By Alison Fox
November 03, 2019
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When it comes to choosing the best ski resort in the U.S. for an unforgettable winter vacation, there are plenty of choices.

The best resorts have more than just difficult runs and thousands of acres of mountain to explore — they also offer a variety of terrain to fit every ski and snowboard skill level, as well as a robust après-ski culture and plenty to do off the mountain.

From a 6-mile-run at the Big Sky Resort in Montana that challenges even expert skiers or snowboarders, to the varied terrain at Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado that is perfect for those just learning, there is an American ski resort for everyone.

These are the 10 best ski resorts in the U.S. for your next winter vacation. 

Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

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This celebrity-favorite ski resort has something for everyone, from expert skiers to complete beginners. The resort’s four mountains offer everything — from easy bunny slopes to runs that will really test your endurance and skills. Later, rest your legs and have a drink at a high-end après ski bar or head to Ullr Nights, a festive event where you’ll find the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster. End the night with s'mores and hot chocolate by a bonfire.

Total trails: 362

Total skiable acres: 5,527

Longest run: 5.3 miles

Find it: Aspen Snowmass

Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

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Whether you're gliding down black diamond runs or down Main Street, you're sure to have a great winter vacation in Park City. Take a skiing tour of the city's old, abandoned mining buildings to learn about its history. Later in the evening, pick from several après-ski options while still in your ski and snowboard gear, or close out the night with a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride.

Total trails: More than 330

Total skiable acres: More than 7,300

Longest run: 3.5 miles

Find it: Park City Mountain Resort

Vail, Colorado

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This Colorado resort has varied terrain, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. 18 percent of trails are for beginners, 29 percent are for intermediates, and 53 percent are for the advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders. Take a break from the slopes and walk the heated cobblestone streets of the village below where you’ll feel transported to the European alps, or get your heart pumping with a ride on the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster, where you’ll zoom 3,400 feet down the mountain.

Total trails: 195

Total skiable acres: 5,317

Longest run: 4 miles

Find it: Vail

Breckenridge, Colorado

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This Colorado resort is made up of five different peaks, ranging in difficulty from rolling hills to steep runs that aren’t for the faint of heart. A good portion of its trails are even above the treeline. For an adventurous day out, go on a tour with a Breck Guide to explore a behind-the-scenes tour of the five mountains and learn basic backcountry skills. For a slightly tamer experience, you can go on a free naturalist tour on skis where a ranger will guide you through the forest.

Total trails: 187

Total skiable acres: 2,908

Longest run: 3.5 miles

Find it: Breckenridge

Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado

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This is one of the best ski resorts in the U.S. if you’re learning to ski or snowboard — nearly 60 percent of its runs are dedicated to beginners and intermediates. And yet the mountain still offers extremely difficult terrain for the advanced among your group. The real thrill seekers can try out heli-skiing, where they’ll be dropped from a helicopter to explore more than 200 square miles of high alpine basins, cirques, and summits. You don’t need skis or a snowboard to continue to get your adrenaline fix: try out a guided ice climbing tour or a snowmobile tour for some extra thrills.

Total trails: 148

Total skiable acres: More than 2,000

Longest run: 4.6 miles

Find it: Telluride Ski Resort

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming

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With more than 100 trails, there’s a ski run for everyone to discover at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. For a treat with a view, take the Aerial Tram up and stop for a waffle break at 10,450 feet — they even offer yummy waffle toppings like brown sugar butter and Nutella. Later, take in the area’s wildlife with a horse-drawn sleigh ride to the National Elk Refuge, or work off that sugar from earlier with a winter fat bike tour.

Total trails: 133

Total skiable acres: 2,500

Longest run: 1.4 miles

Find it: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Big Sky Resort, Montana

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This resort gets an average of 400 inches of snow each year, and it offers breathtaking views of three states and two national parks from the top of its Lone Peak Tram. When you’re done traversing the more than 5,800 acres of skiable terrain — or as much of it as you can handle — take a ride on the 1,500-foot adventure zip line, sitting 150 feet above the forest. For a slightly calmer excursion, explore the mountain with a scenic snowshoe tour or see nearby Yellowstone Park from the comfort of a snowcoach.

Total trails: 300

Total skiable acres: 5,850

Longest run: 6 miles

Find it: Big Sky Resort

Whiteface Mountain, New York

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This Lake Placid resort may have a fraction of the acres some of the bigger resorts on this list, but the diverse runs are perfect for all skill levels, with 20 percent of trails suitable for beginners, 42 percent for intermediate skiers, and 38 percent for experts. Off the slopes, the mountain is celebrating 40 years since the 1980 Winter Olympics and the "Miracle on Ice” with a whole slate of activities, including free skating with Olympians. And if you want to get into the Olympic spirit, you can always try your hand at riding in a real Olympic bobsled, hurtling down the winding track.

Total trails: 87

Total skiable acres: 288

Longest run: 2.1 miles

Find it: Whiteface Mountain

Stowe, Vermont

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This Vermont resort offers trails to satisfy just about any skiers or snowboarders, as well as extensive backcountry opportunities with 18 miles of ungroomed terrain. If you’re looking for a slightly calmer way to experience the mountain, take a scenic gondola ride to the top of Mt. Mansfield, the state’s highest mountain. And after a long day on the slopes, head to nearby Burlington — about 40 minutes away — for the quirky restaurant scene and some of the best craft beer in the state.

Total trails: 116

Total skiable acres: 485

Longest run: 3.5 miles

Find it: Stowe

Sun Valley Resort, Idaho

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This ski resort is made up of two different mountains and boasts sunshine on 120 days out of the 150-day ski season. Take a Mountain Masters lesson to really take on the most difficult terrain the resort has to offer. And those looking for an extra challenge can sign up for helicopter skiing, where you’ll explore some of the deepest powder you’ve ever skied. Later, relax with a romantic evening horse-drawn sleigh ride to a cabin for dinner — we can’t think of anything more picturesque.

Total trails: 121

Total skiable acres: 2,154

Longest run: 3 miles

Find it: Sun Valley Resort

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