Many Americans would agree there’s no better way to enjoy winter than by putting on a pair of skis and hitting the slopes. The beauty of skiing in the United States is that the country offers diverse mountainous terrain from coast to coast, and there are plenty of options. From massive vertical drops in Colorado to fresh powder in Oregon and family-friendly getaways in New England, there is a resort perfect for every type of traveler. However, the amenities at a given ski spot can make or break your experience, so it’s important to find a place that suits your needs.
Beginners may want to look for a resort that offers easy to intermediate level trails and private lessons. Meanwhile, experts will want to seek out challenging runs, terrain parks and prime snow conditions. And, if you’re traveling with children, you’ll probably want to stay somewhere that offers other fun amenities like ice skating rinks, indoor pools or tubing parks to keep everyone entertained even off the slopes. With so many factors at play, deciding on the perfect ski vacation can take a lot of effort. Luckily, U.S. News did the research for you: Read on to find out which ski resorts are the country’s best. (Note: Some of the amenities may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. New policies may be in place, including capacity restrictions and parking reservation requirements. Check with the official resort website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and local tourism boards before traveling.)
Best Ski Resorts in the U.S.:
- Stowe Mountain Resort
- Killington Ski Resort
- Bretton Woods
- Seven Springs Mountain Resort
- Whiteface Mountain Resort
- Wintergreen Resort
- Timberline Four Seasons Resort
- Beech Mountain Resort
- Granite Peak
- Boyne Mountain Resort
- Crystal Mountain
- Breckenridge Ski Resort
- Aspen Snowmass
- Park City Mountain Resort
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
- Big Sky Resort
- Sun Valley Resort
- The Summit at Snoqualmie
- Crystal Mountain Resort
- Mount Bachelor
Stowe Mountain Resort: Stowe, Vermont
With 485 skiable acres, 116 trails and 12 lifts welcoming excited visitors to the peaks, Stowe Mountain Resort in northern Vermont is a skier’s paradise. The resort encompasses two peaks, Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, which are conveniently connected by a gondola. Though mainly geared toward intermediate skiers, the resort also has its fair share of beginner and advanced trails. The terrain park provides ramps, jumps and rails galore for expert skiers to attempt. Or, if you’re hesitant to try the downhill slopes, the resort offers access to cross-country ski options. If Stowe Mountain Resort is the place to ski, then The Lodge at Spruce Peak is the place to stay. The lodge provides easy access to all the trails, and it’s the only luxury resort in Stowe that offers ski-in, ski-out access. After a long day on the mountain, thaw out at the on-site spa. Then, rest up for the next day’s activities in one of the classic guest rooms, suites or penthouses; you can also opt to book a luxury rental cabin complete with a private chef and personal butler service.
Killington Ski Resort: Killington, Vermont
(Chandler Burgess/Courtesy of Killington Credit)
With more than 200 trails across seven peaks in central Vermont, you could ski for days at Killington Ski Resort and never get bored. The sheer amount of trails means there is something for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. However, the mountain caters more toward intermediate and advanced skiers than it does beginners. Steep runs like Devil’s Fiddle, Outer Limits and Cascade will leave you breathless. Not to mention, the resort’s terrain park offers plenty of room for freestyling and honing your tricks. The Killington Grand Resort Hotel is an ideal lodging option because it provides easy ski-in, ski-out access to the mountain via a snow-covered bridge. Previous visitors enjoyed the hotel’s heated pool, hot tubs, eateries, game room and health club. Not to mention, an après-ski visit to the Killington Grand Spa is the perfect way to soothe sore muscles.
Bretton Woods: Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski resort, and it’s chock-full of amenities that will make your ski trip enjoyable. Along with more than 200 inches of annual snowfall, the resort boasts 10 lifts that service 98 trails and glades. There is plenty of fun to be found off the slopes as well. Those who are looking for a tamer winter activity can try Nordic skiing or snowshoeing. Meanwhile, a tubing area, a kids snowmobile park and winter bike tours offer even more opportunities for family fun. When it comes time to rest, you have options: The Omni Mount Washington Resort is a luxurious mountain retreat with all the bells and whistles (including a 25,000-square-foot spa), while the historic Omni Bretton Arms Inn offers a cozier, bed-and-breakfast-type of vibe with just 34 rooms and suites. There are also plenty of cottage and house rentals available in the area.
