Best ski towns in the US

Choosing the best ski town is a matter of personal preference. Some people prioritize the quality of the skiing and the mountain itself, while others value the après ski scene and amenities offered by the town. In the end, it’s a subjective affair that depends on individual interests and priorities.

According to Michael Levine, a skier with almost 60 years of experience and who has skied at nearly 100 resorts worldwide, the mountain itself is the most important factor to consider when selecting a ski town. He believes that even if a town has a great atmosphere and amenities, if the skiing is subpar, it’s not a great ski town. He would rather have a simple setup near a great mountain than a luxurious hotel near a mediocre mountain.

However, for those who are not as diehard as Levine when it comes to snow sports, the après ski scene cannot be underestimated. After a day on the slopes, many skiers and snowboarders look forward to unwinding and enjoying the town’s offerings. Therefore, when choosing the top ski spots in the nation, it’s important to consider mountain towns that offer a little something for everyone.

One example of a top ski town is Crested Butte, Colorado. Despite not being the most visited ski town in Colorado, Crested Butte has a small-town feel and is far away from the traffic and crowds of Summit County. This old coal mining town turned ski destination receives an average of 236 inches of snow annually on more than 1,500 skiable acres. The town itself is charming, with streets lined with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. The Lodge at Mountaineer Square is an upscale property within walking distance of the lifts, making it a convenient choice for skiers.

Another top ski town is North Conway, New Hampshire. Known as the birthplace of skiing in North America, North Conway has a deep ski history and offers six downhill ski resorts within a half-hour drive. It is also home to the tallest peak in the northeast, Mount Washington. The town has a variety of restaurants, cafes, and lodging options, including the high-end Glen House.

Taos, New Mexico is another excellent ski town. In addition to a world-class ski resort, Taos is home to a World Heritage Site, distinctive cuisine, and an art culture deeply rooted in the history of the Southwest. After a day of skiing, visitors can stroll through the walkable downtown and admire the adobe architecture. The Edelweiss Lodge and Spa is a ski-in, ski-out property that offers a luxurious retreat for tired legs.

Vail, Colorado is a must-visit ski town for every skier. It offers a vast terrain and is known for its steep and deep lines. When taking a rest day, visitors can explore the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame to stay in the skiing mindset. Vail Village also offers a European bakery and restaurant, Alpenrose, which serves Austrian and German cuisine in a rustic dining room. Sonnenalp, a German-style hotel, provides a unique lodging experience that combines elements of the Old West with a traditional European ski town.

Bellingham, Washington is a great base for exploring Mount Baker, a local ski hill known for its deep snow days. While the town is more than an hour away from the mountain, it offers a variety of lodging and dining options. Lettered Streets Coffeehouse is a popular spot for grabbing a cup of locally roasted coffee and a pastry before hitting the slopes. Hotel Bellwether, located directly on Bellingham Bay, is a high-end property that offers beautiful views and comfortable accommodations.

Ogden, Utah is an underrated ski town that offers access to three resorts with a total of 11,600 skiable acres and 500 inches of snowfall. It is the gateway to Powder Mountain, the largest ski resort by acreage in the U.S., as well as Nordic Valley and Snowbasin Resort. All three ski areas are accessible from downtown via public transportation, making it a convenient choice for skiers. The Compass Rose Lodge at Snowbasin is a stylish property that provides a comfortable stay for guests.

Jackson, Wyoming is known for its deep snowpack and extensive side and backcountry terrain. It is home to three ski areas, including Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain, and Grand Targhee Resort. While Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the most popular, Snow King and Grand Targhee offer great alternatives for those who want to avoid crowds. Cloudveil, a Marriott Autograph Collection Property, is a new hotel that combines rustic cabin feel with upscale amenities.

Telluride, Colorado is a historic Victorian mining town that has been transformed into a ski destination. The town is filled with gourmet restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries, offering plenty of opportunities for retail therapy. The resort itself provides high-quality skiing with its breathtaking terrain. Before hitting the slopes, visitors can fuel up at the locally owned Butcher and Baker Cafe. The historic New Sheridan Hotel and Dunton Town House are great options for lodging.

Bend, Oregon is a unique ski town located in Oregon’s high desert. It offers access to Mount Bachelor, which receives over 400 inches of snow annually. The city itself tends to experience less precipitation, making it a great place to enjoy various outdoor activities. Bend is also known as “Beer City USA” and boasts a diverse range of breweries, making it a great destination for beer lovers.

In conclusion, choosing the best ski town depends on individual preferences and priorities. Some people prioritize the quality of the skiing and the mountain itself, while others value the après ski scene and amenities offered by the town. Crested Butte, North Conway, Taos, Vail, Bellingham, Ogden, Jackson, Telluride, and Bend are all top ski towns that offer a little something for everyone. Whether it’s deep powder, charming towns, or vibrant après ski scenes, these towns provide excellent options for winter getaways.

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