The best of the best ski vacations happen at these resorts in North America.
Where would you like to go this winter?
|Utah||551 inches||2,020 feet||8,530 feet||10,550 feet||11|
|Colorado||300 inches||3,267 feet||7,945 feet||11,212 feet||25|
|Colorado||325 inches||3,340 feet||8,100 feet||11,440 feet||25|
|Colorado||353 inches||3,398 feet||9,600 feet||12,998 feet||34|
|Utah||300 inches||3,000 feet||6,570 feet||9,570 feet||21|
|Wyoming||459 inches||4,139 feet||6,311 feet||10,450 feet||14|
|Alberta||420 inches||3,514 feet||5,440 feet||8,954 feet||12|
|California||400 inches||3,100 feet||7,953 feet||11,053 feet||28|
|Utah||355 inches||3,200 feet||6,900 feet||10,000 feet||40|
|Utah||500 inches||2,900 feet||7,760 feet||11,000 feet||11|
|California||450 inches||2,850 feet||6,200 feet||9,050 feet||29|
|Colorado||349 inches||3,668 feet||6,900 feet||10,568 feet||16|
|Vermont||314 inches||2,360 feet||1,280 feet||3,640 feet||13|
|Idaho||220 inches||3,400 feet||5,750 feet||9,150 feet||18|
|New Mexico||305 inches||3,281 feet||9,207 feet||12,581 feet||15|
|Colorado||309 inches||4,425 feet||8,725 feet||13,150 feet||18|
|Colorado||354 inches||3,450 feet||8,120 feet||11,570 feet||31|
|British Columbia||459 inches||5,280 feet||2,200 feet||7,494 feet||37|
|Washington||486 inches||3,100 feet||4,400 feet||7,012 feet||11|
|British Columbia||444 inches||3,550 feet||3,450 feet||7,000 feet||10|
|Colorado||400 inches||1,900 feet||10,400 feet||12,300 feet||1|
One of the oldest ski areas in the United States, Alta was established in 1939 and is famous for the “Greatest Snow On Earth” and being one of three remaining ski resorts in America that prohibits snowboards. The other two are Deer Valley and Mad River Glen. Up until recently, Taos Ski Valley also prohibited snow boarders.
Some of the favorite runs are High Rustler which drops 2,000 vertical feet in full view of the Collins lift. West Rustler is a great area for runs through the trees and is the perfect location when the winds are blowing just right to refill tracks. Main Chute is hardly open but when it is watch out as everyone is scrambling to get their shot at this run.
- Average Snowfall: 551 inches
- Season: November – May
- Vertical: 2,020 feet
- Elevation: Base: 8,530 feet Summit: 10,550 feet
- Size: 2,200 acres
- Lifts: 11
- Trails: 116+
- Terrain: 35% Advanced, 40% Intermediate, 25% Beginner
Ski resorts in the Wasatch Range are some of the easiest resorts to get to. Book your flight to Salt Lake City International Airport from just about any other major city for a non stop flight. For instance, there are multiple non-stop flights leaving at different times from the day from New York’s JFK to SLC that take approximately 5 hours. If you are flying from Boston’s Logan to Salt Lake City, most flights stop once and take about 7 to 8 hours. From Chicago’s O’Hare airport to SLC will take you less than 4 hours non-stop.
Salt Lake City airport is approximately 33 miles from Alta. Car rental agencies are abundant. If you want to skip the driving and leave that to someone else, there are a number of shuttle services like Alta Shuttle that provides shared van service that departs the airport every 20-30 minutes from 8AM to 1AM. They also provide private vehicle service on demand. Most of their vehicles are 4-wheel drive so you can delivered safely no matter what the weather conditions.
There are few places to stay at Alta where you can ski in ski out.
- Rustler’s Lodge – has 85 rooms that range from luxury to modest, and outdoor headed pool, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi, and provides a full breakfast and gourmet dinner.
- GoldMiner’s Daughter Lodge – just a few steps away from Alta’s Wildcat and Collins lifts. There are 90 rooms at the GMD ranging from guest rooms, suites to dorm rooms. Your accommodations include a full buffet or cook to order breakfast and an a la carte dinner.
- Alta Lodge – the first ski lodge at Alta since 1940. Room rates include a full American skier’s breakfast and a four-course dinner.
- Alta Peruvian Lodge – Since 1948, when it was used as a nurse’s barracks during World War II to today when it operates as a European style ski lodge with all inclusive dining. The Lodge offers a number of different types of rooms like the Alpine and Chalet rooms that include a private bathroom to the suites and men’s and women’s dorms.
Lift tickets for Alta day passes can be bought online. Some of the other options for purchasing tickets are not available online. Interestingly there are multiple afternoon ticket options – one from 12:30PM to 4:30PM and another from 2:30PM to 4:30PM. The super late / super short afternoon pass is likely available to accommodate travelers who arrive at SLC and want to get a few runs in right away.
Alta does have a rental shop and demo center located at the Wildcat base area and on the mountain at Alf’s and Watson shelter. The on mountain locations have shorter hours.
Alta’s Alf Engen ski school caters to all levels of skiers and has private lessons, adult lessons, children’s lessons and telemark workshops, i.e. – “free the heel”.
- Peak Photo Alta has on mountain photographers between 10AM and 2:30PM at the top of the Supreme, Sugarloaf, Sunnyside, and Collins chairlifts daily, weather permitting.
Alta has a over 116 runs and connects with Snowbird.
Aspen Snowmass is located in the Rocky Mountains’ Sawatch Range and Elk Mountains and was originally a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom. When you think of Aspen – remember this includes Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass – each with their own distinct personality.
- Average Snowfall: 300 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,267 feet (Aspen), 4,406 feet (Snowmass)
- Elevation: Base: 7,945 feet (Aspen), 8,104 feet (Aspen) Summit: 11,212 feet (Aspen), 12,510 feet (Snowmass)
- Size: 673 acres (Aspen), 3,362 acres (Snowmass)
- Lifts: 8 (Aspen), 17 (Snowmass)
- Trails: 76 (Aspen), 94 (Snowmass)
- Terrain: 26% Expert, 26% Advanced, 48% Intermediate, 0% Beginner (Aspen), 30% Expert, 17% Advanced, 47% Intermediated, 6% Beginner (Snowmass)
If you want to skip flying to Denver then driving to Aspen, take a flight to the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport just a few miles from the town of Aspen. The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport has direct flights from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco. The airport has a single 8,000 foot long runway. Otherwise, you can arrive in Denver and drive the ~200 miles in a few hours assuming the weather is good and the roads are plowed.
There is transportation available in the Aspen area including High Mountain Taxi which provides service from the Airport to Aspen and Snowmass along with local taxi services. There is also limousine service in Aspen provided by Black Diamond Limousine.
Where to begin? Just to name a few places to consider when staying in Aspen.
- The Limelight Hotel – located at 355 S. Monarch St. in Aspen, Colorado 970-925-3025, the Limelight Hotel provides contemporary comfort with all the luxuries.
- The Gant – bills itself as a premier condominium resort with the amenities of a resort located at 610 S. West End, Aspen, Colorado 800-549-0530.
- The St. Regis Aspen Hotel – nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain at 315 E. Dean St, Aspen, Colorado 970-920-3300. The St. Regis has three Presidential Suites with their own butler service should you require it.
