7 ski resorts we can’t wait to visit again

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There are around 500 ski resorts in the U.S. and more than 5,000 around the world. While no day spent on the powder is a day wasted, some ski resorts fully captured our hearts and left us craving more turns. Here are seven of our favorite ski resorts that we can’t wait to return to again — and again.

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In This Post

Telluride

Sitting in the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado is the historic former mining town of Telluride. While this place was almost a ghost town in the 1950s and 1960s after mining operations shut down, the area found a new life as a ski town beginning in the 1970s. Ever since then, the town of Telluride and the newer addition of Mountain Village have only become a hotter ski and festival destination ever since.

What makes it special

Telluride sits in a box canyon in what feels like an otherwise untouched spot of rugged, breathtaking land. It’s not the easiest spot to get to as flying right into Telluride (TEX) is often pricey and can be extremely spotty with any wind or weather. The next closest airport is Montrose (MTJ), and that is still about a 90-minute drive, assuming decent driving conditions.

Related: Review of flying into Telluride with Denver Air Connection

View from the Telluride gondola (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
View from the Telluride gondola (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

You also won’t come across any chain hotels in or around Telluride. Instead, you’ll find charming spots such as tfhe five-bedroom charming Dunton Town House that I can’t recommend highly enough.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The payoff for the extra effort it takes to get to town is that Telluride rarely feels overrun. You’re almost sure to get a slice of this wintery heaven all to yourself.

Telluride (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Telluride (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Pro tip

The intermediate trail, See Forever, is not to be missed. It’s far from the most challenging run on the mountain, but the views are epic and you can still get a mix of turns in while you check out the scenery. While you’re up there, you might as well stop in for a ski-in and ski-out lunch and glass of wine at Alpino Vino, which is dubbed the highest elevation fine-dining location in North America.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

While lunch is a la carte and ski-in and out, dinner is by a pricier multicourse chef’s menu available by reservation only and accessible via ski coach. Here are most tips for a perfect ski day in Telluride.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Where to stay

Two blocks from the base of the Telluride gondola is the previously mentioned Dunton Town House. These five bedrooms in this townhouse are well-appointed and there’s an on-site concierge, an included breakfast spread each morning and a well-stocked fridge at your disposal. If you want to earn or use rewards nights in the Hotels.com program, Dunton is often available for booking via that method.

Alternatively, you could stay in the heart of town at the New Sheridan Hotel for a bit of history. Another option is to rent a condo, or even one of the dozens of Victorian-styled homes that dot the streets of Telluride, through a program such as Airbnb or Marriott Homes & Villas.

Keystone

Keystone, in Colorado’s famous Summit County, is home to several of the state’s top mountains. The roughly 100-mile drive from the Denver International Airport along I-70 can be a bit slow or challenging during winter weather, but it is the most common way to get to Keystone. Alternatively, the Vail-Eagle Airport (EGE) is about 40 miles in the opposite direction.

What makes it special

Keystone is a family-focused resort in that they make the little things easier with thoughtful touches, such as the red gear wagons to haul ski gear. However, while Keystone is beginner-friendly, there’s plenty for more advanced skiers, too. The mountain’s ski and ride school (complete with dog mascot) is one of the best in the country, and the mountain has a very welcoming attitude for all. In a normal year, the Kidtopia ice fort on the mountain is unique and fun (though word is that will be suspended for this season).

Open both during the day, and even in the evening for night skiing, an iconic run at Keystone has to be the 3.5-mile long and wide-open Schoolmarm run.

Keystone's Schoolmarm run (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Keystone’s Schoolmarm run (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Pro tip

There are tons of things to do when you go to Keystone other than just skiing, so make some other reservations in advance. While things may be different this season, normally, on-mountain snow tubing, a horse-drawn sleigh ride to dinner and a four-course fondue dinner only accessible via two gondola rides that will make you feel transported to the Alps, are all worthy additions to your ski time.

Keystone Kidtopia Ice Fort (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Keystone Kidtopia Ice Fort (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Where to stay

If you are looking to save money and use points, then definitely stay at the Hyatt Place Keystone. Ringing in at just 15,000 Hyatt points per night (or use a Category 1 – 4 award available with the World of Hyatt Credit Card), this hotel is in a convenient location at a great award price. Your kids even ski free at Keystone if you stay at the Hyatt Place.

