The United States has some of the best ski resorts in the world. If you want to create the ultimate ski bucket list, this is where you should start. Most world-class ski resorts are in the west, but if your travel plans take you to the eastern states, you can still find some great places to ski and board.
To the west, the towering Rocky Mountains and surrounding mountains create a veritable playground of snow-covered slopes, offering skiers of all skill levels the opportunity to ski. Endless runs and frequent powder days make this a skier’s dream destination.
Both Colorado and Utah have plenty of top resorts to choose from, but you can also find incredible skiing in Wyoming, where Teton (Jackson Hole) is located. The Sierra Nevada mountains around Lake Tahoe, where you’ll find Palisades Tahoe, and the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, where the Sun Valley is located. Continue north to Montana and keep your eyes peeled for the big sky. These are just a few of the possibilities for skiing in the West.
Best Ski Resorts in US
For an overview of our top picks, see our list of Best Ski Resorts in US.
1. Telluride Ski Resort, CO
Telluride has earned one of the top attractions for its diverse terrain, variety of lodging options in and out of the mountain, and the charming ski town at the base of the mountain, Telluride. At the end of the day, you can ski without worrying about going to a nearby town.
Telluride is located at the end of a valley in southwest Colorado. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The biggest advantage is that the elevator line is short and the number of people is low, but it takes some time to get here and accommodation is expensive. Worth it.
Telluride gets about 23 feet of snow a year. If you time it right, you can expect great dust days. It’s also a great place for a family ski vacation, as about 60 percent of the terrain is geared towards beginners and intermediate skiers and boarders.
It offers ski-in/out accommodation. Lifts are free and open to skiers and non-skiers. Telluride is part of the EPIC Passport program.
About two hours away is the town of Durango and Purgatory Resort, another fun ski resort in this part of Colorado. Purgatory offers a smaller experience and is very family-oriented. Prices are also much better here, both in the mountains and at the hotel.
Official website: https://www.tellurideskiresort.com/
2. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is a true skier’s mountain. The mountain slopes heavily towards intermediate and advanced skiers, with little terrain for beginners and the toughest terrains that will test the skills of even expert skiers.
You will feel palpable anticipation and excitement as you take the tram to the top of the mountain with your 100 new friends and watch the podium under your feet. Look out for Corbet’s Couloir when boarding the plane. This extreme double black diamond run is a ritual for professional skiers.
In recent years, Jackson Hole has had an average of 38 feet of snow per year. The facility has 2,500 acres of land and 133 tracks, as well as multiple terrain parks. Among the infrastructure improvements over the past few years, the impressive Solitude Station Zhongshan resort includes two new restaurants and a mountain sports school.
The ski resort is 20 minutes from the western-themed town of Jackson. Here, you’ll find air links from every state and world-class accommodation options.
Jackson Hole is part of the IKON and Mountain Collective transition program.
Official website: https://www.jacksonhole.com/
3. Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado
Breckenridge gets an average of 30 feet of snow per year, and most of the snow stays until the end of the season due to its high altitude. You can expect this resort to be open until May. With the highest chairlift in the United States at 12,840 feet, this resort will take your breath away.
The lower part of the ski resort is ideal for beginners and families. Wide gentle slopes provide ample room for movement. The open bowl at the top offers a great opportunity for more advanced skiers. In April and May, skiers enjoy spring ski conditions close to the bottoms, while the peaks still enjoy full winter conditions.
In 2022, Breckenridge will install a new chair on Peak 7 called the Freedom SuperChair. This should help eliminate lags when trying to board the Independence SuperChair. The underlying historic town of Breckenridge is a delightful mountain town with fun post-ski options. It has a wide variety of restaurants and shops and a picturesque main street that is perfect for walking. Denver International Airport is less than two hours away. There are several options for transportation between Denver and Breckenridge.
Official website: https://www.breckenridge.com/
4. Aspen/Snowmass, CO
Aspen has been attracting international jet skiers for decades. While people describe the scenes in the city, the real action takes place in the mountains. There are four ski areas in Aspen: Snowflake, Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, and Aspen Peaks. At the foot of the mountain are the town of Aspen and the village of Snowmass.
These resorts offer an incredible amount of skiable terrain in an area that gets around 25 feet of snow per year. World-class facilities and an impressive variety of lifts will make your ski day unforgettable. Regional airports serving Aspen/Snowmass have more than 150 weekly flights between major airlines during the ski season. The airport is 5 minutes from the city, and many hotels offer free airport pick-up. Denver International Airport is less than 4 hours drive away, but there are several ways to get from Denver to Aspen. Aspen/Snowmass is part of the IKON and Mountain Collective migration program.
Official website: https://www.aspensnowmass.com/
5. Snowbirds, Utah
Wasatch Valley is one of the best places in the United States for persistent light dry snowfall, where you can find Snowbirds and Alta. Humid air flows into this valley, which receives an average of more than 41 feet of snow each year. Snowbird’s jagged peaks and mountain scenery also make it one of Utah’s prettiest vacation spots.
With its wonderful terrain and conditions, Snowbird is the only option for groups or families who want to welcome both skiers and snowboarders. Snowboarding is prohibited in Alta. Snowbird also has the only ski tunnel in North America, allowing you to ski over the mountain and exit on the other side.