- The Innsbruck – located at 233 W. Main St, Aspen, Colorado 970-925-2980. The Innsbruck provides free newspaper service Monday through Friday, Wifi, parking and guest laundry service.
- The Little Nell – built in 1989 and located at 675 E. Durant Avenue, Aspen, Colorado 970-920-4600. Hosts the annual Dom Perignon Party – New Year’s at The Nell.
- Mountain Chalet Aspen – non-smoking, family run hotel located at 333 E. Durant Avenue, Aspen, Colorado 970-925-7797.
There are also a number of rooms and homes in and around Aspen available on AirBnB. From a stunning Aspen seven bedroom mansion that goes for $4400 a night to a bedroom with a king sized bed that goes for $60 a night.
Aspen lift tickets can be purchased online and are valid on Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Pricing is based on age and number of days purchased. Aspen currently has a generous policy if you do not use your ticket purchase – simply return for an internal monetary credit that you can use during the current season or the following season. Additionally, you can transfer this credit to someone else.
Renting ski equipment in Aspen is easy enough to do. You can rent online adult or children equipment for both skiing and snowboarding with packages for Beginner, Deluxe or Premium.
All mountains, all levels, all ages – Aspen ski school has you covered. Aspen also has some unique affiliate programs including Bumps for Boomers, Ski & board Doctors hosted by John Clendenin, The Magic of Skiing with Thomas Crum, and Divas Ski Week.
- Sleigh rides are available from Aspen Carriage and Sleigh.
Groomed cruiser run at Aspen Snowmass.
If you plan a ski trip to Beaver Creek here are some great reasons to (as if you really need these): excellent on mountain food, ski school ambassadors and that are not just instructors, private family ski lessons, Helmut Fricker plays the alpenhorn, plenty of corduroy for those that want the groomed slopes buffed out.
- Average Snowfall: 325 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,340 feet
- Elevation: Base: 8,100 feet Summit: 11,440 feet
- Size: 1,832 acres
- Lifts: 25
- Trails: 150
- Terrain: 5% Extreme Expert, 12% Expert, 22% Advanced, 42% Intermediate, 19% Beginner
Eagle County Airport (EGE) has service from four major airlines and have 5 gates – it is a small airport. You can skip the white knuckle ride over the passes along interstate 70 if you arrive at EGE instead of the Denver airport. Your choice.
From the Eagle County Airport you can rent cars from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National or Thrifty. Alternatively, catch a shuttle, limousine, taxi or bus for all of your transportation needs.
There are a number of accommodations at Beaver Creek that you can ski and and ski out from including the following.
- Charter at Beaver Creek – located at 120 Offerson Rd, Beaver Creek, Colorado 970-949-6660. This is a European inspired property that gets high rankings from Conde Nast. Accommodations range from luxury hotel rooms to individually owned 1 to 5 bedroom condominiums.
- Beaver Creek Landing – has it all. Located at 300 Prater Rd, Avon, Colorado 970-790-3120. The lobby has wonderful fireplace to gather around, you park your car underground, ski storage and heated boot dryers are available, there is a pool and hot tub, concierge service, and access to The Club at Allegria.
- The Pines Lodge – is at 141 Scott Hill Rd, Beaver Creek, Colorado 970-429-5043 and situated in a cozy grove of aspen and pine trees. Has standard and deluxe rooms with the expected flat screen TC and luxury linens. The Grouse Mountain Grill serves meal like roasted sausage stuffed rabbit loin, mushroom agnolotti, and Creekstone farms beef tenderloin steak.
- Osprey at Beaver Creek – located at 10 Elk Track Rd, Beaver Creek, Colorado 970-429-5042 and has 45 guest rooms. If you want to go first class, consider the two bedroom penthouse with a gourmet kitchen, living and dining area, and private balconies.
What you will find is that Beaver Creek really encourages you to book online by making it easy to filter and compare different accommodations.
Super easy to purchase lift tickets online for Beaver Creek.
There are 8 slope side locations for renting and returning ski rental equipment. Additionally, you can pick up at Beaver Creek Sports Pines Lodge, Beaver Creek Sports Arrowhead, BC Sports at The Landing, BC Sports Westin Riverfront, BC Ritz Carlton Hotel Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek St. James, Rentskis.com Gold – Beaver Creek, Burton – Beaver Creek Plaza, Beaver Creek Sports Rentals. They offer different packages: Demo, Performance (ski only), Sport, and Junior. This includes boots and helmets.
Lessons are for abilities and all ages. Maybe a little pretentious … Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School refers to itself as the “Ivy League”.
- Has a “Planning A Ski Trip” vacation builder that takes you through finding ski in ski out lodging, lift tickets, lessons, child care, equipment rental and ground transportation.
Breckenridge has a storied history that goes back to the 1800s beginning with the discovery of gold along the Blue River and continuing today as a historic resort town catering to all kinds of outdoor activities, such as skiing and the Breck Epic mountain bike stage race each August.
- Average Snowfall: 353 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,398 feet
- Elevation: Base: 9,600 feet Summit: 12,998 feet
- Size: 2,908 acres
- Lifts: 34
- Trails: 187
- Terrain: 36% Expert, 31% Intermediate, 33% beginner
Eagle County Airport (EGE) is 70+ miles from Breckenridge. Given that Denver International Airport is 103 miles, only an additional 30 miles, from Breckenridge and offers more flights, consider arriving in Denver and driving or hiring a shuttle.
Breckenridge is about two hours away from the Denver International Airport. There are a number of shuttle services from the airport to Breckenridge including Colorado Mountain Express which offers hourly shuttle and private car services. Breckenridge does have a free ride shuttle that connects the resort’s base areas and free parking lots with additional stops.
You can find just about any type of accommodations in Breckenridge including condominiums, hotels, and bed and breakfast inns.
- Firestone Inn – 114 North French Street, Breckenridge, Colorado 970-453-9844 is a bed and breakfast and hostel that offers a suite, a room with private bathrooms, private rooms with shared bathrooms, and dormitory facilities with shared bathrooms.
- Abbett Placer Inn – 205 South French Street, Breckenridge, Colorado 970-453-6489 and has rooms with names like Wildernest, Miners Shaft Suite, Romantic Nook, Settlers Saloon and Peaks Panorama Suite. Be sure to say “hello” to Jade the friendly chocolate labrador.
- Beaver Run Resort – 620 Village Road, Breckenridge, Colorado 970-453-6000 is located slope side so you can ski in and out at your heart’s desire.
Available for purchase online. Different prices for adults (13-64 years), seniors (65 years+) and children (5-12 years).
Breck likes to pride itself on “Now that’s an easy rental”. You can rent your equipment online and skip the hassle of traveling with equipment. Or come into any one of the Breck Sports stores at the “New” Main Street location, the Double Tree, Crystal Peak, The Maggie, Beaver Run, Peak 8 or the Village at Breckenridge.
Breckenridge has group or private lessons for all abilities, all ages, skiing or snowboarding. There is even a special ski camp by Lindsey Vonn called Ski Girls Rock for girls ages 7 – 14 in groups of 4 or less lead by dedicated female instructors who have had the opportunity to meet with Lindsey.
- Breckenridge takes snow measurements seriously, report results before 5AM every day.
- Free mountain tours led by guest service volunteers for intermediate and above skiers and riders that leaves from the base of Peak 8, Peak 9, and Beaver Run at 9:30AM every morning. Tours last approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.
- Almost all of the upper mountain is marked as expert terrain.
