East vs West: Where to Ski in the US

Whether you want a day trip, weekend getaway, or an extended adventure, there are plenty of options for skiing in the US. You’ll find ski resorts offering runs that are miles-long, great taverns at the bottom of the mountain, and other amenities nearby. I’ve spent years skiing both New England and Colorado, and I can say that the East and the West offer wildly different experiences, but each is great in its own right.

East Coast

The best part about Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont, is the variety of terrain it offers, especially compared to other resorts in the area. While the price tag is pretty high, you get what you pay for.  If you can swing it, plan your trip during the week so you can miss the crowds. Every time I ski in New England, I forget how bad the lift lines can be.

Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

For the skier with a will of steel, head to Mad River Glen, also located in Vermont. Snowboarders aren’t allowed there, but if you’re traveling without them or don’t mind splitting up for a day, MRG is the way to go. Beware: grooming and artificial snow-making aren’t the norm at this mountain. Yet, if you hit it on a powder day or shortly thereafter, the trees and bumps are the best around.

Mad River Glen, Vermont

Mad River Glen, Vermont

For a treat after you finish up your day of skiing, take a seat at the Prohibition Pig. With a selection of fried foods to please everyone (veggies included), the appetizers here are great for sharing, and there’s no better bar for a refreshing beer. Plus, there’s a great craft beer store nearby, so you can stock up on some New England classics like Heady Topper, if it’s available.

West Coast

For something a little more accessible and family friendly, head to Vail, Colorado. It’s kid-friendly and family-oriented, with enough of an edge to keep experts entertained. I’ve written posts about  resorts that fly under the radar, but Vail will always be my favorite, partially because it’s where I learned to ski. Moreover, it’s a great resort with something for everyone.


Vail, Colorado

To be a little more off the beaten path, hit the slopes on Copper Mountain. It’s still accessible for kids and families, but with more advanced terrain for the experts. It also has fewer crowds than the Vail Resorts conglomerate. However, that means your ski pass doesn’t get you onto as many mountains, so keep that in mind when you’re planning.

Copper Mountain, Colorado

Copper Mountain, Colorado

To soothe your aching legs and voracious appetite, the Vail Village has endless options for après-ski. For the fanciest, most delicious dinner you’ll ever have, stop by Kelly Liken in Vail Village. The pre-fixed menu is extravagant and unbelievably tasty. If you’re looking for something more casual, Garfinkel’s and Bart & Yeti’s are close to the slopes and offer plenty of options to refuel with food and beer, plus some of the best cheese fries you’ll ever have.

Whatever you’re looking for in a resort, you’ll find it at one of these locations. A ski vacation combines the best of both worlds: resorts with luxury amenities, and plenty of outdoors adventure. Don’t forget to snap a few pictures of the beautiful views while you’re there!

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