Squaw Valley (California)
It’s almost a shame that “Tahoe” has become shorthand for the great skiing in Northern California. Squaw Valley, ranked the number one ski resort in the country by USA Today readers in 2017, deserves to be singled out. The 1960 Winter Olympic host city (well, city is a strong word) boasts all the amenities of a world-class resort, with a gold-medal history behind it. You’ll find slopes appropriate for all levels and a vibrant nightlife, which could include night-skiing.
Of all the Colorado ski destinations—Aspen, Telluride, Vail to name a few—none balance small-town feel with big-time slopes like Steamboat. There are nearly 3,000 acres of skiable terrain here, with plenty of space for a wide range of expertise, not to mention ski-in/ski-out lodging at the base of the mountain. If the slopes get the best of you, you can always slide into one of the geothermal hot springs that surround the town.
Stowe Mountain Resort (Vermont)
Want to ski the East? Stowe should be your destination. This family-friendly resort has a good balance of difficulty in its 116 trails across two mountains. And it continues to grow in amenities. For example, a gondola that fits 10 people transfers skiers from Mount Mansfield (the tallest mountain in Vermont) and Spruce Peak, so they can easily explore all the park has to offer. Then there’s the luxurious Stowe Mountain Lodge—part hotel, part spa—that offers travelers some ideal mountainside relaxation before and after they hit the slopes.
Bonus: Las Vegas Skiing
It may sound outlandish, but hear us out: Las Vegas is a shortish (snow-free!) drive from the best resorts southern Utah has to offer. Brian Head and Eagle Point stand out in particular. Combined with the inexpensive airfare—more major airlines fly direct to Vegas than to, say, Jackson—and winter travel without winter conditions, a Vegas ski trip could be in the cards for you.
Other great ski/snowboard destinations: Mt. Hood Meadows (Oregon), Big Sky Ski Resort (Montana), Mt. Bohemia (Michigan), Lake Placid (New York)