15 Best Places to Ski in the U.S. This Winter
Take a look at the best places to ski in the United States, along with recommendations made with your family's budget in mind.
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Let it snow!
Winter is the perfect time for cozying up by the fire inside…after a day of fun outside. So how to have this said fun when there may be mountains of snow outside your window? Skiing, of course! These places throughout the country will easily have you convinced that you’re living in a winter wonderland that you never want to leave. After, check out these 11 destinations that are even better in the winter.
In Keystone, you and your littlest snowboarders have the opportunity to venture through three separate mountains: the Outback, Dercum Mountain, and North Peak. Most of these offer cold-weather activities for all levels, from alpine skiing and tubing to ice-skating, cross-country skiing, and more. You can also rent snowmobiles or a horse-drawn sleigh for a more laid-back afternoon.
Consider staying at the Keystone Lodge & Spa, where nightly rates for a family of four range from $154 to $350, depending on what type of room or suite you prefer. With more than 3,000 acres on their property to explore, your kiddos can enjoy skiing lessons, head down a tubing hill, or join you in roasting marshmallows by a fire pit. For even more entertainment, their “Kidtopia” land is exactly what it sounds like: an action-packed, kid-friendly oasis where they can build snow forts, bake cookies, do arts and crafts, go down a 24-foot slide, and more.
Park City, Utah
Just east of Salt Lake City in Utah is the Instagram-worthy area of Park City. This town has skiing down to an art, with numerous resorts that thrive when the snow is piling feet high and the sun is shining. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Park City is just a mile from the Park City Mountain Resort ski area and has rates for a family of four starting at $219 a night. Here, the hotel can arrange lessons at the Park City Ski and Snowboard School, daycare, and access to the gear you might need.
For more of a splurge, consider Montage Deer Valley with rates starting at $329 a night. This location is a little easier to navigate, with direct access to three high-speed chairlifts, giving your family access to more than 200 acres of terrain and 100 trails. When it’s time to come home and rest up for a night of stargazing and telling jokes, make sure to stop by their complimentary s’mores hour. After your kids get their s’mores fix, they can play arcade games, throw darts, or bowl. For animal-loving kiddos, the resort also offers meet-and-greets with the Canine Ambassador Program, where they can pet Bernese Mountain Dogs.
In the heart of Colorado’s skiing regions is Snowmass, which offers much like what the name suggests: a wide variety of skiing excursions. Considering its location gives you access to Burnt Mountain, Baldy Mountain, Chapel Peak, Garrett Peak, and, of course, Snowmass Mountain and Peak, you can have your pick of where to venture to. While an expert guide can help you understand the best hot spots for your family, based on your skill level and interests, no matter where you find yourself in this area, chances are high you’ll be grinning as big as your snow goggles once you catch wind of the sights from a chairlift.
Though a tad on the expensive side, Viceroy Snowmass can be a worthwhile splurge since it provides a one-of-a-kind experience for your whole gang. Rates begin at $617 a night for a family of four, but their ‘Very Important Kids’ programming includes daily activities and dining menus. These range from apres s’mores, ski and snowboarding lessons, educational programs, storytelling, cookie decorating, magic shows, and more. And when they stay at the on-site Elk Camp, they can also try their hand at snow biking and tubing, sledding, snowshoe tours, and a spooky visit to the ghost ship.
Utah is home to some of the best ski mountains in the United States. If you ever visit, you’ll want to make sure to hit the slopes in the Little Cottonwood Canyon at Snowbird Ski Resort. An abundant amount of slopes and gorgeous views wherever you look will keep you skiing all day long. Book your trip during Subaru’s annual WinterFest which takes place at the base of the slopes for extra activities between runs. During this premier lifestyle/outdoor event skiers and visitors alike are encouraged to learn about the brand through live demos and enjoy music, food, raffles, and learn about how Subaru is helping the environment in between ski runs. If you’re looking to stay at the resort, rates start at $354 a night. It’s conveniently built right into the canyon, so getting geared up and hitting the slopes will only take a matter of minutes. Check out 12 of America’s prettiest winter towns.
