Better snow, more trees, great facilities and good value resorts; it’s no wonder more of us are choosing the best skiing in the US over that found in Europe.
With such a huge landmass, you’ve a number of mountain ranges, and climate systems that dump snow that’s ripe for skiing.
It’s not hard to find superb pistes and well-served resort towns here but our top ten list of the USA’s best resorts, prioritises the ski terrain over the apres.
A resort that appeals to advanced skiers only, Silverton Mountain is ideal for adventurous individuals who prefer rugged terrain and raw wilderness experiences over manicured resorts – Silverton is all about the skiing. 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 has become synonymous with adrenaline fuelled skiing. The town of Jackson also has a unique appeal and is quite different from other resorts in the United States, with Wild West style wooden sidewalks and cowboy saloons, a 15 minute drive from the slopes.
Twinned with the neighbouring resort of Snowbird, this legendary ski area is one of the oldest in the United States and has a reputation for hard-core skiing, challenging terrain and great powder, with cruisey pistes on offer for beginners and intermediates.
With a no-frills approach to accommodation, expect rustic lodges rather than luxury hotels and don’t take snowboarding partners – snowboards are banned from the mountain here!
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.
This affordable resort is a little out of the way for some skiing holidays but ideal for powder-junkies or skiers on a shoestring. Accommodation is good value but is found further down the valley.
Quiet, un-crowded pistes and packed with powder, this calm resort is a relative newcomer on the scene. With a pedestrian-only village and laid-back attitude, this pretty resort is particularly popular with families but also draws the powder-hounds – receiving around 500 inches of snowfall annually, Solitude is blessed with light, dry powder and, less-crowded than other resorts, plenty of un-tracked snow.
This former mining town occupies a stunning setting with dramatic views of Box Canyon. Retaining its historic charm, the town has a unique appeal, with good facilities.
Long vertical drops and an award winning terrain park characterise the skiing here, with winter fly fishing , dog sledding, ice-climbing and spa treatments just a few of the non-skiing activities on offer
Grand Targhee, Wyoming
Ideal for intermediates, Grand Targhee neighbours its more famous cousin, Jackson Hole. Although the terrain isn’t as extreme as in Jackson, 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, as well as corduroy pistes and gentle off-piste runs – making this a great place to try powder skiing for the first time.
The place to come on 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 actually served by four separate 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 to be had and you can expect around 300 inches of fresh powder each season. 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. With one of the largest ski areas in the world, a superb lift system, stacks of snow and a town 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 and the charming Victorian-style town offers great value accommodation, making Breckenridge a decent all-rounder and inexpensive destination.
For more skiing guides and blogs, check out: The 10 best ski holidays in Italy / The best ski boots of 2012 / Best Ski Touring Skis: A buyer’s guide /10 Reasons to Ski in Japan this Winter / Training for ski fitness – expert tips from Olympic physio
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