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There’s a reason skiers and snowboarders from across the country head west as the cold sets in and the snow starts to fall. It’s in pursuit of the best alpine terrain in the country. While northeastern powder chasers might spend the bulk of their winter in Vermont on their home mountain, a long stint out west is in order at least once each season. Whether that means a week in Colorado bouncing from Telluride to Vail to Aspen, or renting a resort residence for a month in Park City, it’s time to start charting your time out west. To help guide your itinerary, these are some of the best ski resorts in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, and California.
There are actually four mountains in Aspen: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk—and they all fall under one lift ticket. Aspen is a luxury hotspot this season—with acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten opening a culinary pop-up and Giorgio Armani creating a gorgeous seasonal activation here. Aspen has long since been synonymous with over-the-top après ski (from the new wine bar at Little Nell to the new al fresco WET Deck at the revamped W Aspen, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property). While in Aspen, stay at The Little Nell, an intimate, luxurious five-star hotel with ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain.
Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado
Last year, Telluride Ski Resort debuted 44 new acres of gladed terrain and welcomed new businesses to celebrate its 25th anniversary. A common theme among the best ski resorts in Colorado, Telluride and the surrounding town was once a mining hub and now offers world-class skiing through the San Juan Mountains. In the southwestern quadrant of Colorado, Telluride has 2,000 acres of skiable terrain. For those looking to stay in Mountain Village, The Peaks Resort & Spa is a ski-in/ski-out lodge. Alternately, for an over-the-top Colorado getaway, stay just an hour outside Telluride at Dunton Hot Springs, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
Jackson Hole sits at the intersection of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, which makes it an iconic outdoor destination in any season. But Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the iconic western ski resort that emerges from the bustling Teton Village. From Corbet’s Cabin, at the top of Rendezvous Mountain, to the aerial tram that climbs more than 4,000 feet in nine minutes, to the 2,500 acres of terrain between Rendezvous and Apres-Vous mountains, this is a skier and snowboarder’s paradise. For slopeside accommodations, our favorite luxury options are the over-the-top Caldera House, The Lodge at Jackson Hole, and the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley, Idaho has skyrocketed to luxury ski resort status; it encompasses Bald Mountain, Dollar Mountain, Resort Village, and as of this year, 380 new acres of terrain. With many airlines now offering non-stop service to Sun Valley, the multi-mountain resort with trails above the treeline is only growing in popularity. From upscale townhomes to condos in the heart of Resort Village to private chalets with amenities galore, renting a luxury and completely private residence is the way to go in Sun Valley.
Deer Valley Resort, Utah
From December to April, Deer Valley Resort, cousin to Park City Mountain Resort, opens its 2,000 skiable acres to the luxury ski and snowboard crowd. Known for upscale dining options and five-star accommodations, Deer Valley has all the charms of the iconic enclave of Park City, while preserving the feel of an intimate ski resort. After a day shredding Wasatch Range powder, retreat to Montage Deer Valley, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. Plan an opulent stay at the resort’s Peak View, Alpine, Empire, or Presidential suites, each with fireplaces and next-level views of the mountain.
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado
Often regarded as one of the most luxe Colorado ski communities, Breckenridge has the best of both worlds, terrain-wise: exciting and expansive backcountry for the thrill-seeking skiers and long, well-groomed beginner and intermediate trails for the neophytes. Breckenridge Ski Resort, owned by Vail Resorts, consists of five peaks and has great lodging options, each with easy access to the mountain. When planning your stay, choose from Breck’s newly renovated, ski-in/ski-out Gravity Haus, Crystal Peak Lodge, adjacent to the Independence chair lifts, or condo rentals from River Mountain Lodge and Village Condos.
Heavenly Mountain Resort, California
As if the name wasn’t a tip off, Heavenly Mountain Resort really is downright idyllic. The mountain, overlooking Lake Tahoe, has exceptional alpine skiing, as satisfying for the double black diamond crowd as it is for the blue squares contingent. With 34 miles of terrain—in both California and Nevada, we might add—Heavenly is a mountain you could ski every year and still not encounter every trail. To rent a luxe ski lodge for a week, or for the season, browse Heavenly’s signature properties.
Mount Bachelor, Oregon
Just 30 minutes from Bend, Oregon, Mount Bachelor is an iconic West Coast mountain; with 4,323 acres of skiing in the Deschutes National Forest, it’s the sixth largest ski area in the country. The dormant volcano is known for great backcountry terrain and long runs down the sprawling south face of Mount Bachelor. As a ski resort, Mount Bachelor actually doesn’t offer lodging, just the mountain’s Nordic Lodge and the West Village, each with restaurants and plentiful après ski offerings. Stay in Bend at Pronghorn Resort, which offers great long-term rentals and residences, as well as chic accommodations at Huntington Lodge.
Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana
If skiing in view of Glacier National Park is on your ski bucket list, Whitefish Mountain Resort is the perfect Montana destination for you. With 113 runs and 3,000 skiable acres, Whitefish isn’t exactly a beginner mountain—most of the alpine trails are for intermediate to extremely advanced skiers and boarders. The summit comes in at 6,817 feet, which means you’ll have exceptional views of Glacier Mountain National Park and Whitefish Lake while on the slopes. For lodging near the mountain, most regulars rent lodges and condos in the village through Whitefish Mountain Resort.