Winter is the most anticipated time of year for many mountain enthusiasts because winter = ski season. Skiing is limited to a few months, though, so it’s essential to plan your trips accordingly and get the most from the season.
So, where are the best skiing locations for the upcoming season? We’ve compiled a list of the top 25 ski resorts in the U.S. to help you get an idea of which slopes fit your vacation plans best.
A Note About Our List
Before we get to the resorts, we want to note that we didn’t rank these parks in any particular order. Our list includes the top resorts based on popularity and skier reviews, but there are certainly more great resorts around the country. We chose a variety of resorts, from world-renowned slopes to lesser-known ski towns with a homey local vibe.
Now, onto the list!
#1. Snowbird Ski Resort, Utah
Snowbird features some of the more unique terrains in Utah and plenty of fresh powder during its long season. The resort is typically open from mid-November through May. Experts will enjoy the terrifying in-bounds steeps. Beginners and intermediates won’t have as many skill-appropriate opportunities, but beginner packages are relatively inexpensive.
#2. Park City Ski Resort, Utah
Park City offers the most lift-accessible ski and snowboard terrain in the United States. With more than 7,300 acres of terrain, 330 trails, 42 lifts and 6 terrain parks, Park City Mountain offers a place for everyone to belong. Adventure-seekers can challenge themselves on high-alpine terrain like Jupiter Peak, Ninety-Nine 90 or Pinecone Ridge.
The resort is home to High Meadow Park, Utah’s premier ski and snowboarding learning area. Children and new skiers can refine their skills and build their confidence at High Meadow before taking the high-quality lift system to steeper slopes.
#3. Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort, California
Palisades Tahoe will soon open a gondola that connects the resort’s two bases, making it the largest ski resort in California. The resort was home to the 1960 Olympic Winter Games and is known for its world-class terrain and vibrant ski culture.
Newcomers can practice with instructors at the learning zone while experienced skiers enjoy the deep powder and steep chutes in front of gorgeous Lake Tahoe. Palisades has something for each level of skier.
#4. Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado
Breckenridge Ski Resort balances the features of a world-class ski resort with the casual and laid-back culture that many skiers enjoy. The terrain is ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers, and the surrounding town creates opportunities for other activities off the slopes.
Breckenridge is one of the most popular ski resorts in the U.S., so if you prefer clear mountain paths and quiet restaurants you may want to look elsewhere.
#5. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
Jackson Hole has challenging terrain and plentiful amounts of quality snow. The lifts are speedy, and resort management continues updating the infrastructure. Skiers looking for advanced on-piste, off-piste, steeps, chutes, and other expert terrains will find plenty of ideal slopes at Jackson Hole. Like Breckenridge, Jackson Hole has grown in popularity, so lift lines are often long.
#6. Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado
Powderhounds rated Telluride, another ski resort in Colorado, the top overall ski resort in the U.S. The slopes are friendly to all ability levels and feature an amazing 360-degree view of the surrounding San Juan Mountains. Skiers can find lift-accessible bowls and terrain parks for beginners and advanced thrill seekers.
#7. Vail Ski Resort, Colorado
Vail is one of the top ski resorts in the U.S. The resort is enormous (the third-largest in the country) and includes varied terrain, a modern lift system, and an average of 354 inches of snow annually.
Vail Ski Resort predominantly consists of blue runs, so advanced skiers will likely get more out of their trip than beginners or intermediates. On the plus side, the resort recently introduced EpicMix Time, an app that allows users to follow a live forecast of lift wait times so they can maximize their time on the slopes.
#8. Big Sky Ski Resort, Montana
We can’t list the top ski resorts without mentioning the one that calls itself the “biggest skiing in America.” Big Sky Resort covers 5,850 acres of skiable terrain, ranging from groomers for beginners to bucket list descents for adrenaline junkies. The abundance of open space means the ski areas are rarely crowded, and skiers of any level will have plenty to try.
#9. Steamboat Ski Resort, Colorado
Steamboat invented the term “champagne powder” to describe its light, fluffy snow. The resort is a very family-friendly destination and has excellent glade skiing for those wanting to learn to tree ski. Steamboat covers a complete mountain range. Free-riders will love Mavericks Superpipe. Its 450 feet long and 56 feet wide and has 18-foot walls and a 22-foot transition.
#10. Deer Valley Ski Resort, Utah
Deer Valley Resort is located in Park City and is strictly limited to skiers. Snowboards are prohibited. Vacationers will enjoy the luxury ski-in and ski-out options, intermediate terrain, and highly-regarded ski school. Deer Valley is more luxurious than many resorts, and while it isn’t ideal for hard-core skiers, anyone looking to get out of the way of snowboarders will love this resort.
#11. Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort, California
Heavenly Ski Resort has plenty of fast lifts and offers a beautiful view of Lake Tahoe. The wide-open tree skiing is ideal for strong intermediate and advanced riders, and the 4,800 acres of ski and snowboard terrain leave something for everyone to try. However, because of its popularity, Heavenly is often crowded.
#12. Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, Colorado
Aspen Snowmass consists of four mountains and two towns and is one of the top skiing destinations in Colorado. The resort offers an incredible all-around ski resort experience, high-end facilities, and a massive amount of terrain with consistently great weather. Passes can be pricey, but you get what you pay for.
