If you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for a quick getaway this winter, or not quite the adrenaline junkie, but more of a beautiful snow-capped mountain seeker kinda guy or gal, you may have already started to check out the best ski resorts the US has to offer.
What a great place to start – the US has some of the best ski resorts on earth, and they’re so much different to the ones you’d find dotted across Europe, bringing their own unique charm, and glistening peaks into the mix.
Of course, we do need to be wary of the current health and safety situations – and if you’re planning a skiing vacation this winter, you should always plan ahead, and purchase your ski-lift tickets and rent your gear in advance. No last minute getaways here please.
So, whether you’re searching for powder snow, a family adventure full in a charming town, or deep downhill slopes that’ll have you panting by the end of the piste, we’ve gathered 5 of the best ski and snowboarding locations around the US that are open and ready for business this winter season. So, strap on your ski boots, and let’s get going with this countdown!
Good for Beginners – Breckenridge, Colorado
Heading west, but almost slap bang in the middle of the country is Breckenridge, a beautiful Colorado town that sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
With its world-renowned nursery slopes that rival many others throughout the entire country, and its broad range of ski lesson packages for all levels, you can fit in even if you’re not the most confident on the slopes.
Even the ski lifts are beginner friendly, with magic carpet lifts on the nursery slopes and easy to mount chairlifts that head higher into the mountains, so you won’t find yourself suspended in mid-air or trapped without a bit of help nearby.
There’s something for everyone in Breckenridge though, so if you’ve got a few beginners in your group, don’t think you’ll be hanging around those nursery slopes for the entire trip. Breckenridge boasts almost 3,000 acres of slopes, & there are plenty of intermediate and expert slopes for anyone looking to lose themselves in the adrenaline rush.
Good for Intermediates – Heavenly, California/Nevada
If you fancy getting some incredible views of Lake Tahoe from high up in the snowy mountains, Heavenly is the perfect ski resort for you.
Caught at the border divide between California and Nevada, Heavenly is an interesting and unique ski spot that sees two very different types of people coming together to hit the slopes.
On Nevada’s side of the resort, you’ll be able to see a street full of casinos where gamblers try their luck 24 hours a day. This is a stark contrast to the hundreds of tourists in ski attire walking past the casinos, and certainly makes for an interesting scene.
On California’s side of the resort, you’ll find surfer dudes out of their comfort zone, hoping to take on the slopes on their snowboards and skis alike. This side of the divide is much more laid back than Nevada’s borderlines, and you’ll find plenty of powder snow and terrain parks to test out your skills alongside the Cali natives looking to unwind and completely chill out.
Good for experts – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Just a 15-minute drive from Jackson, and a 5-minute wander from Teton Village, Jackson Hole is one of the best ski resorts for experts thanks to its devilishly daring and deep slopes that call adrenaline junkies from all over the country into their grasp.
Of course, there are plenty of lusciously long slopes with less downhill momentum on offer in Jackson Hole, so this spot is perfect for any skier… however, Jackson Hole is mostly famous for its daredevil peaks that could cause even the strongest stomach to feel a little queasy.
That’s right, I’m talking about Corbet’s Couloir, a slope with a downhill pitch of 50°, that’s only accessible by jumping 2 meters from a ridge, and taking a super sharp turn to miss the rocks ahead.
That’s the most extreme you’ll find at Jackson’s Hole, but the rest of the resort if full of challenging, extreme pistes that’ll certainly add a little fire to your downhill ride.
Good for families – Winter Park, Colorado
We’re heading back to Colorado for the best resort for families. Offering a great range of nursery slopes, as well as intermediate and advanced slopes for those who just want to head off into the mountains and do their thing, Winter Park is one of the best locations for a family fun vacation this winter, especially with up to 8m of snow annually to help keep every slope covered in the fresh stuff.
It’s not just the range of slopes that puts Winter Park on this list though – it’s the fact that it’s a no frills style vacation spot that leaves the droves of tourists heading to different resorts. That means fewer crowds clogging up the mountains and less time spent in line for the ski lift.
Winter Park is an affordable ski spot too, especially for families who don’t want to break their budget. With reasonably cheap accommodation and delicious eateries that offer round the clock food and après-ski activities that’ll get the whole family in the mood, this is the perfect spot for a full week of skiing or boarding. There are even world class nurseries for the youngsters who can’t strap themselves onto a pair of skis yet too – perfect for families with little children who don’t want to give up their annual ski trip.
Good for Snow Parks – Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth Mountain sounds like a fictional destination, but it’s the real deal, and it’s full of snow parks (also known as terrain parks) for tricksters who live life in the fast lane.
With up to 3,500 acres of hard-core terrain to choose from, and 8 parks to test your skills out on, Mammoth Mountain is the perfect spot to practice your kicks, flips, and cool tricks and impressing your friends.
There’s plenty of choice for beginners, intermediates and explorers alike, with slower slopes near the bottom of the mountain, and snow parks with over 50 jumps, 3 half pipes, and over 100 acres of freestyle ground to get your blood pumping up the mountain.
The ski area is around a 20-minute drive from the closest town, so there’s not much of a nightlife for those who want it all at their feet. You will find a selection of hotels and hostels at the foot of the mountain though, and plenty of spots to grub up after a mega ski sesh.
So, which team are you on? Are you a beginner ready to strap on their first skis and head to the nursery slopes, or an avid skier who’s wanting something a little extra this year? Whoever you are, and whatever you’re hoping to get up to on the slopes, make sure you wrap up warm, and don’t forget to follow the health and safety rules provided by each resort. Above all else, have fun, and stay safe this winter.