Well, when it comes to ski resort vacation choices, there are plenty of options. Many people want to go skiing where everything is big. Others like the more intimate places. The good news you can find either one in the region of North America where you call home. But, be sure, what’s called big in the U.S. East or Midwest isn’t BIG like it is in the U.S. or the Canadian Rockies. So, what.
We have some “big” choices for you across North America. You decide what “big” means to you.
U.S. and Eastern Canada:
Killington, Vermont: 1,509 skiable acres
It’s the “Beast of the East” in Central Vermont. Add its sister ski area, Pico Mountain, down Route 4 a piece, to the totals and 2,000 skiable acres and 92 miles of trails are on your agenda. The K-1 gondola takes you to Killington Peak’s 4,241-foot summit and you’ve got all that vertical on the way down. Killington’s Bear Mountain will give your legs the ultimate bump burn with its Outer Limits run. Killington has a village of its own and an access road lined with lodging, bars and restaurants for big-time nightlife. There are plenty of motel-like accommodations in nearly Rutland.
Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, Canada: 754 skiable acres
Head north from anywhere in the Eastern U.S. and you’ll discover Mt. Tremblant in the Canadian Laurentides. This is the largest ski resort in Quebec. All three sides of the mountain are available to you and are served by chairlifts and gondolas. It’s high point is 2,871 feet and all the skiing and riding is below the treeline. The village at the base of the mountain is picturesque, comfortable and fun.
Lutsen Mountains, Lutsen, Minnesota: 1,000 acres
The American Midwest has lots and lots of ski areas, but on a “big” scale, they won’t cut it. That is, except for the 4-peak Lutsen Mountains Resort “Up North” in Minnesota overlooking Lake Superior. That equates to a Great Lake and equally great skiing and snowboarding. There’s plenty of acreages and as most skiers in the Midwest will attest: This is as close to big western resort skiing and riding as you will get here in the way north part of the Heartland.
Park City Mountain Resort, Utah: 7,300 acres
Vail Resorts bought Park City Mountain Resort, less than an hour from Salt Lake City International Airport, several years ago and soon added neighboring Canyons Resort to it. That made the interconnected combo a 7,300-acre bonanza of skiing and snowboarding terrain. It also makes it a good debate over whether Park City or Whistler-Blackcomb is North America’s largest. But, the Utah combo wins in the U.S. Park City Village has plenty of everything as well as the elegant Deer Valley Resort and more resort skiing on its way in a few years.
Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta, Canada: 4,200 acres
Lake Louise is one of three resorts to make up the Banff Big 3. The scenery over all those acres is magnificent and the Canadian Rockies are now your backyard. Banff is a truly delightful western town with everything you need. But, you can also stay at the slopes in the stately Chateau Lake Louise hotel. Your Big 3 ski pass gets you more than 9,000 acres to play in adding in neighboring Sunshine Village and Mt. Norquay.
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, California: 6,000 acres
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows will be connected for real in 2021 when this $63 million Alterras Resorts project starts to sail the gondola between the two resorts that joined together about a decade ago. That means you can ski or ride 7,300 acres in this Lake Tahoe area paradise. Squaw Valley, you’ll remember, was host to the first fully televised Winter Olympics in 1960. The resort will get a name change this year as well.
Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada: 8,171 acres
It really doesn’t get much bigger or better than this gigantic resort in British Columbia. Connected by the longest continuous lift system in the world, the Peak2Peak gondola ties Whsiter and Blackcomb mountains together. The village is a delight and, don’t forget, the Horstmann Glacier, just to say you did. Whistler-Blackcomb is owned by Vail Resorts, so if you’re looking for big anywhere, it’s spelled V-A-I-L.