Outdoor markets, warmly lit downtowns, cozy restaurants, cheerful locals... there is something special about American…
I adore a good ski vacation.
We all know that Colorado gets a lot of love (I’m looking at you, Vail/Steamboat/Breckenridge!), but there are plenty of other wonderful places to hit the slopes. Here are a few a little off the beaten path.
Big Sky – Montana
If you love mountain skiing, but can’t stand long waits in lift lines, head to Big Sky. It’s more low-key than Colorado skiing (no offense, Rocky Mountain State!), with less traffic both at AND to and from the slopes. There’s over 5,800 acres stretched over four stunning mountains, with about 40 percent of runs aimed at beginner and intermediate skiers, and 60 percent for advanced (18 percent are double-blacks, which is where I tend to stay. Just kidding!). Whether you’re traveling with a friend or in a big group, convenient (and nice!) accommodation is easy to find. Bonus: you fly in and out of Bozeman—a laid-back college town that’s worth spending at least an afternoon or evening in.
Loon Mountain – New Hampshire
I know New England skiing doesn’t exactly compare to skiing out west, but as a born-and-bred New Hampshirite, I gotta give Loon Mountain some love. I grew up less than two hours from the White Mountain National Forest, so it reminds me of skiing as a kid. Picture this: a 12-year-old decked out in her moms quilted jacket and a pair of Levi jeans. So 80s, right? And speaking of kids, this is a great place to hit the slopes with the little ones, with lessons for kids as young as three. If you’re traveling with non-snow bunnies, fear not: there’s tubing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing and even a winter zip line.
Snow King – Jackson, Wyoming
I spent some time in Jackson, Wyoming last summer, and couldn’t stop thinking about planning a ski vacation here. I love the vibe in this picturesque town. It has that old west feel, and against the stunning backdrop of the Grand Tetons? Forget about it! The locals told me the best ski spot is Snow King. It’s the only place in town with night skiing. Skiing with locals… sounds perfect.
Ski Brule – Michigan
When you think Michigan, you think… Detroit! Motown! Big Ten Football! A big lake! But how about skiing? The UP is home to some lovely skiing, complete with lots of fresh snow (well, maybe not as much with this pesky El Nino year, but they do have many of open runs). With lots of beginner and intermediate runs, Ski Brule is a great place for families, plus there’s tubing if the ski or snowboard thing doesn’t exactly work out for your little one. Be sure to stop by the Homestead Lodge. Built in the late 1800s, this cozy lodge is the perfect place to enjoy a little apres ski at the end of a long day.
Arizona Snowbowl – Arizona
Arizona wears many hats. It’s a desert oasis, new age locale (hello, Sedona!), home to the Grand Canyon and about 300,000 snowbirds. But it’s also a skiing destination. Located on the majestic San Francisco Peaks (9,500 ft. above sea level!), Snowbowl lies just 14 miles outside of Flagstaff, 2 hours from Phoenix, and 70 miles from the Grand Canyon. Open since 1938, Snowbowl has some serious experience beckoning thrill-seekers from the desert sand to the mountain snow. It just blows my mind that you could literally be sunning yourself in the desert one day, then hitting the slopes the next. How do you even pack for that trip?