For those of you who embrace winter’s icy winds and heavy snowfall, a ski vacation is the perfect getaway
Huge mountains, tree-lined runs, legendary descents, luxury properties and some of the most immaculate slopes in the world – there are plenty of reasons to undertake a ski vacation in the US. In fact, the country is home to over 50 ski resorts, from powder-packed sanctuaries to luxury retreats. So, whether you’re planning a quick getaway or you want to chase powder all winter, we have picked some of the top ski destinations in the US.
For beginners & professionals (Breckenridge)
Situated about 128 km southwest of downtown Denver, Breckenridge offers skiers nearly 3,000 acres of skiable terrain spread across 187 trails. With annual snowfalls averaging roughly 30 feet every winter, you are bound to enjoy superb conditions while on the mountain. Breckenridge is owned and operated by Vail Resorts and draws over 1.6 million annual visitors, as per reports.
Breckenridge has a vast amount of skiable terrain in its five peaks (numbered 6 to 10). Peak 10 is almost exclusively for experts, offering steep pisted runs, ungroomed glades and tough mogul fields. Even beginners can enjoy the unending expanse on the green runs here.
Largest of its kind (Park City)
Located about 48 km southeast of Salt Lake City, this ski destination in Utah played host to the 2002 Winter Olympics. The two main resorts, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, offer plenty of diverse runs and niche features like half-pipes for snowboarders. In 2015, Park City Mountain linked with neighbouring Canyons Resort, thereby becoming the largest of its kind in the US. With over 7,300 acres, 300 trails, 38 lifts and seven terrain parks, it’s a paradise for both novice skiers and professionals. Deer Valley, on the other hand, has earned its upscale reputation with meticulous grooming and a hard cap of 7,500 skiers per day.
Good for apres-ski (Lake Tahoe)
Ski areas like Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Northstar California in Lake Tahoe attract enthusiasts from not just the country but from across the globe. Heavenly was built purposely to create a snow sports-focused area in the middle of the buzzing little city of South Lake Tahoe. There are hordes of good restaurants in South Lake Tahoe, but the focus is on nightlife; it is something to die for.
Good for experts (Jackson Hole)
An average snowfall of 459 inches makes Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming one of the best ski destinations in the country. The resort’s two mountains, Après Vous and Rendez vous, operate 14 lifts (including the 100-passenger aerial tram) to access 2,500 feet of skiable terrain, 50% of which is for expert-level skiers and snowboarders. Jackson Hole continues to rank as an all-time favourite for ski enthusiasts, offering everything from top-notch skiing to a quaint mountain resort village.
Good for glitz and glamour (Aspen)
This winter destination caters to all skill levels at its four major ski areas – Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. Aspen Mountain — referred to by local riders as Ajax — is legendary for its steep, bumpy terrain with drops straight into the town of Aspen. The mountain is quite small at just 675 skiable acres, but its 4,406-foot vertical drop will take your breath away.
Good for picturesque locales (Telluride)
San Juan Mountains in Colorado, home to the Telluride Ski Resort, are one of the youngest mountain ranges in the US and offer stunning sceneries. In fact, Telluride has over 2,000 skiable acres; no wonder this Colorado town attracts skiing enthusiasts in hordes. The huge Telluride Ski Resort houses some 148 trails and a 4,425-foot vertical drop.
Telluride does not only offer dramatic landscape views, it also houses over 2,000 acres of slopes. The town, an old mining camp from the 1800s, boasts an old-world charm and is brimming with luxury hotels, ski-in, ski-out lodging, boutiques, and world-class dining.
Words: Will Hide