Who doesn’t love a good ski trip? Fresh corduroy on the slopes, bluebird days, world-class cuisine, and luxurious amenities: the best mountain resorts have it all. But with so much to offer, choosing the right one is no easy decision. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of resorts and destinations that are sure to take your ski trip to the next level.
Home to big mountains and wild backcountry, the West Coast of the United States is a mecca for many ski and snowboarding enthusiasts.
While not as well-known as some of the other Colorado resort towns, Telluride offers guests the best of both worlds. It may be historic (Butch Cassidy once robbed a bank here), but in recent years, it has added an ultra-modern “upper” village while retaining all its folksy charm. Guests get to enjoy serious, no-frills skiing, indulge in authentic western cuisine, and kick back in luxurious hotels and condos when they’re done.
The biggest mountain resort in North America, Vail Ski Resort also offers some of the widest variety of terrain. From its world-renowned back bowls to its long cruiser greens, Vail has something to satisfy the ski needs of every visitor. Its interconnected villages give off a very European flavor, with a plethora of shopping, nightlife, and other mountain activities for the non-skier. Add to that Vail’s super-convenient access from Denver International Airport, and it’s easy to see why it’s also the continent’s most popular ski resort.
Just 45 minutes from Salt Lake City, Park City Ski Resort is easily accessible for travelers visiting Utah. But the best part about a trip to Park City is that once on the resort, guests will have access to a variety of skiing options and sister resorts to choose from, including the Canyons and Deer Valley. The nearby town offers a lot of shopping and dining options for non-skiers, and the resort’s wide-open trails are perfect for beginners and experts alike. It’s also known for excellent ski conditions, luxury accommodations, fine restaurants, and lively après-ski venues.
Few would argue that Sun Valley is among Idaho’s premier ski destinations. The resort provides both avid and novice skiers access to slopes on Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain. With over 120 runs and 3400 feet of vertical drop, you’ll need to try them all every day of the region’s unusually long ski season. Sun Valley is appropriately named because of its 120-150 skiable days, three fourths of them are sunny during the average year. Between these two peaks is a mix of high-vertical downhill skiing and glade skiing. Sun Valley also holds the distinction of operating the first-ever ski lift!
Sun Valley resort is home to a number of lodging options, with the popular Sun Valley Lodge having recently been renovated. The reimagined space features a spa, fitness center, and pool to accompany its 108 rooms.
While they might lack the sheer verticality of their West Coast counterparts, East Coast resorts have plenty to offer. In fact, any “ice coast” skier or snowboarder will tell you that, when it comes to technical runs and tree skiing, they’re hard to beat.
When it comes to skiing in the east, few resorts can match Stowe’s legacy. Between its two mountains, Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, Stowe offers guests a special kind of ski experience—one that isn’t so much measured by numbers of trails or skiable acres but by a sense of discovery. Adding to its appeal, the quaint New England ski village is equally perfect for family vacations and romantic getaways.
Known colloquially as “The Beast,” Killington Mountain Resort & Ski Area is the largest resort on the East Coast. Located in Vermont’s Green Mountains, Killington boasts over 1,200 acres of skiing and the longest operating season of any East Coast resort. Its large number of varied trails make it great for families and groups of all skill levels, and the resort offers an array of accommodations that range from economy to deluxe.
If powder is what you’re after, the resort at Jay Peak is unrivaled on the East Coast. Benefiting from supreme lake-effect conditions, this Northern Vermont mountain puts up annual snowfall numbers that rival resorts out west. But Jay Peak is more than just a powder hound’s dream. With a movie, theatre, ice rink, and all-season water park, the resort is also perfect for families or guests who want to hit more than just the slopes.
Beginners and experienced skiers alike with be delighted with Sugarloaf, a storied Maine resort known for its long continuous vertical drop and versatile ski experience. Located in the stunning Carrabassett Valley, Sugarloaf Mountain and its eponymous resort, are full of character and fun for all. The nearly 60 miles of skiable trails are almost perfectly balanced between beginner, intermediate and expert-level slopes. Whiffletree Quad is known as a mecca of east coast skiing as its skiable slopes extend from the peak of Sugarloaf Moutain all the way to its base. But those looking for a challenge may head right for the aptly-named Widowmaker, a 2,464-foot black diamond downhill piste known for its single, intense drop of over 70 feet.
During the spring and summer months, Carrabassett Valley is known to thrill seekers as a mountain biking, ziplining, and high-difficulty hiking hub.
For travelers seeking a mixture of steep slopes and old-world culture, European mountain resorts offer both in spades. Whether it’s the allure of high-elevation resorts and turns that continue well into spring, unique lodgings and vibrant après-ski culture, or the opportunity to extend your stay and visit multiple countries, a European ski trip is a unique experience.
Lake Como is an incredibly picturesque area that straddles the Italian and Swiss Alps. This puts it within driving distance of multiple mountain resorts and countries, making it a prime location for ski trips and cultural excursions.
Nestled in the Swiss Alps, the resort town of St. Moritz is a world-renowned ski destination. With World Cup-quality slopes and a focus on health and wellness, the resort town provides the perfect balance of challenge and leisure.
For great snowpack conditions and a ski season that stretches into April, look no further than Val d’Isere. Located in the majestic French Alps, not only does the resort guarantee almost year-round snow and vast acres of skiing, but it is also incredibly tourist-friendly. All-inclusive passes, kids discounts, and easy mountain access make Val d’Isere stand out from the pack.
Located in Germany in the heart of the Bavarian Forest, Aber is known as a family-friendly ski resort. Its namesake mountain, called Great Arber in English, is the largest in the Bavarian Forest. Considered a highly-modern and accessible resort, Arber is full of both easy and intermediate trails perfect for children and skiing novices. The resort prides itself on its kid-friendly slopes and amenities including safety-enhanced ski lifts and kid’s slalom ski courses.
This resort is contained within the Arberland National Park, so there is never a shortage of activities during any time of year. In addition to skiing, Aber guests also enjoy cycling, swimming, fishing, climbing, and golf.
Why You Should Book Now
Book airfare and accommodations early for a stress-free ski trip. Our advisors can help ensure airport transportation is comfortable and on time, and that you have access to a rental vehicle suitable for snowy mountain passes. The Travel Team can also arrange lift tickets and dinner reservations so you can spend more time on the slopes and less time waiting in line.
West Coast resorts tend to fill up quickly, with guests coming from other countries as well as neighboring states to enjoy world-class skiing. East Coast resorts tend to have less lodging and fill up fast with regional travelers who know the best times to ski their local slopes.
The Travel Team can help you plan all components of your trip and suggest areas you can include to extend your vacation.