It’s not exactly a secret that North America is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world. Famous for their long runs, spacious resorts, and areas blessed with gorgeous mountain views, the ski resorts in the US and Canada have earned their place on the bucket lists of travelers looking for a getaway in the snow.
Long gone are the days when ski lovers had to travel to the European Alps for a chance to practice their favorite winter sports. In fact, nowadays, European snow adventures flock to the US and Canada to try out the American experience first-hand!
With over 400 resorts located in these two North American countries, it is no easy task to decide which ones to visit for a snow adventure.
From the narrower meadows in the East to the expansive terrain and powder-filled bowls in the West, plenty of ski resorts will please ski lovers seeking great snow, fantastic après ski accommodations, and charming base towns for unforgettable getaways riding the slopes.
Read on for a list of the best ski resorts in the US and Canada that deserve a place on every skier and future skier’s bucket list.
This post is part of our series discover the USA
9 Best Family Ski Resorts in the US and Canada
- 1. Vail, Colorado (USA)
- 2. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia (Canada)
- 3. Palisades Tahoe, California (USA)
- 4. Lake Louise, Alberta (Canada)
- 5. Park City, Utah (USA)
- 6. Big White, British Columbia (Canada)
- 7. Breckenridge, Colorado (USA)
- 8. Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, Quebec (Canada)
- 9. Whiteface Mountain, NY (USA)
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1. Vail, Colorado (USA)
- Base Elevation: 8120 ft (2475 m)
- Summit Elevation: 11570 ft (3527 m)
- Vertical Drop: 3450 ft (1052 m)
- Closest Airport: Denver International – 120 miles
- Ski Season: Approx. November 11, 2022 to April 24, 2023
Vail is probably the best-known ski resort in America, and with good reason.
With over 5,200 acres worth of skiable terrain, fine shops and restaurants, and staggering mountain views, it isn’t hard to figure out why Vail tops many bucket lists. Add a lively cultural scene and a bustling nightlife, and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for a perfect winter playground!
Even though Vail is no longer the biggest ski resort in the US, it still holds its place as the jewel in the Colorado crown for skiers of all levels and one of the best spots on the planet for world-class winter sports.
Aside from having trails for beginners, intermediate, and experts, Vail boasts seemingly endless back bowls and a very decent lift system comprised of 31 chairlifts and two gondolas.
After skiing, you can enjoy plenty of more activities to cap off the day – Vail was actually built for ski tourism, so they know what it takes to keep visitors happy when it comes to après ski opportunities and lodging!
The downside of Vail, is the crowds and the cost.
2. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia (Canada)
- Base elevation: 2,140 ft (653 m)
- Summit elevation: 7,160 ft (2,182 m)
- Vertical drop: 5,020 ft (1,529 m)
- Closest Airport: Vancouver International – 85 miles
- Ski Season: Approx: November 24, 2022 to May 22, 2023
Located 2 hours from Vancouver, Whistler is a favorite when it comes to ski resorts in Canada.
This jumbo-sized resort is the biggest ski resort in North America, spanning a whopping 8,100 acres to accommodate skiers and snowboarders of all levels of ability. Whether you’re a newbie, intermediate, or a daredevil, you’ll definitely find your place at one of Whistler’s 6 alpine bowls and 200 trails.
Whistler Village is right on spot with the finest hotels and restaurants where you can enjoy some après-ski fun and relaxation before cozying up for a well-deserved rest before venturing out on the powder for another day on the slopes.
The mountain village is also home to a few museums and galleries to satisfy your cultural vein if you manage to pry yourself from the slopes for a few hours.
An added value when planning a winter escapade to Whistler is the easy access to Blackcomb, another famed Canadian ski area. A quick ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola will take you back and forth from one site to another, in case those 8,100 acres are not enough for you to tackle!
3. Palisades Tahoe, California (USA)
- Base elevation: 6,200 ft (1,890 m)
- Summit elevation: 9,050 ft (2,760 m)
- Vertical drop: 2,850 ft (870 m)
- Closest Airport: Reno-Tahoe (NV) – 47 Miles
- Ski Season: Approx November 22, 2022 to May 29, 2022
Formerly named Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Palisades Tahoe is located in the Lake Tahoe region on the California-Nevada border. With a full range of prime accommodations and amenities, it is one of the leading ski sites in the world, especially after hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics.
