There are many places that pop up when we think of great ski destinations. Most of these places happen to be located on the West Coast in the U.S. with its great snow accumulation. For those of us that love the winter snow and the rush of flying down a mountain, skiing is definitely where it’s at. Below is a list of the greatest ski destinations in the U.S., all of which are sure to give you the thrill and excitement that you are looking for.
Alta is a ski area that many serious skiers speak of in hushed tones. Not many people know of the greatness that Alta offers, with its deep, dry powder. It is not as big as some other ski resorts, but it sure is able to pack a punch when it comes to great powder. When visiting Alta, you can reach the destination in only an hour from Salt Lake City International Airport. This makes it great for travelers ski-resort hopping during their winter vacation. Alta has great intermediate slopes ranging from the Big Dipper to Rock and Roll, but what makes Alta most famous is its steep ungroomed chutes located on and off the trail map. One of the best reasons that skiers find their way to Alta is the cost of a lift pass. Alta has one of the cheapest lift passes in the Rockies, something definitely worth taking advantage of.
Aspen is a ski destination that needs to be de-mystified. For the longest time it has been viewed as a destination only suitable for seasoned skiers. There is no beginner terrain, but the trails and slopes are really not all that hard. It is a great destination for anyone that has a minimum amount of skill. The only reason that beginners are not advised to ski Ajax, the main mountain in Aspen, is because the ski trails become like race tracks at the end of the day, making it hard to make a good stop. In addition to the great skiing that Aspen has to offer, the town is a great place to indulge in a little bit of luxury. Film stars frequently visit Aspen for a getaway, and are treated like anyone else when they are served in a local restaurant. There is also great shopping to break up the activities a little bit. There are four mountains that make up the whole of Aspen, Ajax, Buttermilk, Highlands, and Snowmass, all of which offer a great diversity of good skiing.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte is a ski resort that is able to enjoy its diversity. It is a relatively small resort, but has become internationally known. The greatest attraction about Crested Butte is that it offers some of the gentlest and most challenging skiing in the Rockies. The fame that the resort enjoys comes from two different sources: its extreme skiing, and two celebrities. America’s first Olympic downhill gold medalist in 1984, Bill Johnson, has become the resort’s “ski ambassador” and has retained this title for some years. Also, former president Carter and his wife Rosalyn are regular visitors to the resort. Another aspect about Crested Butte that makes it unique is that it has one of the biggest programs for disabled skiers in the country.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole Ski Resort located at Teton Village has built a reputation unparalleled by others as being one of the best ski areas in the U.S. There are a few things that draw visitors in to Jackson Hole’s unique resort. Of course, they offer great skiing with vertical drops of 4,166 feet, but they also offer great scenery like the wondrous Teton mountain range, and wildlife like moose, coyote’s and America’s largest Elk reserve. You’ll also get a sense of a wild-west atmosphere as you stroll through town on the wooden sidewalks, stopping at some of the cowboy bars in the town of Jackson. Jackson Hole is not for the beginning skier, rather for the intermediate and expert skiers. You’ll experience excitement and “air” as you race down the great hills on the mountainside.
Snowbird is a resort that offers pretty much everything: great snow (nearly 42 feet per year!), challenging bowls, and one of the widest intermediate trails in the country which is Big Emma. Also, don’t worry about wasting time waiting to get back up to the top of the mountain, because Snowbird also offers a fast cable car that only takes 8 minutes to get to the top of Hidden Peak (10,990 feet). Located only 30 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport means that you’ll be able to get in a whole day of skiing on your arrival day and ski late on your departure day. Snowbird’s most challenging skiing takes place in its steep-sided bowl areas, Gad Valley, and Peruvian Gulch. These locations have chutes that serve as launching pads for those who like the “free-fall” aspect of skiing. If you like a more quiet ski experience, head on over to Chip’s Run and enjoy the same vertical drip and scenery as more advanced skiers but at a much quieter pace. It’s best to head over to Snowbird right after a recent snow storm because the powder is exhilarating!
Wherever you decide to venture out to this winter season, make sure that you make the most of your trip. Plan to arrive early and leave late, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the scenic atmosphere of the ski resort. This is a great opportunity for families to enjoy some quality time together as they improve their skills.