For well designed, well managed, family-friendly ski resorts, you can trust the Americans to get it right. Colorado is the state that people naturally associate with skiing but there are some exceptional ski resorts elsewhere too.
Here is Complete Ski’s top five ski resorts in the United States to give you some ideas.
Perhaps one of the most famous ski resorts in the world, Aspen has a reputation for providing everything that the expert skier would expect from the ideal skiing holiday, but not necessarily being that suitable for the beginner. Don’t let that put you off though because it is part of the Four Mountain Ski Resort Area situated in The White River National Forest in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and includes Buttermilk, Snowmass and Highland areas. Buttermilk and Highlands are within easy reach being just three miles away, and offer a much broader range of facilities for the less experienced skier. This means that you can have all of the amenities and après ski entertainment available from Aspen along with skiing to suit every ability. Another huge plus for the area is that Aspen has its own airport just a few miles away.
Lake Tahoe Ski Resort – Nevada / California
Europeans searching for skiing destinations in the US may not have the sunshine state of California at the top of their list. Think again because The Lake Tahoe Ski Resort covers 27,000 acres of quality skiing country, has 200 lifts and more than 1000 trails. Most people head to Heavenly which has the highest slopes at over 3000m. Even at that height the resort hedges its bets by having the largest snow-making system on the West Coast. With over 80 marked trails, Heavenly exposes you to some superb views across the lakes. Expert skiers looking for a real challenge head for Killebrew Canyon and Mott Canyon, to tackle the double black diamond chutes and bowls that offer the most challenging powder skiing.
Taos Valley Ski Resort – New Mexico
With a great mix of challenging runs for expert skiers as well as easier slopes for beginners, there is an added draw to the area. The town of Taos is in a desert environment and is steeped in Native American history and culture. Said to be at least 1000 years old, Taos looks quaint with adobe buildings and boutiques selling Native American art, pottery and jewellery. Famous for deep snow and steep slopes the ski areas are 18 miles and 3000 feet in elevation up the road through the Carson National Forest towards the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The Ski Valley resort has a European flavour with lodge style accommodation along the banks of the Rio Hondo Creek. Known to have some of the best facilities for the instruction of beginners, the novice terrain is a great introduction to the sport, but take one of the lifts and go further up if you are more interested in testing yourself on the steep and deep slopes.
Salt Lake City – Utah
Heading for Salt Lake City, you find yourself within easy reach of fantastic and diverse skiing territory primarily divided into the three resort areas of Park City, Snowbird and Alta. Park city has a great range of ski areas and in recent years has opened some of the toughest slopes and developed a trail map for experts. Snowbird looks much like a French ski resort with the Tram, which can take 125 skiers up to Hidden Peak at 3,300m. Once up there, less experienced skiers have an easy route down known as Chips Run, whilst the more advanced can find a great selection of challenging routes. Alta features beautiful scenery, deep powder snow, and reasonably priced lift tickets and is very popular for its diverse terrain that suits all levels.
Heading back to Colorado, the Telluride Ski Resort deserves a mention on this list because of its proximity to a high concentration of over 14,000 foot peaks. The scenery is stunning and the resort is rapidly developing a reputation as an emerging challenger to famous resorts like Aspen. Some of the skiing terrain around Palmyra Peak represents a challenge for the best of skiers with steep chutes and Alpine style cliff drop faces. Accommodation in the ski village consists of rental accommodation in lodges and luxurious condos as well as some hotels. A Gondola takes skiers from the village to the slopes from early in the morning until midnight.