Deer Valley Resort
Deer Valley prides itself on providing a unique experience that includes perfectly groomed corduroy “groomed with passion and expertise”. Deer Valley is one of three remaining ski resorts in the United States that does not allow snowboarders. The others are Alta and Mad River Glenn.
- Average Snowfall: 300 inches
- Season: December – April
- Vertical: 3,000 feet
- Elevation: Base: 6,570 feet Summit: 9,570 feet
- Size: 2,026 acres
- Lifts: 21
- Trails: 101
- Terrain: 32% Most difficult, 41% More difficult, 27% Easiest
Like Alta, Park City, Snowbird and all of the other resorts in Utah’s Wasatch mountain range, flying to Salt Lake City is relatively easy. If you are ambitious, you can book a flight from the east coast for early in the morning and arrive in time for some afternoon skiing. There are a number of non-stop flights leaving at different times from the day from New York’s JFK to SLC, or from Boston’s Logan, or Chicago’s O’Hare.
Between complimentary village shuttles plus Park City’s free bus service, there really is no need to rent a car. All Resort Express has airport shuttles from Salt Lake City International to Deer Valley via van, shared ride or private SUV approximately every 20 to 30 minutes.
There are a number of places to stay on the mountain and at the base of the mountain.
- Black Diamond Lodge – located at 2280 Deer Valley Drive East, Park City, Utah 435-645-6528 slope side at the Snow Park base area of Deer Valley with one to four bedroom ski-in/ski-out residences.
- The Grand Lodge – 8777 Marsac Avenue, Park City, Utah 435-645-6528 near the Northside Express chairlift with three to six bedroom residences and has a common area with hot tubs, steam room , fitness center, ski valet service, and ski locker room.
- Stein Erikson Lodge – 7700 Stein Way, Park City, Utah 435-649-3700. Ski in ski out access at mid-mountain from this 5 star rated resort hotel. There are 180 rooms and suites with complimentary breakfast.
- Stag Lodge – 8200 Royal Street East, Park City, Utah 435-645-6528 located on Bald Eagle Mountain with incredible views of Park City and the Wasatch mountains. Each of the residences have kitchens, private hot tubs, fireplaces and access to skiing right out the door.
- The Deer Valley Club – Just what is says, a club for owning a luxury slope side Deer Valley vacation home with ski-in/ski-out access.
- AirBnB – a number of condominiums, homes, and private rooms available every night.
Interestingly, Deer Valley does limit the number of lift tickets sold. This usually is not an issue except during the Christmas holiday and during parts of February. You can purchase tickets online or at locations around the resort.
Is available for rent either online or through phone or on site. You can get equipment to match your skiing ability.
Deer Valley’s ski school provides lessons for skier’s of all abilities with no more than four people in a group. Of course, there are private lessons available for one to two skiers. And if you want to step it up a notch, the Mahre Training Center Ski Camps for three or five days are held a number of times throughout the season.
- Opened in 1981 with a reputation for first class service with ski valets to carry guests’ ski gear, provide tissues in the lift lines, uniforms for all employees, refer to customer’s as “guests”.
Jackson Hole is big. Period. Big snow, big vertical, big jumps. Now over 50 years old, Jackson decided to celebrate by offering $6 lift tickets for one day, Friday November 27th 2015. You guessed it, the first lift ticket prices at Jackson Hole were $6.
- Average Snowfall: 459 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 4,139 feet
- Elevation: Base: 6,311 feet Summit: 10,450 feet
- Size: 2,500 acres
- Lifts: 14
- Trails: 116
- Terrain: 50% Expert, 40% Intermediate, 10% Beginner
The busiest airport in all of Wyoming is located at the base of the Teton mountain range. You can get direct flights from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, Salt Lake City, San Fransisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.. Additionally, service from New York’s John F Kennedy airport will have Saturday service during the winter months of December, February and March. The airport is 10 miles north of the city of Jackson. From the city of Jackson to Jackson Hole resort is another 21 miles.
You can rent a car from Avis, Budget or Enterprise at the airport. If you prefer, get a shuttle ride from the airport from Alltrans. Taxis are readily available. Their is limousine services also.
There are number of hotels, condos and home available at the resort in Tenton Village. Additionally, the town of Jackson has a large number of places to stay, 21 miles away.
- Jackson Hole Resort Lodging – has a number of vacation rental properties available in the Teton Village as well as condos and home.
- Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole – right at the base of Jackson Hole in the Teton Village with ski in ski out access and three restaurants and spa you can’t go wrong.
- Jackson Hole Lodge – is located in the town of Jackson (21 miles from the resort) at 402 W. Broadway, Jackson, Wyoming 307-733-2992.
Jackson Hole lets you purchase tickets online. Currently they have a J card which replaces paper lift tickets. Similar to a credit card this allows for hands free access through the electronic gate system.
Jackson Hole “incentivizes” season pass holders from anywhere else to visit in mid to late January by offering a 50% off the daily ticket rate during this time.
You can rent your ski and snowboard equipment at multiple locations at Jackson Hole including Jackson Hole Sports, Teton Village Sports, Teton Village Sports at Teton Mountain Lodge, and Hoback Sports. They even have a free rental delivery service.
Lessons for everyone from the young ones to the adults. Ski lessons, snow board lessons for all abilities from beginner to novice to intermediate to advanced and experts.
- The town of Jackson is also a great place to visit in the summer.
Lake Louise Sunshine Village
Lake Louise is in the heart of the Canadian Rocky mountains has varied terrain from beginner runs to intermediate cruisers, to expert chutes.
- Average Snowfall: 420 inches
- Season: November – May
- Vertical: 3,514 feet
- Elevation: Base: 5,440 feet Summit: 8,954 feet
- Size: 3,358 acres
- Lifts: 12
- Trails: 107
- Terrain: 25% Most difficult, 55% More difficult, 20% Easiest
To get to Lake Louise, you will fly into Calgary International Airport. Direct flights arrive from Denver, Seattle, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando and New York.
Getting from the Calgary airport to Lake Louise is a 100+ mile drive on the Trans-Canada Highway 1. Expect to be driving for 2+ hours. Once there, neighboring Banff and Lake Louise have complimentary ski shuttle service for those with a Tri-Area Lift Ticket.
Some beautiful places to stay in the Banff area.
- Fairmont Banff Springs – located at 405 Spray Ave, Banff, Alberta 403-762-2211.
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – located at 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise 403-522-3511.
- Sunshine Mountain Lodge – 1 Sunshine Road, Banff, Alberta 877-542-2633. Banff National Park’s only ski in, ski out hotel. Interestingly, check in is at the front desk of the Creekside Lodge and you are transported to the lodge. One of the frequently asked questions is “Can we bring our own alcohol?” And the answer is … “no”. They will store it for you though.
- The Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa – located at 521 Banff Ave, Alberta 403-762-5887. Has a full range of room types from 1 or 2 bed rooms to suites with gas fireplace and jacuzzi.
You can order lift tickets for Lake Louise online as long as you purchase 48 hours in advance. Similar to Alta, Lake Louise has a full day, half day and late afternoon lift tickets. In this case, late afternoon is after 2PM. Keep in mind that lifts operate from 9AM to 4PM daily depending on the weather. If you plan on skiing or snowboarding more than 14 days, then consider a season pass.
Like most resort, Lake Louise has equipment rental for skiers, snowboarders. They also rent cross country gear and snowshoe equipment. Additionally, you can rent clothing in the form of ski jackets and ski pants.
