Love it or hate it, winter’s just around the corner. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting crisper, and the snow is perfectly packed for skiing. Love winter sports but need a change of scenery? If you’re ready to embrace all the wonderful things winter has to offer, then add one of these 8 best destinations for ski lovers to your winter bucket list.
California is known for its sunny skies, but it’s also home to gorgeous Lake Tahoe, in the midst of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s one of the purest (and oldest!) lakes in the world. Towns with charm, chic, and cuisine surround the lake. The ability to choose from a myriad of mountains—including Squaw on the North Shore and Heavenly on the South Shore—as well as a host of ski resorts, not to mention the insane views, easily makes Lake Tahoe one of the best destinations for ski lovers. Looking for more things to do? Stroll along the Balancing Rock Nature Trail or visit one of Tahoe’s state parks, such as Emerald Bay in California or Lake Tahoe Nevada across the state line. To make things even easier, you can fly into the Lake Tahoe Airport, which puts you a convenient twenty minutes from the lake.
Season dates: November 24, 2021 – May 2022
Average 3-day pass price: $414
If you’re thinking of heading to the Alps to ski, there’s no shortage of ski resorts and mountains to visit! From beginners who are looking for a European getaway with a few days on the slopes to advanced skiers who are ready for off-piste skiing, you’ll find dozens of options for every kind of skier in Geneva. Praz de Lys Sommand and La Clusaz are two popular and traditional ski mountain towns near Geneva (both about 1 hour away). Whether you’re spending all day on the slopes or enjoying the magical villages, chocolate and cheese fondue, hot chocolate and Christmas markets in town, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in winter in Geneva.
Season dates: mid-December to mid-April
Average 3-day pass price: $80
Aspen is one of the best ski destinations for ski lovers in the US, and with over 5,000 skiable acres to offer, it’s not hard to see why. Aspen’s home to four major ski mountains, each of which is easily accessible by a free bus system, so you can move from mountain to mountain whenever you like. Aspen Mountain hosts some of the most difficult trails and is geared toward more experienced skiers (with some really famous black diamond runs!), while Snowmass is known for having a variety of terrain, from wide open beginner trails as well as steep vertical drops. Buttermilk even features jumps, quarter pipes and other terrain features for freestyle riders and skiers. With so many options to choose from, you’ll want to stay on the slopes for as long as possible—but the ski villages are amazing too for once the sun goes down!
Season dates: November 26, 2021 – mid-April, 2022
Average 3-day pass price: $432 (this is good for all four mountains in the Aspen, CO area)
For incredible skiing in the Northeast, Stowe, Vermont is a no-brainer. While Stowe is often known for its amazing fall colors come October, it’s worth a visit in the winter as well. Luckily for anyone wanting to experience its winter charm, there’s terrain options for everyone, from beginners to plenty of intermediate slopes and advanced slopes as well, with single and double black diamonds and even some ungroomed trails. If you’re traveling with friends who aren’t big into skiing, there’s also ice skating, snowshoeing, shopping, farm-to-table dining, entertainment and more in Stowe.
Season dates: November 19, 2021 – mid-April 2022
Average 3-day pass price: $321
No list of best ski destinations would be complete without Vancouver, Canada. Home to the famous Whistler Blackcomb mountain—some of the best skiing in all of Canada and arguably the world—plus other mountains, the 2010 Olympic Village, delicious food and more, it’s basically a must for ski lovers. Whistler Blackcomb (two mountains, just outside of Vancouver) is a bit further from the city, but it’s full of ski resorts and villages. Plus it has over 8,000 acres of terrain (massive!). If you’re looking for something on a bit smaller scale, Cypress Mountain is just 30 minutes from Vancouver and still offers 50+ ski runs—perfect for a weekend away.
Season dates: November 25, 2021 – mid-April (late May for some mountains)
Average 3-day pass price at Whistler: $374
Average 3-day pass price at Cypress Mountain: $237
Want to go skiing on the slopes of a volcano with views of Mt. Fuji on your way down? Cherry blossom season isn’t the only good time to visit Japan! Niseko, Japan is one of the best destinations for ski lovers, or anyone who enjoys winter. Intermediate and advanced skiers will find plenty of slopes with tons of amazing views, and beginners will find tons of options as well. This winter wonderland also offers loads of other winter activities like backcountry skiing, heli-skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and, best of all, hot spring spas for after a cold and tiring day on the slopes. The nearby city of Sapporo is also famous for its annual Sapporo Snow Festival (with enormous ice sculptures) and a beer museum.
Season dates: December to April (May for some ski areas)
Average 3-day pass price: $190
This alpine ski town is a favorite among Europeans, and it’s easy to see why. With the amenities of a large resort, but the beauty of an alpine village, Morzine offers the best of both worlds. Skiers of all abilities can find something to love in Morzine. There’s classes for beginners to difficult slopes and off-slope skiing for the more experienced and adventurous. Spend a day on the slopes, and get back to the village easily with a massive network of lifts. And if Morzine’s slopes are not enough, you have easy access to other resorts in France and even Switzerland. If you are hoping to ski over your winter break, aim for some of Morzine’s more remote but beautiful slopes. It’s a popular spot, but thankfully there’s plenty of space in the slopes for everyone!
Season dates: mid-December to mid-April
Average 3-day pass price: $130
Park City, Utah
Last but certainly not least, Park City, Utah is one of the best destinations in the US for ski lovers. Park City is bordered by two massive ski resorts, Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort. Both have incredible skiing, so you can’t go wrong at either (Deer Valley is ski-only and a bit more luxurious but has more beginner terrain, while Park City has more varied terrain and is a bit cheaper). Plus, Park City is just 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport, making it super easy to get to, even if you’re coming from out of state.
Season dates: November 19, 2021 – mid-April, 2022
Average 3-day pass price: $260
Thanks to students Noelle Chow, Grace Ducker and Jack Burns for their research and writing.