The 23 Best Ski Resorts in America

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Come winter, what could be better than hitting the slopes—especially when there's fresh powder? The ski trip is a quintessential cold-weather vacation across the country, from storied, glitzy Vail and Aspen to lesser-known hidden gems like Big Sky and Taos. Our roundup of ski resorts offer spa treatments, ski lessons for all ages, bunny slopes, double black diamond runs and some of nature's most stunning views—not to mention vibrant social scenes. Whether you love the powder of big mountain skiing, the après-ski scene, the thrill of sitting in a hot tub in subzero temps or simply a warm fireplace to curl up by with a Hot Toddy, these are the 23 best ski resorts in the U.S.A.

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1. Park City Mountain (Park City, UT)

Spanning 7,300 acres with more than 330 trails, Park City Mountain is the largest single ski and snowboard resort in the U.S. And, with a wide range of skiing that suits both beginners and experts, it’s a great option for group trips with varied skier abilities. Consistent snowfall makes for great powder. Plus, it’s under an hour from the Salt Lake City airport and the town itself has plenty to see, do, eat and drink for the non-skiers in your crew.

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2. Snowbird (Snowbird, UT)

Like Alta, its Little Cottonwood Canyon neighbor, Snowbird has some of the best snow in North America. The no-frills mountain is also known for its steep, rugged and challenging terrain. Snowboarders are welcome.

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Deer Valley Resort

3. Deer Valley Resort (Park City, UT)

Ski-only Deer Valley is one of America’s poshest resorts, with ski valet to unload your gear from the car, one of the highest ranked ski schools around and excellent customer service. It even limits the number of lift tickets each day to guarantee you can enjoy all the terrain without it being overcrowded. Book a room at the Montage. It boasts a 35,000-square-foot spa and a Champagne après-ski lounge, housed in a yurt at the base of the mountain.

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4. Big Sky Resort (Big Sky, MT)

Big Sky may no longer be the Montana secret it once was, but it’s still known for few, if any, lift lines. It’s also family-friendly with vast terrain and amazing scenery, a 15-passenger tram up 11,166 feet to Lone Peak, and après-ski activities for kids and adults at Base Camp. Stay slopeside at Summit in the heart of the Mountain Village or rent a luxury home or condo along the trails at Moonlight Basin.

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5. Steamboat Resort (Steamboat Springs, CO)

Nicknamed Ski Town U.S.A., Steamboat is revered for its Champagne Powder (it’s even trademarked), its ski-chic meets Wild West vibe, festive outdoor après-ski spots and its annual Winter Carnival. It’s also more affordable than its Colorado neighbors Aspen and Vail, and home to more Olympians than any other town.

best ski resorts usa: yellow fall foliage at the base of a snowy mountain in Aspen Highlands, Colorado
Aspen Skiing Company

6. Aspen Highlands (Aspen, CO)

At Aspen Highlands, you’ll favor the steep, big-mountain skiing and incredible powder and the liveliest après-ski scene. Treat yourself to fondue, raclette and a bottle of bubbly (or two) at the iconic ski-in/ski-out Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, which turns into a giant daytime party that could rival any Las Vegas pool.

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7. Aspen Snowmass (Snowmass Village, CO)

Snowmass is known for being Aspen's kid-friendly mountain—but with enough serious skiing to impress even the most discerning of skiers. After years of planning, construction and anticipation, the $600 million Snowmass Base Village celebrated its grand opening in December. The Plaza has fire pits for roasting s’mores and an ice-skating rink; it’s also where you can catch live local music at the Limelight Lounge after a day on the slopes.

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8. Sun Valley Resort (Sun Valley, ID)

With long, wide-open runs and zero lift lines (seriously), Sun Valley can feel a little like a private mountain. It was the first destination ski resort in the U.S. and the first in the world to use chairlifts. With old-world, rustic charm built in a faux-Alpine style, it’s best described as a mix of Euro ski town meets western cowboy. Plus, it sees 250 days of sunshine a year—hence the name—which is great for fair-weather skiers.

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9. Stowe Mountain Resort (Stowe, VT)

Stowe is a quintessential New England ski town, home to some of the best skiing in the northeast with plenty of activities for those who’d rather not strap into a pair of boots for the day. Ride the gondola between the resort’s two mountains—Spruce Peak and Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. And book a room at the Lodge at Spruce Peak, formerly the Stowe Mountain Lodge. It’s one of the only ski-in, ski-out accommodations in New England.

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10. Bretton Woods (Bretton Woods, NH)

In the White Mountains, Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski resort, with panoramic views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range. It’s also a haven for cross-country skiers with more than 60 miles of Nordic terrain. Slopeside Pub has a rustic ski lodge feel with traditional après-ski festivities plus free, supervised activities for kids.

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Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

11. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Teton Village, WY)

The Teton-rimmed valley that is Jackson is world-renowned for its skiing—with lots of moguls, chutes and steep runs, it’s the terrain expert skiers seek out. Teton Village also gets high marks for the adjacent town of Jackson Hole, with plenty to do off-mountain: vibrant food, shopping and music scenes, all with a Wild West vibe. Back at the village, you’ll find a luxe ski-in/ski-out enclave with more high-end accommodations at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole, Teton Mountain Lodge, Hotel Terra Jackson Hole and the freshly-minted Caldera House.

best ski resorts usa: snowboarders glide above the fog in grand targhee, idaho
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12. Grand Targhee Resort (Alta, WY)

This family-friendly resort has a lot of powder days—it gets more than 41 feet of snowfall each year. An hour from Jackson Hole, within the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, it’s smaller than Jackson with a casual, laid-back feel, wide-open terrain and smaller crowds.

