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The Best Ski Resorts in the US 2021-2022

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When it comes to skiing in the US, skiers will find a large selection of top ski resorts, including the best ski resorts in the world. Here we collected top US ski resorts to find perfect powder, hang out with friends, have family fun, or simply unwind this season.

Where to Ski in USA This Winter

When it comes to skiing in the US, skiers will find a large selection of top ski resorts, including the best ski resorts in the world. Here we collected top US ski resorts to find perfect powder, hang out with friends, have family fun, or simply unwind this season. Of course, it’s all subjective, but we tried to compare all the good along with the bad and hope to inspire you to explore new places. Also, we used the “PAF Score” developed by The PAF score is a measure of ski resort quality. It is based on things like average snowfall, number of lifts and vertical drop. PAF stands for “Pure Awesomeness Factor.”  

Due to COVID-19, American resorts take special health and safety precautions, including operation at a limited capacity. Many resorts require online reservations in advance. So be sure to check the resort website prior to arriving at the mountain.

Here are our top pics for best ski resorts for families and beginners and the best overall in the United States.

Best US ski resorts overall

Jackson Hole, WY. PAF Score: 99.0 Multipass: IKON

Telluride Ski Resort, CO. PAF Score: 95.6 Multipass: epic

Snowbird, UT. PAF Score: 94.2 Multipass: IKON

Alta Ski Area, UT. PAF Score: 93.5 Multipass: IKON

Vail Ski Resort, CO. PAF Score: 90.8 Multipass: epic

Aspen Snowmass, CO. PAF Score: 88.9 Multipass: IKON

Steamboat Ski Resort, CO. PAF Score: 88.3 Multipass: IKON

Big Sky Resort, MT. PAF Score: 86.9 Multipass: IKON

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a place for all skiers. However, with its amazing steep and challenging terrain and the backcountry, it is mainly geared to intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Still, the mountain has terrain for all skill levels. Plus, there is a lodge geared toward families, kids and learners – Solitude Station.

Jackson can become crowded on powder days and at weekends, but if it’s not a powder day mid-week, it’s a fairly peaceful ski resort. The resort is close to Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Granite Hot Springs, so you may want to add a day of wildlife spotting or a day of R&R to your agenda.   

Pass programs: Ikon Pass and Mountain Collective Pass

Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado

Scenery-rich, Telluride welcomes skiers of all levels. It offers diverse terrain, a great selection of lodging, and the charming ski town of Telluride with its Victorian architecture of the main street. The modern mountain village is connected with Telluride by a free pedestrian gondola, the only one of its kind in North America.

Telluride gets about 23 feet of snow each year. Powder hunters can catch some great powder days if time it right. There also are lots of long bump runs, some legitimate steeps and an expanded array of hike-to terrain. Families and beginners will also have fun as roughly 60 percent of the terrain is targeted towards intermediate and beginner skiers and boarders.

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Snowbird, Utah

Expert skiers and snowboarders will love the steep, challenging and interesting terrain of Snowbird Ski Resort. Volumes of the greatest snow are impressive here and there’s always abundant powder everywhere for taking. Advanced visitors will find a mix of steep moguls, drop-offs, glades, and bowls to enjoy. Beginners will also find green terrain with slow lifts and gentle, isolated terrain.

Snowbird offers fantastic views and scenery throughout the resort. If one mountain is not enough, Snowbird offers direct lift access to and from the neighboring Alta ski resort. However, this option is available to skiers only.  

Pass programs: Ikon Pass

Alta Ski Resort, Utah

Alta offers unbeatable snow quality and impressive terrain diversity but only for skiers. Snowboarders are banned from the slopes – it’s one of the old-fashioned traditions of the oldest ski resort in the US.

Alta has plenty of expert terrain, but you won’t find any of its runs marked as double blacks. There are lots of cliffs and precipitous pitches here where you will need to navigate around trees or rocks. Intermediates will find blue runs off any lift in the Ballroom area. Beginners won’t find many options, though.

Pass programs: Ikon Pass and Mountain Collective Pass

Vail Ski Resort, Colorado

As a multi-award winner ski resort, Vail has everything a skier or snowboarder needs: from varied terrain, tons of snow and a modern lift system to vibrant nightlife and “village” with all the services one would expect from a mega-resort.

Vail has terrain for any level, but especially for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Vail back bowls are a good way to escape the masses (but not on a powder day). The north-facing slopes have boundless backcountry trails, lots of advanced terrain and tree skiing. Beginners will find everything they need on the front side of the mountain where all beginner areas are located.  

