How to decide on the proper ski resort in North America – Lonely Planet

Video How to decide on the proper ski resort in North America – Lonely Planet

Snowboarding in North America is all about broad swooping runs, beautiful forested glades, powder photographs and a few of the fluffiest, deepest, most bewitching snow on the planet.

There are bottomless snow days on the west coast, champagne powder within the Rockies and lots of a throwback ski and board bum paradise within the mountains in between. Plan your winter journey to wonderland with this insider’s information to prime picks and a few seldom-seen stashes.

Editor’s observe: Please verify the most recent journey restrictions earlier than planning any journey and at all times comply with authorities recommendation.

Blackcomb-Whistler, one of many largest ski resorts within the western hemisphere © Ryan De Jong / Shutterstock

Whistler-Blackcomb – British Columbia, Canada

The vibe: Huge powder days, heli-skiing, large metropolis proximity

With over 200 marked runs and an astounding 8171 acres of terrain, together with 16 broad alpine bowls and three glaciers, Whistler-Blackcomb is taken into account by many to be the biggest ski resort within the western hemisphere. The resort’s peak-to-peak gondola is the best and longest on this planet, and no one can beat the sheer exhilaration of throttling down the mountain that hosted many alpine occasions within the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Critical skiers and boarders will love the large dumps of heavy coastal powder and lengthy runs, whereas households dig the youngsters’ forts and motion within the village. Simply 78 miles km from the cosmopolitan metropolis of Vancouver, there are many close by cultural points of interest too.

Jackson Gap isn’t particularly near something, so all you get right here is the mountain © Kevin Cass / Shutterstock

Jackson Gap – Wyoming, USA

The vibe: Lengthy runs, gnarly terrain, zero pretension, Led Zeppelin

It’s an electrical feeling heading up the Jackson Gap Aerial Tram, probably the most iconic carry trip in the US. The 100-person gondola has piped-in music chosen by the operator (suppose AC-DC, Led Zeppelin and absolutely anything the gods of rock would approve of). As you cruise up, you get a fowl’s eye view of the terrain you’ll be driving in your dream snow-cation – steep couloirs, glorious glade snowboarding and some wide-open bowls.

Jackson Gap isn’t particularly near something, so all you get right here is the mountain. And we’re high-quality with that.

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Alta, Utah has a few of the driest, heavenliest snow you’ll ever get © Scott Markewitz / Getty Photos

Alta – Utah, USA

The vibe: The fluffiest powder on the planet, skiers that hate snowboarders

Alta has an entire lot going for it, particularly for skiers, as snowboarding continues to be forbidden. For starters there’s an ungodly 551 inches of snow yearly. And since it’s in Utah, it’s the driest, heavenliest snow you’ll ever get.

The après ski scene is on the sedate aspect, however you gained’t have a lot time for partying anyway what with the over 2000ft of steep-and-deep vertical drop and 2614 acres of terrain. We additionally love that most of the ski scenes from the Eighties traditional Higher Off Lifeless have been filmed on the resort’s slopes. As Charles de Mar places it: “That is pure snow. Have you ever any concept what the road worth of this mountain is?”

Aspen’s house to arguably the very best inbounds run in the US © The World in HDR / Shutterstock

Aspen – Colorado, USA

The vibe: Stunning folks with a number of cash… and their mountain-shredding scion

Aspen hasn’t been the world’s go-to ski vacation spot for the previous 50 years for nothing. This glitzy former mining city has wonderful turns for nearly all people within the household, and 4 mountain areas to select from. Buttermilk is among the greatest hills for inexperienced persons within the nation, and the instructors on the ski and snowboard faculty are prime.

However there are additionally impossibly steep pistes, deep chutes and memorable bowls in Aspen Highlands and Snowmass areas. After a fast hike to the highest of the 12,392ft Highlands Bowl, you’ll be rewarded with arguably the very best inbounds run in the US.

After you hit the slopes, it’s all about trend, exceptional eating and the humanities.

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Squaw Valley’s a midsized mountain that has an excellent mixture of terrain for all ranges © Chris Allan / Shutterstock

Squaw Valley – California, USA

The vibe: Throwback cool and California sunshine

Close to the glistening shores of Lake Tahoe – the largest grouping of ski resorts in the US – this stand-out hill was the positioning of the 1960 Winter Olympics. There’s nonetheless a throwback air to the midsize mountain that has an excellent mixture of terrain for all ranges (together with rad steeps just like the KT-22 and a killer terrain park stuffed with all of the jumps, rails and free-styling spills you may ask for).

There are 30 lifts all in all, retaining folks shifting throughout the 4000 skiable acres. California snow is typically known as “Sierra Cement” as a result of the day after it falls it might flip rock laborious. However it additionally is available in plentyful provide, with three-foot dumps not remarkable. It’s additionally an opportunity to point out off your aptitude and California cool, and with Santa Cruz simply 5 hours away, you may trip and surf in the identical day!

Vail has a few of the greatest bowl snowboarding within the western US © Steve Boice /Shutterstock

Vail – Colorado, USA

The vibe: Après ski hijinks, rip-roaring broad runs

For a youthful, energetic and but nonetheless extremely upscale snowboarding expertise, suppose no additional than Vail, Colorado. This big resort has a few of the greatest bowl snowboarding within the western US. From the mountain’s bottom, you hit a unending streak of wide-open treeless terrain, loads of powder and some secret stashes that solely locals learn about.

From there, it’s off to Blue Sky Basin for forest snowboarding and some brief steeps that may get your backbone a-tingling. Vail is ideal for younger revelers in addition to households. The resort’s frontside has loads of newbie and intermediate terrain, and within the Tyrolean-style village (really constructed within the mid-Twentieth century), you’ll discover a terrific assortment of enjoyable bars, refined eating places and fancy outlets.

Honorable mentions

Huge Sky, Montana, USA: Sick super-steep terrain… and, effectively, large skiesTelluride, Colorado, USA: Beautiful views, refined eating, star-sightingTaos, New Mexico, USA: Inexperienced chile, cornice drops, artwork galleries and no carry linesMammoth, California, USA: Jap sierra isolation and direct flights on United AirlinesCopper Mountain, Colorado, USA: Ridiculous hike-to-terrain and nice downhill traces

You will discover a few of the fluffiest snow on the planet at North America’s ski locations © Borisenkov Andrei / Getty Photos

Price a peak

Right here’s a number of small less-known resorts that pack on the powder with practically half the extent of pretension as a few of the larger resorts.

Wolf Creek, Colorado, USA: Scorching springs and big snow fallsSilverton Mountain, Colorado, USA: One chair carry, 1800 acres of terrain, no newbies allowedWhitewater, British Columbia, Canada: Bottomless snow and nice backcountry slopesKirkwood, California, USA: Vertigo-inducing chutes, big cornices and loads of pure half-pipesAlyeska, Alaska, USA: Dwelling-grown, laid-back, powder-chugging Alaskan classicCrystal Mountain, Washington, USA: Large dumps and loads of steep terrain

You may also like: 5 US ski cities for individuals who hate skiingThe greatest ski areas you have by no means heard of Everlasting winter: the place to ski each month of the yr

This text was initially printed in December 2014.

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