If you can’t quite make it out west this year, don’t worry, there’s plenty of skiing on the East Coast that’ll provide the same delights. In fact, you can walk in a winter wonderland just 125 miles northwest of Philadelphia and New York City, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Though this city is known as a Steamtown National Historic Site (where kiddos can tour former rail yards, a 19th-century mill and the trolley museum), during the winter, the slopes are a mere eight miles from downtown.
You can stay in Scranton with hotel rates for a family of four starting as low as $88 a night and make your way to Montage Mountain Resorts, where annual winter memberships begin at a cool $499. Here, the youngest family member who hasn’t soared through the powdery goodness yet gets a free lift ticket, rental, and lesson from a certified ski school instructor as part of their “First Timer Fridays” program. Your group can also check out their Airboarding program, which happens to be the largest in the world with 185 boards. It’s also only one of seven places in the country you can try a lightweight inflatable sled that can get up to 60 miles per hour as it surges down the mountain.
Lake Tahoe, California
Here, you have a plethora of resorts and options to choose from, in all budgets and price ranges. When you book a stay at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe (with rates for a family of four starting at $369 a night for a suite), you can skip driving and take their free ski shuttles and rent their on-site ski and snowboard rentals. When you’re not trying your hand at new tricks for the New Year, your family can snack on their many dining options or lounge in the indoor pool or spa to recover from a long day.
For another option, book your stay at The Village at Squaw Valley in North Lake Tahoe. Inspired by European ski resorts, there’s something for you and your partner, with more than 50 bars, restaurants, and boutiques, all intermingled with condominium-style suites. Another fun perk of this Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is their “Kids Ski Free” package, where booking two nights at a slope-side room lets your kids take to the hills sans cost. And for families looking to save even more, each suite, with rates starting at $224 a night, features a full kitchen, private balcony, fireplace, and access to hot tubs.
Sun Valley, Idaho
You might not think of Idaho when you first dream of a winter wonderland getaway, but in Sun Valley, you can explore Bald Mountain, Dollar Mountain, and other views. Known for more gentle slopes, it’s ideal for a quick getaway to introduce your children to snow without having to suffer through treacherous hills.
Consider booking your stay at Sun Valley Resort, which was founded in 1936 as America’s first destination ski resort, nestled among the Idaho mountains. For your bustling family of four, opt for the Stay & Ski Free Package that starts at $249 a night for both lodging and your lift pass. In addition to teaching your children about the winter sport you adore, you can also book sleigh rides, activities, and book a lesson at their ‘Terrain-That-Teaches’ program for beginners of all ages.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
In Colorado’s Rocky Mountains is the picture-perfect town of Beaver Creek, modeled after alpine villages, that offers beautiful slopes and a rich history. When you bring your family to this must-see destination, book your stay at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, with rates starting at $374 for a family of four. In addition to spending your day skiing and snowboarding, you can also enjoy dog sledding, snowmobiling, and more. For a night out, book a dinner at their on-site bar and grill that features local, natural, and organic dishes, as well as Colorado microbrews, wine, and spirits for you and your partner. Psst…their complimentary “S’mores Happy Hour” can’t be missed! These are the 15 least-crowded winter destinations in the U.S.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
In the Southern end of the valley in Wyoming is Jackson Hole, known for plenty of summery outdoor adventuring and access to countless trails in the nearby Tetons. Come winter, it’s a skiing paradise. Since Yellowstone isn’t too far away, you can make this a vacation the whole family will never forget.
Though Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa falls on the more expensive side, with nightly rates at $459 for a family of four in a bi-level suite, it includes a long list of kid-friendly activities. From snowshoeing and ice-skating to sleigh rides through the town, tubing, and wildlife safaris, you can actually sit back and relax in your Jacuzzi, without worrying if they kiddos will keep you up at night. Get in a wintery mood with these stunning photos of National Parks covered in snow.
Cortland, New York
Ideal for a weekend getaway from New York City, Connecticut, or New Jersey, Cortland offers access to four family-friendly mountains, an indoor waterpark, and a walkable downtown for when you’ve had enough of snow and freezing altitudes. Though there’s plenty of cultural options and events on the main drag, it’s really the resorts and slopes that keep families coming back year after year. Regardless if you head to Greek Peak, Labrador, Song, or Toggenburg, you can expect manicure slopes and affordable packages throughout the winter season. Book your getaway at Hope Lake Lodge at Greek Peak Ski Resort with a nightly rate starting at $149 for a family of four. In addition to 52 trails of varied terrain, your family can splash their way to memories at the 41,000-square foot Cascades Indoor Water Park with a wave pool, three-story tube slide, body slide, activity pool, and more. Not to mention the skiing and snowboarding options that also feature a 9-lane tubing center for thrill-seekers.
