NEWS - Are you ready to embark on an adventure to the most exhilarating slopes in the United States? Where the icy winds whip around you as you descend down the mountain, and the thrill of the ride fills your soul. Where the only sound you hear is the swoosh of your skis on the snow, and the only thing on your mind is the next run.
The best ski resorts in the US are waiting for you, with towering peaks and crisp, fresh snow, ready to challenge and inspire you. We've uncovered insider secrets to make your visit even more enjoyable.
So grab your gear, pack your bags, and join us as we explore the most epic ski resorts in the country.
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Copper Mountain, a year-round ski resort located in Summit County, Colorado, boasts the most organized ski layout of any ski resort in the US. As the most-searched ski resort on Google in 2022, Copper Mountain offers access to lodging, dining, and entertainment facilities from any of its three villages located at the foot of the mountain.
The ski runs range from beginner to expert, starting on the western side and gradually becoming more challenging as you move eastward. Copper Mountain is proud to offer fast lift services with enough lifts to transport skiers up the slopes quickly.
But, here's a secret to avoid the long lines: uphill skiing. Many Colorado resorts allow adventurers to uphill ski on their slopes, and Copper Mountain offers some of the state's most expansive on-resort options for uphill skiing with 11.5 miles of terrain split between eight routes.
Four of these routes are brand-new, and two of them are only open before and after hours, while the other six can be ridden during daytime lift hours. So, if you're looking to hit the slopes in a unique way, give uphill skiing a try at Copper Mountain.
Crystal Mountain, Washington
Crystal Mountain, located in eastern Pierce County, Washington, is the state's largest ski resort, boasting 2,600 acres of skiable terrain. Accessible via Route 410 from the Seattle-Tacoma metro area, the resort offers stunning views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams, all just ten minutes away.
Although Crystal Mountain is not a year-round ski resort like Copper Mountain, it has plenty of other summer activities to offer. The resort provides equipment rental, ski and snowboard lessons, and lodging, including three pet-friendly hotels that offer free Wi-Fi and a heated pool, all of which are within walking distance of restaurants in the area. For visitors who prefer to camp, there are RV sites with 30-amp and 50-amp hookups, as well as houses and condominiums for rent in the area.
But the fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down! That's the best-kept secret at Crystal Mountain. Night skiing is a popular activity, with ski and ride opportunities available on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays until 8 pm. Guests can enjoy the slopes after the morning rush and shred through sundown, with access to Crystal Parks on Discovery, Gold Hills, and Quicksilver chair lifts.
Additionally, Crystal Mountain recently introduced the "Last Chair Pass", which provides three hours of access to the whole mountain starting at 1 pm, so guests can shred summit-to-base before hitting the slopes under the lights on Quicksilver, Gold Hills, and Discovery lifts. So gather your friends and family for an unforgettable night under the lights at Crystal Mountain.
Palisades Tahoe, California
Palisades Tahoe boasts the title of the largest ski resort in the region, with over 6,000 skiable acres spread across six peaks and 270 runs. The resort's base elevation sits at 6,200 feet, and visitors can reach the peaks via one of the 33 lifts available, including three gondolas and trams, as well as the only funitel in the United States.
With an average snowfall of 400 inches annually, Palisades Tahoe draws more than 600,000 skiers each year. The area is not just limited to skiing, however, as it offers a Washoe Tribe cultural tour that educates guests on the tribe's culture and way of life. The resort also features numerous restaurants, shops, and accommodations, including hotels and rental condominiums.
For thrill-seekers seeking an extra challenge, Palisades Tahoe also hosts the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup, a stop on the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Tour.
If you're looking for an extra-special experience, Palisades Tahoe has a secret you won't want to miss: the newly opened base-to-base gondola. This gondola offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe to the left and the wilderness to the right as it connects the two valleys of the resort, Alpine Meadows and Olympic Valley. This expansion fulfills the resort's founders' original vision, connecting visitors to the expert runs on the resort's 6,000 acres and lifts.
