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American Ski Resorts

Ski holidays in USA

You wouldn’t expect anything less than the biggest, shiniest, ticking-all-the-boxes (and then some) ski resorts when it comes to the States – and you won’t be disappointed either. With the best powder on the planet, high standards of visitor satisfaction, state-of-the-art corduroy pistes and everything from glam mountain retreats to Wild West cowboy towns, our cousins across the pond have ski holidays down to a T.

"Top Ten Best" American resort lists

Most popular ski resorts in USA

Vail and Breckenridge compete for the position of most visited resort every year. Vail’s fame precedes it worldwide, and with the 2nd largest ski area in the USA, luxurious lodgings and exquisite dining, it’s not difficult to see why. The birth-place of competitive snowboarding, Breck is a fantastic all-rounder. Famous for its friendly atmosphere, its award winning parks, perfect pistes and extensive powder make it a magnet for locals and tourists alike.

Jackson Hole was voted 2014’s #1 Overall Resort by SKI magazine and brings snow lovers in the masses (the 2013 winter season saw over half a million visitors). This authentic cowboy town offers everything from gentle beginner slopes to world-renowned steeps like Corbet’s Couloir.

With numerous Olympians calling it home, Steamboat’s reputation for family holidays, “champagne powder” and incredible tree-lined slopes makes it another hugely popular place to ski.

We’ve never heard anyone dispute Winter Park’s claim to be “Colorado’s favorite”; with 300 days of sunshine, terrain over 3 mountains (including the best moguls around) and provisions for all ages, it has due cause to brag.

With Park city’s 35 minute transfer from Salt Lake City airport (after flying across the pond the last thing you want is a lengthy transfer) and various awards in the access and family categories, this is easily one of the most frequented resorts.

It could be the swanky reputation, user friendly layout or lesser known status that makes Beaver Creek a premier ski resort... there’s always the chance that it’s the free chocolate cookies they doll out at the bottom of the lifts. Whatever the reason, this wonderland is a definite one of the most popular places to ski.

Not to be forgotten is Aspen. This old mining town is as decadent as it gets and when you’re not taking the legendary black diamond descents, you’re likely to be partying with the A-listers in town.

American ski resorts FAQ:

Start with the search bar at the top to find packages that fit with your preferred dates and group size. You can select any ‘must-have’ features (such as swimming pools, spa, ski in/out location) to view the packages that best suit you. Generally, these come with flights, transfers and room-only accommodation included.

On our USA ski deals page. The best bargains are usually on last minute packages, where often a long haul ski holiday can cost similar or less to a short haul one. You can sort the holidays on our page by ‘biggest discount’ or ‘price low-high’ depending on how you prefer to see them listed.

Hotels are the most popular accommodation for skiers in America and range from basic no-frills lodgings to utterly dazzling resorts. Some will be ski-in ski-out next to the slopes, and others in the heart of the town. Apartments, often called ‘condos’, usually come on a self-catered basis and suit a range of budgets and group sizes.

The Little Nell in Aspen is the USA’s creme-de-la-creme of ski hotels. It’s home to a fine-dining restaurant (Element 47) and a lively après bistro bar (Cloud 9) with cocktails, live music and DJs night after night. An outdoor pool & hot tub, scenic terrace and fitness suite are some of the things that give this property its five-star fame.

Tasty! You’ll find burger and grills galore, plus internationally influenced dishes like Mexican burritos, Italian pastas/pizzas and Bavarian bratwurst. Drinks will include things like craft beers, whiskeys and elaborate cocktails.

  • Park City, Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird resorts are all within an hour’s reach of Salt Lake City International Airport.
  • Aspen is near Aspen County Airport which can be reached via Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, LA, Dallas and several other American international airports.
  • Jackson Hole has its own airport that is reached via Denver, New York, Atlanta and several more international airports in the USA.
  • Mammoth Mountain is about 30 minutes from Mammoth-Yosemite Airport which you can fly to from Denver, San Francisco, LA and other big airports.
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • San Francisco, California

These are closest to some of the major ski resorts but there are plenty more besides, seeing as there are ski resorts in 38 US states...