Snowbird and Alta operate as separate resorts, but getting from one ski area to another is easy. If you’re going to be skiing in the area for a few days or spring skiing here, the combination pass is a good idea. Between these two resorts, you can usually find good conditions any time of spring. Best of all, Snowbird is just 45 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. Many people stay in cities with lively night scenes and have more to do when not skiing.
Within an hour of Salt Lake City, you can find some of Utah’s best ski resorts. If you want to extend it for 30 minutes, you can play more. Don’t overlook any of that, given the amount of snowfall in the area. If you have the time and want to experience some of the other resorts, check out Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Solitude.
Official website: https://www.snowbird.com/
6. Park City Mountain Resort, UT
Park City is one of the largest ski resorts in the United States. Spanning an incredible 7,300 acres and 17 peaks, this ski resort giant has nearly endless options. Here you can easily find expert terrains, while skiing leans towards intermediates and beginners. If you like long and smooth runs, you’ve come to the right place.
The small town of Park City is also an added bonus to skiing here. A real town dating back to 1884, the historic main street is lined with restaurants and shops that offer a variety of post-ski options. If you’re taking a day off from skiing, you’ll have no problem finding activities in Park City. Park City is less than an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City. If you’re on a tight budget, consider staying in Salt Lake City, where accommodation is plentiful and affordable, and commuting to ski resorts.
Park City is part of the EPIC Pass program.
Official website: https://www.parkcitymountain.com/
Miles of clean velvet fabric can be found every morning in Beaver Creek. This luxury ski resort takes beauty to the next level. Every night, a flock of snowcats comes to the mountain and turns it into a cruiser’s dream. After hours of skiing in beautiful velvet fabric, you may start to wonder if chasing after fans is just for dummies.
Beaver Creek is more than well-groomed runs. On Grouse Mountain, the grand trails and steep slopes push any skier to their limits. This is a mountain the whole family can enjoy. In 2022, Beaver Creek will install two new four-seater chairs. These new lifts will serve the McCoy area in the mountains, giving intermediate and beginner skiers quicker access to higher altitudes. Customer service is key at Beaver Creek, with on-site staff ready to carry your skis to the base when you complete your last race of the day, and free freshly baked cookies every day at 3 PM.
Beaver Creek is part of the EPIC Pass program.
Official website: https://www.beavercreek.com/
Steamboat is located north of most of Colorado’s major ski resorts, about 3.5 hours drive from Denver. As a result, many skiers fail to realize this and focus on closer resorts such as Breckenridge, Vail or Beaver Creek. The benefit is that there are fewer crowds and more time spent skiing or boarding.
On average, about 26 feet of snow falls each year, providing excellent conditions for 165 trails. Its uphill capability is comparable to other large resorts with 18 lifts, including 8 gondolas. The facility recently opened another 355 acres in the Pioneer Ridge area. Famous Hazie’s restaurant has been completely renovated and upgraded with new infrastructure and seating.
The town of Steamboat Springs makes your visit here even more enjoyable. The town’s authentic cowboy culture and friendly locals make you feel right at home. Not far from the city is Strawberry Hot Springs. On your days off, these natural outdoor pools are great places to visit.
Steamboat is part of the IKON Pass Program.
Official website: https://www.steamboat.com/
Big Sky Resort is Montana’s premier ski resort. Everything about this place is big: big mountains; large elevators, including trams; 33 feet of snow; and large, open spaces. Actually, the only minor thing here is the elevator line. The holiday did not see large crowds. Big Sky spans over 5,850 acres, which means you can still have over 2 acres of snow-covered bliss on even the busiest ski day.
One of the advantages of skiing at Big Sky Resort over ski areas further south has to do with altitude. Here you will ski at lower altitudes. The effects of high altitude (headache, fatigue, shortness of breath) were less for those coming from sea level. You can hit the slopes longer and feel stronger!
You’ll need the extra stamina to get your legs pumping thanks to the recent setup of a six-seat heated high-speed quad called the Big Sky Blue Bubble. This is the fastest chairlift in North America and means you’ll be back on top in no time. During the winter, there are daily direct flights to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport from approximately 20 major US population centers.
Big Sky is part of the IKON Pass Program.
Official website: https://bigskyresort.com/
This iconic ski resort on Lake Tahoe was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics (then known as Squaw Valley) and was one of California’s top ski resorts. Tickets here also give access to Alpine Meadows ski resort, just a short drive away.
The best thing about skiing in Palisades is the sun. The region has had blue skies for over 267 days and the views from the slopes are breathtaking. But don’t let that fool you. Resorts often get more than 37 feet of snow each year, and if the time is right, you can expect incredible dust days.
Palisades is an ideal family vacation destination where 70% of the land is classified as a beginner or intermediate level and some areas are designated as beginners only. Still, connoisseurs will have no trouble entertaining themselves on gutters, patios, and bowls. From San Francisco to Interstate 80, the resort is just over three hours from San Francisco International Airport.
Palisades Tahoe is part of the Mountain Collective and IKON Pass program.
Official website: https://www.palisadestahoe.com/