As you’re flying down a ski slope, it’s hard to want to be anywhere else in the world. The meditative calm and quiet at the top of the mountain gives way to heart pumping adrenaline as you zoom over the snow and down the trails.
Action sports always provide a thrill. But when you’re able to travel to a new place to do them, it adds a special element. Bundle up by day and thaw off next to the fire by night. With incredible mountain vistas every step of the way, it’s a magical way to spend a vacation.
Mountain ranges throughout North America are home to some incredible ski resorts that double as great travel destinations. So next time you want to hit the slopes, toss Vault Cargo’s universal locking roof rack crossbars on your car, load up your skis and hit the road to one of these five regions.
In the heart of the Teton Range—and a popular part of Grand Teton National Park—lies Jackson Hole. This low-lying valley is surrounded by jagged peaks that tower over the region and provide some excellent skiing. Perfect for advanced athletes that ski often, it’s one of the toughest areas in the U.S. Chutes like Corbet’s Couloir are sure to terrify skiers, as they descend a 50-foot drop between walls of rock. Beyond the slopes, guests can enjoy cross-country skiing within the park or ride one of two gondolas. Local ranches and wildlife refuges also offer horse-drawn sleigh rides throughout the wintertime.
The East Coast isn’t the most typical skiing spot, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some special gems there. One such place is Killington, where snowbirds will find over 1,500 acres of skiable land. There are seven different mountains here, offering a perfect mixture of amateur, intermediate and advanced trails. Those that like to partake in snowboarding or free skiing will also enjoy the local terrain park. Visitors can also relax on the mountainside and draw the surroundings—a great way to remember the skiing experience.
As the largest mountain in North America, it’s no surprise that Whistler and the neighboring Blackcomb are major ski destinations. Both peaks offer over 5,000 feet of vertical rise and more than 200 trails, but that’s not all. The wintery weather is perfect for tobogganing and snowshoeing, but there are also plenty of icy terrain parks. Don’t forget to try out ski jumping, which visitors can experience at the nearby Olympic park.
Central and Southern California are great spots to visit, but there’s more to the state than beaches and sunsets. Lake Tahoe is a stunning vacation destination no matter the time of year, but it’s especially beautiful in winter. Plus, there are so many places to ski nearby. From the state line, visitors can bet at the casinos before heading up the mountain, where they’ll find stunning views of the lake while skiing. To the north, Squaw Valley remains one of California’s most sacred ski regions, serving as the site of the Olympics in the 1960s. Plus, Northstar in Truckee offers post-skiing smores by the fire and on-site ice skating.
Aspen, Vail and Telluride are some of Colorado’s most popular spots. After all, who doesn’t want to ski in the Rockies? But Crested Butte offers a special experience that isn’t likely to be found elsewhere. Travel here if you want to escape the regular winter crowds. There are also five lifts perfect for those just starting out; get the hang of things without competing with professionals. Those that are experienced can enjoy some tougher terrain—with gorgeous sweeping views.