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9 of the Best Places To Go Skiing in the US

Find the ideal spot for your snow style, from bunny slope to backcountry.

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Hi, I'm Naomi!

Seattle-based writer Naomi Tomky explores the world with a hungry eye, digging into the intersection of food, culture, and travel. She is an Association of Food Journalists and Lowell Thomas award-winner, and her cookbook, The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook, was declared one of 2019’s best by the San Francisco Chronicle. Follow her culinary travels and hunger-inducing ramblings on Twitter and Instagram.

From the first fall flakes of fluffy powder floating down in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to the final summer turns on Pacific Northwest glaciers, ski season in the US includes destinations to fit every skier and snowboarder. Whether you prefer the first gondola up from a Utah resort or sliding down the runs in a classic Vermont ski town, these spots will provide the smoothest slopes and memorable drops of your snow-filled dreams.

California

stone building with olympic rings in front of a ski lift
Lake Tahoe hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960.Photo Credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock

Bring the low-key vibes to the high mountains.

In a state better known for its chilled-out surfers than chilly snowboarders, the sun shines on beaches and ski slopes alike—the sprawling 3,500 acres (1,416 hectares) of terrain at Mammoth Mountain and many of the Lake Tahoe resorts get 300 days of sunshine a year and still somehow average 400 inches (1,016 centimeters) of annual snowfall. Help yourself fit in with those relaxed vibes by hiring a car to take you to Mammoth or Tahoe to skip the stress of driving in a storm.

Wyoming

steep mountain slope with fresh powder and snow-dusted coniferous trees
In Wyoming, you'll find fresh powder for days.Photo Credit: Toasted Pictures / Shutterstock

Pack your ski helmet and your cowboy hat.

It’s a rodeo out there on Wyoming’s mountains, and you’ll want to hold on tight for whatever wild ride you choose. Start with the gentle slopes of Snow King, right in the famous ski town of Jackson Hole, or head straight to the storied Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, where more than half the runs are designed for experts. Just make sure to save some energy to explore the nearby Grand Tetons and see the local elk, moose, and eagles.

Related: Top 9 Things to Do in Jackson Hole (That Aren't Yellowstone or Grand Teton)

Utah

view from ski slope looking downhill into ski town
Deer Valley Resort is one of Utah's top ski destinations (literally—there's no snowboarding allowed.)Photo Credit: David A Litman / Shutterstock

Explore canyons full of resort options.

Discover more than 10 distinct ski resorts within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake City, each with its own unique style and draw, but all featuring the state’s famous ultra-light powder. The upscale resort town of Park City has that classic eponymous ski resort vibe, home to the luxury (skiers-only) Deer Valley and the newer Woodward. Alternatively, you can rent performance gear in Cottonwood Canyon and open the door to a day at the top of the Snowbird tram, taking baby steps at beginner-friendly Brighton, flying down the slopes of the aptly named Solitude, or shredding the endless powder at Alta.

Colorado

view from a chair on a ski lift overlooking slope with skiers
Yes, Steamboat Springs has Colorado's famous champagne powder.Photo Credit: Likoper / Shutterstock

Toast to champagne powder.

There are no wrong turns when it comes to picking a Colorado ski resort. Every one of the almost two dozen resorts in the high-altitude paradise beckons with champagne powder and its own special touches.

Come for the high-end mountain towns and famous ski school of Aspen, and stay for the more than 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) of skiable terrain at Vail. Pop over to Loveland or Winter Park for a day trip from Denver, get away from it all with a few days in the charming village of Telluride, or take your skills to the next level with a guided Colorado backcountry adventure.

Montana

chalets and ski slopes in Montana, USA
Enjoy the space and great snow that only Montana can offer.Photo Credit: Heidi Besen / Shutterstock

Ski more and wait less.

Lots of places have great terrain, and many have tons of snow, but only Montana figured out how to combine those without overwhelming crowds. Big Sky Country has more than enough space to spread out, starting with the high-speed, seat-heated, 6-pack ski lift that takes you from Big Sky Resort to nearly 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) of skiable slopes. Get your gear delivered directly there and step straight onto the snow. Or, find some of the most hard-core inbound terrain in the country at smaller mountains such as Bridger Bowl and Discovery, or check out the old-school and old West vibes at Red Lodge.

Idaho

aerial view of ski mountain summit looking down into valley with ski town
The slopes of Sun Valley have postcard-like views.Photo Credit: CSNafzger / Shutterstock

Cozy up in comfort.

Considered the country’s first destination ski resort, Sun Valley remains one of the best. It brims with the celebrity-spotting vibes of Aspen, the Utah-style powder, and the California sunshine, all packed into one eclectic mountain town, where gentle slopes deposit skiers at the après patios. Get your rental gear delivered right to your door so you can head straight to the slopes of Sun Valley or sibling mountains Bald and Dollar.

Washington

skiers on a high mountain ridge with rocky summit above them
Mt. Baker is about 150 miles (241 kilometers) from Seattle.Photo Credit: Cascade Creatives / Shutterstock

Ski where the snow never stops.

In Seattle, it famously rains all the time. But in the nearby mountains, that same moisture falls as snow. Mt. Baker averages more than 55 feet (16.7 meters) of snow each year, with the record almost twice that. The mountains get so much snow that Alpental Ski Resort celebrates the end of the season with a Cinco de Mayo party each May, and Crystal Mountain invites skiers to enjoy a few Independence Day runs each July. Add a few turns to a city trip with transportation to Snoqualmie from Seattle.

Vermont

skiers on a ski lift
Vermont's mountains aren't as tall as the ones out West, but they're plenty fun.Photo Credit: FashionStock.com / Shutterstock

Skiing is just part of life in this New England favorite.

The Green Mountain state actually revolves around the white of its mountains, rivaling much larger Western states for the number of ski areas—because here, everyone skis. From the seven peaks of Killington to the Colorado levels of powder at Jay Peak and the classic ski town of Stowe, Vermont packs plenty of variety into the tiny state. If this sounds tempting and you just want to hit the slopes as fast as possible, grab a helicopter straight from Manhattan to the mountains.

Oregon

skiers in front of an all-white snow-covered mountain landscape
Just look at all that powder on Mt. Bachelor.Photo Credit: CSNafzger / Shutterstock

Ski where the season never ends.

The seemingly infinite runs that swirl down volcanoes and glaciers keep the lifts turning throughout the year in Oregon. Mt. Hood’s many resorts are easily accessible from the Portland area, and Timberline (complement skiing with a snowshoeing experience) stays open through the summer.

Even if you don’t want to take turns in July, you can watch the world’s best skiers who come here to train. Mt. Bachelor’s high-altitude, high-excitement runs start above the tree line, just outside the vacation town of Bend, which also offers plenty of exciting off-slope activities, like a distillery tour.

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