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13. Vail Ski Resort (Vail, CO)

Vail is the biggest ski area in Colorado, storied for its long, wide runs; incredibly varied trails; and a charming, European-style ski town at its base. It’s also one of the most expensive and most crowded mountains in the U.S., but even that isn’t deterrent enough to keep it off this list. Not surprisingly, a big ski town means there are lots of options when it comes to accommodations, from luxury ski-in/ski-out to less pricey choices. We love the luxe and romantic Four Seasons and the chic Sebastian - Vail.

best ski resorts usa: a skier flies down mammoth mountain, california
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14. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (Mammoth Lakes, CA)

If you’re in Southern California or Las Vegas, Mammoth is the best skiing within driving distance. It’s home to the highest peak of any ski resort in the state and it gets ample snow—its elevation further helps that snow stick around, making for one of the longest ski seasons in the States. Plus, with over 300 sunny days per year, you’ll be able to soak up plenty of California sunshine right from the mountain. (Pro tip: Wear lots of sunscreen.)

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15. Telluride Ski Resort (Telluride, CO)

This former mining town in the San Juan Mountains is widely recognized as one of the best ski resorts in the U.S. Tucked into a canyon along the San Miguel River, Telluride has everything you want in a winter wonderland: Incredible skiing, a charming and historic downtown and plenty of nightlife and après-ski options. It may have fewer truly luxe hotel options than its Colorado siblings, but it does have some swanky rental homes, like this Modern Mountain Retreat.

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16. Hunter Mountain (Hunter, NY)

If you’re used to West Coast—or even New England—skiing, Hunter is small with just 320 skiable acres. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in its proximity to NYC; it’ll take you less than three hours to drive there from the city. It also has a legendary snowmaking system and the kind of après-ski scene you’d expect from a resort so close to Manhattan.

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17. Ski Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM)

  • Why We Love It: Close to downtown Santa Fe, lots of snow and sunshine, access to incredible food, art and culture
  • Where to Stay: Casa Alba (from $135/night), Casa de Cooper (from $125/night), Artist Retreat (from $278/night)

Arguably the best part about this small Sangre de Cristo Mountains resort is its proximity to the heart of downtown Santa Fe. Ski Santa Fe—which gets both plenty of snow and lots of sunshine—is just 16 miles from the state’s capital, where you’ll find delicious food, fantastic museums and a rich, eclectic culture.

best ski resorts usa: a skier does a black diamond run in taos ski valley, new mexico
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18. Taos Ski Valley (Taos County, NM)

In northern New Mexico, Taos is already well-regarded by skiers for Kachina Peak—at 12,450 feet, it’s one of the highest lift-served mountains in the U.S. Plus, it’s packed with dry powder and expert terrain. Visit the historic town of Taos and the UNESCO Taos Pueblo site. Both are less than 20 miles from the ski area.

best ski resorts usa: a skier descends the summit of mount hood, oregon
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19. Mount Hood (Government Camp, OR)

Roughly 50 miles from downtown Portland, Mt. Hood—Oregon’s highest mountain—is actually home to six ski areas. Meadows is the biggest, on the southeast side of the mountain. If you’re a fan of summer skiing, Timberline is the only ski resort in the U.S. open 12 months of the year, thanks to its lift access to the Palmer Glacier.

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20. Okemo Mountain Resort (Ludlow, VT)

This southern Vermont resort is convenient to the big cities of the East Coast and has some of the best conditions in the region. With a wide variety of terrain, a massive snowmaking operation and great ski programs for kids, Okemo is an easy choice for families.

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21. Whiteface (Wilmington, NY)

  • Why We Love It: Convenient proximity to Lake Placid, impressive views of Adirondacks, ski and ride lessons for all ages, small-town feel
  • Where to Stay: Grand Log Cabin (from $279/night), River Road Loj (from $407/night), Woodland Vacation Home (from $268/night)

Close to Lake Placid and with sweeping views of the Adirondacks, Whiteface has the highest vertical east of the Mississippi (3,430 feet). The small mountain town has the charm, activities and nightlife you’d expect from a place that has hosted two Olympics.

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22. Heavenly Mountain Resort (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

At Heavenly, you’ll come for the skiing but stay for the incredible views…and the nightlife. The 4,800-acre resort sits high above Lake Tahoe, overlooking the sapphire blue water below. From casinos to dive bars to dance clubs, South Lake Tahoe goes non-stop at night and on mountain, the resort hosts a weekend après-ski dance party with a DJ spinning from the back of a Snowcat. 

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23. Kirkwood Mountain Resort (Kirkwood, CA)

If you make the effort to get to Kirkwood—located 45 minutes from South Lake Tahoe, it’s pretty remote—you’ll be rewarded with deep powder and steep, challenging terrain. Compared with its Tahoe neighbors, Kirkwood is pretty laid-back and no-frills, but it’s been adding dining, drinking and lodging options since Vail Resorts took over operations several years ago.

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Dan Koday is a travel and lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years experience creating content for your favorite websites, print publications and brands. As a native to the NYC...

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