Top 20 ski resorts

Get your winter sports fix at the best mountain resorts around the West

Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride, CO

Photo by Brown Cannon III

Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride, CO

The gondola at Telluride Ski Resort ascends right from town to the ridgetop, with the Mountain Village great for sweeping vistas and cruiser runs. The above-treeline Revelation Bowl is where to get jaw-dropping views.

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Squaw Valley USA, Lake Tahoe, CA

Photo by Hank de Vré

Squaw Valley USA, Lake Tahoe, CA

Admire the rising sun as you schuss down just-groomed runs. Then later, after most chairlifts close, take the Aerial Tram weekends for après-ski—and skating. The ice pavilion is at High Camp, which means after a few spins on the ice, you can put back a few pints before riding the tram back down the mountain.

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Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley, ID

Photo courtesy of Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley, ID

Once here, you can dine, shop, steam, dance, swim, and ice-skate your day away in the village. Oh, you came here to ski? The ski staff at Sun Valley Resort is exceptionally good, with an all-star clan that includes a former Olympian.

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Canyons Resort, Park City, UT

Photo by Andrea Gómez Romero

Canyons Resort, Park City, UT

A heated chairlift shuttles warm and happy skiers up the mountain. Of course, that's hardly all there is to talk about at the Canyons. Guests are impressed by five premium properties located at the base of the slopes, the excellent spa, and diverse dining options.

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Park City Mountain, Park City, UT

Photo by Andrea Gómez Romero

Park City Mountain, Park City, UT

Of Park City’s three area resorts, PCM is the only one you can get to from the cute house rentals and ultra-luxe inns that line Main Street. Ski-boot-step from your door right over to the Town Lift, which will zip you up the mountain, where 3,300 of some of the West’s best skiiable acres await. It’s a great family mountain, too.

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Aspen-Snowmass, Aspen, CO

Photo courtesy of Aspen-Snowmass

Aspen-Snowmass, Aspen, CO

People think this tough-to-get-to-mountain town is more about Prada than powder. But once you schuss out of your posh hotel and right onto the slopes, it’s obvious that Aspen and Snowmass are skiers’ and snowboarders’ mountains—and t if you’re looking for luxe touches in between runs, they're there.

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Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler, BC

Photo by Janis Nicolay

Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler, BC

Fresh Tracks, Whistler’s early-bird program, lets you ski the powder an hour before anyone else hits the slopes. Your early entry also means you can be among the first each day to ride the resort’s Peak 2 Peak Gondola.

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Alpine Meadows, Lake Tahoe, CA

Photo by Robyn Scarton

Alpine Meadows, Lake Tahoe, CA

At this Tahoe favorite, you'll find quality snowmaking and a daily lift ticket that gives you access to both Alpine and Squaw Valley—and an interconnect through the backcountry, which means experienced skiers and boarders can schuss between both, without hopping a shuttle.

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Alta, Alta, UT

Photo by Brown Cannon III

Alta, Alta, UT

Almighty Alta has just seven lifts (and not much else) spread across 2,200 acres of heart-pumping hikes and narrow chutes, chest-deep powder, and total lack of pretension. It's a resolutely uncorporate resort, where five no-frills lodges sleep 1,200 skiers, tops.

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Taos Ski Valley, Taos, NM

Taos Ski Valley, Taos, NM

The family-owned resort’s remote location keeps skier visits to a quarter of what Colorado’s Vail gets, yet it still has its own little village serving up everything from homemade tamales to grass-fed filet mignon.

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Bald Mountain, Sun Valley, ID

Photo courtesy of Sun Valley Resort

Bald Mountain, Sun Valley, ID

Baldy, as the locals call their beloved mountain, is known for its steep pitch and bone-dry powder. A gondola whisks folks (in ski boots or Uggs) up to the 1939 Roundhouse for a civilized fireside lunch, complete with wine and live accordion.

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Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe, CA

Photo by Corey Rich / Aurora Photos

Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe, CA

Views, views, views of Lake Tahoe’s hallowed blue waters are what Heavenly is known for. Well, that, and some of the best terrain in the Sierra. This sprawling South Lake resort boasts 29 lifts and about 100 trails, from green-circle groomers to epic experts-only chutes.

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Deer Valley Resort, Park City, UT

Photo courtesy of Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Resort, Park City, UT

Skiers-only (and proud of  it), Deer Valley is brimming with elitism and Utah’s featherlight snow. A max of 7,500 tickets are sold per day, which ensures solitary schussing; free overnight ski storage eases the burden of lugging; and the high-speed quad helps you get in more runs.

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Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, CA

Photo by Gina Sabatella

Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, CA

Mammoth Mountain attracts a mix of serious LA. skiers unfazed by the six-hour slog, requisite bunnies, and folks from all over who fly in, with their sticks and snowboards, to Mammoth’s little airport for a taste of the Swiss Alps in the Eastern Sierra.

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Vail Mountain, Vail, CO

Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts Photography

Vail Mountain, Vail, CO

With a tag line of “Like nothing on Earth” (and lift tickets over $100), Vail Ski Resort has a lot to live up to. And, as the largest ski resort in the U.S., with 5,000 acres, seven powder-filled back bowls, and almost guaranteed sunny, bluebird days, it actually kind of does.

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Solitude Mountain Resort, Solitude, UT

Photo by Michael Harp

Solitude Mountain Resort, Solitude, UT

Solitude has unbeliebably fast lifts with hardly any lines, so you can get in more runs. There are lift-served off-piste areas, groomed Nordic trails, and one of the quirkiest perks of all: a heated Mongolian yurt for a restaurant.

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Beaver Creek Resort, Vail, CO

Photo by Jenifer Harrington

Beaver Creek Resort, Vail, CO

Get your ski bearings on a two-hour Mountain Welcome Tour (free with a lift ticket), led by resort guides. Once you get a feel for the resort’s three mountains—Beaver Creek (the main mountain), Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead—explore the slopes and the three distinct villages on your own.

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Bear Valley, Arnold, CA

Photo by David Fenton

Bear Valley, Arnold, CA

Between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, Bear Valley is literally at the end of the road: Caltrans stops plowing State 4 a couple of miles past the village. Evenings are more about bottles of wine in front of crackling fires than fancy cocktails. And the four-story granite fireplace in the rustic ski-in, 51-room Bear Valley Lodge is all the nightlife you’ll need.

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Schweitzer Mountain, Sandpoint, ID

Photo by Rob Brodman

Schweitzer Mountain, Sandpoint, ID

The numbers at Schweitzer speak for themselves: 2,900 skiable acres; 300+ inches of average annual snowfall; three terrain parks; 92 runs, including a 2.4-mile continuous groomer; 20 miles of nordic trails; and the state’s only high-speed six-person lift. Views from the top include three mountain ranges, three states, Canada, and 65-mile-long Lake Pend Oreille. Not only that, lift lines are nearly nonexistent, and a ticket will set you back just $68. Nonskiers will love the free movies, guided snowshoe hikes ($15), and on-mountain wine tastings (from $10) at Gourmandie. schweitzer.com

 

Eagle Point, Beaver, UT

Photo by Andrea Gómez Romero

Eagle Point, Beaver, UT

The family-run resort, 3 1/2 hours from both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, is the season’s best bargain: Everyone skis free on Thursdays in January, and California residents ski free all season. Since reopening in 2010 with new owners after being shuttered for eight years, the wonderfully remote Eagle Point has expanded its terrain and lodging, added slopeside hot tubs, and established its Outpost Grill as the area’s best restaurant. Tickets from $45; eaglepointresort.com

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