food cart lots where everyone can decide on what they want to eat.

If you want to mix it up (or are just ready for a rest day), there are plenty of off-slope activities to do in Bend. Some ideas include hiking the Deschutes River Trail, strolling around downtown Bend or exploring the volcanic wonders of Lava Lands at Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Submitted by Rand @ Bend Explored

And here is another recommendation for Bend and Mount Bachelor:

As you now know, Mount Bachelor, just outside of Bend, Oregon, is a winter-lovers paradise. Besides having the longest groomed nordic season in North America, Mt. Bachelor boasts an average of 463 feet of snow and terrain suitable for all skill levels from beginner green runs to double black diamond bombers. There’s skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and tons more winter fun around the area.

For something a bit different and also less busy, you can head to Hoodoo. This ski area is going to be less expensive than Mount Bachelor, so for anyone on a budget, this is the spot for you! Hoodoo also has an autobahn tubing park and even night skiing for all the night owls out there.

But the best part about all of this is having the city of Bend, Oregon within 20 miles. If you haven’t heard of Bend Oregon by now, count yourself as one of the few as this town has gained quite a reputation for being the outdoor enthusiast’s utopia.

In Bend, activities are not limited to skiing but also include world-class hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, mountaineering, white water rafting, fishing, off-roading, golfing, ice skating, trail running, rock climbing, snowmobiling, bird watching, and we can’t forget the award-winning beers & food being pumped out of all 22 breweries & restaurants. A perfect way to end any epic adventure day! There are plenty of ways to enjoy winter in Oregon but we think Bend takes the cake!

By Garrett from Oregon is for Adventure

Alaska

Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska is the best ski destination in the United States in my opinion.  Whether you are looking for cross country ski trails or downhill ski resorts, we have it all in this winter wonderland.  Alyeska is in Girdwood, a southern municipality of Anchorage, which gets some of the highest average snowfalls in all of North America.  The ski trails promise amazing glacier views and are perfect for any experienced skiers!  

Ski Tracks Aurora Trapper Creek 2 The Best Ski Resorts in the Western United States
Ski Tracks Aurora Trapper Creek

Anchorage also has beginner ski slopes at Hilltop, Arctic Valley and the newly opened Skeetawk, meaning you can come here as an experienced skier or bring your family and teach the kids how to snow plow.  

Cross country skiers can access hundreds of miles of groomed cross country ski trails that you can access for free throughout Anchorage.  The trails around Alyeska are maintained by the Girdwood Nordic Ski club and are perfect for classic or skate skiing.  Anchorage has dozens more miles of groomed ski trails maintained by Alaska Pacific University, Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage and University of Alaska.  There is even a 50km tour of Anchorage that you can classic or skate ski at the end of the season.   

If skiing wasn’t enough to bring you to Anchorage then the northern lights probably are!  Winter months bring enough darkness back to Alaska that solar storms send lady aurora dancing across starry night skies.  If you get especially lucky, the northern lights might even surprise you while skiing!

The best place to stay for skiers is Alyeska resort, but there are plenty of vacation rentals around town, too.  There are plenty of great restaurants at the resort but you may also want to check out Jack Sprat, The Double Musky in Girdwood.  The best restaurants in Anchorage are Simons and Seaforts, Moose’s Tooth, and South.

Submitted by Mike Still @ Live Travel Teach

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