If you’ve only ever skied in Europe, why not think about going further afield, to North America? Here are some popular destinations to consider.
Renowned as one of the world’s best ski resorts, Vail is also the largest single mountain ski area in the US, covering over seven miles (11 km). With skiing options for every age and ability from beginners to advanced, and a range of other snow sports available, it’s also one of the most popular ski destinations. There is everything from wide-open, gentle runs close to the village for beginners to double black diamond runs and off-piste back bowls for the experienced skier. Whether you’re after a quiet drink après ski or want to dance all night, Vail’s nightlife offers a wide variety for everyone.
This is another of America’s best ski resorts, but Deer Valley is not the place for those looking for budget trips – the emphasis is more at the luxury end of the market. The resort covers 2,026 acres of skiable terrain spread over four mountains. Runs mainly favour the intermediate skier, although beginners and advanced skiers will find a suitable range of options; and visitor numbers are limited so you’ll never feel crowded. Snowboarders and those looking for non-skiing winter sports will be disappointed – there are no facilities here, although bobsledding, snowmobiles and snowshoeing are available at nearby Utah Olympic Park.
With facilities for both skiing and snowboard holidays, Telluride’s terrain covers over 2,000 acres with a vertical drop of over 1,200 m (4,000 ft), spread over the mountain, so beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers alike can enjoy the views at the highest peaks. The Ski and Snowboard school is open to even the youngest of children, so if you’re looking for family friendly ski destinations and ski holidays for kids, this is a good option. Telluride is also often named as one of the best ski resorts for its nightlife, with a wide number of options to suit all tastes and stamina!
Park City Mountain Resort covers 3,300 acres, spread over eight mountains and nine bowls. There is less here for the beginner and intermediate, but it excels for more advanced skiers, with 52% of runs being classed as more difficult and 31% most difficult. It is consistently ranked as one of the top five best ski resorts in North America and caters brilliantly for snowboard holidays through its terrain parks, half-pipes and a ski and snowboard school programme. There are over a hundred restaurants, as well as bars, saloons and clubs, meaning there’s as active a nightlife as you have the energy for.
If you’re looking for family-friendly ski destinations in the USA, Steamboat Springs in the Colorado Rockies could be a great choice. There is a full programme of activities and lessons, making this resort ideal for ski holidays for kids. Skiing stretches over 2,965 acres (1,200ha), with a fairly equal split in ability for intermediate (42%) and advanced skiers (44%); leaving just 14% suitable for beginners. There are also four different terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders offering something for every age and ability. In terms of nightlife, the town is pretty laid back and friendly rather than wild partying every night, but most people will be happy with the variety.
After a massive programme of investment, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is now considered one of North America’s best places to ski. It’s best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, as it features relatively steep terrain and one of North America’s highest vertical drops (1,262 m/ 4,140 ft). As well as over 2,500 acres of marked runs, there’s also a vast expanse of backcountry to be explored off-piste by the more experienced. But the site boasts world-class learning programmes for beginners and children alike too, so the resort welcomes those looking for family friendly ski destinations as well.
Snowbird’s 2,500 skiable acres offer 988 m (3,240 ft) of vertical terrain, and is suitable for all abilities of skiers and snowboarders on over 1,270 cm (500 in) of dry, powdery snow a year. The 85 trails are split across ability level, with 27% considered suitable for beginner skiers, 38% for intermediates and 35% for advanced skiers. There’s a terrain park and half-pipe for those seeking snowboard holidays. Ski lessons, childcare and children’s programmes are also available, making it a suitable family-friendly ski destination. Its accessibility (just 30 miles from Salt Lake City) means cheap flights are available if you’re looking for budget trips. It’s not so good for nightlife, though.
Situated in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, Mont Tremblant features 95 trails across 654 skiable acres and holds something for everyone. There are pistes suitable for beginners and particularly intermediate skiers, with around 50% of terrain presenting more of a challenge for the advanced skiers in your party. Children are well catered for with activity programmes as well as skiing lessons. For snowboard holidays, the resort also features three terrain parks with jib pipe; while tubing, cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails are also available. The nightlife includes a casino as well as microbreweries and a host of bars and restaurants.
Recently awarded Canada’s best ski resort, Lake Louise features 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) of skiable terrain and has one of North America’s longest skiing seasons. It’s suitable for all ability levels, with 25% of its 145 marked runs classed for beginners, 45% for intermediate skiers and snowboarders and 30% for the advanced, as well as back bowls. The downside to being so popular is it gets busy, so you may struggle to find fresh snow at peak times. Nightlife is somewhat limited, but there are great facilities if you’re looking for ski holidays for kids and the opportunity to snap up affordable accommodation if you’re on a budget.
Easily one of North America’s largest and best ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb is the destination for skiers and snowboarders alike. There are over 8,100 acres of slopes with 16 back bowls, five terrain parks with over 150 features between them and a range of facilities for all abilities from novice to advanced skiers, making it one of the best places to ski. You won’t find such diversity in any other ski resort. It’s accessible to international visitors (via Vancouver), which helps when planning budget trips; and Whistler itself is so big that it’s easy to find cost-efficient and affordable accommodation.