Top 12 Best Ski Resorts in the United States

by Daniel | Last Updated September 20th, 2019

Too many slopes, too little time, the USA has more ski resorts than any other country in the world. There are a staggering seven thousand miles of ski-runs. 

Just the thought of them means you can already see yourself carving up those glistening white pistes. It's time to get moving and sharpen up your skis. We've done all the hard work for you. Here's our choice of the best ski resorts in the USA.

1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

A lot of people would say that this is the best ski resort in America. It has one of the most advanced lift networks in the USA.

Skiers rate the beautiful terrain, which is full of spectacular cliffs and trees. The resort is a great match whatever your skiing ability.  

Jackson Hole has invested a lot to make the most of its mountain base. There, new runs have been created in places that weren't available to skiers in the past.

The more extreme runs of the resort are also now better served by lifts. That's effectively increased the choice and variety of runs available. 

The finishing touches have now been made to Solitude Station. It's all set up for families with children. You'll find it at a mid-station of the Sweetwater Gondola. The closeness to the gondola has given the resort a fresh ambiance and practicality. 

Highlights

  • Legendary extreme runs

  • Beautiful terrain

  • A highly efficient lift network

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Jackson Hole

2. Breckenridge, Colorado

Breck, to give it its familiar name, was first settled in the mid-nineteenth century. It's held on to a lot of its old Victorian-era charm. It's a resort that's popular with party-goers and has built a reputation for great nightlife.

It features the Imperial Express which is the highest lift in North America. This will take you on a ride that leaves you on the slopes at twelve and a half thousand feet. The ski region fans out over a vast area and takes in five peaks.  

There's a lot to challenge expert skiers from moguls to some steep chutes. Because of the high altitude, there's typically a lot of snow right up until the end of the season.

The resort is just a short drive from many other well-loved Colorado destinations, including Vail.   

Highlights

  • Highest lift in North America

  • Charming historic mining town with a laid back vibe

  • There can be significant wind chill and large crowds

Breckenridge, Colorado

3. Lutsen, Minnesota

This ski area is able to offer a few extras that many others can't match. It's set in the Sawtooth Mountains. But, here you can combine a skiing trip with a break on the North Shore of Lake Superior. 

Lutsen takes pride of place in Midwestern ski resorts. It boasts an impressive ninety runs spread over four mountains. It's an ideal resort for a romantic getaway or winter family ski vacation.

The ski area is one of the most northern after those in Alaska, Montana and Washington State. 

The town itself is charming and the nearby Superior National Golf Course makes this resort a real favorite all year round. It's the perfect place for anybody who wants to pack for extra activities and combine several sports with a love of nature.

Highlights

  • Combine a lake vacation with skiing

  • Charming town offering other sports

  • Perfect for a romantic break

Lutsen, Minnesota

4. Telluride, Colorado

Telluride has amazing views over the San Juan Mountains. It typically has high annual snowfall and features nearly one hundred and fifty trails.

If you're just learning to ski then this could be the ski resort for you. There are plenty of green runs. 

Telluride goes one further for beginners because it has a five-mile-long green run at very high altitude. This starts at the top of Prospect Express at almost twelve thousand feet. 

The resort is also superb for those who have a taste for adventure and want to ski off-piste. The historic town is quite small, and about six hours drive from Denver.

It's a great place to get your hiking gear on for some superb walking tours either in Winter or once the skiing season's over. 

Highlights

  • Big variety of epic terrain

  • A town steeped in history

  • Good off-piste options

Telluride, Colorado

5. Snowbird, Utah

If you're looking for a resort that has consistently great snow conditions, then this would be a great choice. Many people know it as the Bird. It's a ski area with a faithful band of followers who love the steep and seemingly vertical terrain. 

Snowbird is perfect for the fearless skier. Most people choose the resort for one purpose only and that is to ski.

It's very near to Salt Lake airport and its great connections. That means you could work in an extra day's skiing with an early morning or evening flight.

Highlights

  • A highly efficient lift system

  • Fantastic epic terrain

  • Long seasons

Snowbird, Utah

6. Vail, Colorado

This is Colorado's largest ski area. The village has a quaint European feel about it. It features lots of long, wide runs. Vail has become very popular and can feel a bit crowded when the ski season is in full swing.

The resort has one of the most expensive walk-up lift tickets in America. Vail prides itself on its extensive snowmaking in the early season. Ten massive new snow guns have been set up so that the lower-altitude slopes can open earlier. 

The resort has lots of different types of terrain. You'll find some of the shortest lines at Game Creek. Here there are many steep bump runs which are very challenging. They throw up large quantities of white powder when there's heavy snowfall.

The town is great for strolling around. It even has heated sidewalks and is easily accessible with a regional airport nearby.

Highlights

  • The biggest ski area in Colorado

  • A charming village with a European style 

  • Long, well-groomed runs 

Vail, Colorado

7. Northstar, California

Famed for its wineries, it can be easy to forget that California also boasts some great ski resorts.

This is a great choice for families with children. It's an affordable resort which is full of long blue and green runs. This makes it an ideal choice for beginners learning to ski. It's renowned for keeping the slopes well-groomed. 

