Sure, east coast skiing gets you sliding over snow, but when you get tired of the ice and slop, follow the words of Horatio Alger and go west! Western mountains and ski areas have a variety of snow conditions, terrain and apres-ski activities. When you are ready to get some snow and slope-side action this winter, look to some of the best areas on the country, let alone the west, and then head out cowboy.
At Vail, skiers experience 300 days of sunshine-filled days to ski on 5,289 acres, including seven miles of front side groomers, seven miles of Back Bowls and nine children’s adventure skiing zones. Vail offers ski lessons for children, teens and adults, both in ski school and private lessons. Besides skiing, guests can participate in other winter activities at Adventure Ridge, such as snow tubing, snowmobiling, or ski biking down the mountain. The resort also offers Nordic cross-country skiing and back-country snow-shoeing. Vail’s lodging is divided into six neighborhood’s: East Vail, offering condominium rentals, Golden Peak, located near the Children’s Ski School, Lionshead Village, a cosmopolitan hotel, Vail Village, steps away from Vail Mountain, Cascade Village, both a hotel and vacation rental and Sandstone, offering value-priced options.
Vail is known as a great party resort, making it a great place to visit for college students or anyone interested in having a great time. Every Thursday night is the free Bud Light Street Beat concert series, bringing free music and fun to the streets of Vail for visitors and locals to enjoy. Vail also hosts snow events like the Teva Mountain Games, bringing professional and amateur athletes to the slopes as well as art, film and music events.
Big Sky, Montana
When you are ready to forgo the $12 bowls of chili, $10 bottled beers and “skiers” who only want to be seen in the latest Gucci snowsuits, head to Montana and the slopes of Big Sky.
Big Sky is a ski and snowboard mecca. This is the place to go when you want to hit as much vertical in a day as possible, without having to wait in long lift lines or spend a mortgage payment for a lift ticket. The mountain has three terrain parks and eight square miles of runs covering 4,350 vertical feet. Play in- or out-of-bounds in the bowls at the top and back of the mountain. If you choose to go out-of-bounds, be sure to have an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe and know how to use them.
After a big day of going hard in the terrain parks, head into Big Sky’s brand new 3,000 square foot Solace Spa and Salon to unwind and relax your tired body. There is also a fitness center, pool, shopping and 3 different nightclubs with live entertainment every night; whether you visit Big Sky with your closest friends or travel with your family, there is something to keep everyone entertained.
Aspen/Snowmass Mountain, Aspen
Sure, Aspen is Hollywood in the mountains, but don’t kid yourself, Aspen/Snowmass complex is one of the best hills for terrain and challenges. Ajax, as it’s sometimes called, represents the best of a skier’s mountain, with 3,267 feet of vertical rise, 300-inch average bases per year, and 673 acres of pure white snow covered bliss. Runs for all levels of ability are at Ajax, and the runs are serviced by gondola, chairs and bars. When you are finished skiing the slopes, head into town for an experience that is consistently ranked as the best nightlife; with over 100 bars and restaurants to chose from, you’ll never be bored when the sun goes down.
If you’re looking for a more glamorous trip, Aspen is the place to be. It’s teeming with celebrities and winter athletes, alike. Aspen is also home to the annual ESPN Winter X Games as well as the Bud Light Spring Jam; both bring exciting competitions and plenty of party events.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
It’s hard to imagine Jackson Hole not making a list for best of the west; though not for those who are afraid of a challenge. Jackson has legendary snow falls of blissful champagne powder and runs that challenge even the most hardcore of snow enthusiasts. Boasting 4,139 feet of continuous vertical rise, the longest of any ski area in the U.S., Jackson Hole Resort is known as a very trying mountain. Primarily made up of intermediate level terrain, this mountain is also a great adventure for experts because it is known to have some of the most challenging terrain in North America. This year a new lift has also been added, the Marmot, which allows people to get to the top of the upper mountain quicker without having to descend the entire mountain.
Apres-ski fun is had in town, or in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Ski one day, then snowshoe with buffalo and elk the next. There is also The National Elk Refuge, located just outside of Jackson, where visitors can take a sleigh ride to catch a glimpse of some of the wildlife.
All of the resorts mentioned above are a just a handful of the great places to visit and get out on the trails. Think you can’t afford a trip to some of these famous spots/ Check out a list complied by OutsideMagazine to get the best deals on skiing, lodging and meals so you can realize your snowy adventures this season.
About The Author: Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to NYC Real Estate Properties, Hamptons Homes, home improvement and the latest architecture, design, fashion and travel. Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.