The holiday season is fast approaching and snow sports season has officially begun.
Winter sports are incredibly popular all over the world, particularly in Europe and Canada, where the rules and regulations surrounding open skiing are much more liberal. However with 6.9 million skier and 5.1 million snowboarders in the USA, if you choose to start your skiing career closer to home then you’re sure to be in good company.
Always wanted to try skiing but not sure where to start? Hoping to book a winter sports vacation but struggling to choose which resort will best suit your needs? Here are some of the top destinations for a ski vacation in the USA:
1. Park it in Park City
Park City is located just thirty miles away from Salt Lake City in Utah, and was the host city for the 2012 Winter Olympics. That means that you’ll find Olympic-standard ski slopes at every turn, and a whole host of high quality accommodation to match.
If you’re got your heart set on Park City then two of the best resorts in the region are Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, particularly if you’re already an experienced skier and are looking for a new challenge.
You’ll find a diverse range of unique and challenging runs unlike anything else available in the USA. If you are a snowboarder then you’ll also find an excellent selection of half pipes.
New to skiing and looking for somewhere to take your first lessons on the snow? Park City Mountain resort is home to several highly regarded ski schools suitable for skiers of all ability.
And when you’ve had enough exercise and you’re ready to enjoy some apres-ski? You’ll find a wide range of luxury hotels, chalets, condominium hotels and of course bars and restaurants just perfect for letting your hair down and warming up after a day on the slopes.
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2. Bring it to Breckenridge
Of all the resorts to make it onto our list, Breckenridge Colorado is the very best for beginners. Whilst there is plenty for more experienced skiers to get excited about, there is no slope in the world better suited to those new to the sport than the wide and gently sloping approach to Breckenridge’s Peak 9.
If you’re slightly nervous about the idea of taking your first skiing vacation (and are worried people will notice you don’t know what you’re doing!) then you’ll be pleased to know the resort also features beginners chair lists and easy-to-access apres-ski areas.
It doesn’t matter how much your skiing ability improves during your trip, you’ll have plenty of fun and be left looking like an expert in no time! And if you’re travelling with enthusiastic skiiers who are looking for something a little more complex and challenging? Breckenridge still brings it!
Breckenridge is 2,908 acres of snowy and mountainous fun, with plenty of slopes ideal for expert and intermediate skiers situated above the tree line. This is very much a family friendly resort, offering more affordable ski passes and accommodation options if you’re looking for a break on a budget but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also have an abundance of options for apres-ski fun.
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3. Head to Jackson Hole
On the other end of the scale, are you an expert skier and a thrill seeker that wants to show off your skills? Then there is nowhere more challenging and iconic than taking to the slopes at Jackson Hole.
Jackson Hole Wyoming is the site of one of America’s most iconic signature daredevil runs, Corbet’s Couloir. This near vertical run (pictured below) was made to be photographed, and should only be attempted by serious skiers with plenty of balls!
The start of the chute here is so narrow that the run can only be attempted by taking a leap of faith and launching yourself into the air.
And away from Corbet’s Couloir? Well there is an abundance of black runs here (in fact, one of the mountains in the resort features nothing but black runs and attracts skiing professionals, experts and enthusiasts from all over the world. But don’t worry, there’s so much more to attract skiers of all abilities to Jackson Hole.
New chair lift gondolas were introduced for the 2016/2017 ski season, giving easy access to the resorts beginner and intermediate skiers, meaning that this is a great destination for large groups of mixed abilities. And if you like to party then this is the place to be: some of the professional skiers that visit this resort will show you how to party like you’ve never partied before!
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4. Love Life in Lake Tahoe
Although officially in California, Lake Tahoe sits on the California-Nevada border. Nothing can prepare you for the incredible beauty of this all-purpose all-season resort. During the summer months, Lake Tahoe is a mecca for water sport enthusiasts, but in the winter the skiers come, and for good reason!
The towering mountaintops make the perfect slopes for skiers of all abilities, and you truly can’t beat the view when you choose to ski in this resort. Visitors travel from all over America for the chance to ski here: if you want to learn how to ski and have no experience at all then this is the perfect place to start.
Lake Tahoe tends to attract a very laid back and typically Californian crowd, meaning that you’ll find plenty of great apres-ski options here. The focus is very much on appreciating the beauty that surrounds you, which means that even the after-ski entertainment often revolves around being outdoors, or bringing the outdoors in.
It’s worth mentioning that, because this resort is so popular, rooms get booked up fast and can be pricey. This isn’t the place to pick for a last minute getaway unless you really want to splash the cash. So if you want to ski in Lake Tahoe then plan your vacation well in advance.
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5. Reach Altitude in Aspen
Aspen is highly regarded across the world as one of the best ski resorts in the United States. The ski resort of choice for the nation’s rich and famous, this is the perfect place to pick if you want to see and be seen.
Just some of the celebrities who currently own property in and around Aspen are; Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Tim Allen and Bill Murray. That’s not to mention their hundreds of famous friends who rent a house for the weekend in the region, rather than own the home they stay in.
With mountainous scenes worthy of a Christmas card, taking a skiing vacation to Aspen isn’t just about showing off. The skiing here is also exceptional!
Aspen is actually comprised of four separate ski resorts, and each resort is suitable for skiers of all abilities. Depending on what kind of ski challenge you’re looking for (and your budget, of course) you can spend time on Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk mountain and the Aspen Highlands.
One of the stand out features of taking a trip to Aspen is that this versatile resort is just as well-equipped for learning the art of cross country skiing, as well as conventional down hill skiing, so if you want to really make the most of your active outdoorsy break then this is the perfect place to be.
Despite its high-end reputation, Aspen is the perfect destination for snow hounds of all abilities and with all budgets. Provided you shop around and book early, you can certainly find affordable bargain breaks in the region.
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There is no feeling quite like swooping down a mountain with the wind on your face, and with nothing but the skis on your feet separating you from the powdery snow. It is exciting, exhilerating, and thoroughly addictive. If you get bitten by the skiing bug then you’ll want to try it again and again.
Why not book your first skiing vacation this winter, and find out what all the fuss is about?!