Related: All about the Hyatt Place Keystone

Hyatt Place Keystone (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Hyatt Place Keystone (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Whistler-Blackcomb

Whistler and Blackcomb are technically two mountains, but since they are now connected with the Peak-to-Peak gondola, this iconic ski destination in British Columbia offers a staggering amount of terrain for any type of skier or rider. Whistler-Blackcomb is a part of the Epic Pass program, so even if you live and ski mostly in the U.S., you can use that pass to have a Whistler vacation, too. (Of course, Canada remains closed to U.S. visitors for now, so file this one away for when things change.)

What makes it special

First, there’s the fact that skiing in Canada can actually be cheaper than in the U.S. both due to the exchange rate and simply based on how skiing is priced a little more moderately north of the border. But beyond that, Whistler just gets a ton of really nice snow virtually every year. Some seasons bring 40 feet of snow to the region.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

In fact, there’s usually so much snow, that if you have a little one, the best way to get around the charming village at the base of the mountain is by pulled sled instead of a stroller.

Finally, the view from the Sea to Sky Highway that you will drive on to get from Vancouver to Whistler is worth the trip all by itself.

 

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Pro tip

If you’re an early riser, be sure to wake up early for fresh tracks. It costs an extra $25 or so per adult, but you can board the Whistler Village gondola between 7:15 and 8 a.m., eat breakfast at the Roundhouse Lodge and then be one of the very first to enjoy that day’s powder or groomers.

Where to stay

There are many solid lodging options using points all around the very walkable Whistler Village. Options include the Westin Whistler (Marriott Category 7 – 50,000 – 70,000 points), Delta Suites (Marriott Category 6 – 40,000 – 60,000 points), Hilton Whistler Resort (often around 80k Hilton points in season), or the fancy Fairmont Chateau Whistler, located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.

Westin Whistler (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Westin Whistler (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Beaver Creek

Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains just 30-minutes from the Vail-Eagle Airport (EGE), Beaver Creek is both easily accessible and offers world-class skiing — with a healthy side of luxury.

What makes it special

Beaver Creek makes it easy to just focus on the fun. The mountain has 150 trails and 23 lifts, but yet it doesn’t feel overwhelming. You can stay right on the mountain, next to the gondola and ski school and still be just steps away from the village, ice rink and restaurants.

View of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek from the mountain (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Expert tips

Beaver Creek isn’t just a mountain designed for kids by any stretch, but it sure does make teaching kids to ski as easy as it could be. In fact, the mountain actually guarantees that after three consecutive days of lessons your 5 and 6-year-olds will be able to ski or board the beginner Haymeadow Park area and those 7 – 14 years of age will be able to graduate to riding Red Buffalo Park. If that doesn’t happen, the fourth day of lessons is free.

And these areas are a lot of fun. In Red Buffalo Park you’ll find fun tree-runs in Jack Rabbit Alley or even covered-wagon ramps and real teepees you can ski through. What’s especially great about Haymeadow Park is there is a beginner-friendly gondola that can be less intimidating at first than navigating chair lifts.

Then, right at 3 p.m., know that the fresh complimentary cookies come out at the base of the mountain.

Related: Best age to start ski school 

Beaver Creek (Photo courtesy of Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort)

Where to stay

It doesn’t get any more convenient in Beaver Creek than staying at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. This true ski-in and ski-out hotel is all about location, location, location as you are just a literal snowball’s throw away from both the gondola and ski school. Right behind the hotel, you’ll find the Beaver Creek Village and ice rink.

While paid rates can creep up to that $1,000 nightly mark during peak season, you can lock in a stay for just 30,000 World of Hyatt points per night. If you’re running light on Hyatt points, they transfer 1:1 from Chase Ultimate Rewards and cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Deer Valley

Deer Valley, located about 36 miles outside of Salt Lake City, is different — in a good way. One of the very few ski-only resorts in the country, Deer Valley has a market it targets and it goes after it full-force. You come here to ski … and maybe be a tiny bit pampered along the way.

What makes it special

In addition to having a no snowboards allowed approach, Deer Valley does a few other things differently, too. Who knows if this year may be different, but normally there are curbside valets available to assist with guests’ ski gear, free parking-lot shuttles and also an on-location licensed child-care facility.

Deer Valley is a tasty dessert of high-end skiing, located on a world-class mountain, with high-quality children’s programs and genuinely friendly mountain hosts available to help with almost anything.

Get to the base of the Deer Valley ski resort in minutes.

Expert tips

Let Deer Valley help make your trip better at no extra cost by taking one of the four daily free complimentary mountain tours that depart from the top of Carpenter Express chairlift and are available to skiers of intermediate and expert abilities. Then when the day is done, take advantage of the free overnight ski valet.