  • Winter Park resort can be reached by train from Denver (with a journey time of roughly 3 hours)
  • Whitefish Mountain resort is on the Amtrak train route between Seattle and Chicago, although the ride would take around 13 hours from Seattle and 30 hours from Chicago - a scenic but very lengthy journey.

Vail (Colorado) is America’s most-visited ski resort. The town is dripping in luxury and has been known to attract many rich and famous guests. The pedestrianised main village has no shortage of classy hang-out spots, and there are just shy of 200 ski runs to keep you busy for the rest of the week too.

Vail is the single most expansive with 5289 acres of ski terrain. That said, Lake Tahoe gives skiers access to more than 20,000 acres of terrain if you count the surrounding cluster of resorts. See our 10 biggest resorts in the USA page for more.

Aspen for decadent good-vibes (Cloud 9 is a favourite), or Jackson Hole for cowboy hoedowns and tasty steak at the Mangy Moose saloon. Our USA après-ski page is where to find the best mountain towns.

…vie for top spot each year, depending on snowfall. Read about more snow sure USA resorts here.

Aspen is a prestigious treat offering plush accommodation and top-shelf skiing to go with it. Aspen’s town features historic landmarks from its mining days back in the 1880s, and is in no short supply of fine dining spots and boutique shops. Here’s our page spilling lots more detail on America’s top-10 luxury ski destinations.

The top 10 family resorts in the USA are discussed in detail here.

Yes - though not everybody does, it’s definitely a good idea. Wearing helmets has become the norm in most resorts, especially for children – most ski schools will insist they’re worn. Our mountain safety and advice page has lots more safety tips for your ski holiday.

Green runs are the easiest, then blue runs are for intermediate skiers, black diamond for advanced and double black diamond for experts only. Ski areas in America don’t have red runs like ski areas in Europe.

The Snowmass region of Aspen has the biggest vertical, with a drop of just over 1340 metres, with the resort’s longest run being a leg-achingly long 8.5km.

There are lots of fabulous American resorts on the quieter side, such as:

Aspen has a certain ‘love is in the air’ feel about it. The town’s Victorian architecture provides an ideal setting where you can wander around interesting shops and indulge in scrumptious nosh. Impress your other half on challenging ski slopes aplenty - 65% of the resort is considered expert terrain. Or, enjoy gliding side by side down some of the cruisiest groomers on the planet.

Aspen is a real sought-after stunner, attracting all kinds of rich and famous guests year upon year. The town is covered in elegant buildings, such as the St Regis Hotel. It’s hard to beat the scenery on a Colorado bluebird day and you can try an activity like paragliding to see the surroundings from a new perspective.

Snowbird in Utah probably wins that name. There’s not much by way of quaint, pine-clad constructions but the obtrusive, avalanche-proof buildings shouldn’t put you off - the skiing is really rather decent. Powder is plentiful in this neck of the woods, and double black diamond runs can keep you busy for hours, if you feel so inclined… (SNO pun intended!).

Their ski seasons usually start in November, giving an opportunity for Autumn skiing.

November to April in most resorts. These resorts are known to have longer seasons:

Sun Valley, Idaho, is thought of as the first winter resort, having installed the first chairlift in the USA in 1936. Howelsen Hill near Steamboat, Colorado, opened the first ski jump in the USA in 1915.

There are roughly 480 operating ski resorts in the USA, across 38 states.

(this information was accurate when written)

38 out of the 50 US states have ski resorts, and you can find holidays to many of these right here on this page.

Almost 500, as the majority American ski resorts are stand-alone ski areas. Aspen-Snowmass in Colorado, Alta-Snowbird in Utah and Lake Tahoe in California/Nevada are examples of the few clusters of American resorts that can be accessed with one lift pass.

Park City, Utah, is the biggest lift-linked skiable area in the US, covering around 7,300 acres of mountain.

  • Lake Placid, New York (the 1932 III Winter Olympics and the 1980 XIII Winter Olympics)
  • Squaw Valley (the 1960 VIII Winter Olympics)
  • Salt Lake City (the 2002 XIX Winter Olympics)

See our best Winter Olympics resorts page for details about other Winter Olympics host resorts.

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