Unlike the last two winter seasons, ski resorts across the country are fully open and welcoming record numbers of skiers and snowboarders — great news for anybody who has spent the last eight months dreaming of getting back on the slopes. To make planning your winter ski getaway a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite U.S. resorts categorized by state. From the steep, leg-burning runs at Sun Valley to Vail’s famous back bowls and Park City’s seemingly endless supply of groomed terrain, our list features something for everyone — powder hounds and casual skiers alike.
Photo: Andrew Braden via Ski Mag.
It’s no secret that Utah is home to some of the best skiing in the world, and many of its top resorts are located within an hour of Salt Lake City International Airport. Of these resorts, Park City is probably one of the most accessible — and therefore one of the most popular — in the state. It’s also the largest ski resort in the country, with 7,300 acres, 42 lifts, and 330 trails. You’ll find trails for every ability level here, as well as a cool hangout area with fire pits called Ski Beach that’s perfect for apres-ski lovers. Advanced skiers will love the back bowls, especially after a fresh dump of powder. And the Western-style style at the base brims with great restaurants and bars to refuel at and celebrate a great day on the mountain. Favorite spots include the lively No Name Saloon, the contemporary 501 On Main, and the cozy Alpine Distilling Bar.
Sure, Park City gets most of the hype (and for good reason, too), but savvy skiers looking for a more laidback — and surprisingly luxe — experience make a beeline for Snowbasin. This smaller, under-the-radar resort hosted the men’s and women’s downhill, super G, and combined races during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and all of the beautiful, top-of-the-line lodges and amenities built for the occasion are still available to skiers and snowboarders. With 3,000 skiable acres, it’s less than half the size of Park City, but its amazing wide-open bowls and stunning gladed runs more than make up for it. Plus, you won’t have to deal with long lift lines or dodging other skiers and boarders on the slopes. One of the oldest continuously operating resorts in the country, Snowbasin is consistently named one of the best family resorts in the U.S. The closest town to the resort is Ogden, though you’ll find more options for hotels and restaurants in Salt Lake City just an hour drive away.
If you’re a purist after serious powder and difficult terrain, look no further than Alta. This exclusive resort at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon frequently receives the most snow in the state (that’s about 550 inches annually). With 2,200 acres of skiable terrain, it’s the smallest resort on our list. However, given how steep most of the runs here are, you’ll be hard-pressed to conquer this mountain in a single weekend. Alta is our recommendation for advanced skiers — snowboarders aren’t allowed — who want a pure, old-school winter getaway. While the resort isn’t exactly known for its après scene, you will have a solid list of restaurants and bars to wrap your day up at. The Alta Peruvian Lodge bar serves up 80s vibes and complimentary snacks, the Gulch Pub serves up tasty pizza and breathtaking views, and the Collins Grill is your go-to for an upscale European-inspired dinner paired with a head-spinning selection of wines.
Photo: Courtesy of Ski Mag.
Sun Valley Resort has been on the map since the 1930s, when A-listers like Ernest Hemingway and Clark Gable turned it into one of the country’s first “luxury” ski getaways. Today, it attracts a combination of beginners and families, who head for the gentle slopes of Dollar Mountain, and advanced skiers who prefer the consistent, quad-crushing pitch of the runs on Bald Mountain. Credited with inventing the first ski chairlift in the world, Sun Valley Resort If downhill skiing isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy over 25 miles of well-groomed cross-country and snowshoe trails. The town of Ketchum (most likely where you’ll be staying) is a charming western village dotted with log cabin-style eateries, saloons, and quaint local boutiques. The caffeinated creations at Java On Fourth are the perfect pre-lift pick-me-up. For a top-notch Italian dinner, make a reservation at the intimate Enoteca. And at The Covey, you can refuel with creative and hearty hearth-style cooking, particularly flavorful dry-aged steaks and housemade pastas. The bar scene is laid-back and low-key (though The Cellar Pub on Sun Valley Road gets pretty lively), with a focus on high-quality cocktails made with locally distilled spirits. Just hit up Warfield Distillery & Brewery if you don’t believe us.
Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts.
From beginners to backcountry experts, everyone loves Vail. Sure, it’s best avoided during major holidays when crowds flood its 5,289 skiable acres — but aside from that, this huge Summit County gem is hard to top. It checks all the boxes — well-groomed pistes for first-timers, scenic tree runs, blue and black back bowls, bump runs and seemingly endless off-piste fun. There is so much terrain to ski here that you absolutely need at least weekend. Even then, you’ll likely wrap up your getaway wishing you had a few more days to revisit all your favorite runs. The Bavarian-inspired village at the base is also incredibly charming and frequently hosts concerts and entertainers. Head to the George Restaurant & Pub for cheap eats and a killer happy hour, try the Red Lion for live music, or enjoy some elevated cocktails at the Four Seasons’ Remedy Bar. Wine lovers will enjoy the vintages on offer at Root & Flower, and at The Slope Room you’ll find delicious and creative New American cuisine crafted using local ingredients.
Vogue referred to Crested Butte as Colorado’s best-kept secrets, and many skiers who have visited this under-the-radar resort might agree. The runs here tend to lack the crowds you might expect at better-known Summit County resorts like Breckenridge — partially due to its out-of-the-way location and it’s challenging, rugged terrain. The vibe here is more down-to-earth than nearby Aspen and feels infinitely more local. But though you’ll find plenty of seasoned skiers here, intermediate and even cautious beginners will have a good number of runs to practice on. In fact, 80% of the mountain is blues and greens, plus more advanced bowls and chutes for daredevils. You’ll have two options for accommodations — either on the mountain or in town (there’s a free shuttle that connects the two every 15 minutes). The Lodge at Mountaineer Square, Westwall Lodge, and the ski-in, ski-out Elevation Hotel & Spa are our picks for slopeside digs. If you prefer to stay in town, you’ll have more options to choose from, including the upscale Taylor River Lodge, the more traditional Elk Mountain Lodge, and the airy Public House Lofts. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, crush your cravings with hits-the-spot pizza at Secret Stash or flavorful elk tenderloin paired with world-class cocktails at Elk Avenue Prime. Breakfast at McGill’s is a must, as are cocktails at The Dogwood, The Last Steep Bar & Grill, and Irwin Brewing Company’s Public House.
Photo: Courtesy of Stowe Country Homes.
Stowe Mountain offers a luxurious East Coast ski getaway within reach of postcard-pretty New England towns, covered bridges, and charming barns. The area also gets plenty of snow in the winter and offers a balanced mix of mostly blue and black runs. If you’re finding your feet again after a long spring and summer off the slopes, start on one of the mountain’s easy green runs, then move onto more challenging terrain. One of the best things about Stowe is that the resort makes planning a world-class ski getaway effortless, thanks to the Lodge at Spruce Peak. The closest hotel to the mountain, it offers ski-in and ski-out accommodations, ski valets, and even a spa for kids. And the base village also offers plenty to do once your skis come off — including an ice-skating rink, live musical performances, and even a massive, tented pavilion sponsored by WhistlePig Whiskey that serves hot, spirited libations, fire-baked raclette, and traditional Alpine cuisine.