More than 6,000 acres of skiable terrain suited for all levels guarantee a full-fledged Winterland adventure in an incredibly beautiful setting. If it’s your first go at the slopes, you’ll find a fabulous ski school where kids from as young as three can start learning tricks, and there are lessons available for the little ones at Tahoe Kids.
Access to Alpine Meadows is easy, and there are a number of winter activities available other than skiing, including ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, and snowmobile tours.
Palisades Tahoe offers a number of pluses at the base Village and High Camp, including a lagoon, a hot tub, and the Olympic Museum. Fine après-ski and nightlife options are plenty in the area as well so grab yourself a baby sitter for a night out too!
4. Lake Louise, Alberta (Canada)
- Base elevation: 5,400 ft (1,646 m)
- Summit elevation: 8,650 ft (2,636 m)
- Vertical drop: 3,250 ft (990 m)
- Closest Airport: Calgary International Airport – 120 miles
- Ski Season: Approx November 4, 2022 to May 7, 2023
Less than an hour’s drive from Banff, you’ll find Lake Louise, one of Canada’s most cherished ski resorts.
Its location in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains provides some of the best runs and the most epic views for skiers of all ages and abilities sloping down Sulphur and Rundle mountains.
Besides being home to 4,200 acres of skiable slopes, Lake Louise also has a smorgasbord of off-the-slopes attractions. Among them are fine restaurants, winter carnivals, ice sculpture exhibitions, as well mineral hot springs!
Don’t miss out on visiting Banff Springs Hotel, a truly majestic Scotting-style establishment with French touches. Built in 1885 and still functioning, it features a splendid ballroom and other characteristic features of a grand hotel from back in those days.
After skiing, venture out to the Jonhson Canyon ice trail to see frozen falls or go ice skating on Vermillion Lakes.
5. Park City, Utah (USA)
- Base elevation: 6,900 ft (2,103 m)
- Summit elevation: 10,026 ft (3,056 m)
- Vertical drop: 3,100 ft (945 m)
- Closest Airport: Salt Lake City International – 37 miles
- Ski Season: Approx. November 18, 2022 to April 13, 2023
Having merged with adjacent Canyons Resort, Park City is one of the largest ski areas in the US and the second largest in North America at 7,300 acres.
Offering great slope and off-slope experiences for everyone, Park City has become a favorite winter playground for both luxury seekers and lovers of the simpler things in life. With 60% of its trails deemed for beginners and intermediates, this resort is an ideal spot for traveling with family or companions of all ages and ski levels.
There are lodging accommodations for all budgets as well as a varied collection of bars and restaurants, drawing visitors from all corners of the world to this resort in Utah.
Nordic skiing, snow biking, tubing, dog sledding, and even paddleboard yoga classes inside a crater make this destination pretty unique, without mentioning that it is one of the two resorts where you can ski right into the base town when you’re done with the mountain for the day!
6. Big White, British Columbia (Canada)
- Base elevation: 5,059 ft (1,542 m)
- Summit elevation: 7,608 ft (2,319 m)
- Vertical drop: 2,549 ft (777 m)
- Closest Airport: Montreal-Mrabel International – 64 miles
- Ski Season: Approx November 24, 2022 to April 16, 2022
Big White is a wonderful family ski resort known for providing astounding mountain vistas, excellent snow, and state-of-the-art technology to make your stay even more enjoyable. Here, you’ll find a nice mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert terrain spread along 2,700 acres.
Recent improvements include an ample modern check-in building, new cabins on the gondola, and a Magic Carpet lift to make it easier for newbies who are learning the ropes. Moreover, the equipment rental shop has acquired a laser system that can scan your foot measurements to give you a perfect fit.
With plenty of lodging and après-ski options, you won’t be lacking in things to do at Big White. Plus, if you want to do other sports as well, ice climbers, snowboarders, tubers, and dog sledders have designated areas to do their thing.
39 acres of slopes are lit at night for night owls, something that does not happen on many ski resorts in the US and Canada. Sloping down the mountain at night is a unique and breathtaking experience that you won’t soon forget, if ever!