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

Aspen is the most renowned place to ski in the world. While there are plenty of people in and around Aspen, the mountain never gets particularly crowded. Mostly because there are four Aspen ski resorts located in rather close proximity together: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Snowmass, and Buttermilk.

Aspen Snowmass offers world-class facilities, a huge amount of diverse terrain, parks, light dry powder, and consistently great weather. All four Aspen ski resorts have the same lift ticket, so skiers and snowboarders may want to try them all. There is a free shuttle that runs between Aspen and the ski resorts (the resorts themselves are not interconnected via slopes, though).

Pass programs: Ikon Pass

Steamboat Ski Resort, Colorado

Steamboat offers light fluffy snow, vast terrain spread across six peaks, an impressive terrain park, and a superpipe. There’s little challenging terrain for experts, but glade skiing for advanced riders is rave-worthy. Intermediate riders will love the resort as almost half of the trails is blue and some black runs are also great for strong intermediates.

Steamboat is also good for beginners and ideal for those learning the art of tree skiing. Families will have fun here as the resort offers various activities aside from skiing and snowboarding. Activities include snow tubing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, a day spa and horse riding.   

Pass programs: Ikon Pass

Big Sky Ski Resort, Montana

Big Sky is one of the biggest ski resorts in North America. It offers large ski and snowboard terrain where riders of all levels will find a slope to rave. There are 7 terrain parks and really good terrain for beginners, plenty of intermediate cruisers and black piste cut runs.

With so much space for skiers and snowboarders to spread out, the resort tends to be uncrowded in most spots. However, advanced riders who want to ride alpine expert terrain off Lone Peak may be stuck in a line because of a very poor lifting capacity that accesses the Lone Peak.

Apart from skiing, Big Sky offers various winter activities. Plus, the resort is only about an hour drive from Yellowstone National Park that is worth a day trip or even a night stay before or after your vacation at Big Sky.

Pass programs: Ikon Pass and Mountain Collective Pass

Best US ski resorts for families

Many big resorts excel at services and amenities aimed at families. Best family-friendly ski resorts are easy to commute from default airports, have lodging and parking close to the mountain, offer more beginner and intermediate terrain.

The pandemic may alter your plans as many resorts have limited capacity at ski schools or still might not offer group ski school programs at all. You may also need to book lessons and passes well in advance. So make sure you check in with the resort about all limitations, restrictions, requirements and any questions you may have to make your family ski trip an enjoyable adventure and not a stressful nightmare.

Here you can check out the best family ski destinations in the US:

Keystone, CO. PAF Score: 76.0 Multipass: epic

Beaver Creek Resort, CO. PAF Score: 84.9 Multipass: epic

Northstar, CA. PAF Score: 73.8 Multipass: epic

Deer Valley Resort, UT. PAF Score: 81.5 Multipass: IKON

Park City Mountain Resort (also good for non-skiers), UT. PAF Score: 86.1 Multipass: epic

Smugglers’ Notch Resort, VT. PAF Score: 62.5 Multipass: —

Steamboat Ski Resort, CO. PAF Score: 88.3 Multipass: IKON

Okemo Mountain Resort, VT. PAF Score: 49.1 Multipass: epic

Keystone, Colorado

Keystone keeps the status of a family-friendly ski resort that is good for kids of all ages. It usually has the Kidtopia program and on-mountain Snow Fort. However, they are phasing out Kidtopia and decided not to build Snow Fort this season. Anyway, there’s still a lot of fun to have at Keystone. Families and other visitors can enjoy weekend and holiday night skiing and the continuation of the resort’s Kids Ski Free program.   

If you are not in the mood for skiing or snowboarding, Keystone has an abundance of other activities, including ice skating, sleigh rides, tubing and special events. Keystone Resort has a few villages with shops, restaurants and accommodations.

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado

Beaver Creek is renowned for the friendliest slopes for kids and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The resort is about two hours from Denver International Airport. There are three villages that are linked via the slopes, lifts and free shuttles.

Learning areas – Red Buffalo Park and Haymeadow Park – provide safe and comfortable locations for families, beginners and intermediates to learn how to ski, explore and connect. Those who do not ski or just want to take a day off the slopes have lots of activities to choose from, including ice skating, snow-shoeing, hot air ballooning, dog sledding, and tubing.

