There’s nothing quite like hitting the slopes during the winter months. Cruising down the hill is a rush, but hanging out in a great ski town completes the experience. If you’re looking for a great ski town to visit, you’ll want to consider the most popular ones in the United States!
These towns are perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. Each town on our list has something special to offer visitors, from world-class resorts to charming and lively main streets.
This guide focuses on the town itself. It is not necessarily a list of the best ski mountains, although the mountains near these towns are all pretty legendary. But we are really looking for those towns that just feel like quintessential ski towns — places to unpack your bags and stay a while, doing the ski lifestyle. L
et’s take a closer look at what these great towns have to offer.
Great Ski Towns in the USA
Aspen is one of the most popular ski resort towns in the country, with a feel all its own and being a little off the beaten path in Colorado. It’s located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and you can visit all year round to enjoy the beautiful scenery. There are four ski areas in Aspen, so you’ll have plenty of options for skiing and snowboarding. Because the town has four world-class ski resorts, including Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Highlands, the variety of skiing rivals much larger ski resorts. You can also find many shops, restaurants, and bars in Aspen, giving you plenty to do when you’re not on the slopes.
The population here consists of around 8,000 people, and the town is located just a few hours from Denver. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, this is the perfect spot. You can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow-covered streets, or go for a leisurely walk hand in hand. The town is gorgeous during the holidays, and you’ll find that the Christmas spirit is alive and well here. You’ll find higher-class restaurants and boutiques, as well as a lively nightlife. You’re constantly surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, so you can’t help but feel at peace in Aspen.
Aspen is among the most expensive ski towns to visit — in terms of lodging and average flight prices. Decidedly “high-end”, it is probably not a place for those looking to save money on skiing. But if you want a great ski town with outstanding food, shopping, and creature comforts, Aspen should be high on your list.
Founded in 1878 by prospectors, the town has an old, authentic feel that makes it a special ski town.
Aspen Fun Fact:
Hidden throughout Aspen are 4 shrines: 1 each to John Denver, Elvis Presley, Jerry Garcia, and Marilyn Monroe
Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat is another great ski town in Colorado. It’s located in the Northwest part of the state, and it’s a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. The town is home to the Steamboat Ski Resort, which is one of the largest in the country. You can find over a hundred trails here, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your skill level. The town itself is charming and picturesque, and you’ll find many shops and restaurants to explore. The locals are friendly and welcoming, so you’ll feel right at home here.
Skiing in Steamboat means you get a little away from the Denver daytrippers, which an be nice on popular ski days.
The population of Steamboat is around 13,000 people, and the town is also located just a few hours from Denver. You can find many winter activities to enjoy, including skiing, snowboarding, tubing and ice skating. The town is incredibly lively during the these cold months, and you’ll find that there’s always something to do. You can enjoy a variety of festivals and events that are held throughout the year. During the other seasons, you can go hiking, mountain biking, and rafting in the nearby rivers. But for something more relaxing, you definitely don’t want to miss the hot springs. If that isn’t enough, you can take a dip in the nearby swimming and soaking pools or ride down one of the water slides. The kids will love it here, as there’s truly something for everyone in Steamboat.
Steamboat Springs has been around since 1900. Main street feels like it, and is very walkable with lots to see.
Steamboat Fun Fact:
The town’s official name is Steamboat Springs, but it is more commonly referred to as Steamboat. Many affectionately just call it The ‘Boat.
Park City, UT
For those looking to visit Utah, make sure you head to Park City! It’s located just outside Salt Lake City, and it’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for a ski vacation. The town is home to the Park City Mountain Resort, which is a huge draw for skiers and snowboarders. You can find over 12,000 acres of terrain here, so you’re sure to find the perfect slope for your ski trip. The resort is also connected to the Canyons Village, where you can explore even more trails. The Wasatch Range frames the town, providing a picturesque backdrop. And there’s also Utah Olympic Park toward the north end of town, which is where the 2002 Winter Olympics was hosted! It’s a very exciting and historic place to be!
Park City, along with other Utah ski resorts, all have the distinction of being ski resorts near a major airport. That can make a big difference for many travelers who want to minimize the time it takes to “get there.”
The population of Park City is around 8,000 people, but during the winter, it can get pretty crowded. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore, and during the night, you can find many bars and clubs to enjoy. The town is lively and vibrant, so you’re guaranteed to have a great time here. You can also find many art galleries and museums if you’re looking for something a little more low-key. Overall, Park City is an excellent choice for a ski vacation, and you won’t be disappointed with your visit.
Park City Fun Fact:
Park City was home to the skiing events of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
For those looking to visit Montana, Whitefish is a great ski town, even if it doesn’t have as big a skiing as Big Sky. It’s located in the northwest part of the state, and it’s a beautiful town that’s surrounded by mountains. The Whitefish Mountain Resort is a popular choice, as it offers over 3,000 acres of terrain. You can find plenty of trails to explore, and the views are absolutely breathtaking. The town itself is very charming, and you’ll find many stores and fancy restaurants to enjoy. Whether you’re craving Italian, Mexican, or American cuisine, you’re sure to find a good mix here.
There’s around 8,000 people living in Whitefish, and the town is pretty close to Glacier National Park. You’ll find incredible jagged peaks, pristine forests, and stunning lakes. You can also take a scenic gondola ride to the top of Big Mountain, where you’ll get an incredible view of the area. And if you’re looking for something truly unique, make sure to try dog sledding! It’s an experience you won’t forget.
