For many people, winter brings with it the sleet, the gray and the cold. For skiers and snowboarders, winter is the best time of year. While snow dumps in the city are a downer, they’re exactly what skiers hope for in the mountains. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best places to ski and snowboard in North America.
From beginner lifts to heli-skiing, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite places to get the rush.
List Of Best Places To Ski And Snowboard in North America
Best For Beginners: Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA
Colorado is home to some of the best ski and snowboarding in the world. It’s no surprise that the options in the state run the gamut from advanced heliskiing to the basic-beginner spots.
One of the best options for those who are still learning to ski and snowboard is Beaver Creek. This is a really family-friendly spot. One of the biggest challenges being a new skier is that a typical resort will have very short beginner runs. Things can get boring after you’ve gone up and down a few times. Beaver Creek really thrives in this area as they have some of the longest beginner runs in the world. In addition, they have a huge learning area as well as what they call the “Ivy League” ski school, which is their fun way of enhancing your skills no matter what level you’re at.
Best For Après Ski: Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Zermatt, Switzerland is not only one of the best places to ski, but also probably the best place in the world for après ski. If we’re staying closer to home, though, Whistler, B.C. (in Canada) is fantastic.
During the day, head up on the Whistler Blackcomb mountain for world-class ski and snowboard runs. It’s considered the largest area in North America (by many measures) with the greatest uphill lift capacity and handles over two million visitors per year. They’re particularly friendly to snowboarders as they have five terrain parks with a halfpipe, over 40 jumps and 90 rails to grind.
Once your legs are a little worn out, ski right into town and start the party. The Attic is a nice spot for cocktails and conversation, Bar Oso is a fantastic Spanish tapas joint, and the Bearfoot Bistro is the signature supper spot in the area.
Best For The Advanced Crowd: Jackson Hole, Wyoming USA
Wyoming is one of those sometimes-overlooked Midwestern states but advanced skiers know what’s up. This converted cowboy town has become one of the best places to ski in the world.
If you’re a newbie, there are probably better places for you to learn. However, if you’re advanced and have been looking for more of a challenge, this is the place to find it. There are plenty of steep chutes and fluffy powder at Jackson Hole mountain Resort. This past February (2019) saw 97’’ of snow, which broke the previous record with over a week left in the month. That’s a dream for the expert level carvers.
Best Place To Heli Ski: Chugach Range, Alaska, USA
If the regular type of ‘advanced’ isn’t enough to satisfy your craving, heliskiing can offer that adrenaline rush.
Alaska has some of the best untouched landscape with big mountains and steep lines that can provide that speed and thrill you’re looking for. If you’re not familiar with the geography, the Chugach Mountains is where you’ll want to be. They receive an average of about 700 inches of snow and that snow is moist too, which means you’ll have a little bit more stability on the steeper parts of the slopes.
You’ll have to find a company that will take you up to the tops but there are a number of options. And if you’re looking for some fantastic accommodations afterward your session, the Tsaina Lodge is known as the hub for heli-skiers in the area.
Best Overall Ski Town In The United States: Aspen, Colorado
Of course, Aspen is one of the most renowned ski and snowboard resorts in the world. Those looking for some action on the slopes will have four massive ski areas to carve through. You could spend a week on the slopes there and still feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface.
But what makes Aspen the ideal ski town is all of the activities you can do afterwards. It’s a place where the A-listers go, so that means you’ll find plenty of luxury accommodations, restaurants and shopping. That really rounds it out more so as a destination than just a place to ski through.
A lot of other ski resorts feel like they’re simple-yet-comfortable, and made for the outdoorsy, family crowd. Aspen has an aura of being a cut above, which is what makes it one of the best places to ski as well as a really fun place to visit.
Best Overall Ski Town In The Canada: Banff, Canada
Banff is a real charmer of a town. It’s one of the most visited non-metropolitan areas in all of Canada as lovers of nature and skiing flock in.
In the winter time, Banff is the ideal ski hub. It’s cozy (mostly just main street), quiet and located right in the mountains. That means that when you’re ready to get up and ski or snowboard, there are several good options within an hour or less. Mount Norquay is your closest option, just over 15 minutes away. Sunshine is about half an hour and the world-class Lake Louise is about an hour.
When you’ve had your fill of the slopes, mosey back into to Banff and you’ll have a number of options for dining and accommodations at all price points. All you need is to find yourself a fireplace and some whiskey to warm up.