50 Ways to Ski in 50 States
Posted Dec 4th 2013 03:30 PMUpdated Dec 4th 2013 03:33 PM
How many states can you ski in? Most people know there are slopes in Colorado, California and Vermont. But what about Florida? Hawaii? New Jersey? Turns out, there are options for snowbirds in some surprising places. Here's how to ski in every state, from the epic to the wannabe to the wacky.
The Deep South might not scream "ski getaway," but Cloudmont Ski Resort has the best slopes in Alabama. Okay, they're the only slopes in Alabama. But it's a popular family spot, and if you get cold skiing you can change gears to cowboy mode at the neighboring dude ranch.
Alaska's a land of extremes: the sun doesn't rise or set for parts of the year, bears go to hotel bars and skiers hop out of helicopters to shred 6,000-foot mountain slopes. If you're traveling this far, go big or go home with a heliskiing package from Chugach Powder Guides.
Ski Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains for bragging rights – it's the southernmost ski resort in the United States.
Use your imagination at Marble Falls Resort, an abandoned ski resort that shut down in the early 1990s. But keep your eyes open – the land has become a popular spot for motorcyclists.
There are about 30 ski resorts in California. Our vote goes to the tallest, Mammoth Mountain, which also has one of the longest ski seasons. (Skiing on the Fourth of July, anyone?)
News flash: Colorado is a good place to ski. Here's our list of the best ski resorts in Colorado.
What powder? Embrace man-made snow at Mohawk Mountain, the resort credited with using the first snowmaking machine.
You can't actually snow-ski in Delaware, but that didn't stop some intrepid ski enthusiasts from opening a ski shop in Newark. Try on some gear, talk snow and then head to Pennsylvania where there are actual hills.
Skiing in West Palm Beach? Well, there isn't any snow. But a Virtual Snow machine lets you ski indefinitely on a treadmill in front of a screen. Ok, so maybe it's not as fun as the real thing. But avoiding wipeouts and cold fingers doesn't sound like the worst way to hit the slopes.
There used to be one place to ski in Georgia. But Sky Valley Resort shut down its ski slopes about eight years ago, making it another one for our collection of abandoned ski resorts. Instead, strap on some roller skis and wheel around Atlanta's Piedmont Park like young ski champ Zoe Taylor.
Not only can you ski in Hawaii, you can ski on a volcano that's also the world's tallest mountain and then hit the beach later in the day. Just be careful because it's not groomed and there are no resorts. But it's skiing in Hawaii!
Sun Valley locals claim it's a drinking town with a ski problem – maybe that's why Ernest Hemingway was such a fan of the area. Channel your inner Papa with a hot toddy after a day on the slopes.
The Prairie State has a few slopes, but our favorite is Raging Buffalo, a winter sports park that caters heavily to snowboarders. Get mad, go shred... and pay homage to one of the prairie's most iconic animals?
Paoli Peaks has some mighty snow guns, and can coat its 65 skiable acres in a foot of snow overnight. Plus, the kids' lesson program awesomely calls the little learners Snow Monsters, so this gets our pick for an Indiana family day out.
The 21 runs and 475 feet of vertical at Sundown Mountain are pretty impressive considering the farm-flat cornfields that starred in "Field of Dreams" are a few miles away.
Kansas' elevation gain is gradual across the state, so if you're looking for a big downhill slope, move along (we hear its neighbor to the west has a few hills...). It does snow, so you can toodle around a local park on cross-country skis. Or you can be ironic and buy this t-shirt.
It's too bad Ski Butler isn't around anymore – we would've liked to ski on slopes named after Kentucky bourbons and race horses. Now if you want to combine drinking and a winter activity though, try the bourbon luge at Louisville restaurant Proof on Main: order the roasted bones appetizer and some bourbon, eat the marrow off the bones, hold a now hollowed-out bone to your mouth and pour the bourbon down it.
It's the fourth flattest state in the country, and the average winter lows fall in the 40s. So no, there's no skiing in Louisiana. At least until someone does something like build a $55-million, liquified natural gas-cooled indoor ski facility on the bayou.
Maine skiers have many choices, but the coastal island views from Camden Snow Bowl take the lobster roll. Actually, the National Toboggan Championships are held here, so never mind skiing. It's sledding time!
In a world overrun with Bear-Valley-Creek-Mountains, Mount-Mad-Rivers and other generic snow resort names, Maryland went another direction for its one and only ski destination: Wisp Resort. We're not sure what the name means, but hey – Maryland's more than crab cakes and football.
For a small state Massachusetts carries a respectable ski resort line-up – though New Hampshire and Vermont lure many across state lines. For a day trip from Boston, stay local and try Ski Butternut in the Berkshires.
It may not have the largest verticals in the country, but Michigan wins the prize for interesting resort names. Our favorite: Nub's Nob. (Runner up: Challenge Mountain.)