The mountains enclose upon Whitefish from three directions, giving it a feel of being very tucked-away and secluded. In downtown Whitefish, allow time to try great restaurants, breweries, and distilleries.
Whitefish Fun Fact:
The town of Whitefish is situated at a relatively low elevation of 3,000 feet, making it an excellent destination for people worried about acclimating to the altitude.
Next up is Jackson, Wyoming. This town is located in the northwest corner of the state and is truly a winter wonderland. The town is home to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which is a crowd favorite for avid skiers and snowboarders. The resort is connected to the Grand Teton National Park, so you can find some of the most incredible views here. You can also explore the National Elk Refuge, which is home to thousands of elk. If you’re looking for some excitement, make sure you go tubing or snowmobiling down one of the many hills in the area.
The population of Jackson is around 11,000 people, but the town definitely has a lot to offer. You’ll find many quaint shops and cafes, as well as some upscale restaurants. The town is also home to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. You can find many art galleries and sculptures throughout the town, so it’s a nice place for those who appreciate art. The town is known for their wildlife art, so make sure you head to the museums to check them out.
Jackson was officially incorporate in 1914 but was around for several years before that. It definitely has an old Western town feel.
Jackson Fun Fact:
While the town is named Jackson, the region is called Jackson Hole. The two are often interchanged, but Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley that Jackson sits in.
Telluride is a small town located in southwest Colorado. It’s a historic mining town that’s nestled in the San Juan Mountains. The town is home to the Telluride Ski Resort, which offers a massive terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. You can find many trails to explore, and the surrounding views are absolutely stunning. The town itself is set in a box canyon, and what makes the place so special is the fact that Telluride was given a National Historic Landmark District back in 1964. This was due to the fact that the town is one of the best-preserved mining towns in the entire country, so it played an important role in western American history.
The population of the town is pretty small, as there are only about 2,000 people living here. However, the town is still lively and vibrant. You’ll find many shops and restaurants to enjoy, as well as some historic buildings. The San Miguel County Courthouse is a popular spot to visit, as it’s one of the oldest courthouses in Colorado. Take a relaxing gondola ride to the top of the mountain. Then from there, you can get an incredible view of the entire town. Make sure you stop by the Telluride Historical Museum about the town’s mining past.
Telluride Fun Fact:
Telluride is high, and that has nothing to do with the legal marijuana. Telluride’s elevation is at 9,000 feet. In fact, its airport has the highest elevation of any commercial airport in the USA.
Sun Valley, ID
Sun Valley, Idaho–you might not have heard of it, but it’s a place worth checking out. This town is located in the Wood River Valley, in the central part of the state and is home to the Sun Valley Resort. The resort is one of the oldest in the country and was actually founded way back in 1936. It’s a popular spot for celebrities, as it’s often referred to as the “playground of the rich and famous.” Some of the celebrities who have been spotted here include Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Clint Eastwood. Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain are the two main ski areas, and they offer a variety of trails for everyone.
The town itself is pretty small, and it only has a population of about 1,600. However, it’s still a charming place to visit. It’s the perfect getaway destination if you’re looking for quality time in nature. You can go hiking, biking, or fishing in the summer months, and of course, skiing and snowboarding in the winter. There’s golfing, ice skating, ice shows, horseback riding, sport shooting, fly fishing, bowling, and so much more! They’ve really thought of everything in this hidden gem, so make sure you add it to your list of places to visit.
Like so many other Western towns, Sun Valley was put on the map by prospectors. Eventually, it turned from a sleepy mining town into a great ski destination that retains that old school charm.
Sun Valley Fun Fact:
Sun Valley and Ketchum are really sister towns, side-by-side with a shared border. For a visitor, they essentially behave as one town.
Moving east, we have to include the classic New England ski town of Stowe, Vermont. This popular ski town is located in the Green Mountains and overlooked by Mount Mansfield. It’s home to the Stowe Mountain Resort, and with Mount Mansfield also nearby, you have a ton of trailing and skiing options to choose between. There are plenty of nearby shops and restaurants to enjoy, as well as some great hotels and lodging options to stay at. The Stowe Mountain Lodge is a popular choice, as it offers some of the best views of the area with premium amenities.
Stowe offers some of the best skiing in Vermont, and in our opinion, it offers the best old-world feel of any ski town in the US.
The town is also pretty small but mighty, as it only has a population of about 600. However, it’s still a great place to visit. The Stowe Village Historic District is a popular spot to explore, as it’s full of 18th and 19th-century architecture. Taking a gondola to the top of the mountain is another great choice here, as the views will be stunning. During the fall when the temperatures are cooler and the leaves are changing, you can go on a scenic drive or hike to really take in all the beauty that Vermont has to offer. In the winter months, you can partake in all your favorite activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. No matter what time of year you visit, Stowe is sure to impress.
Stowe Fun Fact:
The white-steepled church that dominates many Stowe photographs is the non-denominational Stowe Community Church, which has been around since 1863.
Paul Miller is the Founder of Family Skier. He is an advanced skier and has extensive experience with family travel and ski schools. An accomplished skier, he has skied in 15 states and provinces and 6 countries. In addition to FamilySkier, his writing can be found on many ski-related websites, and as curriculum for many ski clubs in North America.