For many people, skiing and snowboarding is absolutely the best thing that the winter season has to offer. Regardless of your skill level, America’s top ski and snowboard resorts offer a little something for everyone. Beginners and kids can take lessons, adrenaline junkies can work on their speed and tricks, and everyone can venture out to explore the luxurious lodges and quaint ski towns.
Skiing and snowboarding are ideal activities to combine with road trips with groups of friends or weekend excursions with the whole family. They’re also great ways to beat the winter blues and get some exercise during the cold weather months. America’s top resorts can be compared in terms of terrain, mountain stats, snow reports, price, number of lifts, and nearby accommodations. This winter, make sure to check out at least a couple of the best ski and snowboard resorts in the U.S.
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Vail Resort – Colorado
Vail is consistently one of the highest-rated ski and snowboard resorts, partly due to marketing and partly due to the world-class opportunities and accommodations. Winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world have dreamt of Vail, and the resort enjoys about 350 inches of snow each year. This is an enormous resort that can be a little overwhelming for beginners and travelers from out of town. Lift tickets here also tend to cost a little more than at the neighboring resorts. You can find lots of prominent hotel names, like Ritz Carlton, around the Vail Resort.
Snowmass Ski Resort and Village – Colorado
Although Snowmass Ski Resort often gets overshadowed by other resorts in Colorado, it’s one of the best options for families and extensive ski-in, ski-out lodging. This resort truly does have something for everyone, with beginner slopes for kids, terrain runs for advanced riders and everything in between. There’s a Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center that has a child care center, ski school, and cafeteria. Snowmass is about 12 miles from Aspen, Colorado and has lots of upscale hotels and condos nearby.
Telluride Ski Resort – Colorado
A top winter vacation in Colorado, Telluride is one of the most iconic ski resorts in Colorado, a state known for its superior skiing and snowboarding opportunities. This is a great resort to spend a week or more because there is a lot to do onsite and you don’t even need a car to get around and be entertained. If you’re the type of person who’s just as excited about the resort lifestyle as the actual slopes, Telluride is an excellent winter destination pick. Almost all the lodging options are located in the historic town or in the mid-mountain village, both of which have ski-in, ski-out privileges and are conveniently connected by a gondola.
Snowbird Ski Resort – Utah
Because of its proximity to the Salt Lake City airport, one of the most accessible ski and snowboard areas in Utah is the Snowbird Resort. This resort is often compared to Jackson Hole in Wyoming because of its stunning terrain, excellent ski lifts, and consistent snowfall. However, Snowbird is a better skiing option if you only have a couple of days to spend on the slopes. One of the best places to stay here is the attractively rustic Cliff Lodge.
One of the best ski resorts in the United States, Utah’s Park City Resort spans 3,300 acres and has around 114 trails for skiers and snowboarders to play on. Park City was the snowboarding location for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, so it has plenty of challenges for experienced athletes. This is an excellent resort for winter sports enthusiasts to practice their tricks because there are three terrain parks and a superpipe.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort – Wyoming
The state of Wyoming is known for its low population density, but certainly not around Jackson Hole during ski season. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a top-destination resort that has ideal snow patterns and some of the best winter sports activities in the country. You can now catch non-stop flights to Jackson Hole from about a dozen different major cities, making the resort much more accessible than it used to be. Jackson Hole is known to be a resort for experts and powder fiends, but there are some good slopes for beginners too. One popular place to stay is in Teton Village, where you can rent out an affordable condo for a weekend or longer.
Squaw Valley – California
If you’re looking to ski in the Lake Tahoe area, Squaw Valley is the place to visit this winter. Although there are quite a few places to ski along the western coast of the United States, the terrain and diversity here are unbeatable. You’ll often find some of the best skiers in the world cruising down these slopes and riding up the wide variety of ski lifts at Squaw Valley. Keep in mind that this resort typically gets very crowded because of its proximity to the Bay Area and other popular tourist destinations.
Mammoth Mountain – California
Another amazing snowboarding spot in California is Mammoth Mountain; however, it’s more of a local favorite than a long-distance travel destination. Specifically, this is a favorite resort of skiers and snowboarders traveling from Los Angeles. You can find lots of great terrain here, and one of the most unique factors is Mammoth’s elevation. Mammoth’s slopes top out at over 11,000 feet, which is much higher than the peaks at Squaw Valley.
Big Sky Resort – Montana
Everything in Montana just looks and feels larger than life. Head to Big Sky’s Lone Peak to escape the long ski lift lines of Colorado resorts and bask in the glory of 11,000 foot high peaks. Here you can find extreme 40 and 50-degree descents and treeless terrain for speed skiing. The scenery is only matched by the local Montana culture that you can explore when you venture outside the resort and into nearby towns.
Although almost all of the top ski and snowboard destinations are in the west, Vermont’s Stratton Mountain represents the East Coast with competitive terrain parks and slopes. Stratton is also credited as being the birthplace of snowboarding, so this is a favorite spot for nostalgic boarders from around the world.