Sugarloaf: Carrabassett Valley, Maine
(Jamie Walter/Courtesy of Sugarloaf)
A whopping 1,240 skiable acres and a 2,820-foot vertical drop make Sugarloaf one of New England’s best ski resorts. The 162 trails and glades cater to skiers of all levels and range from easy to expert-only runs. Plus, 13 ski lifts means you’ll spend most of your time enjoying the slopes rather than waiting in line for a ride to the top. The adventurous activities don’t stop there, though. Visitors to Sugarloaf can try cross-country skiing, embark on a dog-sledding ride, attempt to ride a fat bike through the snow or spend an afternoon ice skating. At the base of the mountain there are plenty of restaurants and shops to keep you entertained as well. Previous visitors recommend grabbing a bite at 45 North before turning in for the night at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, which offers a large outdoor hot tub, on-site dining, a resort shuttle to the ski area and beautiful mountain views.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort: Champion, Pennsylvania
Sitting about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Seven Springs Mountain Resort is a favorite among East Coast skiers. It offers 285 acres of skiable terrain against a 750-foot vertical drop. Out of the nearly 40 trails, just six are rated most difficult (black diamond) and five are rated expert (double black diamond). The rest are either easy or moderate trails, making this ski resort a great place for beginners. If you’ve never skied before, sign up for a private or semiprivate lesson with one of the Seven Springs instructors. However, if you’re seeking a challenge, visit one of the mountain’s seven terrain parks, where you’ll find jumps, rails and, most notably, the 22-foot Superpipe. For an easy morning commute to the mountain, stay at the Slopeside Hotel, which offers 11 restaurants, five bars, an indoor and an outdoor pool, a spa and an 18-hole golf course, in addition to the well-appointed guest rooms. Larger groups can also look at booking one of the on-site cottages, townhomes or chalets. A free shuttle service is available to take you from your accommodations to the mountain where you can enjoy other resort offerings like snow tubing, sleigh rides and snowmobiling tours.
Whiteface Mountain Resort: Wilmington, New York
At Whiteface Mountain Resort you’ll not only find a ski mountain that operates on sustainable energy, but also the tallest vertical drop east of the Rockies. Unique features at this mountain resort include one of the longest intermediate runs in the Northeast, as well as “the slides,” which are essentially steep, chute-like drops with double black diamond difficulty. For an adrenaline rush that may be a bit less intimidating, skiers can also head over to the terrain parks. Even if you come to Whiteface as a hesitant skier, you can leave with more confidence on the trails after signing up for one of the many private or group lessons offered. This mountain resort hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics, so after you’re done shredding, make some time to see the Olympic sights. Then, turn in at The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort for a family-friendly atmosphere with amenities like an indoor pool and an ice rink, or the Hotel North Woods for proximity to downtown Lake Placid.
Wintergreen Resort: Nellysford, Virginia
Winter in the South is not without ski options, and Wintergreen Resort in Virginia offers some of the region’s best. The resort’s two lifts offer visitors access to 26 trails ranging in difficulty. There are rolling intermediate slopes where you can soak in the mountain views alongside steep expert trails that give skiers a straight shot to to the base of the mountain. A terrain park to practice ski tricks and a designated kids area called Ridgely’s Fun Park round out the mountain’s features. Visitors also have the option to sign up for group or private ski lessons at Wintergreen. What this resort lacks in size compared to its western counterparts, it makes up for in activities. When you tire of skiing, you can feel the wind in your hair at the state’s largest tubing park, take a dip in the resort’s indoor pool or treat yourself at the Spa at Wintergreen. Accommodations at the resort range from typical hotel rooms at the Mountain Inn to condominium or home rental options. No matter which accommodation option you select, you’ll enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Timberline Four Seasons Resort: Davis, West Virginia
Trails at the Timberline Four Seasons Resort range from beginner-friendly paths to double black diamond runs. The intermediate Twister trail allows skiers to practice their turns, while the easy Upper Salamander trail gives novices the chance to venture down from the mountain peak. Plus, two terrain parks offer plenty of space for skiers and snowboarders to practice stunts and tricks. Those who want to ease into freestyle tricks and the like should begin on the Snow Squall Terrain Park for small jumps and mini-boxes. When you’re feeling confident, move onto the Thunder Snow Terrain Park for larger features and rails. Whether it’s your first time on the slopes or you’re just looking for extra tips to improve your runs, you can sign up to work one-on-one with an expert instructor or opt for a group lesson. The main lodge offers many food and drink options to satisfy your post-skiing appetite, but visitors also enjoy exploring the restaurants at the base of the mountain. The Timberline Hotel offers convenient ski-in, ski-out access to the resort, but there are also other motels and bed-and-breakfast accommodations in the area convenient to the mountain.
