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The 8 Best Ski Resorts in the US + State Guide

Ready to hit the piste at one of the best ski resorts in the USA? You’re in the right place.

We’ve searched high and low across all the best states for skiing, shortlisting the best. Then, we spent hours pinpointing which resorts are going to offer the best ski experience, so you don’t have to.

Best Ski Resorts in US The 8 Best Ski Resorts in the US + State Guide

Below, we’ve reviewed 8 ski resorts across 3 different states.
In a rush, jump straight to the best ski resorts in US.

Best States for Skiing & Snowboarding

If you’re looking at reviews of ski resorts online, you’ll see these resorts scattered across a range of states and territories in the USA.

The likes of Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Montana, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Oregon all offer good enough ski resorts.

But, vacation time is precious. We won’t settle for “good enough”, we want the absolute best.

These are the best three states in the US for skiing:

  1. Colorado

There are plenty of things up for debate, but having Colorado on our list of the best states to ski, isn’t one of them. In fact, most seasoned skiers would probably pick Colorado as one of their all time favorite ski locations – not just in the US – in the world.

What makes Colorado so great for skiers?

For a start, Colorado has skiing suitable for families, beginners and all the way through to experts. That’s thanks to the wide range of ski resorts such as: Vail, Aspen Snowmass, Telluride, Breckenridge and Vail.

We like it so much … we’re picking Colorado as the best ski state in the US, and you’ll see recommendations for ski resorts later in this article.

  1. Utah

If there’s ever going to be a disagreement between skiers, it’s whether Utah or Colorado is the best state for skiing in the US. That’s completely subjective.

Whilst Colorado holds the top spot for the most ski resorts (nearing 30, against Utah’s 15), there’s no doubt that the ski resorts in Utah are some of the very best.

There’s a good mix in Utah, from the ski-only type resort, to family ski resorts that mean skiing isn’t the entirety of your trip. In fact, for beginner skiers and families looking for less crowded resorts, it’s likely they’ll find them in Utah, over Colorado.

Looking for specific destinations to check out, and book your dream ski vacation?

We’d suggest comparing the best ski resorts Utah has to offer, being: Powder Mountain, Snowbird and Park City Mountain Resort.

We’ve reviewed two of the top ski resorts in Utah below (Powder Mountain and Park City).

  1. Vermont

There’s no doubt that Colorado and Utah battle for the premier spot for the top ski locations in America. However, Vermont is a state that’s sometimes underrated in the skiing industry, and deserves to be featured on our list of the best states for skiing.

Of the three, Vermont offers the best variety of pistes for families, and for beginners to intermediate skiers, which makes it perfect for group vacations. Looking to compare the top ski resorts in Vermont? We’d suggest checking out Stowe, Sugarbush, Killington and Stratton.

Vermont is the perfect place for beginner skiers and snowboarders, families, or those looking to go on a group vacation with skiers of varying abilities.

Checkout our guides covering Stowe and Sugarbush below.

The 8 Best Ski Resorts in US

Now we know the top states for piste, it’s time to jump straight into the best ski resorts in the US. We’ve picked out eight favorites, located in three different states (Colorado, Utah and Vermont).

All the ski resorts we’ve mentioned are easy to access and have plenty of accommodation within walking distance. For beginners, they also offer ski equipment and gear for hire.

Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

1. Telluride

Telluride Colorado and the San Juan Mountains The 8 Best Ski Resorts in the US + State Guide

Looking to book a trip to one of the best ski resorts in the US? Telluride should have a slot on your shortlist, being one of the most popular resorts in Colorado for both skiers and snowboarders.

The facilities are on offer in abundance, with 80km of slopes, starting at around 2600m elevation at the bottom of the slopes and rising to just over 3800m. Put simply, you won’t be short of quality powder!

In comparison to many of the ski resorts in Colorado, you’ll get a less crowded feel, making this suitable for families, as long as you all have prior ski experience.

