Snow’s falling, and for many of us, that means it’s time to start dreaming about our next ski vacation. And with world-class ski resorts all over the country, it can be difficult to decide where to go.
This year, perhaps consider some lesser-known resorts. Many have the same amenities and phenomenal skiing as the more popular spots, but with fewer crowds and shorter lines. We’ve put together a list of five of our favorite hidden gem ski and snowboard resorts around the country—and each one is close to Inspirato accommodations.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek Resort is only 13 miles west of Vail, and everything about it is designed to make your day on the slopes an unforgettable one. From freshly baked chocolate chip cookies handed out at the base area daily to escalators taking you from the Village to the chairlift, they’ve thought of everything.
More than 60 percent of the resort consists of perfectly groomed runs for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, but it’s also a stop on the Alpine Ski World Cup tour. Often hailed as a favorite stop for racers, the best of the best come to the resort every year to try their luck on the Birds of Prey downhill course.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Dreaming of non-stop bluebird days, line-free lifts, and a little bit of everything? We have just the place—Sun Valley, Idaho. Sun Valley’s airport is easily accessible from several major cities across the U.S., and once you get there, everything you need is a short walk or shuttle ride away.
There are two mountains at Sun Valley: Bald (or “Baldy”) and Dollar Mountain. Baldy is all-downhill, all-day, with a vertical drop of 3,400 feet. There are a few runs for beginner/intermediate skiers, but there are no flats here. Dollar is where many people learn to ski, with gentle, beginner slopes and a vertical drop of just over 600 feet.
Situated in Western Colorado, many people forgo places like Telluride for the resorts along the I-70 corridor near Denver. But we highly recommend you branch out to the San Juan Mountains and spend some time in a place that Condé Nast Traveler’s readers named “Best Ski Town in the U.S.”
You’ll rarely find a line here, and even on the busiest of days, it doesn’t feel crowded. More than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain includes an expansive beginner area and plenty of steep groomers, moguls, and glades for more advanced skiers. The terrain parks at Telluride offer more than 100 features with a natural progression from easier to more difficult challenges.
Bolton Valley, Vermont
While Stowe, Vermont, is a well-known ski area, just 30-40 minutes away is a hidden gem called Bolton Valley. With both cruiser and challenging runs, there is plenty for everyone and it’s one of the only places in Vermont with night skiing. The 5,000-acre resort sees around 300 inches of snowfall annually thanks to its high base elevation. (Bolton Valley is higher than any other resort in the state.)
A family-owned resort since 1939, Sugar Bowl is one of the oldest resorts in California. Twelve lifts give visitors access to four peaks and 100 trails that average about 500 inches of snowfall each season. Using Lake Tahoe as your base camp gives you the option to mix up your ski vacation and spend some time at both Northstar and Sugar Bowl.