5 Of The Best skiing Destinations In North America 2018
We’re into the last stretch of the winter months and while many of us are dreaming of sunny beach days, the winter sports enthusiasts among you are probably trying to squeeze out every last bit of the season. Luckily, you don’t have to go too far to enjoy some breathtaking ski resorts, as North America is home to some of the very best. We put together five of our favourites for 2018.
1.Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico
When you think of New Mexico, skiing probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. You may be surprised then, if you aren’t fully clued that Santa Fe is home to a breathtaking range of terrain perfect for zipping down. Popular for big time ski enthusiasts, families and newbies alike, Ski Santa Fe boasts a base elevation of 10,350 ft, 1,725 ft vertical drop, 77 trails and 225 inches of average snowfall every year.
Hop aboard the Santa Fe Super Chief Quad Chair and head 900ft up the mountain, taking in the sights of New Mexico, before you hurtle back down.
Stay on site and grab a slice of cake at La Casa Lodge, or enjoy après ski with a signature warm cocktail and some live music at Totemoff’s Bar.
If you want a break from the snowy slopes, there is tonnes of historic exploring to be done in the world’s oldest capital city- Santa Fe, which is more than 400 years old. Drive just 16 miles into the heart of the city and refuel with some traditional New Mexican cuisine-the city is famed for its mouth-watering, monster burritos.
In recent years the city has also seen a boost in modern eatery options, so check out some of the newer eateries to hit the scene including the “elevated cuisine” on offer at Geronimo which sits in a minimalist local residence dating back to 1756.
Santa Fe is also rich in culture and arts, from ancient architecture everywhere you turn, to beautiful art and educational museums that cast an insight into the life of the city in years gone by.
After all of the excitement the region has to offer, you’ll be desperate for a warm bed and a good night's sleep. Luckily the area is home to an abundance of cozy B&Bs, modern hotels and budget hostels. There really is something for everyone.
2.Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is an authentic, ski spot with a wild western edge nestled in the Rocky Mountains, slap bang between the Teton Mountains and the Snake River.
If you’re an experienced skier then Jackson Hole is the spot for you, offering 4,139 ft of vertical runs, half of which are rated expert. Boasting vast views of the gorgeous nature that engulfs the resort, Jackson Hole is home to some of the most scenic ski runs in North America. In addition, the area has received a consistent snow harvest year-on-year, bringing back thousands of happy regulars.
Perfect for adventure-seekers, the resort also offers ‘off-piste’ expanses, accessible through marked gates, ideal for exploring-but only if you are equipped with the right avalanche safety gear. If your skiing isn’t quite polished enough for the expert runs, fear not, as the resort rates 40% of its sopes at an intermediate level, and there are 10% for beginners.
Still need a little help getting into the swing of things? Then how about hiring one of the professional trainers for a little recap of the basics, or explore some of the hidden hot-spots with one of the mountain’s private guides.
Back in 2016, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort marked its 50th anniversary with the opening of its Teton Lift quad chairlift. The speedy lift system whizzes 2,000 people an hour up 1,650 feet to a once lonely part of the mountain.
And skiing is not the only thing on offer; from old timey bars and high end boutiques, to breathtaking national parks and wildlife close enough you could practically touch it, Jackson Hole won’t leave you with a minute to spare. Head into the heart of Jackson and find yourself atop a genuine saddle bar stool at the infamous Million Dollar Cowboy bar, or grab a tasty, locally brewed beer at Snake River Brewing.
If you’re down to get active but need a break from the slopes, take a stroll along the Taggart Lake trail, or try your hand at cross-country skiing. Alternatively, get up close and personal with the local bison on a snowmobile tour of nearby Yellowstone.
To top it all off, lodging is plentiful in the area, and there is a vast selection of hotels, lodges and hostels to choose from. If you plan on waking up and heading for the slopes as soon as your feet hit the ground, then consider staying at the Four Seasons-a modern addition to the area, right at the base of the mountain.
3.Whistler, British Columbia
Whether its an action-packed sports focussed trip, or a chic, relaxing frosted vacation you’re seeking, Whistler is the perfect spot. Whistler is one of British Columbia’s best winter destinations. It’s two linked mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, team up to make the biggest ski area in North America- so it’s no surprise it’s made it onto the list.
Whistler is home to one of the longest ski seasons in North America, but even when the snow is long gone it offers a whole bunch of adventure for guests.
