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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 12, 2022


The best ski cities offer more than skiing. First, 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:


1. Telluride, CO

Telluride, home to nearly 2,600 residents, is an excellent place for ski vacations and winter activities. Rated one of the best ski resorts 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.

Aerials hot of the ski lift in Aspen, CO.

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, 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.

People and skis at the base of the Jackson Hole in Jackson, Wyoming.

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 inbound terrain and a 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 several years ago.

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 Spruce Peake. The 13 lifts at Stowe Mountain Resort allow visitors to access and explore nearly 500 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.

People enjoying skiing at Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico in the sunshine.
iStock/Alexandra D. Urban

5. Taos, NM

People usually don’t think of snow when they think of New Mexico. This makes Taos special. The family-owned Taos Ski Valley features Kachina Peak, which has a 9,200 feet elevation and rugged terrain. Great for all skill levels, the area receives roughly 300 inches of snow annually and offers snow tubing, snowboarding and more winter activities. The 2014-15 season was the first time Kachina could be seen by a chairlift. After the sun goes down, check out ski shops and specialty stores for that perfect gift, and afterward, enjoy dinner at one of the area’s restaurants or bars.

Cross country ski tracks in snow with focus on track, less focus on background in Lake Placid, NY.

6. Lake Placid, NY

Two-time site of the Olympic Winter Games, Lake Placid holds nothing back when it comes to winter recreation. Home to Whiteface Mountain, with an 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.

Night time image of the Snowshoe Mountain Resort Adventure Center Building along with several other Businesses located at Snowshoe Resort, WV.

7. Snowshoe, WV

Snow guaranteed. 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, provides a family-friendly place away from the snow. Most restaurants and activities remain on the mountain, making this getaway even more remote.

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