Ski season is here, and that means a wide array of both elegant and quirky ski towns to visit throughout the U.S. For skiers who are passionate about great powder and a charming atmosphere, there are many mountains to explore. Here are some favorite American mountain towns that will play the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable ski trip this winter.
1. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Colorado is home to some of the premier ski destinations in the entire world. But along with the heavyweights like Aspen, Vail and Snowmass, this mountainous state has a number of other nice ski resorts to visit. One fantastic example is found in Steamboat Springs.
Both a winter and a summer vacation spot, Steamboat might be one of the most western and frontier feeling ski resorts around. Filled with both spur-clad cowboys and fur-wearing skiers, this mountain town offers fun attractions like hiking and biking in the Rocky Mountains or historical sites like the 1905 F.M. Light & Sons general store where all types of cowboy merchandise can still be found.
And the slope stats are hard to beat with almost 3,000 acres of gladed and groomed skiing. From fancy restaurants and world-class skiing to smoked barbecue joints and rodeo grounds, this western resort is like a step back into saloon times.
2. Telluride, Colorado
Perhaps one of the prettiest ski towns, Telluride is tucked between Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado’s tallest free-falling waterfall, and the surrounding13,000 foot peaks. A former mining town, there is little that rivals the natural beauty and solitude in this place. With absolutely no stoplights in the vicinity, this town houses around 2,500 local residents.
A skier’s paradise, the Telluride Resort has 127 trails, three terrain parks, and an average of 309 inches of snowfall. Telluride also provides a free gondola ride to the neighboring town of Mountain Village where you can go shopping for what you need in a jacket to keep you warm while cruising the slopes.
The food around Telluride is hard to beat with Rocky Mountain elk chop and Colorado lamb shank and an Italian restaurant that stocks up on more than 1,000 types of wine. Filled with art classes, ice climbing, and photo tours, Telluride offers plenty to do both off and on the slopes.
3. Taos, New Mexico
This art colony harbors more than just afforadable skiing which it has an abundance of with Wheeler Peak at 13,161 foot elevation. In the early 20th century, artists began settling in Taos founding the Taos Society of Artists in 1915. During this artistic movement, an art colony began to develop. Most of the art was inspired by local scenes and activities in the town. From there artists like Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keefe found themselves attracted to the natural beauty and spirit of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
New Mexico might sound like a desert destination, but it offers some surprisingly great skiing. And after hitting the slopes, check out the five local museums, walkable downtown art galleries and adobe inns for an authentic Taos experience.
4. Bend, Oregon
While you are in the west, travel up north to beautiful Bend, Oregon. Bend features 14 breweries along what has since been dubbed the Bend Ale Trail. And what could be better than an ice cold brew after a day of skiing in close to 400 inches of annual snowfall?
Compared with the rest of the state, Bend it doesn’t rain too much in this Oregon mountain town making its historic downtown area an awesome getaway. Apart from skiing, Bend proffers Smith Rock State Park where 14,000 climbing routes are open to explore. Additionally, fly-fishing and golf courses are open year round.
5. Truckee, California
Truckee in North Tahoe averages 275 sunny days and 400 inches of snowfall. Truckee is also home to Squaw Valley Ski Resort which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. With 12 downhill and 8 cross-country resorts available, it’s no wonder that a ski-thru Starbucks exists here. Why bother to stop and take off ski equipment for coffee when you can slide on through? To top it off, you can alternate skiing with astronomy snowshoe hikes or a winter lake cruise.
With these five fun and quaint ski towns, your next ski vacation is sure to be fantastic cowboy hats, art galleries, beer drinking, ski-thru coffee memories.
Image from www.telegraph.co.uk