It’s a tough job picking the best ski resorts in the USA but someone’s got to do it, and if it means you try somewhere new, venture further afield, and find a new love then our work is complete. So here is our list of the 10 best ski resorts in the USA. A continent where the Rocky Mountains run the length of it, many ski resorts start at 3,000m with the slopes soaring much higher and the snow record is legendary. Home to the likes of Vail, Aspen and Heavenly, US ski resorts are seriously fun business. Whether you’re a freestyle fanatic or a backcountry bandit, or happily between the two and cruising the groomers, there’s some fabulous skiing to be had in the USA. So take your pick from these world-class ski resorts.
Aspen is the home of glitz and glamour in the US ski world. With its buzzing downtown of elegant Victorian buildings and luxurious hotels plus starry Aspen nightlife it’s the place to see and be seen. But there’s more to this shiny ski resort. More importantly to us, there’s some epic skiing, spread across four distinct mountains: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass.
Each of these have their own character. Aspen Mountain, known as Ajax, rises from the centre of Aspen and is full of charming to challenging pitches, stashes and glades; Aspen Highlands is an away-from-it-all playground of double-black steeps; Buttermilk hosts ESPN’s Winter X Games so has two incredible terrain parks and a superpipe. But there are also lots of easy-going groomers and glades; and Snowmass is the place to go for families and beginners with lots of long blues and friendly tree runs.
On the shores of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly is appropriately named. Its divine slopes overlook the mountain-fringed lake’s blue water in one direction and the arid Nevada desert in the other. Heavenly is truly heavenly.
Spend your ski holiday here and you’ll soon see why Heavenly mountain resort is regularly named one of the best ski resorts in the USA. Combining one of the USA’s strongest snow records with a great average of 300 days of sunshine a year and you can expect plenty of bluebird powder days and great tree skiing.
With the California/Nevada border running through it, the ski resort combines a lively, fun mix of casinos in Nevada and taco grills in California. With terrain to suit all abilities, Heavenly makes for a hallowed holiday.
A favourite with advanced skiers, Breckenridge is home to some of the USA’s highest ski terrain. It boasts some black bowls way above the tree line and plenty of double-black chutes. For beginner and intermediate skiers, Breckenridge has plenty of long cruising blues and greens running through its lower and mid-mountain slopes.
As one of the best ski resorts in the USA, Breckenridge matches its top-class terrain with a ski resort that lives up to expectations. Formerly a mining town, the colourfully painted Victorian buildings, now bars, restaurants and shops, line Main Street while lots of good value ski-in ski-out hotels and condos have been built around the edges.
As one of the most luxurious and best ski resorts in the USA, for many this makes Beaver Creek one of their favourites. Its slopes effortlessly cater to all tastes, from excellent nursery slopes to long groomed blues. From challenging moguls to heart-stopping double-diamond glades, and the whole lot is served by a wonderfully efficient lift system.
Off the slopes, Beaver Creek is refined and stylish. Pampering to its guests, as one of the best ski resorts in the USA you can always expect the highest quality. In particular there are heated pavements, escalators to the slopes and beautiful accommodation. Plus there’s an ice rink in the centre of the village lined with designer boutiques and gourmet restaurants. One of the highlights? We love taking a sleigh ride out to Beano’s Cabin at the base of Larkspur Bowl for its five-course alpine feast.
For some of the best backcountry terrain in the USA, look no further than Jackson Hole. A venerable institution of a ski resort, Jackson is a real wild town with the terrain to match. Serious steeps, big bumps and plentiful powder are the order of the day and rightly give the Teton Mountains hallowed status among experts
It’s next level extreme, but don’t let that deter you if you’re more of an intermediate. Swerve Rendezvous Mountain and head instead for Apres-Vous Mountain, where you’ll find swathes of greens and blues cutting through the trees, plus some not-so-silly black runs. The town of Jackson is 20 minutes away and proper old-school Wild West. Think clapboard buildings and saloon bars. Or you can opt to stay at the foot of the mountains in the purpose-built Teton Village.
The skiing at Mammoth ski resort may only be on one mountain but it just feels… big. Must be something to do with its name. This Californian delight earns its place on our list of the 10 best ski resorts in the USA with its variety and versatility on the snow, and its buzzing weekend atmosphere off it.
A true resort for everyone, Mammoth has big bowls and terrific trails, wide open at the top and gently meandering at the bottom, plus a huge terrain park and some fabulous tree runs. Surprisingly quiet, it’s a great spot for early intermediates to have the slopes to themselves and boost their confidence.
With a huge variety of well-connected terrain and a lively Main Street, a winter ski holiday to Park City Mountain is one of our favourite introductions to skiing in America. With 7,300 acres of terrain, it’s the largest ski resort in the USA and offers skiers an endless choice of wide runs. This includes powder bowls and short, sharp blacks, which combine to make it one of the best ski resorts in the USA.
Visitors have a choice of two distinct bases. There’s Park City, with its aforementioned Main Street, or Canyons Village, for ski-in ski-out convenience. Staying in Park City gets our vote for its lively après ski of live music and dancing, plus the home-brewed ale from the Wasatch Pub is a must.
Famed for its freeride lines and big mountain status, Palisades Tahoe is one of the best ski resorts in the USA for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Home to such free-skiing legends as Shane McConkey and Scot Schmidt, the area has some serious stuff across its six peaks.
But it’s not all extreme chutes and iconic lines when skiing in the US, intermediates will be happy here too. Especially when you throw in neighbouring Alpine Meadows, which shares a lift pass and brings the combined acreage to 6,000 of powder fun. Palisades Tahoe ski resort is small but perfectly formed, with some choice après bars and stunning lake views.
Arguably the most famous of all the American ski resorts. No list of the 10 best ski resorts in the USA would be complete without mention of Vail. A behemoth in every sense of the word, its world-class ski terrain covers 5,239 acres of easily accessible and appropriately adventurous skiing.
On the Front Side of the mountain you’ll find lots of cruising groomers and trails among the trees. However, it’s the Back Bowls where Vail really earns its stripes. Powder days in Blue Sky Basin are hard to beat, and the ski area becomes a vast playground of glades, bowls and steep chutes. The sprawling town of Vail is always buzzing. Even during the day as many visitors come for the excellent shopping, bars and restaurants alone. But why you’d choose not to ski here is beyond us.
Making our list of best ski resorts in the US is Northstar at Tahoe. It’s a firm favourite with families for its endless intermediate ski terrain and on-slope accommodation. North-facing slopes laced with blue runs are a snow-sure paradise when skiing in the US. There’s freestyle fun galore around the Vista Express’ nine parks, with everything from a Burton Progression park for beginners to huge rails and jumps in Pinball and two large halfpipes.
And that slope-side accommodation? Book into Ski Trails Condominiums and you’ll be right on the trails, ready to go first thing. Opt instead to stay in the village and there’s a ton of convenient options, plus lots of family-friendly activities and après events.
To discuss which of the best ski resorts in the USA is right for your next ski holiday, speak to our team of ski experts. Call us on 020 7471 7700.