The Top 8 Places to Take The Perfect Ski Trip

Your perfect ski trip vacation can either be a solitary excursion by yourself or part of a larger group. Most ski trips are short weekend getaways, but avid skiers can take longer vacations of a week or more.

Many of the larger ski resorts offer a variety of accommodation options, including ski-in/ski-out lodges, condos, and local homes that are available on sites like AirBnb. Most also have a range of dining and entertainment options to help round out your trip. Of course, ski trips don’t have to only include skiing. Ski trips can also include other winter activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating.

Ski trips are a great way to enjoy the beauty of the winter landscape, see places that you otherwise can’t, and a way to challenge yourself on some of the more slopes in America. No matter if you are a novice or experienced skier, taking a vacation across the country can be the most exciting type of trip you can take.

What to Pack on a Ski Trip

When going on a ski trip, it’s vitally important to pack a few items. If you aren’t renting your skis or snowboard, you’ll obviously have to bring those along. If you pre-purchased your lift tickets through a system like Epic, IKON or Indy, you’ll need to bring that along as well.

Flying to your destination introduces a whole extra layer of complexity to your packing list. First, don’t forget your driver’s license, passport or any other identification. You’ll need that to get through security. Second, if you are bringing your own gear, you’ll need to pay to bring your ski equipment on the plane. Amazon sells padded roller bags made especially for bringing your skis on a plane.

To round out the list, be sure to bring warm and waterproof clothing (with multiple layers), sunscreen, protective gear like helmets and goggles and multiple pairs of warm socks.

1. Vail, Colorado

Breckenridge, CO
Breckenridge – Unsplash.com/@kevinbree

Colorado is consistently ranked as the best place to ski in the US, and Vail is one of the primary reasons for that.

Vail, CO is known for its eponymous ski resort, with its extensive terrain, world-class dining and shopping. It’s a popular ski resort for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Breckenridge is another iconic ski resort located just east of Vail. Breckenridge’s Five Peaks are home to more than 180 trails for skiing and riding, plus a whole bunch of take-your-breath-away above-treeline terrain in our high alpine that offer views for days.

Other nearby ski resorts include:

  1. Keystone Ski Resort: Located just a few miles west of Breckenridge, Keystone is a large ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain that caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
  2. Copper Mountain Resort: Located just a short drive west of Vail, Copper Mountain is a popular ski resort known for its long season and wide range of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.
  3. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area: Located just a few miles east of Keystone, Arapahoe Basin (also known as A-Basin) is a popular ski area known for its long season and challenging terrain.
  4. Loveland Ski Area: Located just a short drive east of Keystone, Loveland is a smaller ski area known for its affordable prices and impressive snowfall.
  5. Beaver Creek Ski Resort: Located just a few miles west of Vail, Beaver Creek is a luxury ski resort known for its high-end amenities and impeccably groomed trails.
  6. Eldora Mountain Resort: Located just a short drive west of Boulder, Eldora is a smaller ski resort known for its convenient location and wide range of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.
  7. Winter Park Resort: Located just a short drive northwest of Denver, Winter Park is a popular ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and laid-back atmosphere.

Read More: The Colorado Ski Trip for Epic Pass Holders (Breckenridge, Vail & Keystone)

2. Park City, Utah

Park City, UT
Park City – unsplash.com/@meghatodi

Park City is home to two world-class ski resorts, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley, both of which offer a wide variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Located in the heart of Park City, Park City Mountain is a large ski resort known for its extensive terrain and world-class ski schools. And just a few miles east of Park City, Deer Valley is a luxury ski resort known for its impeccably groomed trails.

Other nearby ski resorts include:

  1. Alta Ski Area: Located just a short drive east of Park City, Alta is a popular ski area known for its deep powder and challenging terrain.
  2. Brighton Ski Resort: Located just a short drive east of Park City, Brighton is a smaller ski resort known for its affordable prices and variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.
  3. Solitude Mountain Resort: Located just a short drive south of Park City, Solitude is a smaller ski resort known for its quiet slopes and affordable prices.
  4. The Canyons Resort: Located just a few miles west of Park City, The Canyons is a large ski resort known for its extensive terrain and variety of dining and entertainment options.
  5. Snowbasin Resort: Located just a short drive east of Park City, Snowbasin is a popular ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and stunning mountain views.

Read More: Travel Tips for Skiing in Park City, Utah

3. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen Snowmass, Unsplash/@joshuas

Aspen is a premier ski destination known for its four world-class ski resorts, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. It’s a popular destination for both beginner and advanced skiers and snowboarders. We rank Aspen Highlands and Snowmass as two of the most difficult ski areas in Colorado.

IKON is the ski lift pass you want to get if you plan on visiting Aspen. The IKON discount pass gets you discounted access to all four major ski resorts we listed above if you buy them early.

Also, nearby to Aspen are:

  1. Sunlight Mountain Resort: Located just a short drive east of Aspen, Sunlight Mountain is a smaller ski resort known for its affordable prices and challenging terrain.
  2. Crested Butte Mountain Resort: Located just a short drive south of Aspen, Crested Butte is a popular ski resort known for its challenging terrain and beautiful mountain scenery.
  3. Purgatory Resort: Located just a short drive south of Durango, Purgatory is a popular ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and stunning mountain views.

