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The 10 best ski resorts and mountains in the U.S.

Where to get out and play in the winter snow

Jackson Hole Wyoming skiing
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort / Facebook

When figuring out vacations, many people 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 top ski resorts in the U.S. They travel from location to location testing out the powder on every slope.

If skiing is a hobby or your favorite activity, then these quaint ski towns and shops will be of interest—  some for their epic mountain terrain, and some for their deep, fluffy powder. These are the best of the best places to ski in the United States. Check out our list of the best U.S. ski mountains and resorts that are perfect for every kind of skiing and snowboarding.

Steamboat resort surrounded by snow-covered mountains
Steamboat

Top ski resorts in the U.S.

Steamboat

Famous for its “champagne powder,” Steamboat Ski Resort, located just outside of Steamboat Springs, is one of the top Colorado ski mountains with plenty of skiing and other activities to enjoy. Families get a good deal as kids 12 and under ski free with the purchase of an adult ticket. In the morning, check out the famous Closets 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 have some fun snow tubing. Just a few miles down the road, relax sore muscles in the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

Telluride Ski Resort with snow-capped mountains in the distance
Ski Mag

Telluride

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.

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Skier on slopes with snow-covered trees in the background
Utah.com

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.

Person skiing down the mountain while maneuvering around trees
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sugarloaf

To give the Eastern U.S. some love, we head over to one of the best ski mountains in Maine, 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.

View from Breckenridge Ski Resort overlooking mountains
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Breckenridge

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 the multiple oxygen rental shops in town.

Three skiers on Aspen Snowmass
Aspen Snowmass / Facebook

Aspen Snowmass

If you’re looking for as much skiing as you can possibly do on one lift pass, check out Aspen, Colorado. 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. Only Experts should 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?

An aerial View of Mt. Hood
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Timberline Lodge

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.

Park City resort at night
Historic Park City

Park City

With plenty of ski terrain, activities for the kids, and a historic mining town to explore — all set in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains — Park City is a great destination for the whole family.

Skiiers look down couloir from the edge
Jackson Hole Traveler

Jackson Hole

For intermediate to advanced skiers, Jackson Hole, Wyoming 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.

Sun Valley Idaho
Freeskier

Sun Valley

If the popularity and cost of Jackson Hole don’t appeal to you, Idaho’s Sun Valley might be your resort. Shorter lift lines, a more authentic Western feel, and a laidback atmosphere make Sun Valley a great destination.

Whiteface
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The best of the rest

Now that you’ve seen our picks for the top 10 ski resorts in the U.S., here are two other great places to hit the slopes for snowboarding or skiing — one on the East Coast and the other out West.

Whiteface Mountain

Located near Lake Placid in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Whiteface Mountain gained fame as the home of the skiing events for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Ski where the Olympians skied and then hit Lake Placid, one of the best ski towns in the Northeast.

A view of a village in Vail at dusk.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Vail

Along with Aspen, Vail is one of the best-known ski destinations in Colorado. It is one of the largest ski resorts in the U.S. and snow is never a concern, as Vail gets an average of 30 feet of the white stuff per year. And there’s a lively party scene in the town of Vail, which is less than a two-hour ride from Denver.

Editors' Recommendations

Nate Swanner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nate is General Manager for all not-Digital-Trends properties at DTMG, including The Manual, Digital Trends en Espanol…
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