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado
Breckenridge Ski Resort, or Breck, is a popular ski resort in Colorado's Ten Mile Range. It has a combined area of five peaks with almost 3,000 acres of terrain for skiing, with different peaks suitable for various experience levels. Breck offers lessons, rentals, and easy-access lift services to all five peaks, including the highest chairlift in North America at almost 13,000 feet.
The mountain town at the base of the resort offers a variety of activities, including restaurants, live music, shops, art exhibits and workshops, theatre, and wine tasting.
Here's a secret about Colorado ski resorts that many visitors may not know: "Smoke shacks" are handmade, hidden structures located on many popular ski mountains. These structures are typically made from materials like trees, plywood, and sheet metal, and transported to remote sites on the mountain via ski or snowboarding.
They're used as a place for local skiers and snowboarders to take a break, hang out, and smoke before returning to the slopes. However, they're not always safe and are usually located off-trail through trees, which is discouraged and considered unsafe by ski patrol. You can take a virtual tour of smoke shacks in Vail and Breckenridge, Colorado.
Hunter Mountain, New York
Nestled between the towns of Hunter and Lexington in Greene County, New York, Hunter Mountain stands tall as the highest peak in the county. Home to the endangered Bicknell's thrush and a variety of montane bird species, the mountain offers 240 acres of skiing, including three distinct mountains, 10 lifts (plus three high-speed lifts), and 58 runs for skiers of all levels.
For those new to the sport, Hunter Mountain offers lessons to get you started. When you need a break from the slopes, the base village provides food, drinks, and music to enjoy.
While Hunter Mountain is only two hours from New York City, it's important to note that the ski resort is not open year-round. However, we've uncovered a unique secret at this location. For a winter experience like no other, Sourced Adventures provides an exciting snow tubing experience with drinks and a hearty dinner waiting for you. And, if you want to be in the know, ask the locals about the secret "Lost Clove" skiing experience, which offers untouched powder on remote sections of the mountain.
Big Sky Resort, Montana
Discover the ultimate skiing adventure at Big Sky Resort, where one peak offers 5,850 acres of pure skiing fun, making it one of the largest skiing areas in the world. With a total of 38 lifts, the resort provides visitors with access to the highest peak in Montana at 4,350 feet.
Experience the true spirit of skiing and riding through the trees at Big Sky Resort, where perfectly thinned glades are waiting to be explored. Discover untouched powder on those flat light days or when the upper mountain is closed.
As one of the most accessible ski resorts in the US, Big Sky welcomes visitors with a well-developed infrastructure, including dining, shopping, and lodging options. Additionally, it serves as the perfect base camp for exploring Yellowstone National Park, with shuttles available to take you to the west entrance of the park.
While exploring the 5,800 acres of ski terrain with 300 named runs, make sure to check out some of Big Sky's best tree runs that are hiding in plain sight. Some of the best kept secret tree runs are marked blue and black, and you can find them on the map. Here are Visit Big Sky's top picks, sorted by mountain and by chairlift.
Vail Ski Resort, Colorado
Vail Ski Resort, located in Eagle County near Vail town, is the third-largest single-mountain ski resort in the United States. Covering 5,289 acres, the resort boasts seven back bowls for skiing.
The resort is one of 37 mountain resorts owned and operated by Vail Resorts. Unlike other ski resort towns that were established after mining towns, Vail Town was built after the establishment of Vail Ski Resort. It has a unique Bavarian-style architecture and is a popular destination for post-ski activities such as shopping, dining, spa treatments, and village events.
To avoid crowds on the mountain, it's best to head to the busier areas in the early morning before most people have arrived. For a quieter experience, Lionshead is the ideal location in the afternoon with its sunny, open slopes and varied terrain.