However, the main focus here is intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Over half of the 80km+ slopes are labeled as “intermediate” or red, compared with just under 7km for beginners. The rest (around 30km of black slopes) are designed for expert skiers.

Sound like the perfect ski resort for your group? Telluride is open from 9am-4pm and ski season here is the middle of November through early-mid April.

Resort website: https://tellurideskiresort.com/

2. Vail

Vail - best ski resort in Colorado

Telluride doesn’t fit the bill? The next resort to check out is Vail, known for being one of the best ski resorts in the US due to it’s array of slopes.

Vail is a much bigger resort than Telluride, featuring 234km of runs, accessed from 25 lifts. And among these slopes, there’s something for every skier and snowboarder.

Like the 50km of runs for beginners, 80km+ of slopes for intermediates and a massive 90km+ for experts. Essentially, every skier or snowboarder in your group has a good range of slopes that will suit their skiing ability.

There’s a ton of rental equipment available here (from beginner skis to performance skis). Or, if you want to buy your own, you can check out this guide to the cost of skis.

Like the hustle and bustle of ski season? Vail is for you. It’s generally much busier than smaller resorts like Telluride.

But, like Telluride, ski season here is November-April, with opening times being slightly earlier (8.30am instead of 9am) up until 4pm each day.

Resort website: https://www.vail.com/

3. Aspen Snowmass

Panorama of Snowmass Mountain ski area in Aspen, Colorado

Aspen Snowmass in Colorado regularly battles Vail for the top spot of the best ski resort in the US, and it’s easy to see why.

The amount of slopes here are comparable to Vail, with around 237km in total, starting at just under 2,500m elevation and rising to around 3,800m; so there’s a ton of powder on offer.

The big difference here is the ability level of the average skier or snowboarder. Vail has something for everyone. Aspen Snowmass, however, is better suited to the intermediate to expert skier.

Approximately 90% of the 237km piste is dedicated to the inter and expert runs, leaving very little for those just starting out with skiing.

Looking for the best ski resort for beginners? This definitely isn’t it. However, for intermediate and expert skiers, this resort is a real-dream!

Ski season here starts a few weeks later than Vail and Telluride, being late November, rather than early November. Opening times are 8.30am-3.30pm.

Resort website: https://www.aspensnowmass.com/

4. Breckenridge

Scenic view of Breckenridge ski resort , Colorado

Looking to compare Breckenridge with another ski resort in Colorado? Compare it with Telluride.

Both resorts offer a range of piste (and lots of it), so are suitable for families, and all levels of skiing. It’s an approximate 20/40/40 split across beginner/intermediate/expert slope difficulty, so a fairly decent split.

Breckenridge boasts over 150km of slopes using 23 lifts, meaning it offers much more variety than Telluride. But, total elevation (around 3,900m) is similar to Telluride, so powder quality tends to be the same (ridiculously good).

Given there are more slopes here, Breckenridge does tend to get a little more crowded than Telluride, but it’s worth it.

Looking for a ski resort in the US to take all the family, or, a group of varied abilities? Breckenridge is worth a shout, open from November-April, and opening 8.30am-4pm each snow day.

Resort website: https://www.breckenridge.com/

Best Ski Resorts in Utah

5. Powder Mountain

 

Powder Mountain doesn’t need any introduction for the seasoned skier. Located in Utah, it offers 135km of, well, powdered slopes suitable for all ages and abilities.

It’s worth noting that lifts can get busy here (as there are only 9), but that certainly doesn’t dampen the mood of skiers. It’s the perfect place to ski as a group. Around 20% of the slopes are designed for beginners, with 40% a piece set aside for intermediate (red) and expert (black) skiers.

With elevation set at around 2,100m and rising to 2,700m, you’re going to be around 1,000m lower than at ski resorts in Colorado. So, whilst there is plenty of powder on offer, it’s not going to be of the quality found over in CO.