Winter is definitely Whistler’s golden hour though, with mother nature showering an average of 461 inches of snow across the area every year. With 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls and 3 glaciers, winer sports lovers won’t run out of new zones to show off their skills.
For those not so savvy on skis, recent renovations have left the mountain more beginner friendly than ever before. There are top-to-bottom green runs, as well as nursery slopes and the addition of some new learning areas. Plus there are always experienced coaches on hand to boost your confidence with useful tips and tricks.
If skiing isn’t your thing, the mountain also offers zip lines and tubing, as well as snowmobiling and even eagle-watching tours. Or take in the beautiful west coast scenery on the record-breaking PEAK2PEAK gondola, stretching across a vast expanse of nature.
Once you’re all tuckered out, why not watch from afar and sit back with a glass of wine in the purpose-built resort village. Always bustling with life, the village is home to an array of retailers, spas, restaurants and bars. Even once the skiing is over, the fun doesn’t stop.
4.Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah
You have probably heart of the world-famous Sundance film festival, a celebration of moving image set in the sparkling ski resort. Sundance Mountain Resort is just 13 miles northeast of Provo, Utah.
Spanning over 5,000 acres of Mount Timpanogos, budding skiers have been actively using the site since 1944. The site became a year-round resort, and welcomed the film festival, after actor Robert Redford bought the area back in 1968.
The resort is perfect for groups of all abilities, as it is home to 20% beginner trails, 40% intermediate trails and 40% advanced trails. Catch a ride on the resort’s quad lift, named “Ray’s Lift”, and head up to the resort’s apex where you can take in the stunning 360° views. Last year also saw the arrival of a new quad chair lift, named after Redford himself, which has the capacity to carry 500 more people uphill per hour.
If you don’t feel like skiing your way back down, the daredevils among you might consider grabbing onto the newly opened zip line- the 6th longest in the United States, and he most vertical drop of any zipline on the continent.
When it comes to accessibility outside of the resort, visitors can find themselves just an hours drive from Salt Lake City and 45 minutes from Park City, where a whole host of activities and accomodation awaits.
On site, guests have a few options for accomodation. There are several options including a mountain suite, Sundance suite, studio or standard room within the resort’s main building. Alternatively, there are cosy cabins which blend seamlessly into the mountainside.
Of course, with A-list accomodation comes A-list food options. Sundance is home to a Forbes four star restaurant, the Tree Room and brunch hotspot, the Foundry Grill. Grab a drink at The Sundance Owl Bar, relocated to the site from Wyoming, where it was once frequented by Butch Cassidy.
Whether it's a trip with friends, a romantic get away or a mini-break with the kids, sundance can add a little celebrity glamour to your regular ski vacation.
Another classic Canadian ski resort, and an Alberta tourism hotspot, while Banff might not have all of the bells and whistles of some higher end resorts,it is great if you’re looking to save a few pennies. Mostly you can do this with tour operators, who tend to select Banff as their number one location for those great-value package holiday offers.
Boasting 8,000 acres of accessible terrain across its SKIBIG3 mountain ranges, all of which are blanketed with an average of 30 ft of perfectly, powdery snow every year, Banff is a winter lovers dream. Between Mt. Norquay, The Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village there is something for every winter sports enthusiast and room for all.
Head up the mountain in eight minutes on one of the two gondolas, or hitch a ride on one of the 26 chairlifts, and make the most of the 334 scenic rocky runs on offer.
If you’re a wildlife lover then Banff is the spot for you; you’re almost sure to spot some elk, mule deer or bighorn sheep around the area. It’s less frequent to spot any grizzlies or black bears, but there are a bunch of guided wildlife safaris on offer if you want to take you’re feeling lucky.
Banff and Lake Louise both offer a variety of shuttle services, as well as a user-friendly public bus system, which means that once you’re tired of the slopes other amenities are well within reach. The après ski scene means that Banff is home to some amazing restaurants and pumped up bars, so a lively night on the town is always an option. Banff is also home to galleries, museums and shipping, as well as the Banff Upper Hot Springs, where you can relax and soak up some minerals in the 40° outdoor pool.
If you want to stray from the usual ski lodge and try out something a little more magical Banff has you covered. Set in the heart of Banff National Park is a fairytale castle- The Fairmont Banff Springs. The landmark hotel, known as canada’s “castle in the rockies”, has been providing a picturesque stay to guests for over 125 years. After a fast-paced day bombing the Banff hills, you deserve the royal treatment!