Beech Mountain Resort: Beech Mountain, North Carolina
The Blue Ridge Mountains make for some of the best skiing in the South, and the Beech Mountain Resort is the perfect place to see why. The resort’s 17 trails across 95 skiable acres offer something for skiers or boarders of all levels. Skiers enjoy having the choice between intermediate runs like Upper Shawneehaw and more difficult trails like White Lightning, which originate at the mountain peak. The easier freestyle trail near the mountain’s base is also popular because of the large area it provides for practicing skills. Meanwhile, a terrain park beckons to advanced skiers, who can try conquering rails, boxes and tubes. Not to mention, the mountain earns the superlative of the highest ski area in the eastern U.S. When it comes time to eat, the resort’s 5506′ Skybar (a nod to its peak elevation at 5,506 feet) is a hit with visitors: You can enjoy a snack or a drink while soaking in views of the surrounding peaks from the resort’s summit. A neighboring tubing park with paths up to 700 feet long and a large ice skating rink in the resort village make Beech Mountain Resort popular among families whose little ones may quickly tire of skiing. The village also offers a brewery, more dining options and stores. Plus, there are an array of hotels, cabins, bed-and-breakfast accommodations and condos in the surrounding area for visitors to rest after a long day.
Granite Peak: Wausau, Wisconsin
With 68 trails in addition to four terrain parks and two learning areas, Granite Peak is one of the best ski resorts Wisconsin has to offer. Its terrain parks offer more than 50 boxes, rails and jumps for adventurous skiers to attempt. Not to mention, the parks are expertly groomed every night to provide optimal conditions. The resort caters to skiers of all levels, and some runs even combine difficulty levels. For example, the Western Frontier trail begins as an expert-level run, but merges into the intermediate level Silver Birch trail midway down the mountain. Visitors can sign up for private or group lessons at the Snow School to improve their skills while on vacation. Although it’s been around since 1937, this resort is chock-full of modern amenities, including high-speed chairlifts that can fit up to six people. After a day on the slopes, the nearby town of Wausau will welcome you with cozy restaurants and charming shops. If you’re on a snowy couples retreat, opt to stay at the romantic Jefferson Street Inn downtown; if you’re visiting with young children, book a room at the Grand Lodge Hotel and Waterpark to enjoy a warm indoor water park after a day in the cold. Both provide easy access to the ski resort.
Boyne Mountain Resort: Boyne Falls, Michigan
Northern Michigan is home to this family-friendly ski resort, which features 60 trails serviced by 12 chairlifts. Almost half of the trails are intermediate-level runs while the remainder are divided pretty evenly between beginner and expert slopes. This resort features both man-made and natural terrain parks as well. Visitors can choose between seven parks with everything from gentle banked turns at Chmielew-Ski Skier/Boarder Cross to plenty of jumps and rails at Ramshead Park. While the slopes are full of fun and surprises, you’ll be happy to learn skiing isn’t the only thing to do at Boyne Mountain. Ice skating, snow biking, horseback riding, tubing, zip lining and snowshoeing are sure to keep you busy throughout your stay. Not to mention, you can fill a whole day discovering the cafes, shops and restaurants of The Village area located at the base of the mountain. The Clock Tower Lodge is an ideal place to stay as it offers ski-in, ski-out access to the mountain, as well as an outdoor heated pool, a hot tub, a fitness center and dining. Other options include the Creekside condominiums and a variety of cabin rentals.
Crystal Mountain: Thompsonville, Michigan
This Midwestern ski resort, which sits about 30 miles southwest of Traverse City, sees 11 feet of snowfall each year making for optimal conditions. Eight lift options bring skiers to 58 trails, some of which are lit for night skiing. About half of the trails are suitable for intermediate skiers, while 22% cater to beginners and 30% are geared toward advanced skiers. Three terrain park areas offer access to ramps, halfpipes, jumps and more. There are also cross-country skiing options for those who would rather stay on flat ground. At the base of the mountain, visitors will find a skating rink, an outdoor hot tub center, boutiques, pro shops, restaurants and plenty of lodging options. Stay at the Bungalows at Crystal Den if you’re traveling with a large group, the Inn at the Mountain if you need to mix work with play or The Hamlet for traditional guest rooms.