Another insider secret is to visit Game Creek Bowl for some of the best powder on the mountain and to indulge in some delicious on-mountain grub at Wildwood Smokehouse, located on top of Chair 3 & 7, where they serve shareable plates of mouthwatering BBQ.
Heavenly Mountain Resort, California
Imagine skiing down with the view of Lake Tahoe in front of you as you glide down the mountain. You can do that at Heavenly Mountain Resort.
The resort overlooks Lake Tahoe. Thus, including a stop at Heavenly Mountain Resort is a must whenever you travel to Lake Tahoe.
Vail Resort owns and operates Heavenly Mountain Resort. They are offering passes that you can use at any of the resorts that they operate.
Additionally, it offers a unique skiing experience with its wide terrain variety and numerous hidden glades. It offers 4,800 acres of skiing area—so big that it is in both Nevada and California.
To avoid missing out, purchase tickets for tubing, the mountain coaster, and UTV rides early in the day before they sell out. Make your way to Adventure Peak with a lift ticket to skip the steep gondola fee. Be sure to stop halfway up the gondola. Here you will find a secret location for spectacular views of the area. Don't forget to bring a camera to capture the scenic views from the ski runs and the top of the lifts.
Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake County, Utah, boasts Snowbird, a vibrant unincorporated community with top-notch winter powder skiing and snowboarding.
Alongside the skiing facilities, Snowbird offers accommodations in hotels and condominiums, plus a range of activities like spas, restaurants, and shops. Getting to the peak is easy, thanks to regular and high-speed lifts.
A unique feature of Snowbird resort and its parent company POWDR is the Snowbird Play Forever Fund, through which they actively support environmental conservation efforts. The Snowbird Play Forever Fund also donates a portion of ticket sales to non-profit organizations.
Snowbird’s visitors not only have a great time, but they also make a difference by contributing to local charities.
One of Snowbird’s distinctive features is North America’s only ski tunnel, the Peruvian Tunnel. It is a 600-foot-long conveyor belt that offers easy access to Mineral Basin, which is the resort’s latest expansion, adding 500 acres of skiable terrain suitable for almost all ability levels. While it mainly caters to intermediate and advanced skiers, beginners can also enjoy the green runs like Lupine Loop, which offers the easiest descent to the Mineral Basin Express lift.
Mount Snow, Vermont
If you're looking for a ski resort in southern Vermont, Mount Snow should be at the top of your list. Being the southernmost mountain, it's located near many northern metropolitan areas.
One of the unique features of Mount Snow is that they have the first six-passenger bubble lift in the eastern United States. Additionally, they have the most powerful snowmaking system in the northeast, ensuring you have a great skiing experience.
There's no shortage of activities available at Mount Snow, including snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, winter hiking, fat biking, tubing, and skiing. After a long day on the slopes, you can enjoy music, theatre, and dance performances.
But what's the secret that locals know that you don't? It's spring skiing. According to Dave Meeker, communications manager at Mount Snow Resort, "Spring skiing brings out a different culture of the season. I know people that actually wait until the spring to ski because they love the sun. It means bigger events coupled with longer days. It's that much more fun."
As the temperature stays low overnight, the base of accumulated snow remains stable from earlier in the season, and you can enjoy some of the most comfortable skiing conditions during the day.
What Are You Waiting For?
In conclusion, America is full of incredible ski resorts waiting to be explored. Whether you're a beginner or an expert skier, there's a destination out there for you. From the stunning views of Lake Tahoe at Heavenly Mountain Resort to the environmentally conscious Snowbird Resort in Utah and the exciting spring skiing at Mount Snow in Vermont, there are endless possibilities for an unforgettable ski trip.
So what are you waiting for? It's time to pack your bags, grab your skis, and hit the slopes. Whether you're traveling solo, with friends, or with family, there's nothing quite like the rush of adrenaline and the beauty of snow-covered mountains. Don't forget to take advantage of all the unique activities and amenities each resort has to offer. And most importantly, have fun and stay safe!
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