10 Top Ski Destinations in the United States

by Libby Zay 
Posted Nov 30th 2010 01:52 PMUpdated Jan 11th 2011 04:39 PM


10 Top Ski Destinations in the United States

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Winter is fast approaching, and along with the snow flurries comes ski season. If you're planning a winter escape and seek a snowy adventure, these top ski destinations are sure to please. From Lake Tahoe to Lake Placid, these are the best places to hit the slopes in the United States.

Park City, Utah
Drop in on the world-famous slopes of Park City, home to the steep mountains where the United States Ski Team trains. With 500 plus inches of snowfall every season and around 100 powdery trails, adventure awaits around every turn at this top ski destination. Also home of the Sundance Film Festival, it is not unusual for hordes of tourists to outnumber permanent residents here.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
High above Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a mountaintop resort featuring nine whitewashed trails. The snowmaking system at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort produces enough white stuff to please snow bunnies of all abilities. With an amusement park, an aerial tram that sets off from downtown Gatlinburg, and fantastic views of the Great Smoky Mountains, its easy to see why this is one of the top ski destinations in the country.

Mount Hood, Oregon
Mount Hood makes our list of top ski destinations because the world-famous Timberline Lodge is known the world over for having a longer ski season than any other resort in the country. In fact, over a million visitors flock to Timberline 12 months out of the year. Perched at 6,000 feet on the side of Mount Hood, if you've ever seen "The Shining", the snowy resort exterior will be instantly recognizable as the Overlook Hotel.

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Situated in the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a top ski destination for downhillers living in California and Nevada. Well known for its blizzards, there are over a dozen major ski areas surrounding the lake. Heavenly Mountain Resort holds bragging rights for the west coast's longest vertical drop, and has 97 runs for skiers and snowboarders to mix it up.

Lake Placid, New York
The heavy northeastern snows make this winter wonderland in the Adirondack Mountains a top ski destination. Famous as the site of the Olympic Winter Games of 1932 and 1980, Lake Placid is where the Miracle on Ice, a game where amateur and collegiate American hockey players defeated the national Soviet team, went down. At 3,430 feet, Whiteface Mountain in nearby Wilmington has the highest vertical drop in the eastern United States.

Jackson, Wyoming

With steep terrain that spreads over two peaks, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a top ski destination favored by intermediate-level skiers. Located 12 miles northwest of Jackson, the resort features one of North America's highest vertical drops of 4,140 feet. Experts and daredevils live for the thrill of trying to conquer Corbet's Couloir, one of the most famous ski runs in the world that has been frequently described as the scariest slope in America.

Big Sky, Montana
Six-mile long runs and 4,350 feet of vertical drop make Big Sky one of the top ski destinations in the United States. Situated on Lone Mountain, the resort's signature peak soars at an altitude of 11,100 feet. One of the last places in the Rocky Mountains to remain uncrowded, lift capacity here is 20,000 people per hour, meaning there is hardly ever a wait to get to the top.

Aspen, Colorado
Perhaps one of the most legendary names when it comes to skiing, it should come as no surprise that Aspen makes our list of top ski destinations. The Colorado ski resort has four unlinked mountains that are fit to please skiers of all levels. The only problem with visiting this world-class destination may be the price tag, as the resorts here are favored by the rich and famous and tend to be pricey.

Stowe, Vermont

With an average snowfall of 22 feet, the picturesque slopes of Stowe are typically blanketed for an exceptionally long winter season. Known as 'the ski capital of The East,' Stowe Mountain Resort draws slope lovers from the entire Eastern seaboard. Located on Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest mountain, the famous "Front Four" trails cater to intermediate to expert skiers, while the lower altitude Spruce Peak is for novices.

Vail, Colorado
Opened in December 1962, Vail Ski Resort has a collection of 193 marked trails on three faces, and features a crazy vertical drop of 3,450 feet. With around 5,300 acres of skiable terrain, the resort brags the largest single mountain ski area in the United States and is renowned as "America's favorite ski resort." After Whistler Blackcomb, Vail is the second largest resort in North America.

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metric cruiser

Ober Gatlinburg? Driving from Miami I took my first ski lesson there. Horribly tiny learning area, it's a tiny place for the locals, that grew up skiing and are happy with only a couple of local short trails for each skier level. Many ski years later (after driving to Boone NC & Snowshoe WV) a Killington Vermont (166 trails) reservationist asked me why I was flying there to ski. She said even they, are not a "destination" resort, if a skier gets on a plane they fly out west. I went the next years since '06

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April 10 2011 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andrea Pacheco

Ha! Love the comments! When I taught skiing and riding there, I wasn't allow to wear a helmet because they didn't have helmets for rent to the public! How absurd is that? It only took 6 minutes to get from the very top to the very bottom. And after they blew "white stuff", they would end up with beautiful rollers, only to plow them down to flatness for liability...Ober has a long way to go. I'll replace with Grand Targhee, thank you.

February 04 2011 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tommy Sheffield

You have got to be smoking crack!!!! How much did Ober Gatlinburg pay for the No.2 rating you gave them. WHAT EVER THERE CRACKHEAD. Try Sugar Mt. in Boone N.C. It's a mile and a half run from the top and fast. If you like terrain try App. ski Mt. It's awsome park

December 23 2010 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Liked the listing for the best skiing destinations in US. Love the sport and would like to have a visit to the above mentioned places.

December 21 2010 at 3:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Comparing Ober Gatlinburg to these other places is like comparing a Ferrari to a Yugo that's been rolled off the side of a cliff and been sitting under water for 10 years.

December 10 2010 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jo Gets

Gatlinburg, Tennessee? Really? Even as a proud Tennessean this made me laugh. Tennessee has many amazing attributes, but skiing isn't one of them.

December 06 2010 at 11:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon W. Knowles

Whoever selected Gatlinburg, Tennessee needs to be taught to ski, then FIRED from AOL Travel.

December 03 2010 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jon W. Knowles's comment

I agree... Perfert North should be in the top 10..

December 04 2010 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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