The popularity of downhill skiing and other winter sports in the United States is best indicated by the fact that the Olympic Winter Games were held there 4 times, which is more than in any other country. Favorable climatic conditions, availability of tracks of all levels of complexity, developed infrastructure, lower prices for hotels and services compared to European resorts – all these features contribute to the success of the US skiing not only among Americans and Canadians, but also among Europeans.
Geographically, the resorts in the US are located south of the Alpine resorts, so the boundary of the forest zone is located on the slopes of the mountains much higher. This allows you to safely enjoy skiing even in snowy and stormy weather. Due to the height of the mountains and their location in relation to the ocean, the snow in the local resorts is usually dry and light – it’s called “American powder”. Such snow is considered to be the most suitable surface for skiing, and there’s a lot of it at the following US ski resorts…
Situated at an altitude of about 2,450 meters above sea level, Aspen and Snowmass are among the top-end ski resorts in the US. Both localities form the vast Aspen-Snowmass ski region consisting of 350 tracks with the total length of 515 km and the height difference of about 1,342 meters. Despite the steady reputation of a chic and expensive resort, it’s still possible to relax there with a small budget.
Aspen is located 222 miles away from the nearest airport in Denver. Experienced skiers recommend to rent a car with Avis at Denver Colorado Airport for getting to the resort, because this way of traveling is the most suitable for the mountain region.
Aspen Mountain is probably the only zone in the USA without “green” ski tracks for beginners. However, the advanced ski amateurs will appreciate the steep slopes of Mount Ajax. It’s believed that the Aspen Highlands region is suitable for skiers of different levels of training, but still the majority of the tracks are focused on those who love challenging slopes.
Snowmass is the biggest ski area providing ideal opportunities for the fans of quiet skiing. In addition, there’re special schools in which children can be trained, as well as a fun park and two regularly operating Half-Pipes for snowboarders.
For those skiers, who like walks and a relaxing family holiday, Buttermilk with its gentle and wide slopes will be the most comfortable option.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
According to the Americans, Jackson Hole is the best ski resort in the country. At the same time, it cannot be called universal: local ski routes are like wild mustangs. Here’s a unique powdery snow and truly endless possibilities of off-piste. However, the atmosphere of Jackson contributes to nice pastime even without being a passionate fan of deep snow.
The Snow King District and Apres Vous resorts are the most comfortable for the training and easy skiing. Luxury carving along perfectly prepared steep blue tracks starts from Bridger station (2,772 meters), as well as Apres Vous. For the fans of extreme descent in deep snow, the Randezvous slope (3,185 meters) is probably the best place in the world. Few people are able to adequately describe the possibilities of free-ride available there.
Corbet’s Couloir is the well-known spot among the connoisseurs of off-piste skiing: the 50-degree slope is a natural masterpiece! Just below and to the right you’ll find the Cheyenne Bowl, which is another extremely steep zone. You can get there from the top station called Sublette. Casper Bowl and Crags are only available through a 20-minute walk and are recommended to the fans of completely wild forest slopes.
Alta/Snowbird is located within 35 minutes’ drive from Salt Lake City Downtown. Add to this the huge Salt Lake City Airport with a full range of direct flights from all major US cities and you will understand why Americans use this resort for the real Weekend Escape Travel.
Snowbird and Alta are two huge ski regions, united in one network by a single ski-pass. This place is a real powder snow oasis. On average, about 600 inches of snow falls there during the year, which is more than anywhere else outside of Alaska. Moreover, the type of snow is so soft and pleasant that Americans compare it with froth in a cappuccino cup.
The Snowbird’s highest point is located at an altitude of 3,353 meters. A vertical elevation difference of 988 meters gives you the opportunity to enjoy 89 tracks, 35% of which are black and 38% of average difficulty. In Alta, the heights are a bit more modest: from the top at 3,216 meters to the lowest point, the drop will be 616 meters, but the number of tracks is greater – 116 ones.
The resort’s real pride and heart is Spa Resort Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge – a magnificent building by architect Paul Rudolph, who managed to create a real masterpiece of glass and cast stone, organically incorporated into the mountain landscape.
In conclusion, it makes sense to answer, perhaps, the most important question: How much does it cost? So, staying in a one-bedroom apartment with hotel services in American ski resorts will cost about $200 per day. The average price of one full ski pass per week is about $300-400, depending on the resort and seasonality. However, each resort offers many options to choose exactly the ski pass that is suitable for you. The average equipment rental will cost you about $250 per week.