5 Best Ski Towns in America
So you’ve been dreaming of hitting the slopes all winter long. But maybe you live in a place like New York City, where it’s hard to find snow and even harder to afford a trip upstate. Perhaps you live somewhere that doesn’t have any ski resorts at all. Or maybe your idea of the perfect ski town involves more than just being able to hit the slopes with your friends once a week. Fortunately, there are plenty of places in America with ski towns. Some of these towns produce Olympic-level skiers and snowboarders; others have resorts within their limits, so you will never be far from some fresh powder; and still others have enough acreage outside the city for new homes to be built as luxury getaways for wealthy locals. In other words, if you can’t exactly make it on vacation this winter, read on for some great options where you could spend your next winter instead.
If you have enough money to invest in a ski house in Telluride (or even better, an old Victorian manse), you’ve probably heard of this stunningly beautiful Colorado town. With a population of just around 2,500 year-round residents, it’s the smallest of the five towns on this list. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm, though, with Victorian architecture, beautiful views of the surrounding peaks, and a laid-back, artsy vibe. But the real draw here is the skiing. The nearby San Juan Mountains provide excellent, varied terrain for all levels, with plenty of off-resort options for backcountry skiers. And even in the spring, when everything is covered in snow, there are plenty of activities for those who prefer to stay in the city: hiking, horseback riding, hot springs, and more. Prices in Telluride tend to be a bit higher than in other ski towns due to the cost of living in such a small place, but the quality of life here is tops.
If you’re looking for the biggest resorts in America, Vail is the place to be. With 7,000 acres to explore, this is one of the largest ski resorts in the world, and it offers a bit of something for everyone: bowl skiing, steep chutes, some of the best tree skiing around, and plenty of family-friendly terrain. For the best conditions, you’ll want to visit between December and March, but you can also hit the slopes here from June through September, when conditions are more suitable for beginners. If you want to explore the town beyond the slopes, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as plenty of outdoor activities in the summer. And if you want to stay close to home, you can still find plenty of outdoor recreation in and around town, whether you’re into mountain biking, hiking, or kayaking. Vail is also a great place for culture buffs, with an impressive year-round lineup of theater, music, and art. If you’re looking for a great ski town with plenty of all-seasons activities, Vail is a great choice.
Park City, Utah
If you’re looking for a ski town that feels a little bit like an old Hollywood movie, Park City is the place for you. This picturesque town is located in the heart of the Utah mountains and has hosted the Sundance Film Festival every year since 1978, making it an attractive option for film buffs. But the skiing here is worth a trip, too. Park City has several terrain parks, a Nordic center for cross-country skiing, and also offers plenty of off-slope activities, such as skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and more. During the summer, you can hike, swim, and golf in the area, or you can drive about an hour to the Great Salt Lake for water sports. Park City is also an interesting place to visit because it functions as a sort of de facto capital of the ski industry, hosting trade shows and conferences for ski-related products and services, like the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. If you’re interested in skiing or snowboarding, or if you just want to see what the industry is like, Park City is a fascinating choice.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs is another great Colorado ski town. It has a population of just over 10,000 people, but it also hosts the Colorado Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Championships every year, making it a serious mecca for skiers and snowboarders. Steamboat also offers plenty of outdoor activities in the summer, including hiking, fishing, and golf. It’s also a place where you can take a break from ski town life and try something completely different, such as yoga or martial arts. This is a great option for those who want a small, charming, but still serious ski town. It’s also a bit less expensive than some of the other options on this list. However, it does have a higher altitude than most ski towns, so keep that in mind.
Bozeman, Montana: A Dark Horse Worth Watching
If you’re putting together a ski bucket list and you’ve already hit the bigger, more famous ski towns, take a look at Bozeman, Montana, a smaller town that just might end up on your list of favorites. Bozeman is a fantastic place to spend a winter, with plenty of nearby National Forest that’s great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and it also hosts the Big Sky Snow Festival every year, one of the biggest winter events in the state. Bozeman has been growing in popularity for decades and is now home to 27,000 full-time residents. It’s a great place for outdoor lovers of all kinds, with plenty of water activities in the summer, as well as plenty of hiking, rafting, and skiing that is great all winter long.
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Last, but certainly not least, we have Copper Mountain, another Colorado ski town. This one is a bit smaller than some of the other options on the list, but it’s also much cheaper, making it a great option for those on a budget. Copper Mountain is also a bit less crowded than many larger resorts, which is great if you prefer a quieter experience. Beyond the skiing, you can experience some outdoor activities year-round, including hiking, yoga, and mountain biking, and there are plenty of shops and restaurants in town, as well as an outdoor ice skating rink during the winter. The nearby Vail and Breckenridge are also worth a visit, making this a great multi-destination ski trip. If you want to explore Colorado but you’re on a budget and you want a smaller, quieter ski town, look no further than Copper Mountain.
If your dream vacation is hitting the slopes and you can’t swing a trip to Colorado or Utah, don’t worry: there are plenty of ski towns across the country for you to choose from. These five towns are all interesting, unique, and worth a visit, whether it’s for a weekend trip or a longer stay. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to hit the road, grab your skis, and hit the slopes!
- World-class skiing: With 7,000 acres to explore, this is one of the largest ski resorts in the world.
- Something for everyone: The resort offers a bit of something for everyone, including bowl skiing, steep chutes, and some of the best tree skiing around.
- Family-friendly terrain: There is plenty of family-friendly terrain at the resort.
- Perfect conditions December-March: For the best conditions, you’ll want to visit between December and March.
- Limited ski season: One of the potential cons of this ski resort is that it has a limited ski season. The best conditions are between December and March, but the resort is also open from June to September. This may not be ideal for those who want to ski all year round.
- Expensive: Another potential con of this ski resort is that it may be expensive to visit. There may be high prices for lodging, food, and activities both on and off the slopes.
The best time to visit the resort depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for fresh powder, the best time to visit is typically mid-week, as there tends to be less traffic on the slopes. However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, weekends may be a better option.
The resort features a variety of terrain, including beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs. There are also several terrain parks for those looking to test their skills.
In addition to skiing, the town offers a variety of other activities, including snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, and hiking. There are also several restaurants and shops to explore.
The summer months offer a variety of activities, including golf, tennis, and mountain biking. The weather is typically mild, with occasional showers.
The resort is relatively small, with a total of 21 trails.