East Vs. West: The Ski Town Showdown

Winter is coming. With it comes deep snow, extreme cold, short days…. and ski vacations. Whether you’re planning a long weekend away, a couple days of the “powder flu”, or even a weeklong adventure in the mountains, you need to pick the right resort. We’ve put together a list of our favorites on both coasts to help you narrow down your options. Don’t blame us when you find yourself booking extra days on the slopes.

Luxury Getaway

Deer Valley, Utah
Deer Valley
Skiable Area: 2,026 acres
Vertical Drop: 3,000 feet
Annual Snowfall: 300 inches
If we had to repeat one ski vacation for the rest of our lives, we’d ski Deer Valley. Since 1981 Deer Valley has cultivated a high class experience for the discerning traveler. From ski-in/ski-out accommodations to a limit on the number of skiers on the mountain, it feels like a private powder paradise.

Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Skiable Area: 630 acres
Vertical Drop: 2,116 feet
Annual Snowfall: 156 inches
Mont Tremblant has a European feel, giving your ski getaway a decidedly exotic feel, without the hassle of flying more than twelve hours to catch some powder. The resort’s pedestrian at the base area is a collection of luxury condos and restaurants. The surrounding Mont-Tremblant National Park features more than sixty miles of cross country skiing and hiking trails, connecting with dozens of local towns.

Winner: Deer Valley

Megaresort Experience

Vail, Colorado
Skiable Area: 5,289 acres
Vertical Drop: 3,450 feet
Annual Snowfall: 370 inches
Vail sees more annual visitors – 1.6 million and counting – than any other American ski resort. Their main village area houses more upscale restaurants and hotels than you could eat and stay at in a dozen visits. What’s more, with 370 inches of annual snowfall and 193 ski runs, you’ll be skiing some of the best terrain in Colorado on the softest Rocky Mountain powder.

Sugarbush, Vermont
Skiable Area: 4,000 acres total, 484 acres on trail
Vertical Drop: 2,820 feet
Annual Snowfall: 260 inches
While Sugarbush is dwarfed by larger Western resorts, as one of the largest in New England. It straddles two mountains – Lincoln Peak, and Mt. Ellen – which gives it a unique topography. The dual base areas cater to locals and travlers alike. You’ll find the best places to stay and eat in Lincoln Peak Village.

Winner: Sugarbush

Steep Skiing

Telluride, Colorado
Skiable Area: 2,000+ acres
Vertical Drop: 4,425 feet
Annual Snowfall: 310 inches
Telluride’s Palmyra Peak, topping out over 13,000 feet, is one of the highest in-bounds summits in America. If you’re looking for serious vertical drop, this is the place to be. The Gold Hill Chutes and Black Iron Bowl feature some of the scariest lines you’ll find. If you’re really looking for adventure though, take the two hour hike to Palmyra’s summit. Senior’s Couloir is pants-wettingly steep and narrow. If you can ski this tight chute, beers are on us.

Whiteface, New York
Skiable Area: 314 acres
Vertical Drop: 3,166 feet
Annual Snowfall: 230 inches
At first glance, tiny Whiteface looks much more like a mom and pop affair than world class resort. However, their race course hosted the Alpine Skiing events at the 1908 Olympics. The largest vertical drop in the East also hides some seriously gnarly tree runs. Chief among them is The Slides, a hike-to run off the White Face summit.

Winner: Telluride

Ski Bum Paradise

Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon
Mount Hood Meadows
Skiable Area: 2,150 acres
Vertical Drop: 2,770 fee
Annual Snowfall: 430 inches
Mt. Hood Meadows offers twelve months of snow, and is the only resort that can claim skiing on natural snow all year. If you’re looking to get in a few ski days all year around, this is the place to come. In the summer famed Windells hosts sports camps. In the winter, more than 2,100 acres of terrain open up. You’d be hard pressed to choose a better place to wait tables and feed your powder addiction for a few seasons.

Mad River Glen, Vermont
Mad River Glen
Skiable Area: 120 acres
Vertical Drop: 2,000 feet
Annual Snowfall: 250 inches
By ski resort standards, Mad River Glen is a tiny blip on the map. However, if you want to get a peak at the early beating heart of the industry, just hang out with the local riders for a season. They have the last remaining single chair lift in operation in America. With 250 inches of snow, you’ll often catch fresh snow long after the larger more popular resorts near by are tracked out.

Winner: Mt. Hood Meadows

Photos Courtesy of Deer Vally, Vail Resorts, Ski Vermont, Telluride Tourism Board, Whiteface/Dave Schmidt, and Mt. Hood Meadows