With many of the nation’s top ski resorts forecasting excellent snow conditions well into the New Year, Americans are dusting off their skis and heading to the hills. Not only is staying active or participating in winter activities an excellent way to avoid the dreaded winter weight gain, it’s also an opportunity to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of nature in a winter wonderland-like setting. Over the years, a select group of ski resorts have consistently ranked among the top five in the country from many leading sources, from the most respected ski publications to a multitude of travel sites. The following are five of the best ski resorts in America, based upon a number of variables including quality of snow, acreage, accommodations, dining and entertainment.
Deer Valley Ski Resort
2250 Deer Valley Drive S.
Park City, UT 84060
Utah is much like Colorado and California in that the state is rich with world-class ski resorts. What separates Deer Valley from other outstanding Utah resorts is a combination between prime skiing facilities and an impressive selection of lodging options. Among the recent awards Deer Valley Ski Resort has received are the best in North America for service by Ski Magazine and the United States’ Best Ski Resort from this year’s prestigious World Ski Awards in Austria. At this same event that celebrates and rewards excellence on the world platform of ski tourism, Deer Valley’s exclusive Casa Nova luxury chalet was also named the nation’s Best Ski Chalet.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
3395 Cody Lane
Teton Village, WY 83025
This fabulous ski resort, punctuated by the majestic Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains, consistently ranks among America’s best year after year. Ski Magazine has already named Jackson Hole the Best Overall Resort in North America for 2014 and four other categories, including overall satisfaction and variety. Although Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is widely known for its steep terrain and features one of the highest vertical drops on the continent, half of the ski runs are designed for intermediate or beginner skiers and snowboarding is allowed on 100 percent of the mountain. Several acclaimed luxury accommodations dot the Jackson Hole Valley, most notably the Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa, Snake River Lodge and Spa and Hotel Terra Jackson Hole, ranked the best in Teton Village from Trip Advisor readers.
1960 Squaw Valley Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
Squaw Valley gained international status as a world-class ski resort more than 50 years ago when it was the host site for the 1960 Winter Olympics. Today, this resort continues to rank among the nation’s largest ski areas and recent winner of Best Ski Resort in North America by Men’s Journal. With more than 3,600 skiable acres across six peaks, Squaw Valley is just one of the many outstanding ski resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe, the highest alpine lake on the North American continent. The Village at Squaw Valley offers a variety of dining experiences such as an Irish Pub, Japanese sushi restaurant, Mexican cantina and European crepe and sweets, in addition to elegant accommodations ranging from standard rooms to spacious multi-room suites, that were all part of a recent $2.7 million renovation.
Sun Valley Resort
2 Sun Valley Road
Sun Valley, ID 83353
Opened in 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt was reelected President of the United States, Sun Valley is the oldest destination winter resort in the country. After 75 years in operation, the 4,300-acre Sun Valley Resort continues to rank near the top and was recently voted Best of Lifts, Overall Lifestyle and Luxury by readers of Ski Magazine and this year’s Top Ski Resort for Thanksgiving. In addition to the excellent skiing options, particularly at Bald Mountain, there are plenty of other winter activities to engage in, such as snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice skating and sleigh rides. The historic Sun Valley Lodge, also known as the “grand daddy of resorts,” has hosted a long list of world-known celebrities, including Ernest Hemingway, Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe and more recently Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Justin Timberlake and Oprah Winfrey.
Telluride Ski Resort
565 Mountain Village Blvd.
Telluride, CO 81435
With more than 25 world-class ski resorts in Colorado, it’s nearly impossible to include just a single location on a “best of” list. Yet Telluride makes the list after being voted Number One Ski Resort in North America in a reader’s poll from Condé Nast and Sunset Magazine. The Mountain at Telluride Ski Resort has more than 2,000 skiable acres for skiers of all levels and the advanced skiing terrain features a dramatic 4,400-foot vertical drop and a long run of 4.6 miles via the “Galloping Goose.” In addition to more than 20 different options in accommodations, Telluride has consistently ranked at or near the top in North America for nightlife by OntheSnow.com. Telluride is located in the picturesque San Juan Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.