Where to stay

If you have Marriott points, this is easy — stay at the ski-in St. Regis Deer Valley. It will cost you 70,000 – 100,000 Marriott points per night (often on the higher end of that scale during ski season), but you get Deer Valley luxury without paying Deer Valley cash price tags.

Related: Best Marriott cards for earning points

St. Regis Deer Valley (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
St. Regis Deer Valley (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Steamboat

Want to ski on Champagne Powder? (Yes, that’s a real thing.) If the answer is yes then book a flight to Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN), now also served seasonal by Southwest Airlines. Steamboat Springs is a real, traditional western ski town with amazing, fluffy powder to boot.

(Photo courtesy of darekm101/Getty Images)

What makes it special

Geography and science gifted Steamboat with powder that is dry and easy to ski, as opposed to being wet and heavy. This, combined with a lower than average elevation for a major Colorado ski resort, makes Steamboat a uniquely good choice for quality ski time with less risk of major altitude adjustment issues.

The town of Steamboat is also laid back and unpretentious. Folks come here to ski, ride and have a good time in a town with roots dating back to the 1800s.

Expert tips

If you want that powder all to yourself (or, OK, with fewer people around), then buy a First Tracks pass in advance online and load the gondola up at 7:45 a.m. before most of the days’ other skiers and enjoy that fresh mountain air with some freshly groomed trails.

Skiing Steamboat (Photo courtesy of Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Where to stay

At the base of the mountain in Steamboat sits an incredibly value-oriented points-friendly hotel. The Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas are a very reasonably priced Category 5 Marriott property that costs between 30,000 – 40,000 Marriott points per night. On standard and off-peak nights, you can even use an up to 35k Marriott certificate awarded annually with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card or Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

View from the Sheraton Steamboat bookable with Marriott points (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Stowe

This northern Vermont ski resort is about an hour from Burlington International Airport (BVT) or a three-hour drive from Boston and six hours from New York. It’s located in a part of Vermont filled with New England charm and is one of the most reliable spots for early-season snow on the East Coast, given its elevation and geography.

What makes it special

East Coast skiing often doesn’t compare to the Rockies, Sierras or Alps.

But Stowe isn’t your typical East Coast mountain. The bulk of 116 trails at the resort are on part of Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont. That helps give Stowe a 2,360-foot vertical drop. And with 314 inches of average annual snowfall, skiers can get some great powder without heading across the country.

Stowe has some great beginner and family runs. But what really makes the ski area stand out for some experts, is a group of trails known as the “Front Four,” These double-black diamond trails on the face of Mansfield – Goat, Liftline, National and Starr – are steep, have little grooming and plenty of rocks and trees to avoid. When covered in ice, with a strong wind coming up the slope, this runs can challenge even the most-expert skier. But on a powder day, there’s nothing quite like flying down these trails. Either way, once you’ve skied them, you can almost anything.

(Photo by Credit:
Christian Johnson / EyeEm/ Getty Images)

Expert tips

Most ski guides will tell you about the legendary Matterhorn Bar just past the mountain. It’s routinely ranked as one of the best Après Ski locations. What they don’t tell you is that local expert skiers often find their way through the backcountry. There’s an old, abandoned ski run, the Bruce Trail, that leads to the bar. Pop your skis, have a drink or two and figure out a way home.

Make sure to leave time – and room in your stomach – for some food-related stops right after exiting Interstate 89, on the road to Stowe. First, there is a tour of the original Ben & Jerry’s factory, built in 1985. Next, pick up some local cheese at the Cabot farmer’s store. Finally, stock up on some cider donuts at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill.

Where to stay

At the base of Stowe’s family-friendly Spruce Peak – and just a short gondola ride away from Mount Mansfield, is the posh Lodge at Spruce Peak. This ski in-ski out hotel offers accommodations to fit small or large groups. It’s also part of Destination Hotels, which was acquired by Hyatt. As a Category 8, it won’t be cheap. Standard rooms will set you back 40,000 points a night.

A short drive away from the mountain is the Topnotch Resort, a longtime favorite of visitors to Stowe.

For those in love with The Sound of Music, check out the Trapp Family Lodge. The European-themed resort bills itself as “A Little of Austria. . . a Lot of Vermont.” And yes you do get that Austrian-themed experience but know you are staying at a hotel founded by the family which inspired the musical and movie. It is still run today by some of the family members.

Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy

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