Breckenridge Ski Resort: Breckenridge, Colorado
If you’ve made it to Breckenridge, you’re already in one of the country’s best skiing destinations, and the amenities at Breckenridge Ski Resort will help you make the most of this wintertime paradise. This mammoth ski resort (about 60 miles southwest of Denver) is a maze just waiting to be explored: Its summit towers at 12,998 feet, and the mountain offers 187 trails serviced by 34 ski lifts. You can practice your tricks at one of the resort’s terrain parks or attempt the high alpine terrain trails unique to this region. After working up an appetite on the slopes, it’s time to hit the town. The historic downtown area is home to boutiques, cafes, museums and breweries galore, turning your ski trip into a full cultural experience. Exhausted skiers can hit the hay at one of the resort’s signature lodging properties, which includes Crystal Peak Lodge and One Ski Hill Place, among others. A stay at a signature property comes with ski valet options, in-house lift tickets and an ideal location with easy access to the mountain.
Aspen Snowmass: Snowmass Village, Colorado
This notoriously upscale ski resort famous for its award-winning slopes and glamorous patrons is not to be missed. Aspen Snowmass, located about 200 miles southwest of Denver, is a must-visit for any skiers looking for killer runs and a vibrant après-ski scene. A whopping 150 miles of trails means there are plenty of options to choose from. There are some beginner-friendly trails, but visitors will find mainly intermediate and expert runs. In fact, 30% of the runs are double black diamonds. When you work up an appetite, you can stop mid-run to enjoy hearty Italian dishes alongside mountain views at the slopeside Sam’s restaurant. Or, at the bottom of the mountain, you can visit Snowmass Base Village, which offers an array of restaurants as well as activities like ice skating and indoor rock climbing. When it’s time to unwind, rest your sore muscles in the chic accommodations at The Little Nell or enjoy the European flair at ski-in, ski-out lodge Chamonix.
Park City Mountain Resort: Park City, Utah
The largest ski resort in the country at 7,300-plus skiable acres, this Utah complex offers about 155 miles of slopes, 39 lifts and plenty of amenities. With more than 330 trails, you’re sure to find one suitable for your skiing (or snowboarding) style. You can navigate through narrow, tree-lined trails near the Tombstone Express lift or opt for the wide open spaces near the Dreamscape lift. If you’re a first-time skier or just want a quick refresher before embarking on your downhill excursion, there are private and group lessons available for children, teens and adults. The mountain’s many terrain parks, which welcome skiers of all levels, are also a major draw for visitors. Not to mention, the Fly Eagle Zipline and the Mountain Coaster will give you an exciting adrenaline rush if you’re not in the mood to ski. Since the resort is located in Park City, there are numerous bars, breweries and restaurants within reach. The resort is situated just 35 miles east of Salt Lake City International Airport, making it an easier commute from airport to mountain compared to other popular resorts out west. An array of ski-in, ski-out accommodation options also make this mountain resort one of the country’s best; some visitor favorites include the Montage Deer Valley and the St. Regis Deer Valley. There are also many stellar rental properties in the area.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Teton Village, Wyoming
Home to about 2,500 acres of the country’s best ski and snowboard terrain, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is another well-regarded vacation option that shouldn’t be missed. Beginners can take lessons at the mountain sports school while intermediate skiers can enjoy shredding on the blue trails near the Casper and Teton lifts. The resort is not without adrenaline-pumping runs for expert skiers, though. Corbet’s Couloir, a nearly vertical drop, is one of the most famous features of this mountain. The resort also has several terrain parks with mixtures of natural and man-made structures to practice your tricks. The parks aren’t limited to expert skiers either – there are plenty of beginner-level features to try out. Other resort features include the aerial tram, which provides panoramic mountain views, as well as access to snowmobiling, biking and paragliding. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers much in the way of après-ski activities, too – including the slopeside Piste Mountain Bistro. Travelers will have numerous lodging options to choose from, such as the Hotel Terra Jackson Hole and Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole.
Big Sky Resort: Big Sky, Montana
(Jeff Engerbretson/Courtesy of Big Sky Resort Montana)
A massive mountain complex featuring 5,850 skiable acres, diverse trails and many different lodging options, Big Sky Resort in southern Montana promises a memorable trip for every type of traveler. If you want all the perks of a slopeside hotel, book a room at the Huntley Lodge where you’ll enjoy direct access to the Explorer lift and ski storage as well as a pool, a hot tub and on-site dining. Attached to the Huntley Lodge is the Shoshone Condominium Hotel, which is ideal for large groups seeking the conveniences of home, such as full-service kitchens and separate bedrooms, throughout their ski trip. For a more luxurious stay, Summit at Big Sky is the place to be: It offers studio- and condominium-style accommodations near downtown Mountain Village shops and restaurants. No matter where you choose to hang your hat, you’ll have easy access to more than 300 trails and 38 lifts. Seven terrain parks will keep skiers busy, and with runs that stretch for up to 6 miles, you can take your time traversing the face of this mountain. Advanced and expert trails make up the majority of the mountain’s offerings but there are still several beginner and intermediate options. Zip lining adventures, dog-sledding excursions, sleigh rides and snowmobile tours mean a visit to Big Sky Resort is about more than just skiing.