Private lessons, group lessons for adults and children are available. They do offer full and half day group lessons. If you book ahead of time and need to cancel, do so up to 24 hours in advance. Lake Louise has instructor training available to become a certified instructor.
- Lake Louise hosts the first stop on the FIS Ski World Cup circuit.
There is a reason it is called Mammoth Mountain. With a ski and snowboard season that can last through June and more than 400 inches of snowfall on over 150 trails, there is something for everyone here.
- Average Snowfall: 400+ inches
- Season: November – June
- Vertical: 3,100 feet
- Elevation: Base: 7,953 feet Summit: 11,053 feet
- Size: 3,500+ acres
- Lifts: 28
- Trails: 150
- Terrain: 15% Expert, 20% Advanced, 40% Intermediate, 25% beginner
Alaska Airlines flies to the Mammoth Yosemite Airport daily. The 7,000 foot long runaway is operated by the Town of Mammoth Lakes and is about 14 miles from the ski resort.
Hertz and Enterprise car rentals are available in the town or at the airport.
- Mammoth Mountain Inn – 10400 Minaret Rd, Mammoth Lakes, California 800-626-6684. This is the only hotel at the Main Lodge with excellent view of the mountains. Of course, ski in ski out access from the inn.
- Tamarack Lodge – 163 Twin Lakes Rd, Mammoth Lakes, California 800-626-6684. Near the Tamarack cross country ski center. The ten table Lakefront Restaurant is here and a serves seasonal, locally sourced menu.
- Juniper Springs – 4000 Meridian Blvd, Mammoth Lakes, California 800-626-6684. Condominiums with ski in ski out access, what could be better?
- Altis – Check in at 4000 Meridian Blvd, Mammoth Lakes, California 760-924-1102. Ski in ski out near Bridges Ski run. Can sleep up to 10 people and has an outdoor hot tub, daily housekeeping, washer / dryer and a private two car heated garage.
- Cinnamon Bear Inn – charming bed and breakfast at 113 Center Street, Mammoth Lakes, California 1-800-845-2873. Each room individually decorated and includes a private bath.
Tickets are available to purchase online. Discounts for purchasing online in advance versus the ticket window prices. Also you can reload an existing lift ticket.
Mammoth Mountain rents equipment at a number of locations including the Main Lodge, Mammoth Sports in The Village, Mountain Center, Canyon Lodge, and Eagle Lodge. Those last three locations can be closed during quite times. There is also the Ski Renter Mammoth which rents ski and snowboard equipment.
Lessons are available for all ages, all abilities. There are specialty lessons for cross country skiing, telemark skiing, and moguls.
- You can always go snowmobiling or tubing at Mammoth Mountain.
Look who is now the biggest ski resort, Park City. Park City has combined with Canyons and are now one.
- Average Snowfall: 355 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,200 feet
- Elevation: Base: 6,900 feet Summit: 10,000 feet
- Size: 7,300+ acres
- Lifts: 40
- Trails: 314
- Terrain: 41% most difficult, 47% more difficult, 12% easiest
You can book a flight to Salt Lake City International Airport from other major cities in the United States for a non stop flight. For instance, there are multiple non-stop flights leaving from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to SLC will take you less than 4 hours non-stop.
Between complimentary village shuttles plus Park City’s free bus service, there really is no need to rent a car. All Resort Express has airport shuttles from Salt Lake City International to Park City via van, shared ride or private SUV approximately every 20 to 30 minutes.
- Hotel Park City – 2001 Park Ave, Park City, Utah 888.999.0098. The 100 suites consist of king size beds, fireplace, jetted tubs, private balcony with stunning views.
- The Lodge at the Mountain Village – descriptive name if nothing else. Located at 1794 Olympic Parkway, Park City, Utah 888-667-2775. Studio suites, hotel rooms, and 1 to 4 bedroom condominiums next to the Park City base area.
Lift tickets for Park City can be purchased online for adults (13-64), children (5-12) and seniors (65+).
If you book online from Park City you can save up to 20% which also gives you the privilege of picking up your equipment without waiting in a line. And not only can you rent ski and snowboard equipment directly from Park City, there are a number of other places to rent including Park City Ski Rentals for both ski and snowboarding.
Lessons are available for all levels, all ages. Group lessons or private lessons. Make note that “in a Private Lesson with multiple students, those who need the most attention from the instructor will get it!”
- Mrs. Fields Cookies was headquartered in Park City for a number of years.
- Part of the 2002 Winter Olympics were held near Park City.
- Average Snowfall: 500 inches
- Season: November – May
- Vertical: 2,900 feet
- Elevation: Base: 7,760 feet Summit: 11,000 feet
- Size: 2,500+ acres
- Lifts: 11
- Trails: 169
- Terrain: 35% advanced / expert, 38% intermediate, 27% beginner
Like all the ski resorts in Utah’s Wasatch mountain range, flights to Salt Lake City from most major cities are abundant. You can start a trip from the east coast of the United States and arrive early enough to get some afternoon skiing in that same day. An example flight from Boston to Salt Lake City would have you catch a super early 5:25AM flight non-stop from Logan and arrive in Salt Lake City at 9:07AM local time.
Snowbird is about 31 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport. Car rental agencies are abundant. If you want to skip the driving and leave that to someone else, use a service like All Resort Express, they have shared vans, sedans, SUVs, limo vans, limousine stretch, and the Krystal Coach!
- The Inn At Snowbird – 9202 E #061 Lodge Road, Snowbird, Utah 801-933-2222. Has it all. From single bedrooms to studios with loft and attached room. Can sleep from 2 to 10 guests comfortably. Has an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub.
- The Cliff Lodge and Spa – Highway 210, Snowbird, Utah 888-205-7322.
- The Iron Blosam – 9600 Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd, Sandy, Utah 801-933-2222. Shared ownership condominium lodges.
Snowbird lift tickets can be purchased ahead of time online. Along with purchasing your lift ticket online, you can purchase a “Burger Package” which is a burger plus soda and bad of chips of cookies at the Birdfeeder, Creekside Cafe & Grill or Mid Gad restaurants – note that this does not include The Summit restaurant at the top of the tram. There are a limited number of Burger Packages.
There are a few places where you can rent equipment including Creekside Sports, Cliff Sports, Christy Sports and Snowbird Sports. Junior and adult rentals for skiing and snowboarding are available. Price discounts available for renting multiple days.
Snowbird’s mountain school caters to all levels and all ages with group and private lessons available. They even offer snowcat skiing, avalanche education, and alpine touring.
- Snowcat skiing is relatively new to Snowbird and is a guided backcountry ski experience near Sinner’s Pass, Miller Hill, Mary Ellen Gulch, Pagan Basin and Borussia in Mineral Basin. Snowboarders that are competent in traversing and advanced / expert skiers are allowed.
Like a lot of California ski areas, Squaw Valley is big and has a season that lasts from November through May. Squaw hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics even though just 4 years prior, Squaw Valley consisted of just one chair lift, two rope tows and a fifty room lodge.
- Average Snowfall: 450 inches
- Season: November – May
- Vertical: 2,850 feet
- Elevation: Base: 6,200 feet Summit: 9,050 feet
- Size: 3,600 acres
- Lifts: 29
- Trails: 170+
- Terrain: 30% Advanced, 45% Intermediate, 25% Beginner
Travelers can arrive at the Reno Tahoe International Airport which receives a number of direct flights from as far away as New York.
