The USA has a huge selection of ski resorts, from luxurious Colorado ski destinations that attract the well-heeled, to the affordable, friendly resorts of Utah, the ski scene really does vary from state to state. It’s hard to pick the best ski resorts in the USA, because there’s such a wide variety, but here are a few that we at Snowfinders recommend.
Aspen has a slightly intimidating image as a resort for millionaires, but it has become more accessible in recent years, and remains one of the USA’s best ski resorts. There’s a wide choice of hotels in Aspen, from basic and comfortable, to luxurious 5-star resorts, so you can pick accommodation to suit your needs.
You can save money on ski passes by booking in advance, and longer stays work out cheaper per day. One pass also gives you access to a massive ski area, and allows you to enjoy Buttermilk, the Aspen Highlands, and Snowmass, which can be accessed by bus.
Once you’re on the slopes, you’ll see just why the resort has been popular with skiers for such a long time. It’s rare to find a resort where there’s great skiing for beginners, intermediates, and people who are looking for challenges, making it a great destination for mixed ability groups.
Some people worry about booking a trip to Aspen, as they feel that the après-ski scene might be expensive and pretentious. The truth is that it’s very varied. There are certainly places where you can sip champagne and spot celebrities, but there are also laidback lounges, and cosy taverns serving reasonably priced food.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is one of those ski resorts that experienced skiers dream of visiting, and there challenges to get even the most hardcore skier’s adrenaline pumping. The resort is set in a vast, remote valley, where elks and eagles live, so you really feel like you’ve gone back to nature.
With an average of 11 metres of snow each season, the snow is pretty reliable, although some years are better than others. There has been a lot of investment in the resort, with newer ski lifts and electronic gates. If you love the challenge of a steep slope, you’ll love Jackson Hole, and nearly half the runs are advanced with a few double-black diamonds for the true thrill seekers. Although there are a few beginner and intermediate slopes, those who aren’t serious about skiing might feel out of depth in this resort.
Jackson Hole has a wide selection of accommodation, from cosy inns and log cabins, to the 5-star Four Seasons Resort, which has ski-in/ski-out access, an outdoor heated pool, hot tubs, and an Alpine spa. The town has lively après ski, including old-fashioned pubs, upmarket lounges, and clubs with live music and dancing into the small hours.
If you have a group of mixed ability skiers, or will have some non-skiers with you on your trip, then Heavenly on Lake Tahoe is a great resort for all sorts of visitors. On the border of Nevada and California, it’s not a traditional ski destination, but there’s excellent snowfall and spacious pistes to suit all levels. Up high, you’ll get amazing views of the Nevada desert, and can enjoy wide pistes with great powder.
Stay on the Nevada side of the resort, and you’ll find more lively, casino hotels, which can be lacking in character, but have gambling and entertainment to enjoy. There are more peaceful resorts such as the Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge and Spa which has 3.5 stars, and offers cosy accommodation with an outdoor heated pool, hot tub, and complimentary continental breakfasts.
Heavenly has an exciting après ski scene, with lots of late night parties, mountainside bars, and events such as live entertainment held in the casino resorts. With the Heavenly Village area of shops, bars, and restaurants at the base of the lifts, you won’t have far to walk.
Deer Valley, Utah
This upmarket resort is strictly for skiers, and snowboarders are banned from the slopes. Although it’s not a huge ski area, intermediate and advanced skiers are well-catered for, and the number of skiers on the piste is limited daily, so there’s no crowding. Beginners might find Deer Valley a little intimidating, but there are excellent ski schools, including a program for children that keeps them busy while you ski. The fact that the number of skiers is limited is quite reassuring to newbies.
Deer Valley hotels are all about luxury, and 5-star accommodation is the norm. You’ll find grand, resort hotels close to the lifts with facilities such as in-house childcare, a selection of restaurants, lounges, and heated outdoor pools. The Montage Deer Valley is popular with families, and features a games room with bowling and billiards, and retro arcade games.
The après ski scene in Deer Valley is suitably sophisticated and upmarket, but it might be a little quiet for some guests. Most people stick close to their hotel, enjoying champagne and cocktails, and there’s a wide choice of international cuisine in the town. However, there are a couple of cosy ski-in/ski-out bars on the mountain for some late afternoon drinks.
If you want to learn more about the ski resorts in the USA that we offer, give Snowfinders a call on 01858 466888, and we can find the best place for you.