A ski resort with terrain for all levels and closeby lodging, lots of apres ski activities and a good ski school make for great vacations on snow.
The United States is home to more than 450 ski resorts, ranging from one-chair Midwestern hills to global destination resorts like Vail, Aspen and Sun Valley. Not surprisingly the United States offers a wide variety of ski experiences to suit any taste.
The West Coast of the United States offers some of the country’s steepest terrain and deepest snow. Ski and snowboard areas range from small, local spots outside of Los Angeles, to international destinations like Mammoth Mountain and Lake Tahoe’s Squaw Valley, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic Games.
Further north still are the small but challenging ski resorts of Oregon and Washington. Some, such as Crystal Mountain and Mt Bachelor, offer amazing skiing, but wetter, heavier snow due to the lower elevation and proximity to the ocean.
The Rocky Mountains resorts are known for their modern, high-end resort facilities and consistently good weather. Colorado resorts like Vail, Telluride and Aspen/Snowmass offer some of the most polished resort experiences in the world while Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Big Sky, Montana are all about an authentic and exciting ski experience.
The resorts of the East Coast of the United States have a down-home charm and years of tradition and history behind them. Some resorts like Killington and Mount Snow offer a full-service resort experience.
But just because the mountains are generally smaller than their Western brethren, don’t think there isn’t good, expert skiing as well. Jay Peak, Vermont, gets snow that rivals western resorts and has tree skiing to challenge even the most hardened experts.
What the Midwestern U.S. lacks in vertical, it makes up for in passion. Midwestern skiers and snowboarders love their sport, regardless of weather, terrain or wind. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to some of the snowiest resorts.
According to The National Geographic, the snowiest resorts in the U.S. include the following:
Sun Valley, Idaho, opened in 1936, making it the first ski resort in the states.
The two resorts with the largest vertical drop served by lifts is Snowmass, Colorado, at 4,406 feet and Big Sky Resort, Montana, at 4,350 feet.
At 12,998 feet, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado, wins the title of the ski resort with the highest elevation.