You can rent a car or hire a shuttle from the Reno airport. If you are driving, expect to take 1 hour from Reno, 2 hours from Sacramento, 4 hours from the Bay Area, and 7+ hours from Los Angeles. Keep in mind that the weather will impact travel time, especially through the mountains near Truckee, California.
- Squaw Valley Lodge – 201 Squaw Peak Rd, Olympic Village, California 530-562-4881. This is a ski-in / ski-out condominium hotel that offers studios to three bedroom condos and all the perks – spas, sauna, health club and massage therapy to soothe those aching muscles.
- The Village at Squaw Valley – 1960 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Village, California 800-403-0206. Can’t help but notice that the address number is the same as the year the Winter Olympics were hosted by Squaw Valley. Lots of options for accommodations including standard rooms for 2, studio suites for up to 4, one bedroom suites, one bedroom suites with extra den, two bedroom suites with twin beds, three bedroom three bath suites for up to 8 people.
- PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn – 1920 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Village, California 530-583-1576. A per friendly resort accommodations that provides your dod with bed, treats, bowls, id tag and even doggie bags for cleaning up. Not only dog friendly, but pet friendly too offering guest rooms and suites.
Squaw Valley lets you purchase multi-day lift tickets online. Multi-day lift ticket prices are significantly lower than regular single day lift tickets. There are discounts for active duty military and airline employees. Also, if you are arriving via airplane, you can ski or ride free the afternoon of your arrival by showing your same day commercial airline boarding pass with your it at Guest Services. Note sure if this applies to your mobile app for boarding passes.
Rentals and demo ski and snowboard equipment is available for rent. You can even rent pants. The Inn Shop of Squaw Valley has rental equipment and then allow you to pre-register online.
Lessons are available for skiers and snowboarders. Adults and children have their own programs. Some nice touches of taking lessons from Squaw Valley is they have programs for family groups and you get lift line priority even if you are in a group lesson, not just a private lesson.
- Squaw Valley offers sleigh rides and dog sledding.
Steamboat Springs is home to natural hot springs and is named after the springs located near the library and the old train depot. The ski resort was opened on January 12th, 1963. Limited night skiing is a recent addition.
- Average Snowfall: 349 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,668 feet
- Elevation: Base: 6,900 feet Summit: 10,568 feet
- Size: 2,965 acres
- Lifts: 16
- Trails: 165
- Terrain: 44% Advanced, 42% Intermediate, 14% Beginner
Arrive at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden Colorado on a direct flight from Chicago, Newark, Washington DC, Seattle, Minneapolis / St. Paul, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta. The airport is about 30 miles from Steamboat Springs.
You can rent cars from the Yampa airport or in Steamboat Springs. If you like, Steamboat Central Reservations 877-783-2628 can book you a car from Alamo, Avis, Budge or Hertz. GoAlpine provides private and shared shuttle service all winter from the Yampa and Denver airports.
- Sheraton Steamboat Resort – 2200 Village Inn Ct, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 970-879-2220. Has ski in ski out access. This is a pet friendly resort with traditional rooms, one bedroom suites, mountain suites, and condos.
- The Steamboat Grand Hotel – 2300 Mt. Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 970-871-5050. Offers special packages like the Grand Spa which offer massages, body treatments and facials.
- Chalet Val d’Isere – 2415 Val d’Isere Circle, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 970-846-7006. This chalet built by the same person that built La Roca de Tiza in Nathrop, Colorado and is located at a secluded location up on the mountainside.
You can buy lift tickets online for Steamboat Springs. Steamboat is a leader in their unique ticket offerings that includes children under 12 ski free when their parents or grandparents buy lift tickets. Steamboat Springs has night skiing during certain dates in the season, either from 5:30PM to 8:30PM early in the year and 6PM to 9PM later in the year.
Steamboat Springs rental equipment stands out in two ways. One, kids rent free with all adult 5 day rental packages. Sure, you are being “incentivized” to rent with Steamboat. Two, Steamboat Ski & Sport rental shops provide complimentary helmets to guests 17 years and younger when qualifying ski/board products are booked in advance. Nice touches.
Besides the expected private lessons and group lessons, Steamboat Springs offers night lessons, specialty lessons, ex – Billy Kidd race camp, snowbike lessons, adaptive learning and race training.
- On mountain photography by Sharpshooter pictures.
- On the lighter side of things … items NOT allowed at Steamboat include snowscooters, dual board snowboards, bodysled, airboard, ghosky, snowskates, snow trikes, plastic skis, snowbikes.
- As you would expect based on the name Steamboat Springs, there are some incredible hot springs to be enjoyed any time of year.
- For a special night out, consider the Snowcat Dinner served at the top of the Four Points Lodge at the top of Storm Peak at 9,176 feet above seas level.
Stowe Mountain Resort is a legendary eastern ski resort with skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Average Snowfall: 314 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 2,360
- Elevation: Base: 1,280 feet Summit: 3,640 feet
- Size: 485 acres
- Lifts: 13
- Trails: 116
- Terrain: 29% Expert, 55% Intermediate,16% Beginner
Located only 40 minutes from Burlington International Airport with flights from Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C.
Easy enough to get to from interstate 89 in just 20 minutes. If you are driving from Burlington, Vermont then take interstate 89 south. Follow 89 south until you reach the Stowe / Waterbury exit at mile 10. Left at the end of the ramp to route 100 north, 11 miles till the first stop sign. Left at the stop sign to route 108 north and in 6 miles you are at Stowe.
Stowe has lodging at the resort readily available.
- Stowe Mountain Lodge – located at 7412 Mountain Rd, Stowe, Vermont 802-253-3560. A six story, 312 room lodge with ski in ski out access. Built in what is referred to as the new “Vermont-Alpine” style. What that means is it matches the turn of the century summer camps with all the modern day creature comforts you would expect at ski resort lodging.
- The Inn at the Mountain – is made up of condominiums, cottages and townhouses. There is the 5 bedroom Bingham’s Cottage or the Lodge Condominiums that have one and two bedroom units. The Mountain Glen Townhouse is a 3 bedroom deluxe townhouse with ski in ski out access. Finally, the Mount Mansfield Townhouses offer one to four bedroom units. You can call 802-253-3649 for reservations.
Stowe uses what is called the Evolution Stowe Card to access the mountain. You can charge it up online. Children under 5 are free. Super Seniors over 70 get special pricing.
You can rent your equipment right at Stowe, either adult or junior ski or snowboard packages. Like most ski resorts, Stowe will stow your equipment. Yes, I have been waiting to use that pun. Finally!
Yes you can take lessons at Stowe for skiing and snowboarding. There is group and private lessons for adults and children for snowboarding or skiing.
- Stowe is serious about making sure your vacation has snow. Stowe uses 445 HKD tower guns, 150 energy efficient land guns, 20 Super Pole Cat fan guns and has miles of snowmaking pipe.
Sun Valley, “America’s First Destination Ski Resort”, opened to great fan fare in 1936 and to this day continues to delight and excite visitors from around the world.
- Average Snowfall: 220 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,400 feet
- Elevation: Base: 5,750 feet Summit: 9,150 feet
- Size: 2,154 acres
- Lifts: 18
- Trails: 121
- Terrain: 20% Most Difficult, 42% More Difficult, 36% Easiest
The Friedman Memorial Airport just down the road in Hailey has direct flights from Seattle, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Denver. If you are flying from elsewhere consider arriving in Boise and driving the ~3 hours to Sun Valley.
