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Whether you’re an expert skier ready to hit the hardcore slopes or you prefer to glide down beginner trails, there are plenty of skiing destinations that fit the bill. Here’s a look at the five best ski resorts in the USA.
If you’re into backcountry skiing, then Jackson Hole, Wyoming is for you. And if you love the cowboy spirit of the West, it doesn’t get any better than this. Expert skiers congregate at Jackson Hole — the black diamonds are a thrill ride for those who can handle the challenging vertical terrain — but there are also plenty of gentle slopes available, making it a great place for families. As reputation has it, the powder at Jackson Hole can’t be beat. You can take The Tram or the Bridger Gondola for a quick ride up Jackson’s spectacular slopes. Surrounded by the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges, this celebrated ski town has majestic scenery as well as plenty of luxury spas and restaurants and, of course, local watering holes for après-ski relaxation.
Telluride, Colorado, may not be the most accessible ski resort — it’s location is remote by many people’s standards — but once you get there, you’ll be in ski heaven. This quaint former mining town is visually stunning and has soaring 14,000-foot peaks all around. With its 125 trails, the skiing is a delight, especially Revelation Bowl, the mountain’s backside terrain. Even spending a day on the sidelines taking in the fresh alpine air with a cup of hot cider is a treat. The third top ski destination, also in Colorado, is Aspen, famous for being a celebrity magnet as well as world-class skiing and nightlife. Just down the highway is Snowmass, which also boasts some of the best skiing you’ll find anywhere. Nearby Buttermilk Mountain, as the name implies, is perfect for an easy-going day on the slopes, whereas Aspen Highlands is an expert skiers’ paradise and has plenty of double-black slopes to keep even the most hardcore ski buffs entertained.
For those adventurous souls who crave racing down steep chutes and drops, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, especially Kachina Peak, is the place to go. Sure, there are intermediate and beginner slopes, but many are expert terrain, and not for the faint of heart. The natural beauty of Taos is a huge draw to this backcountry wonderland — the area is surrounded by the highest peaks in New Mexico and offers breathtaking views as well as plenty of steep ski runs. If you want to ski in the sunshine, this part of the country offers the best odds of catching some rays while skiing or boarding. Because of the area’s arid climate, the snow is dry, making it excellent for powder skiing.
East Coast dwellers need look no further than Stowe, Vermont, for European-style charm and abundant annual snowfall. Only a three-hour drive from Boston, this top ski resort has 116 runs, not to mention plenty of après-ski activity and nearby luxury hotels and spas. This New England playground draws experienced skiers as Stowe’s two mountains, Spruce Peak and Mansfield (Vermont’s highest peak), have only 16 percent green slopes. The rest are more advanced runs with over half being intermediate, making Stowe an ideal destination for those who are ready to ski hard and take on some challenging runs.