Calling all snow bunnies! For some people (admittedly, not me) winter isn't the time to flee down to Florida or the Caribbean for some sun and sand, but rather it's finally the season when they can hit the slopes. When deciding on a destination, it's no secret that the best skiing in the U.S. is out West. (Sorry, New England.) But don't forget about our northern neighbors and their perfect ski terrain! Here is our breakdown of the best ski resorts in all of North America, including what each is best suited for, so whether you're traveling with the fam or want to indulge in a lively apres-ski scene, you'll find the perfect spot.
Even if you have a favorite, don't be afraid to try a new mountain this season! Take a look at our top picks.
Hotels in this story
Jackson Hole is continually voted the top ski resort in the U.S., not only because of the quality of its slopes, but also because of its down-to-earth vibe and family-friendly nature. While black diamond skiers are always satisfied here, there’s also a Kid’s Ranch that keeps the kiddies occupied, well-fed, and excited about snow sports. Parents can choose from several different programs depending on the age of their children, and then the whole family can reunite at night over S’mores or dinner. What’s better than that?
Our Hotel Pick: Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole
Known for being an extremely well-rounded resort, Whistler-Blackcomb has everything you could ask for in a ski vacation destination. Voted #1 Overall Resort for 2016 by Ski Magazine, Whistler’s accolades just keep piling up. For some, though, the lively après-ski culture at Whistler is what sets it apart. From fine dining tours to cozy cabins offering mile-high nachos to clubs featuring world class DJs, Whistler has everything you need to party the night away during your ski-cation.
Our Hotel Pick: Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Park City Mountain Resort is one of the most convenient ski resorts to travel to in the U.S. Located less than 40 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, the resort is easy to reach via car, and is also accessible by free airport bus. While Park City is a great resort for skiers and snowboarders alike, it is often better known as a key snowboarding locale. The resort caters to snowboarders by boasting some of the best park and pipe terrain in the industry, including a super-pipe and a terrain park that’s open for night riding, which you can’t find at some other nearby resorts.
Our Hotel Pick: Montage Deer Valley
So we’ve all heard of Aspen. What you may not know, though, is that the high-end ski locale is made up of four separate mountains: Aspen Mountain (aka Ajax), Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk Mountain. The powder at the mountains is known to be light and dry, and the weather is consistently mild and beautiful. Many hardcore skiers are put off by Aspen’s glamorous reputation, but the resort can actually deliver for this more rugged audience, too. There are many terrain parks, half pipes, powder bowls, moguls, tree runs, and gated backcountry skiing trails — so don’t worry, both beginners and experts can stay entertained here…glamorously.
Our Hotel Pick: Sky Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel
Best Extreme: Revelstoke, British Columbia
Revelstoke is best known for one thing: helicopter skiing. That’s right, heli-skiing. While it isn’t exactly what it sounds like, it’s still pretty intense. Heli-skiing is when a skier uses a helicopter to get to the top of a mountain when skiing secluded or extreme terrain. The practice began in Europe and Alaska in the 1950s, and now Revelstoke in British Columbia is widely known for the practice. By heli-skiing, you can reach wide-open glaciers, alpine bowls, and old growth forests that you would never be able to access on your average ski trip. Look into Selkirk Tangiers Heli-Skiing and Eagle Pass Heliski to book your extreme trip.
Vail is the largest ski resort in the country, and its upscale nature never disappoints. With a huge range in luxury accommodations, anyone can find the hotel, spa, and dining options to suit their pampering needs. Modeled after Zermatt, Switzerland, Vail’s European-style village is self-contained, convenient, and charming. As for the slopes, Vail is known for having a lot of variety in terrain, meaning that everyone from experts to small children can find a part of the mountain that’s best for them.
Our Hotel Pick: The Arrabelle at Vail Square, a RockResort
Best for Experts: Alta, Utah
Alta is one of the oldest ski resorts in the country, and some of it’s old-time traditions remain…such as not allowing snowboarders on the mountain. But this skiers-only locale is continually applauded thanks to the high-caliber skiers it attracts. While there are a decent amount of trails for beginners and intermediates, Alta is well-known for its expert-level, extremely challenging terrain. The resort boasts steep slopes, and opportunities for tree-skiing, so it’s well-equipped for adventurers and daredevils alike.
- The Ultimate Battle: Is Vail or Aspen Better?
- The World’s Most Charming Ski Chalets
- Cozy Mountain Lodges for a Wintry Snuggle