You can rent a car or four wheel drive vehicle in Hailey or Boise at the respective airports.
Sun Valley and the Ketchum area has a rich history that spills over to the accommodations.
- Sun Valley Lodge – 94 new and recently renovated rooms. This is a world class destination located at 1 Sun Valley Rd., Sun Valley, Idaho 800-786-8259.
- Pennay’s at River Run – located at 300 Wood River Dr, Ketchum, Idaho 208-726-9086 and is the closest lodging to the River Run base area. In the afternoon, get Alan to pull you back to the condos via snowmobile.
- AirBnB Ketchum – lots of places to rent, mostly in Ketchum downtown, but also out by Warm Springs.
Advance purchase of lift tickets are available online and prices vary based on time of year.
Of course, Sun Valley has equipment to rent for skiing and snowboarding. There are other shops in town like Sturtevants in Ketchum and near the Warm Springs base area.
The Sun Valley Snowsports School caters to all levels, all ages, private or group lessons on both Dollar Mountain and Bald Mountain. Group lessons are typically for three hours, either in the morning of afternoon.
- Book a reservation at the Trail Creek cabin and arrive by sleigh. Of course, dress warm for the half hour ride, but don’t worry either, you will be provided with plenty of warm blankets to bundle up with.
- Sun Valley’s summer golf courses turn into excellent nordic skiing in the winter.
Taos Ski Valley
Light and dry and sun. Taos Ski Valley gets the great weather and perfect snow conditions in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains. An El Niño weather pattern is generally very good for Taos.
- Average Snowfall: 305 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,281 feet
- Elevation: Base: 9,207 feet Summit: 12,581 feet
- Size: 1,294 acres
- Lifts: 15
- Trails: 110
- Terrain: 51% Expert, 25% Intermediate, 24% Beginner
Most people fly in to Albuquerque and rent a vehicle from the airport. There are not a lot of direct flights to Albuquerque as it is not a major hub for … well, anyone. There is a small regional airport near the Rio Grande Bridge in Taos that has over the years occasionally had regular scheduled flights in the winter.
Renting a vehicle from Albuquerque to Taos is the logical choice. In general, the winter weather in New Mexico is mild and driving from Albuquerque to Taos takes about 3 hours. Taos Ski Valley does schedule a shuttle from TSV to Santa Fe to Albuquerque. Call 575-776-2291 x2384 to book a reservation.
You can stay at the Ski Valley at a number of condominiums, private houses, or hotels. Space is limited in the ski valley.
- Hotel St. Bernard – Built in 1960 and owned by Taos Ski Valley’s snowsport technical directory Jean Mayer. The Hotel St. Bernard is like family, ski weeks with seven nights of lodging, 3 sit down gourmet meals a day, and lessons. Located in the ski valley at 112 Sutton Place, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico 575-776-2251
- The Blake – Opened during the 2016-2017 season and built by the owner Louis Bacon. This is an 80 room guesthouse adjacent to the base lifts. Located in the ski valley at 118 Sutton Place, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico 800-776-1111
- Snakedance – Located just below the Hotel St. Bernard. For all practical purposes, this is a ski in ski out location. Has one bedroom, two bedroom and two bedroom plus loft condos. Located at 110 Sutton Pl, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico 575-776-2277
- Edelweiss Lodge and Spa – founded by Dadou Mayer, brother of Jean Mayer, located just beside the Strawberry Hill beginners area. Located at 106 Sutton Pl, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico 575-737-6900
- Thunderbird Lodge – oh, wait, no longer there anymore. But the Brownell Chalet is run by former Thunderbird owner Elisabeth Brownell.
- The Barvarian Lodge and Restaurant – built by German-born entrepreneur Thomas Schulze and located on the backside of TSV at 100 Kachina Road, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico 575-776-8020. You will be sleeping at 10,000+ feet and at a secluded location.
- The Snowmansion – this is a hostel located down the road at 476 State Highway 150, Arroyo Seco de Taos, New Mexico 575-776-8298. Phil and Penny Kirk were previous owners.
You can buy tickets online. Under 6 and over 80 ski free. Discounts for military personal.
The Ernie Blake Snowsports School, previously the Taos Ski Valley Ski School, offers lessons for all abilities and all ages. TSV’s school has a reputation for delivering a unique and special experience for students who love winter sports, in particular those who participate in the famous snow sport weeks.
- “Don’t panic, you are only looking at 1/30 of Taos Ski Valley. We have many easy runs too!”
- The Martini Tree – not the bar, but the real thing.
No report on Taos would be complete without mention of the fabled martini tree, which Ernie discovered in the winter of 1958-59. He was skiing with a woman who found it impossible to continue down the slope because the light had gone bad. Ernie says he suddenly thought of a ”great medical innovation” that might cure the trouble: He sent his 15-year-old son down for a Mexican porron filled with his favorite remedy, the dry martini. It worked miraculously and since that time Taos skiers have come to know that on certain days, if they look diligently, they might find martini-filled bottles hanging from trees along their way. Ernie insists that the spraying of martini into the mouth is not only therapeutic but entirely safe. ”It is aerated and very relaxing.”
Telluride was originally a mining town in the 1800s that has the distinction of being the first city in the country to be powered by alternating current electric power. Now, Telluride is better known for the “white gold” found on the surrounding hills in the winter time.
- Average Snowfall: 309 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 4,425 feet
- Elevation: Base: 8,725 feet Summit: 12,570 (lift served), 13,150
- Size: 2,000+ acres
- Lifts: 18
- Trails: 127
- Terrain: 41% Advanced/Expert, 36% Intermediate, 23% Beginner
Getting to Telluride isn’t as easy as getting to Vail is, sorry. There are a couple of commercial choices. Fly into the Montrose Airport located about 65 miles from Telluride or the Durango-La Plata Airport about 124 miles away. During the winter season for the Montrose Airport there are direct flights from Denver, New York’s LaGuardia, Las Vegas, San Fransisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Newark, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston. There is the Telluride Regional Airport for those with their own planes that is a mere 6 miles from the resort.
Telluride Express provides shared and private airport shuttles between Montrose Airport, Telluride Airport, Grand Junction Airport, Cortez Airport, Durango Airport and the town of Telluride of the Town of Mountain Village. Tellurides – note the ‘s’ at the end and the play on words – offers premiere private luxury limo and airport shuttle service from Telluride Airport, Montrose Airport, Cortez Airport, Durango Airport, Grand Junction Airport, Moab Airport, Gunnison Airport, Aspen Airport, Eagle County / Vail Airport, and Denver International Airport. In other words, just about every airport within 400 miles.
- The Hotel Telluride – located at 119 N Cornet Street, Telluride, Colorado 970-369-1188. Has breath taking mountain views and offers all-inclusive vacation packages.
- Hotel Columbia – downtown at 301 W San Juan Ave, Telluride, Colorado 970-728-0660. An upscale redbrick building just a few minutes from the free gondola that gets you to Telluride Ski Resort.
- The Inn at Lost Creek – located at 119 Lost Creek Ln, Telluride, Colorado 970-728-5678. A boutique luxury hotel at the Mountain Village with ski in ski out access to the Village Express and Chondola lifts. Occasionally, the Inn offers specials like stay more than 2 nights and receive discounted daily lift tickets.