But, it’s still one of the best ski resorts in the US, and certainly in Utah. One of the reasons for this?

The ridiculously long days you can get on the slopes. In Colorado, a typical day is 9am-4pm. Here at Powder Mountain? You can ski from 9am up until 9pm. That’s a ridiculously good bang for your buck. And depending on snow conditions, it’s open from late November until April.

Resort website: https://www.powdermountain.com/

6. Park City

Park City makes our list of the top ski resorts in the US, with ease. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Park City features a massive 250km of slopes. And, getting to them doesn’t feel particularly difficult (or busy, even during peak times), thanks to the resort’s 39 ski lifts.

Elevation in comparison to most ski resorts in Utah is high, around 2,100m-3,050m. And, that means that there’s a ton of powder throughout the season (which starts in November, and ends in April).

Who’s the Park City ski resort suitable for? Put simply, intermediate skiers.

Around 60% of the 250km slopes are labeled as intermediates. That drops to around 30% for experts (so, there’s still plenty of variety on offer). However, with little over 10% of the slopes suitable for beginners, it’s certainly not a beginner specific ski resort.

Or is it? There are just over 25km of beginner slopes at Park City, so that’s still more than some resorts (even our top picks in Colorado). Park City is suitable for all ages and abilities, a perfect family ski resort.

If you’re looking at Utah ski resorts specifically and prefer longer days skiing, then Powder Mountain is going to be more suited (open 9am-9pm); Park City closes by 4pm each day.

However, looking for the biggest range of slopes? Park City is the ski resort for you.

Resort website: https://www.parkcitymountain.com/

Best Ski Resorts in Vermont

7. Stowe

Colorado and Utah are certainly two of the best states for skiing, but Vermont possesses a few gems of its own; Stowe Ski Resort being one of them. In our opinion, it’s one of the best family resorts (particularly if you have beginner skiers hitching a ride) on this list.

Stowe is definitely orientated towards beginner and intermediate skiers, with 70km of slopes (quite a lot less than others on this list) in total. 20km of that being for beginners, and a further 42km suited to intermediates (Spruce Peak being one of the best). There’s just 8km of black runs on offer, so there’s little variety for expert skiers.

Looking for a relaxed, uncrowded ski vacation in the USA, and skiing at the beginner to intermediate level? Head to Vermont, and pick Stowe, open from 8am-4pm, November-April.

Resort website: https://www.stowe.com/

8. Sugarbush

And, that brings us to the last destination on our list of the best ski resorts in the USA, Sugarbush.

Like Stowe, expect the season here to start in November, and end in April. However, it’s worth checking a few weeks prior to your trip. Like a lot of ski resorts in Vermont, there’s not a ton of elevation here.

Slopes start at around 450m at Sugarbush ski resort, rising to 1,250m or so (compared with 3,000m+ in Colorado). And this means that snow, at times, can be extremely unpredictable.

Sugarbush is similar in a way to Stowe, in that it’s the perfect family ski resort, one of the best in the USA in fact.

You’ll have access to over 80km of slopes, which rarely feel busy,t and aren’t hard to get to thanks to the 15 lifts. But, unlike a lot of the other ski resorts in the US, there’s something for everyone, with nearing 20km of slopes for beginners, close to 40km for intermediates and around 30km of technically challenging black runs on offer too.

Looking for a family ski vacation and have skiers from beginner-expert in your group? We’d be picking Sugarbush over Stowe.

Resort website: https://www.sugarbush.com/

Summary: The USA’s Best Ski Resorts

And that’s it. TheCoolist’s guide to the best ski resorts in the US.

We shortlisted 3 states for skiing (Colorado, Utah and Vermont).

We’re picking Colorado as the best state for skiing.

And, we then pinpointed 8 resorts across those states (Telluride, Vail, Aspen Snowmass, Breckridge, Powder Mountain, Park City, Stowe and Sugarbush).

Our top pick for the best ski resort in the USA? That goes to Vail.

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