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Here are our recommendations for the best places to ski and stay in top ski vacation destinations
Planning a ski trip this season? Start by choosing your ski vacation destination with our roundup of the best places to ski in destinations across the U.S. Each location has plenty to offer for all skier levels, from beginners to black-diamond adventurers, and everyone in between.
Colorado is home to some of the country’s top ski resorts. And Vail Ski Resort may be the nation’s most popular. Vail boasts 5,289 skiable acres, along with a variety of shops, restaurants and mountain views. If Vail is the top U.S. ski resort town, then a close second would be Breckenridge, CO. Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge claims the highest high-speed chair lift in North America. With its five peaks, Breckenridge Resort offers options for all levels, from beginners to expert skiers. Breckenridge also offers a wide array of vacation rental options, including affordable condos and cabins to super-luxury resorts and chalets.
Home to the Sundance Film Festival, the resort town of Park City, UT offers world class skiing, and has hosted skiing and snowboarding events for the Winter Olympics. The area boasts two big ski resorts. Park City Mountain ski resort is a great place for a family ski vacation, and it offers 7,300 acres of skiable terrain and nearly endless variety. The resort is known for terrain parks with big jumps and manmade rails that allow freestyle skiers to test their skills. Park City also has tubing and an indoor action sports park, so there’s something for everyone in the family. Nearby Deer Valley Resort attracts upscale skiers with amenities that include luxury lodging, in-town car service and curbside ski valets.
California is home to more top ski destinations. Big Bear Mountain Resort operates two properties, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Bear Mountain offers Southern California’s only half pipes for thrill-seeking skiers and snowboarders to show off their flips and other tricks. Bear Mountain also has the highest lift-served peak at 8,805 feet and offers skill-builder parks where you can learn to ski or improve your skills. Snow Summit offers 240 skiable acres and is known for its wide-open runs, as well as Grizzly Ridge Tube Park and night skiing. But don’t forget about Lake Tahoe resorts. South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Mountain Resort offers 28 chairlifts serving 97 trails and pristine backcountry terrain. And in North Lake Tahoe, stay in Truckee, Tahoma or Olympic Village and ski at the world-famous Squaw Valley Ski Resort, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, or nearby Alpine Meadows Ski Resort.
Oregon offers skiers a diverse range of terrain options, from upscale mountain resorts to small local runs. The state has 12 ski areas in total, but some of the best slopes are found in Bend, OR. Nearby Mt. Bachelor—North America’s sixth largest ski resort— the ski resort has over 4,000 skiable acres and offers a wide variety of skiing and snowboarding options for all levels of expertise. Other favorite ski areas in Oregon are the resorts located off the stratovolcano Mt. Hood. Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood Meadows, Cooper Spur and Mt.Hood Ski Bowl are each located near Mt. Hood, the tallest in Mountain in Oregon! Timberline is the only ski area in North America open all 12 months of the year and is located near the top of the 11,245-foot volcano mountain.
Ski season in North Carolina normally runs from November through early April and is home to the highest ski area in Eastern America. If you’re looking for the best family-friendly and beginner skiing experience, Appalachian Ski Mountain or Wolf Ridge Ski Resort may be the place for you. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, you can find some of the country’s best terrain parks at Appalachian Ski Mountain. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is only 40 minutes north of Asheville and has an elevation of 4,700 feet. With non-threatening slopes and groomed runs ideal for new and intermediate skiers, these charming resorts are a throwback to the old-school days of skiing. Cataloochee Ski Area offers an experience for both the beginner and intermediate ski experience. Also an easy drive from Asheville, Cataloochee is set on the edge of the Smoky Mountains and is the oldest ski area in North Carolina. Beech Mountain, with a peak elevation of 5,506 feet, 17 runs spread across 95 skiable acres, and a total vertical drop of 830 feet, is a North Carolina favorite for expert skiers. Nearby is Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, the largest ski area in the state. Sugar Mountain has 125 acres of skiable terrain, 21 unique runs, and offers some of the most sensational mountain range views in the country from the slopes.
Whether you’re planning a romantic ski trip for two or a big family ski vacation, you’ll want to find a comfortable place to get some rest and relaxation after an invigorating day on the slopes. You can choose from many ski vacation lodging options, from a rustic cabin to a luxurious mountain-view home to a ski-in/ski-out vacation rental near the slopes so you can maximize your skiing time. In addition to thinking about the type of property you prefer, you’ll want to make a list of your must-have amenities, such as a wood-burning fireplace, hot tub or heated swimming pool to help you warm up and relax after a day of skiing. If you’re traveling with your family, you might want to look for a chef’s kitchen. Many vacation rentals also offer stunning mountain views.