You’ve heard it said a thousand times: “no two snowflakes are exactly the same.”
Well, it’s the same way with ski resorts. Some are small, some are huge, some are friendly, others impersonal. Some push the limits of the best skiers, others make them yawn. But like the humble snowflakes on which they depend, each resort is unique.
Think of this as Match.com or a dating service for you and your perfect ski resort. As someone who writes a lot on ski travel and has been to just about every major ski resort in North America, these are my handy ultra-short synopsis of each area’s personality and how it might fit your needs. Remember, there is no such thing as the “best” ski area, but there are great ski areas, and one that is the best the resort for you.
I’ve broken this into two parts: first I list the best resorts for various factors important in a ski vacation, than I give quick assessments of major resorts you might be considering.
BEST: The Resorts of Lake Tahoe, CA/NV (Heavenly, Squaw Valley USA, Kirkwood, Sierra-At-Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Alpine Meadows)
SECOND BEST: Utah resorts, with Alta and Snowbird tops, followed by Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, the Canyons, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain.
BEST: Jackson Hole, WY
SECOND BEST: Alta, UT; Snowbird, UT; Kirkwood, CA; Big Sky, MT; Crested Butte, CO; Squaw Valley USA, CA; Taos, NM
Beginner & Intermediate Terrain & Conditions:
BEST: Deer Valley, UT; Beaver Creek, CO;
SECOND BEST: Buttermilk (Aspen), CO; Okemo, VT
Most Varied Terrain:
BEST: Breckenridge, CO; Snowmass, CO
SECOND BEST: Heavenly, CA; Squaw Valley USA, CA; Telluride, CO; Crested Butte, CO
BEST: Whistler/Blackcomb, BC
SECOND BEST: Vail, CO; Stowe, VT; Jackson, WY
BEST: Whistler/Blackcomb, BC; Killington, VT
SECOND BEST: Stateline, NV (Heavenly); Aspen, CO
BEST: Deer Valley, UT; Jackson Hole, WY
SECOND BEST: Vail, CO; Beaver Creek, CO; Aspen, CO
BEST: Jackson, WY; Telluride, CO; Aspen, CO; Park City, UT; Breckenridge, CO, Stowe, VT
BEST SKI BUM/FUNKY: Crested Butte, CO; Steamboat Springs, CO
Complete Resort Experience:
BEST: Vail, CO; Whistler/Blackcomb, BC
Second Best: Telluride, CO; Breckenridge, CO; Stowe, VT
Most Resort Experience Bang for the Buck:
BEST: Breckenridge, CO; Keystone, CO; Big Sky, MT; Crested Butte, CO; Steamboat Springs, CO
SECOND BEST: All of the Reno/Tahoe Area