The resort is hidden away amongst the trees and is set in the Martis Valley in North Lake Tahoe. It has a lovely, laid-back feel to it. Northstar has lots of upscale shops and dining outlets in a magical environment. Use a travel app to pick out the best.

Highlights

  • Well-groomed slopes

  • Ideal for families

  • Great resort for beginners

Northstar, California

8. Aspen, Colorado

This is a famous world-class resort. It consists of four different ski areas that are all accessible with one lift-pass. There's an efficient system of lifts which connect all the well-groomed slopes.

The resort is also known for its great night-life. Aspen has gained the reputation as being the ski playground for the rich and famous. It has some superb restaurants for those special occasions.

This resort is impressive. There's great skiing for experts with the Highland Bowl featuring more than a thousand acres of top-level skiing. 

Highlights

  • Four different ski areas, all accessible with one ticket

  • Slopes which are impeccably groomed

  • Great après ski

Aspen, Colorado

9. Squaw Valley, California

You'll find this resort on Tahoe’s western shore. It has some of the finest slopes in the area. It's become popular with expert skiers. You can take in the stunning views of Lake Tahoe while you pound the pistes.

There's a very efficient lift system which covers six peaks and an area of more than four thousand acres.

Your lift ticket can be used in the nearby Alpine Meadows ski area. This increases the ground you'll be able to cover by a further two thousand acres.

Much of the ski area is north-facing, which helps keep the snow from melting. It's sometimes possible to ski right up until the end of May. 

Squaw Valley is easy to reach from Sacramento, Reno, and the San Francisco Bay Area. This makes it a popular choice at weekends for those looking for a short break with plenty of skiing as part of their work-life balance.

Highlights

  • Unbeatable when there's plenty of snow

  • Ski two resorts with the same ticket

  • Not the best resort for beginners

Squaw Valley, California

10. Beaver Creek, Colorado

If you've 'been there and done that,' you might be looking for something new. If so,  then head to Beaver Creek, Colorado's latest resort. It's already built a reputation for immaculate grooming, excellent snow conditions, and a superb lift system. 

This resort is synonymous with luxury both on and off the slopes. Lines for lifts tend not to be too long and to move quickly. It's just around ten minutes away from its big brother Vail, but it's a lot smaller and more manageable.

Whilst most trails are for beginners and intermediates, there's plenty to keep advanced skiers happy too. The Birds of Prey course is used for world-class downhill races. Many offer scenic views.

Highlights

  • Renowned for its world-class grooming

  • Great snow conditions almost guaranteed

  • Great lift system with short lines

Beaver Creek, Colorado

11. Alta, Utah

This resort makes a point of ensuring skiing is like it was in the old days. That means snowboarders aren't allowed on the slopes. Clearly, the policy can divide opinion. 

Alta gets more snow than nearly all other American resorts. It averages more than five hundred and fifty inches of powder every year. There are lots of amazing chutes and runs that take you through the trees.

The resort is smaller than many others but there are still plenty of runs for skiers of all levels. You could also upgrade your ticket to ski in neighboring Snowbird.

There are a few lodges at the base of the resort which offer a range of accommodation and dining packages. However, you won't find nightclubs or stores. Alta is thought near enough to  Salt Lake City to be on the public bus route.

If your aim is to cram in as much skiing as you can and follow that up with a hearty dinner and early night then this could be the resort for you.

Highlights 

  • Skiers only and no snowboarders

  • Extreme terrain with world-class runs

  • Lots of the famous Utah powder

Alta, Utah

12. Stowe, Vermont

Vermont offers something to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Its location is tempting for those who love to ski and live on the East Coast.

Here you're going to find fresh powder, picturesque peaks, and more maple syrup than you can eat. Stowe is one of the top ski destinations in the region.

A lift connects two different mountains, Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield.

This makes it easy for visitors to ski both areas on the same day. Over half of the resort’s runs are intermediate. That makes it the ideal resort for those who want to work on technique and rack up some miles on mellower runs.

There are also some green runs and double black diamonds too. Thirteen lifts take skiers to almost a hundred and twenty runs. There's plenty on offer for those looking to eat well and relax after a hard day on the slopes. 

While you're in New England, you might want to also pay a visit to Sugarbush. It lies deep in the Mad River Valley of Vermont. It is one of the largest ski resorts in the area.

The resort sits on more than four thousand acres of mountainous terrain. Slide Brook Basin divides the resort’s two key ski areas, Lincoln Peak and the south side of Sugarbush.

If you’re looking for variety, this is the resort for you. The resort boasts several smaller ski areas. These include the steep runs of Castlerock, the forests of Slide Brook, and Mount Ellen which is one of the highest peaks in the state.

Highlights

  • Great east coast location

  • Picturesque terrain

  • Great for intermediates

Stowe, Vermont

Our Choice of the Best Ski Resorts

There's something for everyone in our selection of the best ski resorts in the USA. It's time to put your skis on and enjoy the thrills of the slopes.

Continue reading our blog for vacation ideas. Find out here about the most amazing European cities that should be on your travel bucket list.

ABOUT DANIEL

Welcome to LuggageGuru!
My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.

My goal with luggageguru.com is to provide helpful information about travel-related products and accessories and also useful travel tips to make your vacation or trip more enjoyable!
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