Learning to ski or snowboard can be a daunting task.
To find the magic in sliding down cold, snowy hills with foreign objects strapped to your feet requires a number of things to be in your favor: support from someone who speaks your language; uncrowded, well-groomed pistes with a liberal covering of light, dry snow; and sunshine, or at least plenty of trees, to help with visibility. It’s a tall order, but USA ski resorts virtually guarantee them all.
Finding Slopes for All Abilities
There are secluded beginner areas such as Spruce Hill in Stowe, Vermont, and Buttermilk mountain in Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado, gentle trails with spectacular views across Lake Tahoe at Heavenly in northern California, and top-to-bottom blue runs such as Jay Peak’s aptly named Vermonter, which deliver a real sense of satisfaction. In the pampering resorts of Utah’s Deer Valley and Colorado's Beaver Creek, you’ll barely have time to fall before a helping hand is proffered. With pistes manicured to perfection, gliding down the seamless corduroy can feel effortless. Skiing in North America is like being wrapped in a giant, fluffy confidence blanket.
Geared up for a day of skiing in Telluride, Colorado
Outstanding Trails at Top Resorts
As you find your feet, you’ll come to appreciate the sheer size of many USA resorts, such as Vail and Breckenridge in Colorado, Killington in Vermont and Park City and Canyons in Utah. Each features thousands of acres of varied terrain. For intermediates, this means a seemingly endless array of morale-boosting cruisers, most of them wide and flanked by trees. Keep your eyes peeled for the “noon groomer,” particularly common in Colorado, where a trail is freshly groomed at midday for a satisfying post-lunch burn. Zipping through sun-dappled pine, spruce and aspen glades is part of the magic of skiing in the USA and needn’t be daunting thanks to the widely spaced, intermediate-friendly clearings of Powder Mountain in Utah and California’s Mammoth Mountain.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains of California
Exceptional Service With a Smile
Snow, size and trails aside, where USA ski resorts truly excel is in service. From glitzy Stowe in Vermont to humble Solitude in Utah, you can count on friendly instructors and mountain staff. Take advantage of the complimentary mountain tours given by local “ambassadors.” Drop by the “snuffle stations” dotted throughout most resorts to pick up tissues, sunscreen, drinks and tips from the local volunteers manning them. Use the free apps and WiFi offered on many resort gondolas to track your ski achievements – and share them through social media – and immortalize your trip with shots from the mountain photographers. It’s all part of the U.S. ski experience.
Paths on the slopes in Stowe, Vermont