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Northstar, California

Northstar Ski Resort is the Disneyland of ski resorts and kids will adore it. The resort offers high-quality customer service and well-developed infrastructure and amenities. Norstar offers a ski school program for kids, incredibly groomed slopes and moderate elevation. There are plenty of trails catering for beginners, and 60% of the trails are for intermediates.

Northstar Village has upscale lodgings, lots of shops, restaurants and other amenities, like a big ice skating rink. Other than skiing and shopping, Northstar activities also include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, tubing, snowshoeing, dog sled tours, and a day spa.   

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Deer Valley Ski Resort, Utah

Park City Mountain is actually two mountains connected by a gondola. Together they form a large ski area with various terrains. There are lots of green runs out there and the easiest ways down to the mountain are always marked with signs. That allows families to explore the resort together with their kids and have more fun on the slopes.

Children can have fun at Adventures Children’s Center. The center welcomes kids ages 6 weeks – 6 years old and provides arts and crafts, indoor/outdoor play & fun activities. The resort’s ski school provides private and group ski and snowboard lessons for kids.

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

Park City Mountain is actually two mountains connected by a gondola. Together they form a large ski area with various terrains. There are lots of green runs out there and the easiest ways down to the mountain are always marked with signs. That allows families to explore the resort together with their kids and have more fun on the slopes.

Children can have fun at Adventures Children’s Center. The center welcomes kids ages 6 weeks – 6 years old and provides arts and crafts, indoor/outdoor play & fun activities. The resort’s ski school provides private and group ski and snowboard lessons for kids.

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont

Smugglers’ Notch is one of the most family-focused, kid-friendly resorts in America. The resort has onsite daycare that will take in babies as young as six weeks old, kids camps and in-room babysitting. Outdoor activities also include snowshoeing, tubing, cross country skiing, ice skating, snowmobile tours, jibbing, and more.

For indoor fun, pop into the FunZone 2.0 play complex that offers activities like Ninja Warrior Course, laser tag, miniature golf, a climbing wall and a bouncy castle. Nightlife is also family-friendly at Smuggs with all-night skiing, glow tubing, family gaga ball and more.

Steamboat Ski Resort, Colorado

Steamboat is another resort that is known for being a very family-friendly ski resort. The resort allows kids 12 and under to ski free with a parent or grandparent.

With terrain spread across six peaks, Steamboat is a paradise for intermediates. Forty-two precent of the trails are blue, and strong intermediates can also hit many of the single black runs. Aside from skiing and snowboarding, families can enjoy snow tubing, ice climbing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, a day spa, horse drawn sleigh rides, and horse riding.

The town of Steamboat Springs is just three miles (five kilometers) away from the base of Steamboat Ski Resort. There are free busses between the town and resort, and some lodgings also provide shuttle services. So if you choose to stay in the town, it will be easy to get to the mountain.

Pass programs: Ikon Pass

Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont

Okemo has the East’s longest superpipe and offers some of the most innovative parks. Still, the resort is perfect for new and for advanced skiers and snowboarders. There are tons of kid-friendly activities, including excellent ski school that can turn a family trip into a relaxed adventure.

Okemo is famous for its cozy slopeside condos, on-mountain food, and truly beautiful trails. If you are in the mood to relax, there’s a fitness and aquatic center with pool, slides, fountains, hot tubs and a sauna. Fans of winter activities can enjoy snow tubing down the Jackson Gore hill, ice skating at The Ice House, and riding the mountain coaster.

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Best US ski resorts for beginners

There is terrain for everyone, and many top-rated ski resorts offer just enough space for newbies. They also offer individual and group programs for beginners, facilities, accessibility and unique experiences for first-timers. Whether you are learning to ski or snowboard yourself or trying to teach your friends or little ones, these are the mountains to check out within the United States.

Here we picked the top ski resorts for beginners in the US:

Buttermilk Ski Resort, CO. PAF Score: 69.0 Multipass: IKON

Stowe Mountain Resort, VT. PAF Score: 67.7 Multipass: epic

Copper Mountain, CO. PAF Score: 78.1 Multipass: IKON

Breckenridge Ski Resort, CO. PAF Score: 81.7 Multipass: epic

Park City Mountain Resort, UT. PAF Score: 86.1 Multipass: epic

Mt Bachelor, OR. PAF Score: 73.3 Multipass: IKON

Angel Fire Resort, NM. PAF Score: 52.2 Multipass: Powder Alliance  

Schweitzer Mountain, ID. PAF Score: 66.7 Multipass: IKON

Buttermilk Ski Resort, Colorado

Aspen Buttermilk is a small resort that caters well to beginners and families. It is generally a very uncrowded ski resort, except for the time when X games are held. Nevertheless, the environment is very relaxed and unintimidating for those who learn to ski or snowboard. There’s terrain for everyone and newbies can enjoy most of the terrain as blue runs are appropriate for confident beginners.