- Lumière Hotel – 118 Lost Creek Ln, Telluride, Colorado 970-369-0400. Located at the Mountain Village with ski-in/ski-out access with 11 hotel rooms and 18 one to five bedroom residences. Lumière will help you with booking your perfect winter adventure: skiing & snowboarding, helicopter skiing, nordic skiing, snow shoeing and even ice climbing.
You can purchase your lift tickets online. Tickets must be purchased at least 2 days in advance.
Telluride resort has equipment you can rent. While they claim to have a fully automated ski rental system allowing you to book in advance, there is no obvious online rental location. Regardless, there are excellent rental shops available including the Bootdoctors and Christy Sports.
Like most resorts, Telluride has a ski and snowboard school for skiers and riders of all abilities and ages. Telluride does offer some unique speciality camps including a three day camp for helicopter skiing. The first two days will be at the ski resort, the third day you will be helicopter skiing in the San Juan backcountry flying with Telluride Helitrax.
- There is a free gondola connecting the town of Telluride with the Mountain Village that runs from 7AM till midnight most of the year.
Vail has the winter vacation experience dialed in. With beloved runs like Riva Ridge, Pepi’s Face, Poppyfields, Avanti, Born Free, Forever, Big Rock Party, Highline Look Ma and Dealer’s Choice you might think you are at the greatest party there ever was. Rest assured that Vail caters to all interested in a winter vacation in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
- Average Snowfall: 354 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,450 feet
- Elevation: Base: 8,120 feet Summit: 11,570 geet
- Size: 5,289 acres
- Lifts: 31
- Trails: 195
- Terrain: 52% Advanced/Expert, 29% Intermediate, 18% Beginner
If you can, fly to Eagle Airport and you can be at Vail in 30 minutes after landing and picking up your luggage. Otherwise, arrive at Denver International Airport and drive approximately 90 minutes. Non-stop flights to Eagle Airport come from Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas / Fort Worth, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Newark, New York / Kennedy, Toronto, Chicago and Minneapolis St. Paul via a number of airlines.
Plenty of ways to get around the Vail area including Limousine services like Vail Coach at 970-477-001 which has a fleet of SUVs and the most awesome Mercedes Sprint Vans and prides itself on being open 24 hours. They provide pickup services from Denver International Airport and the Eagle-Vail Regional Airport. The Vail Transportation Service which you can call at 970-926-2593 does private transportation to Vail, Aspen, Denver and Summit Country.
Vail ski resort offers world class lodging and dining to fit every taste and budget.
- The Lift House Lodge – located at 555 E Lionshead Cir, Vail, Colorado 970-476-2340 is only a few steps away from the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Vail. This is a non-smoking, pet friendly hotel in the Lionshead area.
- The Lodge at Vail – located at 174 Gore Creek Dr, Vail, Colorado 970-429-5044. This is a luxury hotel with ski in ski out access that provides you with all the amenities and services you would expect like the Cucina restaurant and the Elway’s restaurant, or the exclusive Chalets at the Lodge at Vail.
- The Arrabelle at Vail Square – located at 675 Lionshead Pl, Vail, Colorado 970-754-7750. Another pet friendly luxury hotel located about as close as you can get to the slopes.
- Game Creek Chalet – if you want to step it up a notch and get the ultimate in privacy and convenience then check into this luxury chalet 2,000 feet above Vail Village. The chalet sleeps up to 10 people in the four bedroom, five bathroom location. There is an outdoor hot tub with the views to die for … in a good way, of course.
Yes, you can purchase Vail lift tickets online. Compared to other areas, Vail is a little bit stingy when it comes to ticket sales: for international visitors lift tickets must be purchased 14 days in advance, lift tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable, lift ticket prices are subject to change at any time without notice << that’s just great. Not.
Not only does Vail rent equipment, but so does Christy Sports in Vail. You certainly save money by renting online in advance.
- For something special to do while on vacation at Vail, drive the 60 miles to Glenwood Springs for a soak in the hot springs.
Absolutely yes, these days occur, and when they do they are magic. There is more eye candy at Vail’s Youtube channel to keep you hooked.
One of the largest ski areas in North America with 37 lifts, over 8,000 acres of skiing and a vertical drop of over a mile, Whistler Blackcomb has consistently been rated a top snow resort for a number of years.
- Average Snowfall: 459 inches
- Season: November – May
- Vertical: 5,020 feet (Whistler), 5,280 feet (Blackcomb)
- Elevation: Base: ~2,200 feet Summit: 7,160 feet (Whistler), 7,494 feet (Blackcomb)
- Size: 8,171 acres
- Lifts: 37
- Trails: 200+
- Terrain: 25% Advanced, 55% Intermediate, 20% Beginner (Whistler), 30% Advanced, 55% Intermediate, 15% Beginner (Blackcomb)
Whistler Blackcomb provides their own travel services and will book a flight for you from multiple locations like Chicago, Boston, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Fansisco, New York Newark, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto to Calagary. If you read their site carefully, the encourage you to consider arriving in Sea-Tac International Airport or even Bellingham Washington and not necessarily Vancouver for price reasons and availability reasons.
From the Seattle area to Whistler Blackcomb is about 5 hours, from Vancouver to Whistler Blackcomb is about 2 hours depending on conditions. There are car rentals, buses and limousine services at the major airports for your transportation needs. One recommendation from Sea-Tac is to take Quick Shuttle to Vancouver then Pacific Coach Lines to Whistler Blackcomb. Be sure to have a value passport if you are arriving from outside Canada.
On of the great things about being big like Whistler Blackcomb is that the accommodation options are almost endless. From 3 to 5 star rated hotels, townhomes, bed and breakfasts, condominiums that are pet friendly, have hot tubs, are ski in and ski out, you have a lot to choose from. Some options are:
- Legends Whistler – located at 2036 London Ln, Whistler, British Columbia 866-385-0611. Has ski in and out access with one, two and three bedroom suites that are perfect for both couples and families.
- Westin Whistler – say that quickly. Located at 4090 Whistler Way, Whistler, British Columbia 604-905-5000 just steps away from the Whistler Gondola.
- Golden Dreams Bed & Breakfast – at 6412 Easy Street, Whistler, British Columbia 604-932-2667 is hosted by Ann and Terry, both accomplished skiers, who speak English, French and German. While your dogs are not permitted inside the B&B, the owner’s down SAM is a non-shedding hype-allergenic dog who will greet you when you arrive.
You can book your lift tickets in advance online. Whistler Blackcomb requires 3 day advance purchase while most other resorts are 2 day advance … not sure if they need that extra day because the internet is slower up there or what.
Of course they rent equipment. Should you want reasons to rent, here is what Whistler Blackcomb has to say about renting: no hassle, rent the newest gear, always tuned up and ready to go, and you can switch your equipment to match the conditions.
Whistler Blackcomb’s snow school has the standard lesson packages: for all abilities, all ages, private or group, snowboard or skiing. One very unique ski or snowboarding option is the ability to ski or ride with an Olympian like Ashleigh McIvor, Darren Chalmers, Crispin Lipscomb, Rob Boyd, Davey Barr, Julia Murray, Kristi Richards, Anastasia Skryabina, Mercedes Nicoll, or Tara Teigen.
- The 2010 Winter Olympics were good for Whistler Blackcomb leaving behind the beautiful Whistler Olympic Plaza.