#13. Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, Montana
Whitefish Mountain is the ideal destination for anyone who wants to avoid crowds and lift lines. The terrain has something for everyone and offers excellent intermediate cruisers. It’s also more affordable than other locations. The area usually doesn’t see much sunlight, and the lift situation isn’t ideal, but the resort is family-friendly, and the laid-back vibe comes at a great value.
#14. Stowe Mountain Ski Resort, Vermont
Stowe Mountain is an internationally renowned four-season vacation destination. It offers winter attractions like scenic gondola rides, cross-country skiing, and more. The resort earned a top-ten ranking from SkiMag in terrain, challenge, dining, lodging, nightlife, and on-mountain dining. It's one of the top skiing destinations in the East.
#15. Winter Park Ski Resort, Colorado
Winter Park began as a small resort in 1940 but has since developed into a must-visit ski destination with first-class facilities. Winter Park has 3,081 skiable acres with a 3,060-foot vertical drop, making them the fourth largest ski resort in Colorado in terms of acreage and in the top 10 for vertical drop. Winter Park and specifically the Mary Jane side of the mountain is known for its steep, challenging terrain. They also have some of the most consistent snowfall in the state, racking up the most snow among major destination resorts the last two winters. To top it all off, the pricing is much lower than you’ll find elsewhere, and the family-oriented atmosphere makes Winter Park a great place for skiers of any age.
#16. Killington Ski Resort, Vermont
Killington Resort, fondly known as The Beast, is the biggest mountain resort in the East. It spans 3,000 acres, including the highest lift-serviced peak in Vermont (the second highest in the state at 4241’.) It has over 1,500 skiable acres, 21 lifts and 155 trails, and that’s not including sister resort, Pico Mountain. Just a few miles away, Pico adds an additional 7 lifts and 58 trails to the total, and you can enjoy both resorts with a Killington lift ticket or pass.
They do everything at Killington bigger, from events, such as the Audi FIS Ski World Cup over Thanksgiving weekend, with its record-breaking crowds, to freestyle terrain. The Woodward Mountain Park network spans all seven peaks, with features of all shapes and sizes. And of course, Killington boasts the longest season in the East, which can get started as early as October and stretch as late as June.
#17. Snowbasin Ski Resort, Utah
Snowbasin is one of the oldest resorts in the U.S., though you wouldn’t guess it based on the updated facilities. The resort isn’t as popular as Park City or Snowbird, and the ski area doesn’t include overnight lodging, but the ski area is decent-sized, and there are some fun speedy groomers. Snowbasin also has excellent terrain for advanced riders.
#18. Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, Oregon
Mt. Hood Meadows is roughly average in size for a US ski resort, but the intermediate terrain and parks make the experience worth it. Riders should watch for weather alerts, as significant portions of the resort can be closed off due to adverse conditions. Intermediate riders will have the most to do at Mt. Hood, as the beginner slopes are all low-elevation, and the high-level runs are relatively short.
#19. Sunday River Ski Resort, Maine
Sunday River is home to the second-largest vertical drop in the state (2,340 ft.) and the fastest 8-person chair lift in North America. If you enjoy riding in comfort, Sunday River’s heated lift seats and built-in wind resistance might grab your attention. The resort covers 870 acres of skiable terrain, 135 trails and glades, and 18 advanced lifts.
#20. Powder Mountain Ski Resort, Utah
Powder Mountain is a little-known resort with a vast skiing terrain, a large lift service, and plentiful snowfall. The resort only issues 1,500 lift tickets daily, so riders will often enjoy fresh powder and feel like they have the slopes to themselves. Most of the lifts are outdated, but several zones are also accessible by buses and snowcat shuttles.
#21. Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington
Mt. Baker is a high-thrill, low-cost resort for experienced skiers. The area receives plenty of snowfall (which can lead to large crowds on powder days), and the in-bound expert terrain is phenomenal. However, you will probably want to come prepared for some backcountry skiing as the in-bounds area is small and can get tracked out quickly.
#22. Wolf Creek Ski Area, Colorado
Wolf Creek sees the most snow in Colorado with 430 inches per season. It isn’t as pricey as other resorts. Because it isn’t as well-known as some of Colorado’s biggest attractions, locals are the predominant crowd at Wolf Creek. Skiers will find excellent tree runs, early season powder, few crowds, and affordable lift tickets and lessons.
#23. Crested Butte Ski Resort, Colorado
Crested Butte is well known for extreme ski terrain, a laid-back culture, and a beautiful ski town. PowderHounds rated the surrounding area as the #1 ski town in Colorado. Expert skiers will enjoy the wild in-bounds terrain, and families will enjoy the environment.
#24. Shawnee Peak Ski Resort, Maine
Shawnee Peak is one of the best ski resorts in the Northeast. It’s the longest-operating resort in Maine. The ski area includes over 40 trails, seven glades, and three terrain parks. It has snowmakers on 98% of the terrain. Skiers can also take advantage of night skiing, equipment rentals, and lessons for beginners.
#25. Grand Targhee Ski Resort, Wyoming
We finish our list with Grand Targhee Resort, Wyoming’s powder paradise. Grand Targhee isn’t as well-known as Jackson Hole and doesn’t feature the same extreme terrain, but the resort often gets more fresh snow (12.7m) annually. The powder is deep and consistent, and beginner and intermediate skiers will find plenty of appropriate terrain for their skill levels. Grand Targhee has become more popular in recent years but still is relatively uncrowded compared to Jackson Hole.