Gear rental at Aspen is made easy with rental locations across four mountains, including Buttermilk. So if you haven’t decided whether you are a skier or snowboarder, you can easily rent equipment, swap your gear or have it delivered right to your hotel or home.

Pass programs: Ikon Pass

Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

Stowe is one of the favorite ski resorts in Vermont for beginners. It has smaller crowds and beginner terrain tends to be toward the peripherals of the mountain, so newbies have plenty of space to learn away from stiffer slopes.  

As you arrive to the resort, the first slopes you see are some of Stowe’s oldest that are great for beginners. Spruce Peak is family-friendly and offers wide trails that are perfect for first-timers as well. Plus, Stowe has five Adventure Zones – on both Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak – for fun opportunities to experience woods in mellow gladed terrain.   

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Copper Mountain, Colorado

Copper is a relatively uncrowded resort with an awesome beginner terrain. It offers a designated learning area between East and Center Villages. That’s a private, divided setting where newbies won’t get cut off by speed crazed experts. The beginners’ area has gentle slopes that are easy to access on foot no matter where you are staying.

Copper’s green runs are naturally divided from black and blue runs. The Union Creek, Kokomo and Lumberjack chairlifts exclusively access green runs. Plus, beginners can ski or snowboard down from the top of Rendezvous triple chairlift to enjoy the solid 4km+ run of green trails all the way back to the base village. 

Pass programs: Ikon Pass

Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado

Breckenridge is a very polished ski resort with 48% of the skiable terrain consisting of groomed trails. The resort has excellent beginner trails and very good intermediate terrain. So beginners and intermediates are kept incredibly happy at Breckenridge.

Apart from green and blue trails, beginners and intermediates can try themselves in parks. There are separate terrain parks for different ability levels allowing beginners to easily progress from novice to pro level.

If you are tired of new experiences in parks and on the slopes, you can take a day off the slopes to wind down in the delightful town of Breckenridge that has lots of shops, barbeque and spaghetti places, and a legit French bakery that makes croissants and other goodies.    

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

Park City is pretty good for beginners with its comfortable learning environment and absolutely perfect for intermediates. The resort has a special area for beginners – High Meadow Park. This dedicated learning area offers gently rolling terrain and new snowmaking for an even better snow surface. Plus, there are three Adventure Alleys – runs with improved condition and safety of natural terrain so that newbies could enjoy a bit of an “off trail” groomed experience.   

High Meadow Park is open to all guests, not just ski school participants. Plus, there are lots of highway-wide groomed runs that are long enough to enjoy skiing and snowboarding and not to constantly ride up the lifts between runs.

Pass programs: Epic Pass

Mt Bachelor, Oregon

Mt Bachelor Ski Resort allows skiers and snowboarders to enjoy a long season. It offers lots of groomed trails for intermediate riders, and beginner terrain is reasonably good.

The resort offers a fantastic, affordable beginner lesson program – Ski or Ride in 5. The program is specifically designed for brand new first-timers. It provides 5 lessons, lift tickets and rentals and plenty of rewards on top.   

Mt Bachelor offers extensive facilities, including multiple day lodges and dining options, child care, equipment rentals, and shops. Bent Oregon has lots of breweries, bars and restaurants. 

Pass programs: Ikon Pass

Angel Fire Resort, New Mexico

Angel Fire is one of the beloved ski resorts for beginners in the Southwest region. It offers plenty of easy beginner to intermediate runs and leisurely slopes. The resort is lesser-known and therefore not as crowded as its nearby counterparts.

Angel Fire’s ski and snowboard school offers all-in-one beginner packages of three levels. We’d recommend booking in advance especially if you are planning a trip for a holiday period.

Pass programs: Powder Alliance

Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho

Schweitzer is a small, peaceful resort with a nice local feel to it. The resort is perfect for first-time skiers. It is uncrowded, especially on weekdays, the ski area has terrain for all levels with a dedicated beginner zone in the lower part of the mountain that runs below the Schweitzer village.

Somewhat 20% of trails are suitable for beginner skiers and snowboarders. And once you get more confident, you can explore intermediate runs. Plus, Schweitzer is a relatively inexpensive resort. All this makes it a great mountain for beginners.

Pass programs: Ikon Pass

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