Better snow, avalanche controlled within bounds off-piste, great facilities, English spoken (kind of!) and good value accommodation make USA skiing holidays an attractive option. But with over 480 ski areas to choose from where should you go? Lucky for you we’ve pulled together the 10 best United States ski resorts.
USA skiing holidays
The US is a huge landmass with a number of mountain ranges on which a lot of snow is dumped – particularly in the west. So the question should be ‘why haven’t you been?’ rather than ‘why should you ski in the United States?’. The terrain is interesting and varied and with inbounds slopes avalanche controlled it’s ripe for off-piste skiing.
The US ski experience is different to that in Europe. But it’s clear many Brits want to give it a go. According to the Telegraph, the number of British skiers saying they had visited North America had grown from 8 per cent in the 2015/16 season to 16 per cent in the 2017/18 season.
Visiting the US is not quite as simple as travelling within the EU. It is best to apply for the American visa before travelling. The easiest way is to get the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) which lets you visit the US for for a holiday or a business trip for 90 days.
Best United States ski resorts
There are many great resort towns to visit on USA skiing holidays, some offer mental apres, whereas others are more family focussed. For this top ten we have prioritised the ski terrain and typical conditions over everything else. So these are the best United States ski resorts for those who want to SKI!
A resort that appeals to advanced skiers only – Silverton is all about the skiing. It’s ideal for adventurous individuals who prefer rugged terrain and raw wilderness experiences over manicured resorts. Its one chair lift leaves something to be desired and the best skiing is accessed via ridge hikes – so come prepared.
Expect stacks of steep tree-skiing, drop-offs, un-groomed pistes and almost 400 inches of snow per season. A high-altitude resort, Silverton holds onto its snow and heli-skiing is popular here. With no accommodation directly in the ski area and few facilities, you come here for skiing, and skiing alone.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Plunging couloirs, narrow gorges and blessed with powder. Jackson Hole has become synonymous with adrenaline fuelled skiing. Corbet’s Couloir is one of the most famous off-piste routes in the world and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The town of Jackson also has a unique appeal and is different to other US ski resorts. Expect Wild West style wooden sidewalks and cowboy saloons. The town is a 15 minute drive from the slopes.
Twinned with the neighbouring resort of Snowbird, this ski area is one of the oldest in the United States. It has a reputation for hard-core skiing, challenging terrain and great powder. Although there are also cruisey pistes for beginners and intermediates.
With a no-frills approach to accommodation, expect rustic lodges rather than luxury hotels. Oh and snowboards are banned from in Alta, so don’t bring any snowboarders.
Wolf Creek, Colorado
Few crowds, superb tree skiing and more than 400 inches of powder a year, Wolf Creek is another winner. Popular with locals, facilities are fairly basic and the ski area is more limited than the bigger resorts. But Wolf Creek has excellent snow retention, exceptional tree skiing and heavenly backcountry making it one of the best United States ski resorts.
This affordable resort is a little out of the way for USA skiing holidays, but ideal for powder-junkies on a shoestring. Accommodation is good value but is found further down the valley.
Quiet, uncrowded pistes and packed with powder, this calm resort is a relative newcomer on the scene. The pedestrian-only village and laid-back attitude, means this pretty resort is popular with families.
But it also draws the powder-hounds – receiving around 500 inches of snowfall annually. Solitude is blessed with light, dry powder making it one of the best United States ski resorts. It’s also less-crowded than other resorts offering plenty of un-tracked snow.
This former mining town occupies a stunning setting with dramatic views of Box Canyon. Retaining its historic charm and unique appeal, it has good facilities for USA skiing holidays.
Long vertical drops and an award winning terrain park offer variety. With winter fly fishing , dog sledding, ice-climbing and spa treatments just a few of the non-skiing activities on offer. But the ski terrain is so good you won’t want to do anything but ski.
Grand Targhee, Wyoming
Ideal for intermediates, Grand Targhee neighbours its more famous cousin, Jackson Hole. Although the terrain isn’t as extreme, the snow can be deeper, lighter and more consistent.
Spread over two mountains (Fred’s and Peaked), the ski area consists of powder bowls, tree runs and glades through the trees. There are also perfect corduroy pistes and gentle off-piste runs for the less adventurous. This is one of the best United States ski resorts to try powder skiing for the first time.
The place to come for USA skiing holidays if you like people spotting. This historic ski town is well-known throughout the ski-world and beyond. But aside from fantastic facilities and star-studded slopes, the ski area offers superb terrain, spread across four mountains.
The immense ski area has 329 marked trails and is served by four resorts, connected via a free shuttle service. Whilst the on-piste skiing is great for all levels of skier, there’s stacks of spectacular backcountry. With around 300 inches of fresh powder each season it does not disappoint. Luxury lodgings abound here, but it’s still possible to find lower-cost accommodation.
If you’re after a mega-resort that has it all, then look no further. It’s one of the largest ski areas in the world, with a superb lift system and stacks of snow. The town is packed with après bars, restaurants, accommodation and night-spots. Vail has something for everyone.
The varied terrain ranges from groomed cruisers and tree-lined pistes to white-knuckle backcountry, challenging moguls and gnarly drop-offs. The town’s facilities are equally diverse, with everything from fine-dining restaurants and designer boutiques, to sandwich bars and supermarkets.
Superb for beginners, Breckenridge has one of the longest nursery slopes in the world. There’s also plenty here for intermediates, with 155 trails spread across four peaks. Reliable snowfall gives good off-piste cover for advanced skiers. The charming Victorian-style town offers great value accommodation, making Breckenridge a decent all-rounder and inexpensive destination.
Slightly unfairly, Breckenridge has a low key reputation for off-piste. It’s terrain is not the kind to scare you witless, but not everyone wants that when riding powder. However, the top half of the ski area has an incredible variety of terrain that will keep advanced skiers very happy. As the ‘expert’ freeriders stay away, it leaves more powder for the rest of us!
We hope this list of the best United States ski resorts inspires you to book USA skiing holidays. Be sure to check our United States skiing holiday discounts as you could save a fortune.