Read More: The Complete Guide for Skiing in Aspen, Colorado

4. Lake Tahoe, California

Heavenly Lake Tahoe
Heavenly – Flickr/@lawrence_chernin

Lake Tahoe is home to several ski resorts, including Palisades Tahoe (previously called Squaw Valley), Alpine Meadows, and Heavenly, all of which offer a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Straddling the California-Nevada border, this ski town has fantastic views of the lake as well as some of the best ski resorts west of Colorado.

Other ski resorts in Lake Tahoe include:

  1. Northstar California: Located just a short drive north of Lake Tahoe, Northstar is a popular ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and luxurious accommodations.
  2. Kirkwood Mountain Resort: Located just a short drive south of Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood is a popular ski resort known for its challenging terrain and stunning mountain views.
  3. Sierra-at-Tahoe: Located just a short drive south of Lake Tahoe, Sierra-at-Tahoe is a popular ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and laid-back atmosphere.
  4. Homewood Mountain Resort: Located just a short drive west of Lake Tahoe, Homewood is a smaller ski resort known for its affordable prices and stunning lake views.
  5. Diamond Peak Ski Resort: Located just a short drive north of Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side, Diamond Peak is a smaller ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and affordable prices.
  6. Donner Ski Ranch: Located just a short drive east of Lake Tahoe, Donner Ski Ranch is a smaller ski resort known for its affordable prices and wide variety of terrain.

Read More: The Best Epic Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe

5. Stowe, Vermont

Killington Ski Resort, VT
Killington – unsplash.com/@patrickbald

Stowe is a classic ski destination known for its challenging terrain and charming New England atmosphere. It’s a popular destination for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. This location in upper Vermont is the only spot in the Eastern US that makes our list.

Other ski resorts in and around Stowe, VT include:

  1. Stowe Mountain Resort: Located in the heart of Stowe, Stowe Mountain Resort is a popular ski resort known for its challenging terrain and charming New England atmosphere.
  2. Jay Peak Resort: Located just a short drive northwest of Stowe, Jay Peak is a popular ski resort known for its deep powder and challenging terrain.
  3. Sugarbush Resort: Located just a short drive west of Stowe, Sugarbush is a popular ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and charming Vermont atmosphere.
  4. Mad River Glen: Located just a short drive east of Stowe, Mad River Glen is a smaller ski resort known for its challenging terrain and commitment to preserving the traditional ski experience.
  5. Smugglers’ Notch Resort: Located just a short drive east of Stowe, Smugglers’ Notch is a popular ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and family-friendly atmosphere.
  6. Killington Resort: Located just a short drive east of Stowe, Killington is a large ski resort known for its extensive terrain and variety of dining and entertainment options.
  7. Okemo Mountain Resort: Located just a short drive south of Stowe, Okemo is a popular ski resort known for its wide variety of terrain and luxurious accommodations.

6. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole – unsplash.com/@trevor_mh

Jackson Hole is a valley in Wyoming, United States, located in the western part of the state, just south of Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Hole has become a very popular destination for advanced skiers and snowboarders, with its challenging terrain and beautiful mountain scenery.

Ski resorts in and around Jackson Hole, WY include:

  1. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Located just outside the town of Jackson, this resort is known for its challenging terrain and is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
  2. Grand Targhee Resort: Located just over the border in Idaho, this resort is known for its powdery snow and is popular with families and intermediate skiers.
  3. Snow King Mountain: Located in the town of Jackson, this resort offers a mix of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
  4. Kelly Canyon Ski Resort: Located about an hour from Jackson Hole in Idaho, this resort is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and wide range of terrain.

Read More: Our Yellowstone Ski Trip Itinerary

7. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia

Whistler Blackcomb, BC
Whistler Blackcomb – Unsplash.com/@yinyin63

Located just about two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb is a world-class ski destination known for its extensive terrain and exceptional ski schools. It was home to some events of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and is one of the most popular ski resorts in North America.

Whistler Blackcomb is also one of the most difficult ski areas in North America according to our calculations. Whistler has is arguably the best terrain in North America with over 5,000 feet of vertical drop spread over more than 8,000 skiable acres.

Other ski resorts near Vancouver include:

  1. Cypress Mountain: Located about a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, this resort is known for its challenging terrain and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.
  2. Grouse Mountain: Located about a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, this resort offers a mix of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
  3. Mount Seymour: Located about a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, this resort is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and wide range of terrain.
  4. Sasquatch Mountain Resort: Located about two hours east of Vancouver in Hemlock Valley, this resort is known for its challenging terrain and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Read More: Our Vancouver Olympics Ski Trip Itinerary

8. Telluride, Colorado

Telluride – unsplash.com/@thkelley

Located in the southwestern part of Colorado, Telluride is home to some of the most iconic and difficult ski resorts in the country. Telluride’s crown jewel ski resort that goes by the same name is known for its challenging terrain and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It is also home to Silverton Mountain, which in our opinion is only for the experienced skiers, and is the most difficult ski area in all of North America. It only has expert-level slopes, and is mostly extremely steep backcountry trails.

Other ski resorts near Telluride include:

  1. Purgatory Resort: Located about an hour northwest of Telluride, this resort is known for its wide range of terrain and family-friendly atmosphere.
  2. Kendall Mountain: Located about an hour northwest of Telluride, this resort is a small, family-owned ski area with a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
  3. Powderhorn Resort: Located about two hours northwest of Telluride, this resort is known for its wide range of terrain and family-friendly atmosphere.
Author Image
Chris Cagle

I love traveling the United States. I hunt down fantastic places to visit in the summer and great slopes to ski down in the winter. The first national park I ever visited was the Smokies, but since then, I've been to dozens. However, my favorite by far has been Zion.