Sun Valley Resort: Sun Valley, Idaho
Known for being the site of the world’s first chairlift, Sun Valley Resort continuously makes strides to provide top-notch skiing conditions for all. Two mountains, Baldy and Dollar Mountain, give this resort in central Idaho ample ground and diverse terrain. Baldy draws advanced skiers who can adventure along the 100 trails serviced by 12 lifts. On the other hand, Dollar Mountain is the place for students, as its 76 treeless trails make it ideal for beginners. Sun Valley stays true to its name and boasts sunny days for about 300 days of the year, so you don’t have to worry about skiing in unfortunate weather conditions. The resort’s four lodges make it convenient to stop midday for a bite to eat or a moment to rest in a cozy atmosphere. Not to mention, the downtown area of Sun Valley at the base of the mountains provides ample accommodation options whether you’re looking for a classic hotel or a rental home. Stay at Sun Valley Lodge for a spa and glass-enclosed pool, or Sun Valley Inn for a cozier experience reminiscent of a European ski lodge. No matter where you hang your hat, you’ll have access to all the exciting activities in Sun Valley, including sleigh rides, ice skating rinks and ice shows.
The Summit at Snoqualmie: Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
(Courtesy of Kevin Nolan)
This family-friendly ski resort sits just about 50 miles east of Seattle, making for the perfect winter getaway from the city. The resort’s 25 lifts service nearly 2,000 acres of skiable land with a 2,280-foot vertical drop. The mountain caters mainly toward intermediate and advanced skiers, however, it has its fair share of beginner and expert terrain as well. Two terrain parks and 23 Nordic skiing trails round out the amenities at this Washington mountain. While daytime skiing is fun, The Summit at Snoqualmine is known for its night skiing options. Sneak out after dark to venture around the 600 acres of well-lit night skiing terrain, which includes beginner-friendly trails as well as more advanced options. Visitors can buy souvenirs or other necessary ski items from the many shops at the base of the mountain, and they can enjoy a variety of dining options. The resort doesn’t have designated ski-in, ski-out lodging, but there are plenty of accommodation options for travelers in the surrounding towns. Budget-conscious skiers can opt for the Best Western Plus Snowcap Lodge, families can enjoy the activities at The Lodge at Suncadia Resort and those looking for a bit of luxury can book a stay at the Salish Lodge & Spa.
Crystal Mountain Resort: Pierce County, Washington
Located just outside Mount Rainier National Park, this resort is another of Washington’s top ski offerings. Eleven lifts give visitors access to 57 designated trails, more than half of which are intermediate level runs. The rest are split between beginner and expert slopes, all of which see close to 500 inches of snowfall annually. The Summit House Restaurant serves gourmet dishes to hungry skiers about 7,000 feet above sea level. Visitors can also enjoy mid-mountain eats at Campbell Basin Lodge or a variety of other dining options at the base. Three cozy accommodation options await tired adventurers at the base: The Alpine Inn, The Village Inn and the Quicksilver Lodge. These hotels differ in style, but all offer convenient amenities like free Wi-Fi access and close proximity to ski lifts. You’ll find the Crystal Mountain Resort about 80 miles southeast of Seattle.
Mount Bachelor: Bend, Oregon
(Courtesy of Mt. Bachelor)
This former volcano-turned-ski mountain offers unique terrain and is surrounded by the lively city of Bend. The city is known for its plethora of brewery options as well as shopping and dining options, and visitors are sure to have fun in this area even when they’re not skiing. However, since skiing is one of the main attractions, it’s worth learning about the mountain. Mount Bachelor offers 101 runs across more than 4,000 skiable acres. With a 3,365-foot vertical drop and runs that stretch on for up to 4 miles, this resort will thrill all skiers. Twelve operating ski lifts means you shouldn’t have to wait long to get back on the slopes. And the fun doesn’t end there: The resort also offers tubing, snowshoeing and dog-sledding excursions. When it’s time to bed down, visitors can choose to stay at the boutique Tetherow hotel, the family-friendly Sunriver Resort or one of the many other hotels in the area. What’s more, the ski resort offers seasonal shuttle service from downtown Bend to the mountain.
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