When figuring out vacations, most people usually think of warm tropical locations with sandy beaches and surfing. There are those, however, who love the cold and snow. These individuals wait every winter to hit the best ski resorts and mountains in the U.S. They travel from location to location testing out the powder on every slope.
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Famous for its “champagne powder,” Steamboat Ski Resort just outside of Steamboat Springs has plenty of skiing and other activities to enjoy. Get a free night of skiing the first day you arrive by showing your flight boarding pass. In the morning, check out the famous Closet and Shadows runs when the powder is flowing.
If you ever get bored of the 2,964 acres of skiing, you can check out the snowmobile tours and the two-person roller coaster. Just a few miles down the road, relax sore muscles in the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
- Après: T-Bar
Consistently rated one of the top places to ski in the U.S., Telluride Ski Resort has it all; tons of snow, short lines, and massive terrain are just a few of the perks.
When you need a break from skiing, have a drink at the 12,000-foot-high Alpino Vino, the highest restaurant in North America. The view won’t disappoint, seeing as you’re surrounded by the highest concentration of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks on the continent. Wandering around in town is like going back in time to a Victorian mining town with only the essential modern conveniences, like fast ski lifts. The nearest stoplight is 45 miles away.
- Après: Oak
Alta Ski Area
Since the invention of snowboards, skiers and snowboarders have fought over which is better. Most resorts allow both, but if you’re looking for somewhere to ski in peace, check out Alta Ski Area in Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City.
One of the oldest ski areas in the country, the first lift was started in 1939. Amenities aren’t as numerous as other resorts but the number of options is growing, such as the slick-looking Snowpine Lodge. Shopping isn’t the focus when you go to Alta; skiing is. The resort has some of the most challenging in-bounds skiing in the country.
- Après: Shallow Shaft
To give the Eastern U.S. some love, we head over to Maine and Sugarloaf Mountain. With 1,400 skiable acres and 200 inches of snowfall per year, Sugarloaf is the second-largest resort east of the Mississippi and offers the only lift-serviced, above-treeline skiing in the area. Get above the trees and ski the wide-open snowfields for something different.
- Après: 45 North
About 80 miles from Denver, the town of Breckenridge is home to one of the most popular ski resorts in the western hemisphere. The 2,908-acre resort with 34 lifts and 187 trails can lift 46,800 people per hour. Most of the beginner terrain is near the bottom with intermediate just above that.
The highest chairs like the Kensho and Imperial Express lead to black and double black diamond playgrounds. Hike a little bit farther and you can ski from 13,000-foot peaks all the way down. If the altitude gets to you, visit one of three oxygen rental shops in town.
- Après: Base Nine Bar
If you’re looking for as much skiing as you can possibly do on one lift pass, check out Aspen. You get access to four mountains, each with its own personality. Buttermilk is great for beginners. Both beginners and intermediates will do well at Snowmass. Experts only need to try Aspen Mountain and Highlands; Aspen Mountain doesn’t have a single green run.
After hitting the famous steep mogul runs, switch gears for shopping on the main street. The quaint, Victorian-style ski townhouses host Prada, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren shops. Neither the shops nor the lift passes are cheap, but what’s the right price for some of the best skiing in the country?
- Après: Aspen Highlands Alehouse
Located a little over an hour away from Portland, Oregon, Timberline is a great destination for your PNW ski trip. If the outside of the Timberline Lodge looks familiar, it might be because Stanley Kubrick used it as the exterior in The Shining. Thankfully the interior looks far less scary. Fireplaces, wood paneling, and great views make this an excellent place to stay.
- Après: Mt. Hood Brewing
With plenty of ski terrain, activities for the kids, and a historic mining town to explore — all set in the Wasach Mountains — Park City is a great destination for the whole family.
- Après: Draft’s Burger Bar
For intermediate to advanced skiers, Jackson Hole is a paradise. Home to deep powder, steep slopes, and challenging runs, tons of people flock to Jackson each year to enjoy the terrain. Though this is one of the more popular and expensive destinations on this list, if you love skiing, Jackson Hole is probably already on your bucket list.
- Après: Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
If the popularity and cost of Jackson Hole don’t appeal to you, Sun Valley might be your resort. Shorter lift lines, a more authentic western feel, and a laidback atmosphere make Sun Valley a great destination.
- Après: Lefty’s
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