It's fairly flat, but Minnesnowta (as hardy locals call it) doesn't disappoint when it comes to winter weather. It actually gets too cold to ski (or do anything outdoors), but let's not focus on that. The Lutsen Mountains resort has the state's largest skiable area, and it has the best view – a shimmering Lake Superior on the horizon as you glide down the slopes.
You have to get really creative to ski in this southern state. But there are fields of white here, so if you're really dedicated, like this guy, you can make it work.
In 2003 a tornado touched down on Snow Creek, one of Missouri's two ski resorts. The resort embraced it, and a few years later opened the Tornado Alley tubing park. You can ski here too – and afterward you can say you tore up a tornado's path.
Conceptualized by NBC newscaster Chet Huntley, Big Sky Resort celebrates its 40th anniversary on Dec. 15. It's grown considerably since it opened, now covering 5,750 acres and a 4,350-foot vertical drop. Once you're off the slopes, sip one of Lone Peak Brewery's Retro Red Ales, brewed specially to commemorate the anniversary.
Nebraski's a great name for a ski resort in the Cornhusker State, but sadly it's been closed for years. At Omaha's 500-acre Levi Carter Park, however, you can both jet ski and water ski.
A 25-minute drive south of Reno, Mt. Rose offers 1,200 acres of snow dropping more than 1,800 vertical feet. And if it's too cold to hit the slopes, then hit the slots.
Loon Mountain dropped $1.3 million on improved snowmaking capabilities this off-season. In a related story, this year it had its earliest opening ever. And later this month, it'll open the East Coast's first ice castle, with 25-foot-high walls and colored lights at night.
Located in a part of New Jersey that's so far north, it doesn't even get a Jersey Turnpike Exit as a reference point, Mountain Creek is just an hour from New York City.
One of the few ski resorts in America that's still family owned and operated, Taos Ski Valley averages more than 300 inches of snowfall and 300 sunny days a year.
Home to 55 trails, including mogul trails with intermediate to expert bumps, and the Catskills' only Cat-access skiing, Bellayre Mountain attracts more than 175,000 skiers and snowboarders annually.
"Dare to Ski the Wolf!," Wolf Ridge's website taunts. If you're not up to the challenge of its 22 trails, including 12 green circles (easiest), there's always the tube run.
Located just across the border from Manitoba (it's a part of Canada), Frost Fire has 10 trails for skiing and snowboarding.
The Buckeye State's self-proclaimed largest ski and snow tubing resort, Mad River Mountain has a 300-foot drop over 144 skiable acres. Its website also advertises that the facility features vending machines.
The Cleveland Trail is a 2.5-mile path suitable for cross-country skiing that follows an abandoned right-of-way from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.
Just a 90-minute drive in your Prius from Portland (or really any car for that matter), Mt. Hood Meadows has 2,150 skiable acres on the mountain's sunny, wind-protected side. Its longest run is three miles.
No, Hidden Valley Resort isn't a place to unwind in tubs of ranch dressing (would that it were though!), it's a 31-trail ski resort about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh.
Among the great Rhode Island names like Narragansett, Pawtucket and Woonsocket is Yawgoo Valley Ski Area. The state's sole ski area offers 12 trails, three lifts (including the rope tow) and The Max Mug Club where for a $15 membership, guests get a 16-ounce mason mug that they can use throughout the ski season. Hurry though, the club's limited to only 50 spots.
Two lakes built (yes, you read that correctly) in 1988 specifically for water skiers, Trophy Lakes offers slalom courses and jumps just five minutes from downtown Charlestown.
Do you know what the third highest point is east of the Rockies in the continental United States? It's the 7,076-foot-tall Terry Peak in South Dakota, which also advertises "the highest vertical drop between the Rockies and the Alps."
Oh Gatlinburg, is there anything you don't offer? At Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park, guests can ski, snowboard, tube, shop and/or encounter wildlife like river otters, birds of prey and striped skunks -- but not the American black bears because they're hibernating.
You know what's not bigger in Texas? Mountains. But at the Texas Ski Ranch's snow park in New Braunfels, Texans can swap out their cowboy boots for snow boots and go boarding or tubing.
Site of the downhill, Super G and combined events at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Snowbasin probably meets your skiing needs too.
"Ski it if you can" is the tagline for Mad River Glen. And, for $49-$74 you can!
You probably only know Liberty University for being the Christian University that Jerry Falwell launched. But now you're about to also know that it's home to Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, a complex that offers year-round skiing, snowboarding and tubing on Snowflex, "a synthetic material designed to simulate the slip and grip effects of snow."
Mount Saint Helens -- yes, the volcano -- has four ski mountaineering routes (sorry, no rope tow here). Relax, it hasn't erupted since 1987.
Snowshoe Mountain's three ski areas offer a combined 57 trails of skiing on 251 acres. Experts or novices with guts will want to check out the Western Territory: it has steeps of 52 percent.
Boldly proclaiming itself to be the third largest skiable area in the Midwest, Devil's Head Resort has 30 trails over 300 acres and a 3.5-mile cross-country loop.
Fun fact: While Grand Targhee Resort is in Wyoming, it's only accessible via Idaho.
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