8 of the best ski resorts in the USA

The prized pistes of Aspen meet Big Sky’s alpine terrain in the snowiest corners of the land of the free

Natalie Wilson
Tuesday 24 October 2023 17:50 BST
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<p>Cali goggle tans, a Wyoming winter wonderland and the champagne powder of Colorado await skiers in the USA </p>

Cali goggle tans, a Wyoming winter wonderland and the champagne powder of Colorado await skiers in the USA

The lifts are about to start spinning on the groomed mountain slopes of the east and west coasts as the US slides into its ski season.

Vast resort towns in the shadows of the Rockies, Sierra Nevada and Catskills mountains are brought back to life under blankets of snow come winter as lively après haunts welcome snow sports enthusiasts in for a craft brew or hearty fondue.

From the glitz and glam of Aspen’s famed pistes to the thrilling double black diamond trails of Utah’s Park City, America’s slopes certainly don’t run short of varied downhill terrain for intrepid and newbie skiers to master.

Here are some of the best ski resorts in the States for a snowswept holiday, where stacks of powder and snug stays guarantee a 2023/24 trip to remember.

Read more on skiing holidays:

Breckenridge, Colorado

A Gold Rush history meets alpine activities under the Tenmile Range of the Rockies

Five peaks, a network of 35 lifts and 2,908 acres of varied terrain make up “Breck” Mountain resort in Colorado’s Rockies, which includes the highest ski lift in North America – the 3,914m Imperial Express Superchair. Shedloads of snow bless the pistes during the November to May season, so it’s no surprise that Breckenridge draws in the Denver crowds from just over two hours away.

Off-slope, picture pastel buildings on Breckenridge’s vintage Main Street, where indulgent grab-n-go eats meet no-fuss haute cuisine and a buzzing après scene.

How to ski in Breckenridge

Crystal Ski Holidays has seven nights at the ski-in/ski-out Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, complete with an onsite chairlift just a 10-minute walk from Main Street. The slopeside hotel features nine hot tubs, two swimming pools and even a mini golf course for the ultimate downtime in the Gold Rush town. Room only from £1,702pp, including return flights from London Heathrow, 23kg of luggage per person and airport transfers. Departs 9 April 2024.

Park City, Utah

The host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Park City Valley is home to two world-class ski resorts

This Utah resort took to the global winter sports stage when it hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, and the Wasatch Mountains are a dreamy backdrop for a whole host of snow-based recreational activities. Think riding a “fat bike” through Park City’s frozen trails, snow tubing at Woodward Park and – for the adrenaline seekers unsatisfied with ski slope thrills – taking a ride on the 80mph Comet Bobsled in the Olympic Park.

Though the ski area is world-famous for its thrilling terrain parks and daunting double black diamond runs, beginners need not worry; 7,300 acres of powdered pistes cater to skiers from seasoned to shaky.

How to ski in Park City

Iglu Ski is offering seven nights at the grand Sundial Lodge, Park City from £1,351pp, room only, including free parking, a slope shuttle service, a rooftop hot tub and a childcare centre for parents looking to tackle challenging blacks without little ones. Departs 13 April 2024.

Return flights from London Heathrow to Salt Lake City International Airport from £724 with JetBlue in April.

Hunter, New York

Three hours north of NYC, Hunter Mountain offers four faces of skiing fun

With 55km of groomed slopes across four faces of Big Mountain, upstate New York’s premier ski resort means it is summer in the Hamptons and winter days in cosy Hunter for NYC residents.

In this section of the Catskills, alpine chalet bars are masters of mulled wine, express lifts (The Kaatskill Flyer) ferry families 1,676m to the top of the peaks and pistes and the new-for-2023 bubly Tubing Park promises to slide you home at the end of a long day of finetuning your best ski manoeuvres.

How to ski in Hunter

Hunter Mountain Resort has seven nights at the lavish Kaatskill Mountain Club in the northern Catskill Mountains of New York State. Studio suites comfortably sleep two adults for $1,203.12 (£994) per person, including relaxing spa access, a muscle-melting heated pool and ski-in/ski-out privileges from the doorstep of the hotel. Departs 4 December 2023.

Return flights from London Heathrow to Albany Airport from £567 with American Airlines in December.

Mammoth, California

Situated in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Mammoth is renowned for its freestyle terrain parks

In the Eastern Sierras, California’s highest ski resort at 3,369m above sea level is a powder playground for downhill, cross country and off-piste skiing in every season. Nothing says après like helmet hair and a red-tinged nose, and with Mammoth Mountain offering slopes to shred well into August, a Cali goggle tan could well be on the cards.

