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7 Best Ski Cities in the U.S

Packed full of snow, these cities are great places to ski and enjoy life

By Raven Petty on December 4, 2014

Skiing in Telluride, CO
Telluride Ski Resort | Brett Schreckengost

The best ski cities offer more than skiing. Of course, they provide the best places to ski, but also offer entertainment, attractions and a lifestyle that makes visitors want to come back for more, or even want to move there. It’s more than scenic views and snow. It’s a passion for a good life.

“A great ski city keeps the culture of skiing and riding at the heart of it all,” says Pepper Raper, PR & Communications Interim Manager at Telluride Ski Resort. “Surrounding that is a vibrant community where you can enjoy a beer after the slopes, experience world-class dining or celebrate a great day on the hill until the wee hours. It’s a place where you can push your boundaries, or relax if you prefer. An alpine setting and character are as essential as access to the mountain. Friendly locals smile on the street, and as you ride the gondola, make you think, ‘Maybe I should move here?'” 

With that said, check out this list of the seven best ski cities:

7. Snowshoe, WV

Snow guarantee. That’s right, Snowshoe Mountain offers a snow guarantee and measures a 4,848-foot elevation for skiing, hiking and biking. The Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, a popular spot, sits atop a mountain, and visitors can choose activities ranging from off-road adventure tours to the Coca-Cola Tube Park. The Big Top, with a climbing wall and bounce house, provide a family-friendly place away from the snow. Most restaurants and activities remain on the mountain, but that just makes this getaway even more remote.

6. Lake Placid, N.Y.

Two-time site of the Olympic Winter Games, Lake Placid holds nothing back when it comes to winter recreation. Home to Whiteface Mountain, elevation of 4,865, and the Lake Placid Olympic site, the area offers skiing and much more for all ages and skill levels. If you’re all skied out, try bobsledding or horseback riding. Lake Placid also features arts and culture, history, and a restaurant scene full of locally grown foods for diverse menu options. Visitors can shop, dine and have a great time, while enjoying views of the mountains.

5. Taos, NM

When people think of New Mexico, they usually don’t think snow. This makes Taos special. The family-owned Taos Ski Valley features Kachina Peak, which measures a 9,200 feet elevation and rugged terrain. Great for all skill levels, the area receives 305 inches of snow annually and offers snowtubing, snowboarding and more winter activities. Also, the 2014-15 season is the first time Kachina can be seen by a chairlift. After the sun goes down, check out ski shops and specialty stores for that perfect gift, and afterwards enjoy dinner at one of the area’s restaurants or bars.

4. Stowe, VT

Often called the Ski Capital of the East, Stowe is home to two mountains that provide winter activities: Mt. Mansfield at 4,393 feet (the highest in Vermont) and Spuce Peake. The 13 lifts at Stowe Mountain Resort allow visitors to access and explore 485 acres of ski terrain and 116 hiking trails. The resort has more mile-long lifts than any place in the eastern U.S. Aside from skiing, there are dog sledding tours and horse-drawn sleigh rides. The small community also offers a raved-about food scene and arts and culture.

3. Jackson, WY

Jackson is home to Jackson Hole, a must-try for skiers of any level. One popular spot, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort features two mountains – Apres Vous and Rendezvous – with 2,500 acres of in-bound terrain and 6,311-foot base elevation. Other activities include sleigh rides, winter bike tours and snowmobiling. The resort, just outside Jackson, is one of five resorts in the area. Its restaurant scene helps visitors recharge and includes a thriving farm-to-table movement, which helped it earn a place on America’s 5 New Foodie Cities by Wine Enthusiast.

2. Aspen, CO

Located in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains, Aspen is well worth the effort it takes to get here. Known as a skiing mecca thanks to the Snowmass, which is an area devoted to snowy fun, Aspen also receives one of the nation’s highest annual snowfall totals. Snowmass offers 3,332 acres of terrain, while Aspen Mountain has an elevation of 7,945 feet and black-diamond terrain. The city is full of restaurants, bars, family attractions and spas, so there’s plenty to do for visitors of all ages.

1.Telluride, CO

Telluride, home to 2,319 residents, is a great place for ski vacations and winter activities. Rated the No. 1 ski resort in North America by Conde Nast readers, the Telluride Ski Resort offers visitors skiing, sledding, ice climbing and more. The region receives over 300 inches of snow annually and has 2,000 acres available to skiers of all levels. When breaking from the action, check out the unique restaurants, shops and boutiques in Telluride and Mountain Village – there are no chain stores in the area.

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