Although winter hasn’t officially begun yet, chilly weather has already settled on many areas in the U.S. Of course, with low temperatures comes snow. For some, this marks the start of a long, cold season. For others, the first signs of white are cause for celebration.
If they haven’t hit the slopes already, skiers and snowboarders have already begun scoping out this season’s destinations. If you plan on undertaking a full-blown mountain vacation, or just want a good weekend getaway for the family, consider these reputable winter destinations.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is one of the most popular spots for winter fun in the U.S., which is saying something, given its competition from places like Utah, Colorado and New England. However, fans of this Wyoming town love the seemingly perpetually powdered slopes. Low temperatures may keep away casual skiers and snowboarders, but for those who can take the chill, Jackson Hole offers unparalleled downhill adventures.
Lake Tahoe, California
California’s Sierra Nevada region is gorgeous in any season. Summer offers clear views of mountains, meadows and crystal-blue lakes, but for those who prefer powder, winter is the best time to explore this area. Heavenly, Squaw Valley, and the lesser-known but still promising Kirkwood all offer first-rate skiing and snowboarding options.
Fernie, British Colombia
The only international destination to make the list, Fernie isn’t too far for U.S. travelers. However, despite being tucked away in British Colombia’s southeast corner, it still presents common challenges for anyone traveling to a different country. But as long as you remember to exchange your money and pack a surge protector 200v, you’ll have just about everything you need to stay in this quirky Canadian town. Skiers and snowboarders will delight in Fernie’s adventurous slopes, razor ridges and uncrowded bowls.
With four major winter-sport areas, Aspen caters to all skill levels. Whether you visit Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands, you’re sure to find the right setting for you. Meanwhile, the more ambitious cross-country skiers among us will enjoy the multitude of trails provided by the backcountry of the White River National Forest. Off the slopes, you’ll find an idyllic mountain town. Ranging from high-end shops to local art galleries, Aspen features a gorgeous winter setting against a Rocky Mountain backdrop.
Girdwood isn’t for the casual skier. Located 40 miles south of Anchorage, this rugged mountain town maintains its original frontier spirit. However, it does represent the largest ski area in all of Alaska, offering a plethora of trails for bold skiers and snowboarders alike. In addition to its sanctioned runs, upper parts of the area provide wide-open terrain for those who prefer to carve their own path. Despite being popular, it remains relatively empty year-round, and provides a fantastic opportunity for adventurous outdoors enthusiasts.