The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) estimates more than 65 million people traveled to the country’s six regional skiing areas during the 2022-23 skiing and snowboarding season. This marks a 6.6% increase from the previous winter season.
After experiencing a record-breaking season of skier and snowboarder visits nationwide, Americans planning to hit the slopes should expect large crowds at the country’s best resorts.
Two U.S. ski regions, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest, also reported record-high visitor numbers since the NSAA began tracking data in the late 1970s.
Heavy snowfall throughout the country contributed to this upward trend of American skiers and snowboarders in the 2022-23 season. Smithsonian Magazine reports that ski areas in the United States received an average of 224 inches of snowfall, 30% higher than the 10-year average.
National records for U.S. resort visitors will continue to be broken in upcoming seasons as skiers and snowboarders flock to the best ski towns throughout the country.
Best U.S. Ski Towns to Hit the Slopes
The U.S. has many world-renowned ski towns ranging from beginner-friendly to advanced throughout the western, central, and eastern regions.
Home to the sixth-largest ski resort in North America, the town of Bend, Oregon, is a popular winter destination in the Pacific Northwest. Mount Bachelor is the most popular resort in the Bend area, and offers over 4,300 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain. With heavy annual snowfall and a lengthy ski season, Mount Bachelor is ideal for winter travelers.
Visitors to Bend can also try night skiing at the nearby Hoodoo Ski Area, which is an affordable option for families. Those seeking a more laid-back experience can also try Nordic skiing throughout Bend’s backcountry areas. After enjoying the snow-filled fun, travelers can end their day at one of the many delicious restaurants and breweries in Bend that the city is famous for.
Park City, Utah
“Park City is a quintessential ski town with an awesome historic town with great restaurants, shops, and pubs,” says Josh Dudick from Top Dollar Investor. As a result, this luxurious and trendy destination is often considered one of the best U.S. ski towns.
With multiple world-class ski resorts, Park City attracts hundreds of thousands of annual visitors. Utah Business reports that fewer than 9,000 full-time residents in town account for over 40% of the state’s skier visits. Staying in Park City gives skiers and snowboarders easy access to Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain, offering plenty of snowy terrain to explore.
“Park City has a direct ‘town-lift’ to the mountain, making it seamless for visitors to stay in town without having to drive or take public transport between downtown and the slopes,” Josh explains.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Located in the scenic Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte was named one of Ski Magazine‘s 2021 best ski towns in the country. Colorado resorts accounted for 23% of all U.S. ski visits during the 2022-23 season. Crested Butte reigns as a top Colorado destination for skiing and snowboarding.
Crested Butte is a unique Colorado ski resort—what the area lacks in size, it makes up for in steep, challenging runs. The town is small and charming, full of colorful historic buildings and Nordic ski routes.
U.S. skiers have enjoyed Jackson, Wyoming’s rugged, snowy terrain since the early 1900s. The iconic Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened in 1966 and remains popular among U.S. skiers and snowboarders. Jackson Hole is world-famous for its over 500 acres of extreme skiing and snowboarding runs, including Corbet’s Couloir.
Considered one of the most dangerous ski slopes in the world, Corbet’s Couloir is an experts-only run that begins with an intense freefall into a powdery snow chute. Thankfully, Jackson offers plenty of opportunities to relax with a glass of wine and a cozy pair of Uggs after a hard day of hitting the slopes.
“My family loved our ski trip to Jackson Hole,” says Karen Kelly, freelance food and travel writer at Seasonal Cravings. “After a long day on the slopes, it was so nice to head into the quaint town decorated beautifully for Christmas and enjoy a night out.”
Sun Valley, Idaho
Idaho may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering top U.S. ski places. Still, Sun Valley is an exceptional destination for skiers and snowboarders of all experience levels. The local ski areas of Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain, nicknamed the “Alps of the Americas,” offer thousands of acres of skiable terrain.
From 2021 to 2023, Sun Valley was awarded Best Ski Resort in the U.S. by Ski Magazine for its blend of authentic ski culture and top-notch runs. Sun Valley is also famous for its distinction as America’s first destination ski resort, opening in 1936.
Taos, New Mexico
Ranked as one of the top ten best U.S. ski towns by USA Today, Taos, New Mexico, beautifully embodies the Southwest’s striking contrast between desert and mountain landscapes. Taos Ski Valley is New Mexico’s top ski area, with a well-balanced mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails.
Interestingly, Taos was one of four ski resorts in the U.S. with a ski-only policy until the snowboarding ban was lifted in 2008. Today, Taos Ski Valley has a reputation as a unique hub for snowsport fanatics, artists, and local Native American culture.
Big Sky, Montana
As the third-largest ski resort in North America, Big Sky, Montana, boasts nearly 5,900 skiable acres and an average annual snowfall of 400 inches. Since Big Sky offers over 300 named runs of varying difficulties, it’s ideal for first-time and experienced skiers.
Forbes projects Big Sky Resort will be one of the most popular U.S. resorts for its impressive size. The resort’s sprawling size allows skiers and snowboarders to pop in their AirPods and explore seemingly endless trail options.
Stowe is an idyllic East Coast getaway in the rugged mountains of Vermont, often considered the region’s ski capital. Stowe Mountain Resort consists of two mountains, Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, with over 100 trails and multiple mile-long ski lifts. This area of Vermont receives around 300 annual inches of snowfall, making it an ideal destination for East Coast and Canadian skiers and snowboarders.
“Growing up in Montreal, heading to Vermont to ski was fairly common,” says freelance writer Margarita Ibbott. “Stowe Mountain Resort is familiar to many cross-border skiers, located just three hours from Montreal, or one hour from the airport in Burlington.”
While eastern ski resorts are often looked down upon for their icy conditions, Stowe is well-groomed and offers a unique challenge for visitors. The town is famous for its charming downtown area, upscale boutique hotels, and scenic mountain backdrop.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.