Where to stay: You won’t find any of the big chains in Big White, just plenty of cozy vacation homes with direct access to the slopes
7. Breckenridge, Colorado (USA)
- Base elevation: 9,600 ft (2,926 m)
- Summit elevation: 12,998 ft (3,963 m)
- Vertical drop: 3,398 ft (1,036 m)
- Closest Airport: Denver International – 104 miles
- Ski Season: Estimated November 11, 2022 to May 30, 2023
Breckenridge is the place to go if you’re looking for a mix of great skiing and partying.
Being so close to Denver, it is one of the most visited ski resorts in Colorado, thanks to its excellent snow and amazing 5,300 acres of terrain fit for all levels of ability on the slopes.
Moreover, Breckenridge is a very charming town with a vibrant apres-ski scene that offers a varied gamut of restaurants and bars that run from the most laid-back dives to the high-end establishments.
Breckenridge was not always a picturesque ski base village in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Once a mining town like many others in the state, it managed to revamp itself into a sought-after tourist destination and ski resort after the mining boom puttered out.
Today, it features ski schools for beginners as well as back-country tours for experienced skiers and snowboarders. You can enjoy guided walks among its historic buildings or check out a few museums in town.
If you’re visiting with the kids, they’ll have a blast at the Mountain Top Explorium, which hosts a small planetarium, a hands-on play lab, and a Colorado wildlife exhibit.
8. Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, Quebec (Canada)
- Base Elevation: 755 ft (230 m)
- Summit Elevation: 2871 ft (875 m)
- Vertical Drop: 2116 ft (645 m)
- Ski Season: Approx. November 24, 2022 to April 16, 2023
Despite the fact that Quebec is known to be the home of many of the best skiers in Canada, eastern skiing resorts are still not as much in the winter tourism spotlight as their western counterparts.
Mont Tremblant Ski Resort is a great example of what eastern Canada has to offer. Located only 82 miles from Montreal, this ski resort has 102 trails spread over 665 acres of skiable terrain, 22 designated for beginners and over 170 for the pros.
The charming village at the base of the mountain offers a nice range of luxury lodging options, a fine gastronomical scene, and high-end boutiques and shops in a European-like setting.
As for off-the-slopes things to do around town, there are more than enough to keep you entertained, including ice skating and fishing, winter walking trails, fat-biking on the snow, and a climbing wall for children.
9. Whiteface Mountain, NY (USA)
- Summit Top Elevation: 4,836 feet (1,474 m)
- Summit Base Elevation: 3,006 feet (917 m)
- Summit Vertical Drop: 1,830 feet (558 m)
- Closest Airport: Burlington – 73 miles
- Ski Season: approx November 24, 2022 to May 1, 2023
With more than 90 trails spread over 288 skiable acres, Whiteface is considered a top-notch winter sports area in the northeast US and the only ski area in the region to have hosted the Winter Olympics (1932 and 1980).
Besides offering a healthy mix of runs for all levels of abilities that make Whiteface a great spot for a ski vacation with the family, there is a plethora of other attractions for the whole clan to enjoy in the adjacent Lake Placid base village and its surroundings.
Little kids 4-6 years old can be signed up for Cub Camp for a snowsports introduction, or enroll your 7 to 12-year-olds in Junior Adventurers to hone their ski and snowboard skills.
Ice skating at the famous “Miracle on Ice” rink, bobsledding on the hair-raising track, and visiting the Olympic Museum are only a few of the off-slope activities on the menu.
Warmly lit Lake Placid’s brick shops and restaurants come alive in the late afternoon in preparation for a few hours of fine après-ski enjoyment, so make sure you set time aside for that too!
On a side note, Whiteface Mountain will once again catch the world’s limelight as it will host some of the alpine skiing events in the 2023 World University Games.
Have you ever taken a winter vacation at one of these ski resorts in the US and Canada? Please tell us about your experience in the comment section below!
More Ski Resorts and Winter Travel Inspiration
- Looking for some unique places to visit in Europe this winter? Don’t miss these fabulous European Family Ski Resorts for winter 2022/23
- Make sure you grab out ski packing checklist to prepare for your trip to the snow
- Not just snow, don’t miss these incredible US Winter Vacation Destinations for Families, all reachable without a passport!
- Always take out travel insurance when you book a family vacation. Not only can this cover you for cancellations and delays, but with add-on policies, you can cover your family for winter sports too.
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