Where to hop on a sleigh, lace up your skates, ski deep powder, or just cozy up
Photo by Brown Cannon III; written by Dina Mishev
In winter, there’s nothing like hitting the slopes in Jackson, Wyoming. However, there's more to this snowy valley than skiing. Mingle with the thousands of elk on the nearby National Elk Refuge by two-horse open sleigh. Then head back into town and discover its Western ranching roots.
Photo by Gina Sabatella
New flights to an Eastern Sierra mountain will revolutionize your ski weekend. No chains required.
The mountain is king at Mammoth, and pulling into Mammoth Lakes, 8 miles from the airport, is the proof. Since there’s no central downtown, it’s easy to have an “are we there yet?” feeling, but gems can be found if you look around. Download a map at visit mammoth.com.
Just an hour from Portland, Hood River offers a buzzing restaurant scene and proximity to Mt Hood, all at an affordable price.
Skip the frenzy of Sundance and head to Park City after the crowds have gone.
More: Affordable Park City
Photography by Ebbe Roe Yovino-Smith
Find great weather and loads of snowy activities in this outdoors-loving town near the San Juan Mountains.
More: Snowplay in Durango, CO
California's Bear Valley is not the biggest ski resort and certainly not the flashiest, but with 1,280 acres of downhill skiing, there’s room to roam.
And the runs have unbroken views across a beautiful mountainscape.
Learn more about this simpler alternative to Tahoe.
Photography via Utah Olympic Park
Can’t make it to Whistler? Have your own Olympic moment in Utah’s posh mountain town, host of the 2002 Winter Games.
Big Sky may not share the glamour of big resort towns in Colorado and Utah, but what it lacks in glitz it more than makes up for in rustic, western charm.
Photography by Brown Cannon III
No glitz, no glam. Just five cozy lodges, heart-pumping hikes, and hands down, the best (and most) snow in the West.
Photography by Robert Leon
If you want to avoid the Olympic chaos in Whistler this season ― but still want a British Columbia ski experience ― try these smaller, but often equally snowy, resorts.
More: To ski in peace
Photography by John Clark
Trade in ritzy Sun Valley for its budget-friendly neighbor to the south, which takes the bronze in number of kilometers of cross-country skiing in the States.
More: Try Hailey, Idaho
Photography by John Clark
Mountains. Sun. Small-town fun. Outdoorsy types can’t get enough of this central Oregon town, where you can run along the river in the morning, hit the slopes in the afternoon, then put back a pint at one of several local breweries.
More: Find the best in Bend
Photography by Jenifer Harrington
Have an indulgent winter day just outside of Denver. Skate the lake, snowshoe in the trees then reward yourself with massage and a cup of cocoa.
Photography by Rob Howard
Like sisters forced to share the same room, a little tension was inevitable when Moonlight Basin opened next to Big Sky Resort on Montana's Lone Mountain in 2003. But any frostiness melted away with the debut of the Lone Peak Ticket ($79), combining the resorts' 5,300 acres.
Bolstered by 200 more acres at Big Sky this year, the area is now the largest contiguous swath in U.S. ski country ― with enough greens, blues, and double-blacks to keep everybody happy.
More: Top 10 ski resorts
Photography by David Fenton
Skip the scene in Taos for quiet serenity in this national preserve. After a day of cross-country skiing, head to nearby Jemez Springs for a soothing soak in their hot springs.