Where to Ski this Season and What to Expect on the Slopes

Jackson Hole | by Trevor Haye

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming

Dramatic, Switzerland-esque natural beauty and triple-digit snowfall make Wyoming’s Jackson Hole one of the most popular ski spots in the country. The resort is famous for its steep, challenging runs (hello, Corbet’s Couloir) and formidable backcountry terrain, both of which make it a go-to for advanced skiers, but thanks to some recently reconstructed mountainside, you’ll find plenty of intermediate-friendly slopes, too. After a big tourism boom earlier this year, Jackson Hole is preventing overcrowding for winter with an advanced reservations system and daily capacity limits. There’s no option to buy a lift pass in person on the day of your visit, so make sure you book in advance.

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Alternative Option: Grand Targhee

On the western side of the Teton Mountain Range you’ll find the smaller, quieter and snowier Grand Targhee resort. Its perfect powdery bowls and glades are made for intermediate and beginner skiers, and, like Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee has gorgeous backcountry trails to explore on snowshoe or fat bike.

Stowe Mountain Rentals

Stowe, Vermont

It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque winter destination than Stowe, a classic New England town with sweet local stores and a steeple-topped church, settled at the foot of Mount Mansfield — the highest peak in Vermont. The famous “Front Four” — National, Goat, Starr and Liftline — have been thrilling advanced skiers since the 1930s, while the gentler Spruce Peak will appeal to those with less experience on the slopes.

Alternative Option: Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain was founded by Hans Thorner, a Swiss immigrant and one of the country’s first qualified ski instructors, who said its topography reminded him of the Alps. Fans of Magic Mountain praise the narrow, twisty trails which descend 1,500 feet — virtually all of it vertical — but the resort also prides itself on a family-friendly atmosphere and easy-to-navigate layout.

Vail | by Curt Nichols

Vail, Colorado

Vail is up there with the most famous ski resorts in the world for very good reason. This sprawling mountain town is complete with 5,289 acres of varied skiing terrain, more than 30 lifts, pristine powder, a vibrant après scene, and a buzzy Bavarian-style village. Like Stowe, Vail will be offering pass holders priority before opening up lift pass reservations on December 8. The entire resort is also going cashless, so keep your cards handy.

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Alternative Option: Sunlight Mountain

Sunlight Mountain prides itself on being less expensive and less hyped than other Colorado resorts, while still offering everything you could want from a day on the slopes. Explore 72 trails, 50 percent of which are suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers, then head to the world’s largest hot springs pool for an après soak.

Big Sky | by Ben Hershey

Big Sky, Montana

In true Montana style, Big Sky is vast and beautiful. From the resort’s highest point, Lone Peak Tram, you can see three states and two national parks before taking off to explore 5,800 acres of skiable territory below. Big Sky is also a mere hour from Yellowstone if you decide to take a day away from the slopes in favor of trekking through the park’s beautiful, frozen landscape.

Alternative Option: Lost Trail Ski Area

Straddling the Montana-Idaho border, among the Bitterroot Range of the Northern Rockies, Lost Trail Ski Area has a distinctly laid-back vibe. You won’t have to wait in lines for the lift or swerve to avoid other skiers, here. Family owned and operated, the resort is also beloved throughout the state for its warm, child-friendly approach.

Whiteface Mountain | by Phillip Belena

Whiteface Mountain, New York

Lake Placid’s Whiteface Mountain has some legitimate credentials — it was the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, and visitors can still participate in specific Olympics-themed activities, including bobsledding. Despite having hosted some of the world’s all-time winter sports pros, there’s plenty for beginner and intermediate skiers to love, too — more than 60 percent of the mountain’s runs are appropriate for those with less experience on the slopes. Advanced booking is recommended for passes and lessons this season, and rest assured that lift rides to be separated by group.

Alternative Option: Gore Mountain

Though it’s not as famous as Whiteface, Gore actually boasts the largest amount of skiable terrain of any New York mountain — 439 acres. Gore is praised for its smaller crowds and the sheer variety of slopes, from the challenging backside trails, Rumor and Lies, to the Nordic Center — a groomed 5k trail network for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Park City | By Matt Omann

Park City, Utah

What was once an old mining town is now one of the world’s most celebrated ski resorts. Park City Utah, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002, boasts the largest amount of skiable terrain in the country — 7,300 acres of breath-taking vertical drops and idyllic bowls. The giant resort has something for everybody, but intermediate skiers will appreciate that half of Park City’s 300+ trails are blue runs.

Alternative Option: Beaver Mountain

Family owned and operated Beaver Mountain prides itself on creating a welcoming atmosphere for all skiers, from those learning to love the sport to those seeking a challenge. Gentle Ben has a soft rise that’s great for children and beginners working on their confidence, while Rodeo Grounds’ 1,000 ft of vertical and 3,500 ft run dotted with jumps, tabletops, jibs and rollers will satisfy the advanced skiers in your group.

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