- Whistler Blackcomb is committed to a zero waste, zero carbon, zero net emissions goal.
Crystal Mountain Resort was officially opened in 1962, and operated Wednesday through Sunday with lift tickets $5. While the early rope tows and cheap lift tickets are gone, you can still get the great skiing that Crystal has always been know for.
- Average Snowfall: 486 inches
- Season: November – April
- Vertical: 3,100 feet
- Elevation: Base: 4,400 feet Summit: 6,872 feet (summit), 7,012 feet (Silver King)
- Size: 2,600 acres
- Lifts: 11
- Trails: 57
- Terrain: 35% Advanced, 54% Intermediate, 11% Beginner
Direct daily flights to Seattle Tacoma International airport.
If you are arriving via airplane, you will want to rent a vehicle just off site of SeaTac. There are buses available that can deliver you every day of the week and especially if you are planning a weekend getaway.
You can book a condo at the Silver Ski Chalet which has the distinction of being the first condominium in Washington state. Each unit is individually owned and has a style that matches the owner. The Quicksilver Lodge, formerly the Crystal House, is adjacent to the Silver Ski Chalet – you can ski in ski out if you don’t mind sliding around the adjacent Silver Ski Chalet. On the opposite side of the valley is the Alpine Inn.
Crystal Mountain is one of the few ski areas that allows overnight camping in the parking lot and provides power. There is a fee, of course.
Daily lift tickets can be purchased at the ticket kiosks at the base of the resort. There is a slight price difference between the all day, 9AM – 4PM, tickets and the half day, 12:30PM – 4PM, tickets. Crystal Mountain used to offer night skiing on the Quicksilver lift.
Crystal Mountain rents ski and snowboard equipment on a daily and seasonal basis. If you rent for the season, Crystal will even store your equipment for you during the day, night and season.
You can book a lesson for any level of skier or boarder, all the way from the first timer to the expert skier making parallel turns in any condition of the rider who handles all of the mountain with ease.
- March 2014 avalanche in Campbell Basin took out Chair 6.
Avalanche took out the High Campbell chairlift.
Fernie Alpine Resort
The town of Fernie lies on the Elk River in British Columbia in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The ski area is less than 5 miles up the road.
One of the newest additions to Fernie Alpine Resort is the Polar Peak chair that takes you up to the top ridge of the Lizard Range. The views are incredible and so is the above tree line skiing.
- Average Snowfall: 444 inches
- Season: December – April
- Vertical: 3,550 feet
- Elevation: Base: 3,450 feet Summit: 7,000 feet
- Size: 2,500+ acres
- Lifts: 10
- Trails: 142
- Terrain: 30% Advanced, 40% Intermediate, 30% Novice
Closest airports to Fernie are the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranboork British Columbia is approximately 64 miles away and Eureka Airport in Montana … which would require a border crossing. The Canadian Rockies International Airport is likely to be the first choice for flight arrivals and services Vancouver, Calgary, and other regional airports.
From the Canadian Rockies International Airport you can rent a car from either Budget Car & Truck Rental or Enterprise Rent-A-Car. If you want to use a cab or shuttle, then use Kootenay Taxi Ltd, Willow-D Enterprises Ltd which you will need to pre-book by calling 250-423-4023, or Resort Tours – Fernie Connector which only runs shuttle in the winter.
There is budget ski in / ski out lodging at the Fernie Slopeside Lodge. After a full day of skiing you can soak in one of two hot tubs while your laundry is going. There is a restaurant and deli. Located just 3 miles from Fernie. If you pre-book your lift tickets, the tickets are delivered to the lodge and available for pick up when you check in.
Fernie offers full and half day tickets that you can purchase at the ski area or online. Prices vary based on age with the youngsters and older generation getting a price break. If for some reason you want to return your ticket you can do so within a hour of the first ticket scan.
Fernie rents all the equipment you will need including skis, snowboards, snowshoes, helmets, poles, ski boots and snowboard boots, telemark and cross country ski gear. You can also get your skis waxed and tuned.
There are lessons available for all ages at the Telus Winter Sports School.
- Fernie offers complimentary upper and lower mountain tours starting at 10:30AM and 1:30PM. Meet at the large trail map sign located at the base of the Deer Chair.
This isn’t your regular ski area. Not even close.
Located in the beautiful San Juan county between Montrose to the north and Durango to the south, Silverton Mountain operates a single chairlift, requires everyone to have a beacon, shovel and probe, and does not groom any runs (what runs?).
Get this, Silverton Mountain will only operate the chairlift if there are at least 8 people in line. What does that tell you?
This isn’t a ski area for the faint of heart or even “advanced intermediate” skiers. You will want to bring your ‘A’ game to Silverton.
- Average Snowfall: 400+ inches
- Season: December – April, mostly Thursday through Sunday.
- Vertical: 1,900 feet (lift serviced), 3,087 feet (helicopter & hike-to)
- Elevation: Base: 10,400 feet Summit: 12,300 feet (lift serviced), 13,487 (helicopter & hike-to)
- Size: 1,819 acres
- Lifts: 1
- Trails: ∞
- Terrain: 100% Expert+
The closest airports to Silverton are the Durango-La Plata County Airport which is to the south and the Montrose Regional Airport which is to the north. Both airports are a little more than 60 miles away. The Montrose airport does have direct flights from Los Angeles, Chicago, Newark, Houston, and Atlanta. The Durango airport has daily flights from Denver, Dallas Fort Worth, and Phoenix Sky Harbor.
From Montrose there are rental cars and ground transportation within the terminal building provided by Avis, Budget, Hertz, National/Alamo, Mountain Limo, and Telluride Express. Enterprise Rental Car has an offsite location. The Durango airport has five car rental agencies: Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, and National. The drive from the town of Silverton to Silverton Mountain is an additional 6 miles.
You won’t find any ski in / ski out accommodations at Silverton Mountain. As a matter of fact, you won’t find any accommodations at the mountain. The closest lodging is in Silverton at an altitude of 9,318 feet.
- The Bent Elbow – 1114 Notorious Blair Street, Silverton, Colorado 970-387-5775. Originally opened in 1907 as a saloon and is the official headquarters for the annual Skijoring event that started in 2010.
- Triangle Motel – 848 Greene St, Silverton, Colorado 970-387-5780. Bills itself as a modern-day motel, providing clean, comfortable rooms with king and queen beds, phones, cable TV, and Wifi.
- The Teller House Hotel – 1250 Greene St, Silverton, Colorado 800-342-4338. Built in 1896 for turn of the century visitors.
- The Benson Lodge – 1208 Greene St, Silverton , Colorado 970-387-9891. Renovated to its historical charm. Owned by Lin Dalsin, the lead massage therapist.
Lift tickets are priced a little different than other ski areas. You pay for either unguided skiing, guided skiing, helicopter skiing, or private guide service.
Yes, Silverton does rent equipment including Dakine backpacks, K2 skis, K2 poles, Smith goggles, Smith helmets, BCA beacons, K2 shovels, and K2 carbon probes. Take a guess at who partners with Silverton? They do not rent snowboard bindings or boots – be prepared.
About ski school … yeah, that’s not going to happen.
- Heli Skiing – offers single drops in addition to all day heli skiing.
- There is no running water at the ski area, however bottle water is for sale.
- You can book the whole mountain if you like, prices start at $8,900.
Did we miss anything?
Is there a resort that should be on this list that isn’t? Drop us a comment HERE