Brilliant blue winter skies, the whoosh of fresh powder beneath your feet, the warm embrace of a cozy lodge after a day on the slopes – for some travelers, a ski trip is the highlight of the year.
And if you’re one of those people but you’re stuck for inspiration about where to head with your skis this winter, then U.S. News can probably help with its recently revealed ranking of best ski trips in the United States.
Taking into account accessibility, snowfall, accommodation, and geographical size, this ranking is decided with equal weight given to the views of the website’s editors and the votes of regular travelers.
Colorado is clearly still one of the most popular skiing states, with four destinations in the top seven, but there are some alternative options.
Here’s the list in full to help you prepare for an unforgettable ski season:
Big Sky, Montana
Home to a resort with almost 6,000 acres of skiable land and with an average 400 inches of powder snowfall each year, Big Sky in Montana is a place that seems to be made for winter sports.
The sheer variety of skiing on offer here means that it’s equally enjoyable for advanced skiers looking for a challenge as it is for total beginners looking to try the sport for the first time.
Big Sky Resort is also home to what it claims to be the most technologically advanced chairlift network in North America, leaving you to sit back and enjoy the views while exploring the slopes.
Located in the enchanting White River National Forest, Vail is a picture postcard mountain town.
The ski resort here is one of the largest in North America and is known for its back bowls, which are highly regarded by skiers across the nation.
In total, there are about 190 ski trails in Vail and a bustling and vibrant town that boasts some very pretty Bavarian-inspired architecture.
With around 90 percent of the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort classified as intermediate or expert level, this Wyoming ski destination is probably one for seasoned skiers.
That said, there are beginner slopes here as well as plenty of places to hire equipment if you are a newbie.
This entire area of Wyoming is a winter wonderland with other major attractions, such as the town of Jackson itself and Grand Teton National Park, both worth some time on your trip.
Park City, Utah
There are two major ski resorts in Park City: Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, which means there’s a wide variety of runs to suit all levels of ability.
Both resorts actually hosted many of the major skiing and snowboarding events when nearby Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002.
The area usually benefits from around 300 inches of annual snowfall, meaning the ski season is long and fruitful for most who make the trip.
According to the Telluride Tourist Board, this mountain village is surrounded by the highest concentration of 13,000-14,000ft peaks in North America, making it an ideal skiing location.
Telluride is packed with exclusive shopping outlets and first-rate dining establishments that make it the ideal spot for a longer winter break that isn’t all about winter sports.
Known simply as ‘Breck’ among locals and those who ski here often, this area has five peaks with groomers, parks, glades, and bowls to explore.
Away from downhill skiing and snowboarding, Breck is a great place to try other winter sports, such as Nordic Skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, and fat biking.
Situated in the foothills of the Elk Mountains, Aspen began as a mining town back in the late 1800s.
The beautiful slopes around this bustling town are legendary and home to the Aspen X Games.
It is known as being a particularly welcoming place for youngsters and beginner skiers, as well as hosting an impressive range of après ski venues.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com