You’ll also find plenty of activities for the whole family off the hill, be it diverse dining in the old-world village, learning aerial trampolining skills at Snowcreek Athletic Club or catching a new release on the silver screen of the retro cinema.

How to ski in Mammoth

Choose a Virgin Holidays package to spend four nights at the cosy Mammoth Mountain Inn, Mammoth’s only slopeside hotel, from £998pp, including return flights from London Heathrow, 23kg checked luggage per person and a spacious queen room. The inn offers year-round winter activities, plus the live music of the onsite Dry Creek Lounge is ideal for some post slope pints. Departs 16 March 2024.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole in the Teton Mountains offers some serious slope action

What’s winter in the Tetons without a ski holiday to Jackson Hole’s 130 trails, scenic gondolas and world-famous Aerial Tram? Cruisy blues, challenging blacks and expert double black diamond runs await keen skiers in the snowy west coast hotspot, and there’s no shortage of family-friendly terrain to show youngsters the ropes on the slopes.

For après and nightlife fans, creative cocktail menus in Teton Town, downtown live music festivals and a bevvy of brews at authentic saloons will keep things high-paced well into the early hours.

How to ski in Jackson Hole

With Ski Safari, intrepid skiers can spend seven nights at the Continuum Hotel in the heart of Teton Village for £2,325pp, room only, including scheduled flights, private airport transfers or car hire. An on-site bar, heated pool and a shuttle into Jackson Town make the hotel a dream for both unwinding and enjoying delicious meals at mountain bistros as you warm up from a day spent on the slopes. Departs 10 January 2024.

Aspen, Colorado

High-end boutiques and Michelin-quality cuisine dot Colorado’s glitzy pistes

A magnet for America’s elite, Aspen is a hub of high-end boutiques and Michelin-quality cuisine where it’s not just the snow that sparkles. Gladed runs meet steep declines and “bunny slope” nursery areas over 237km of skiable pistes on the Aspen and Snowmass Mountains and the upscale town, linked to the peaks by a top-notch shuttle system, is unrivalled for its range of restaurants, famed nightlife and luxury lodgings.

How to ski in Aspen

Expedia is providing a seven-night stay at the Pokolodi Lodge mountain ski retreat in Snowmass Village for £2,360pp, B&B, with return flights from London Heathrow, a daily ski shuttle and amenities such as a heated outdoor pool included in the price. On the doorstep of the lodge, Krabloonik Dogsled Rides, Snowmass Mall and an ice rink complete with après ski bars promise to entertain winter sports enthusiasts off-piste. Departs 22 January 2024.

Killington, Vermont

Known locally as “The Beast”, Killington boasts some of the East Coast’s best ski slopes

Vermont’s Killington and Pico Mountains thrive come winter when “The Beast” gets a blanketing of champagne powder, be it from the bitter Rutland County weather or one of the resort’s powerful snowmaking systems.

The popular East Coast ski slopes welcome skiers of all abilities with a wealth of varied terrain from pistes to parks, with wide turn greens at Ramshead and an 18-foot superpipe at Bear Mountain sandwiching the long blacks that wind below the K-1 Express Gondola.

How to ski in Killington

American Ski Classics features seven-day packages to Killington staying at The Mountain Inn, a rustic boutique hotel conveniently on the doorstep of Killington Distillery. From £1,850pp, room only, adventurous adults can explore Killington’s soaring peaks on a holiday that includes return flights from London Heathrow, 23kg checked luggage per person and six days of ski equipment rental. Departs 16 December 2023.

Big Sky, Montana

A vast 5,850 acres of terrain and 320 named runs bless Big Sky in Montana

Home to 5,850 acres of pistes for shredding, Big Sky, Montana’s largest ski area edging Yellowstone National Park and three national forests, is a remote winter wonderland for mountain dwellers looking to ski their way down Lone Peak’s exhilarating 50-degree declines.

There’s also over 85km of cross-country ski trails at the Big Sky Resort’s Nordic Centre for gliding frosty meadows and unique headlamp night skiing to explore the groomed slopes of Montana’s Andesite Mountain under the stars.

How to ski in Big Sky

Snow Pak is offering seven nights at The Summit Hotel at Big Sky Resort from £1,773pp, room only, including ski-in/ski-out access to the Ramcharger Chairlift, a shuttle service to further afield slopes and free parking. Stand-out features of a Summit stay include steamy spa facilities, alpine-chic interiors and slopeside suites with breathtaking views of Lone Peak. Departs 13 January 2024.

Return flights from London Heathrow to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport from £727 with Delta in January.

Read more of our best New York hotel reviews

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