Whether it's the Colorado Rockies, Pacific Northwest volcanoes, or the snow-capped Poconos—the US is home to a plethora of fantastic ski locations and stunning resorts to accompany them. 37 of the 50 states are home to ski resorts making it an accessible hobby with a variety of different terrain. The best resorts are the ones set in stunning locations with reasonable lift tickets so they don’t break the bank. Most skiers would rate several Colorado resorts but we’ve found a few around the country that give the Rocky Mountains a good run for the money.
1. Angel Fire Ski Resort - Angel Fire, New Mexico
Angel Fire Resort tags itself as “the best snow in New Mexico.” Born in 1966, this resort covers what are called the “southern Rocky Mountains.” If you love skiing powder under blue skies, this mountain will become a favorite. The mountain has 81 trails, with a nice mix of skill levels from greens to black, Angel Fire’s variety of resorts makes them a family friendly establishment.
Angel Fire Resort has two high-speed quad lifts, three doubles and two “sunkid wondercarpets”. The mountain has three terrain parks and four glades. Annual snowfall measures 210 inches. Base elevation is 8,600 feet and you can night ski some nights from 5-7 pm. You’ll find over 2,000 feet of vertical drop here. If you’ve never skied NM, you owe it to yourself to try Angel Fire for an idyllic combo of blue skies and dry powder.
2. Northstar Ski Resort - Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe has 15 ski resorts and plenty of additional lodging around the lake or in nearby casinos. It’s an excellent family vacation. For skiing, we recommend Northstar if you are coming from Cali. With over 350 annual inches of snowfall and 3,000 acres of skiing, this resort is an excellent ski vacation destination.
At Northstar, you’ll find 400 acres of advanced terrain, including the longest trail “Loggers Loop” at 1 and 1.4 miles. There are plenty of mile-long, backwoods trails as well.
Northstar features 100 trails and offers skiing for all ages and levels. You can find excellent on-site instruction here as well. There are 7 surface lifts, 2 triple chairs, 8 quad chairs, and 1 six-pack chair, as well as a gondola. From 8610 at the summit, you can drop nearly 2300 feet.
3. Bretton Woods Ski Resort - Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a prime ski destination for those living in the Northeast. The White Mountains draws skiers from around the country, known for steep drops and icy ravines and temperatures that keep a nice snow base from November to March. Bretton Woods is not only one of the largest spots but it is iconic, known for it’s backdrop of Mt. Washington, the tallest peak in New England and its red roofed hotel. Bretton Woods has 62 trails and 35 glades, 3 terrain parks and a massive 464 acres of ski area accessible by 10 lifts.
With an eight-passenger gondola, taking skiers up the mountain at 1,200 feet per minute. Bretton Woods also offers activities for non-skiers—a climbing wall, zipline tour, mountain bike trails (that don’t double as ski runs), and an awesome network of cross-country ski trails. Average snowfall is 200 inches.
4. Aspen Snowmass - Aspen, Colorado
Of the many amazing spots in Colorado, Aspen is known for maintaining a snowpack for almost half the year. At 8,000 feet, the area is known as a skier's paradise and draws avid pros and hobbyists from around the world. Most people assume skiing in Aspen is too pricey but staying at Aspen Snowmass isn’t much more expensive than other premier western resorts. The scenery is awe-inspiring and you may glimpse a celebrity on the slopes. For $150 per day on weekends, a lift ticket is in reach.
With 3,300 acres of ski terrain, this resort is one of the largest in the country. An incredible 150 miles of skiing terrain is at your fingertips. If you can afford a week, you won’t ever need to ski the same trail twice. The vertical rise here is 4,400 feet.
Aspen Snowmass is definitely a better bet if you are intermediate or higher, but even with only 5% beginning trails, the place is so vast most newbies will have plenty of variety.
5. Telluride - Telluride, Colorado
In the stunning San Juan mountains sits a box canyon called Telluride. Home to festivals in the warmer months that range from film to bluegrass to blues, it turns into ski heaven in winter. While a bit difficult to access, Telluride Ski Resort is an international destination.
Like Aspen Snowmass, this ski resort isn’t cheap—but it should be on any skiers bucket list. The focus here is on experts, as these mountains have some of the steepest slopes in the world. Still, newbies can use the bunny slope and slowly work their way up to black diamond runs over 2,000 skiable acres.
The resort is located halfway between the town of Telluride (in the valley) and the alpine “Mountain Village” community. With a vertical drop of 4,425 feet, Telluride has the longest of all Colorado ski resorts.
The best feature of this resort is that it’s rarely crowded. It takes some effort to get to Telluride (unlike Tahoe, it isn’t 45 minutes from the airport) and many beginners are intimidated—which leaves plenty of acreage for those who love uncrowded slopes. Twenty-three percent of Telluride Ski Resort trails are marked “beginner.” With 147 trails and 120 runs, plus plenty of lifts, even beginners can enjoy a quiet place in the woods here.