This canyon town features views of forested peaks and is the hometown of many skiing and golf resorts. For when you need to get away from the snow, your family can walk through the historic downtown or enjoy a show at their acclaimed Sheridan Opera House that’s been operating since 1913. As for hotel options, consider a stay at the Dunton Town House, with rates starting at $300 per evening. Though it might be a tad pricey, remember that rates include breakfast, beer and wine, so you’ll save money on at least one meal—and your nightcap. It’s only a few steps from the gondola that takes your cuties up to the nearby mountain resort with dozens of ski trails, too. As an added perk, they also offer complimentary ski storage and boot-drying stations, too. If you’re thinking of booking a flight soon, see the best time to buy plane tickets.
For all you East Coast dwellers that are looking for a skii-cation without heading too far away, Vermont is the place to be. Ludlow is home to Okemo Mountain Resort, one of Vermont’s most famed ski resorts. Okemo is known for its family-friendly vibe and variety of terrain for every level, so if you’re looking for a more relaxed ski experience this is most certainly the way to go.
The Jackson Gore Inn is the perfect place to stay on-site at the resort with your little ones. Located in the Jackson Gore Village, the Inn was the original lodging for Okemo. The Village now also includes the Adams House and Bixby House which both offer more spacious units. And at about $260 per night on average for a family of four, you won’t have to completely break the bank. These are 15 natural phenomena that only happen in winter.
If you’re serious about skiing, you’re not going to want to miss out on the attractions in Vail, Colorado. At 5,289 acres, the Vail Ski Resort is the third largest single-mountain ski resort in the U.S. As if that’s not enough to convince you to head over, the multiple lodging options at the resort make it so that there’s a perfect option for anyone. Whether you want to stay in town only a few minutes from the mountain, book a chalet so you’re within minutes of the ski lifts, or kick it slopeslide so you can literally ski out your door, it’s all doable—you just have to choose!
If a resort hotel is what you’re looking for, The Lodge at Vail, a RockResort, has you covered. This iconic resort has all the charm of an alpine inn while also having state-of-the-art amenities and elegance. For a family of four, prices are around $419 per night. If you love winter, you’ll love taking a look at these vintage photos of what winter used to look like.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
The Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire has everything you need for a perfect winter getaway. Not only do they have classic alpine and nordic skiing, as well as fun activities for kids such as tubing, but they also offer a series of guided winter adventures. These adventures include things like ice climbing and backcountry skiing. While not for the faint of heart, these activities range in experience level from beginner to expert, so as long as you have courage you can take part in the fun.
The Omni Mount Washington Resort is an extremely luxurious stay located right on the mountain. Rated as the #1 Best Ski Resort on the East Coast by Condé Nast Traveler, you’ll want to make sure you check this place out. If you’re looking for something a bit less grand (and less expensive) check out the Omni Bretton Arms Inn at Mount Washington Resort. The charm and comfort of the inn doesn’t take away from the fact that it still has high-class amenities. Start getting into the spirit: Here are 32 cozy quotes about winter to help you embrace the season.
Big Sky, Montana
Known for its incredible skiing and its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Resort in Montana is a must for ski lovers and adventurers alike. Considered “the biggest skiing in America,” Big Sky boasts of over 300 ski runs, minimal lift lines, and a wide variety in terrain. Perhaps their biggest pull? Lone Peak, which you can access by taking a tram to the top of 11,166-foot tall mountain. And the view of Lone Peak is not to be outdone, from which you can see three states and two national parks.
The resort offers a variety of different hotels. The Huntley Lodge is the original and most historic lodge of the resort, located slopeslide in Big Sky’s Mountain Village. However, there’s also the Village Center, with more modern hotel suite accommodations, the Shoshone Condominium Hotel, and more. Skiing + charm + views? We’ll take it.