Looking to ski on some of the best slopes in the world but not sure where to start looking? With so many great resorts in the US and Canada, it can be hard to pick. We’ve ranked our favorite resorts in North America to help find the perfect fit for you!
Due to COVID-19, varying safety measures were put in place by the United States and Canada which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included closures of the Canada-United States border and limited international travel from other countries. North American residents were able to enjoy their respective ski resorts with restrictions including mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing and limited dining options. These safety measures varied by the states and provinces, however, the North American ski season successfully operated for most of the season. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
If you’re looking to have the big-name ski resort experience without breaking the bank, Breckenridge is for you! With plentiful accommodation options at varied prices and endless shopping, dining and drinking spots, Breck can suit all budgets. In terms of the skiing, it’s an awesome mountain to ride with close to 200 trails for all abilities and North America’s highest lift! As an extremely popular ski destination, it’s no surprise that the resort can get frustratingly crowded. But if you can get past the long lines, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the bustling but laid-back vibe at Breckenridge!
Whistler-Blackcomb, the largest ski resort in North America, ticks all the boxes for the ultimate ski holiday experience. You’ll be skiing for days exploring over 200 runs across two mountains that total 8,172 ac of skiable terrain! There’s terrain to accommodate all levels as well as inbounds backcountry, bowls, glaciers, tree trails and five terrain parks! It’s rated one of the best ski resorts in the world for a reason but with that title comes big crowds. The bustling Whistler village comes alive particularly at night, with an abundance of dining experiences, shopping boutiques and art galleries along the pedestrian-only path. Skiing at Whistler can get expensive, but there are varied accommodation options available.
Vail’s huge ski area and charming European style village has made it one of the most visited in the US! Its 5,317 ac of skiable terrain makes it the largest in Colorado, and the separated ski areas help to spread the crowds out. The front-side of the mountain is dominated by green and blue groomers and the back bowls have glades, bumps and steeps to explore. Vail has one of the most expensive walk-up lift tickets in the country and the town can feel slightly contrived compared to authentic towns like Breckenridge. Nonetheless, its infinite dining options, lodging, apres-ski activities and heated sidewalks make it a must-visit ski destination!
Famous for the glitz and glamour that attract celebrities here, Aspen rules the après-ski scene with endless dining and nightlife options! Its upscale reputation does come with a price tag, especially if you’re looking for ski-in/ski-out accommodation. Aside from having one of the greatest ski towns in the world, there are over 300 trails across four separate ski areas: Aspen, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands. They’re all linked by a shuttle system and are accessible with a single ticket. And if you’re one to experience altitude sickness you won’t need to worry thanks to Aspen’s low elevation!
Traditional skiers can enjoy the mountain all to themselves, as those pesky snowboarders aren’t allowed at Alta! Despite being one of the smaller resorts on this list with only 2,200 ac of skiable terrain, experienced skiers will love the incredible steeps, chutes and tree runs. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of runs for every skier and you can also ski neighboring Snowbird by upgrading your ticket. If you’re looking for a charming ski village this isn’t it, but Salt Lake City is just a 40 minute drive away and is a good choice for more accommodation options, nightlife and shopping.
An expert’s paradise, Jackson Hole is known for the most continuous vertical in the US! Recent improvements to lifts have made intermediate terrain easier to access, however the resort remains infamous for its extreme terrain and steeps. If you’re a beginner or travelling with kids, you’ll struggle to find enough beginner trails and crowds can also be an issue on the 2,500 ac of skiable terrain. Teton Village offers ski-in/ski-out accommodation and a handful of bars, but the town of Jackson is also just a 20 minute drive away with more nightlife and shopping options.
One of Colorado’s well kept secrets, Telluride is located in a western town full of character. The difficulty in accessing Telluride comes at the benefit of keeping the crowds away and being a great place for beginners to learn on the wide, uncrowded runs. But what Telluride is really known for is its exceptional advanced terrain. Experts can get their dose of adrenaline by hiking up to Palmyra Peak and taking their pick of intense chutes. The two base areas, Telluride and Mountain Village, are connected by free gondolas making it easy to get around. The Wild West town combined with extraordinary mountain scenery makes Telluride a picture-perfect ski destination!
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have merged to become Squaw Alpine, with a whopping 6,000 ac of skiable terrain in total. Despite not being connected by lifts, you can enjoy what both resorts have to offer on one pass via a short shuttle ride. Squaw Valley is a favorite amongst the advanced, with wildly extreme terrain. The base village has tons of lodging, dining and shopping choices, but the convenient location from the Bay area draws big crowds. If you’re after powder and quieter slopes and aren’t bothered about amenities, Alpine Meadows has some great terrain too!
If luxury and pampering is what you’re after, look no further than Beaver Creek! As Colorado’s newest resort, visitors can enjoy expertly groomed runs and efficient lift systems. Although a lot smaller than its sister resort Vail, you can enjoy fewer crowds and short lines to maximise your time skiing the scenic trails. It’s a great resort for intermediate skiers, with plenty of blue and red runs. Off the slopes, you can relax in extravagance at the purpose-built village that’s full of restaurants, shopping and activities. The top-notch ski experience here isn’t cheap, so keep that in mind when considering Beaver Creek.
With rustic western charm and almost no crowds, Steamboat is a must-visit among the larger US resorts. What makes this resort unique is having some of the best glade skiing in Colorado, and tree runs for all abilities! Steamboat’s low base elevation affects the snow quality and it's less accessible from major airports. But this means you won’t have to spend hours in line for the lifts like the other resorts on this list. Not to mention, a relaxing soak in one of the geothermal hot springs after a day on the slopes can make the travel worth it!