For many, the arrival of snow means it’s time to hit the slopes. And now that winter is undoubtedly underway, we’re rounding up the best places to celebrate the season.
To determine the ranking, Wanderbat used a rating system that compares resorts based on mountain size, terrain, snowfall, and the magazine awards each has won.
Colorado and Utah dominate the list with a combined 14 of the top 20 resorts, followed by three in California, one in Wyoming, and two in Montana.
Scroll through to find out what makes these mountain resorts some of the best winter destinations in the country.
20. Since opening in Utah in 1939, Alta Ski Resort has become a famed spot for high-altitude skiers (no snowboarders allowed). Located at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon just 25 miles from Salt Lake City, the resort combines traditional and modern amenities for the best in deep snow and terrain skiing.
19. Located about 30 miles away from Glacier National Park in Montana, Whitefish Mountain Resort boasts 105 trails and 3,000 acres of skiable terrain. An average annual snowfall of 300 inches means you’ll likely never be short on terrain to enjoy.
Source: Whitefish Mountain Resort
18. Along the east side of the Sierra Nevada, Mammoth Mountain offers up the best and biggest snow recreation area in California. The mountain itself boasts 28 lifts, 151 runs, and 3,500 skiable acres.
Source: Mammoth Mountain
17. As one of Aspen’s four mountains, Highlands is famous for its high percentage of double-black expert terrain, which includes the Highland Bowl. Highlands skiers can lodge in the nearby hotels, rentals, and resorts of Aspen and Snowmass villages.
Source: Aspen Snowmass
16. Colorado’s Winter Park Ski Resort is the closest major destination resort to Denver and has been operating for 75 years. Mary Jane Mountain, the resort’s iconic ride, offers some of the best tree-skiing in the country.
Source: Winter Park Resort
15. Located in scenic South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Ski Resort is the highest-altitude mountain resort in California (and parts of Nevada). With a summit elevation of 10,067 feet, Heavenly offers unrivaled views of the largest alpine lake in North America.
Source: Ski Heavenly
14. Squaw Valley was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and in 2012, it became the second-largest ski area in Lake Tahoe after merging with Alpine Meadows. Together, the resorts offer more than 6,000 acres of terrain, including 16 bowls and 270 trails.
Source: Squaw Alpine
13. In 2013, Big Sky Resort in Montana merged with its neighbor, Moonlight Basin, to form the largest ski resort in the US, with 5,750 skiable acres. The mountain has 300 named trails, a famous six-mile run, and a vertical drop of 4,350 feet.
Source: Big Sky Resort
12. Colorado’s Keystone Resort is made up of three mountains and two villages along the beautiful Rocky Mountains. The Outback, Keystone’s tallest mountain, peaks at 11,980 feet and is reserved for expert skiers, but anyone can participate in the epic all-day CAT skiing tours through the mountain’s untracked terrain.
Source: Keystone Resort
11. Utah’s Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is located just 27 miles from Salt Lake City and receives more than 500 inches of snow annually, making it one of the snowiest ski areas in the US. For the 2015-2016 season, Snowbird invested $35 million in improvements, including remodeling its lodge and upgrading the mountain’s ticketing system.
10. In northwest Colorado, skiers flock to Steamboat Ski Resort for its beautiful views of the Routt National Forest and its five multi-level terrain parks. Mavericks, the largest of the five, hosts one of the country’s premier Superpipes, with jumps ranging from 50 to 70 feet.
9. Owned and operated by Vail Resorts, Breckenridge is one of the most visited ski resorts in the country, drawing in more than 1.6 million annual visitors. And as the largest historical district in Colorado, Breck is legendary among snow sport enthusiasts.
8. Aspen Mountain — referred to by local riders as Ajax — is legendary for its steep, bumpy terrain with drops straight into the town of Aspen. At just 675 skiable acres, the mountain is relatively small, but its 4,406 foot vertical drop is no joke.
Source: Stay Aspen Snowmass
7. The largest of the four Aspen ski resorts, Snowmass offers 3,362 acres of skiable terrain with a vertical drop of 4,406 feet. It’s a family-friendly resort complete with three exceptionally designed terrain parks for all levels.
Source: Aspen Snowmass
6. Park City Mountain Resort became the largest ski area in the US after merging with Canyons in 2015. With more than 7,300 acres, 300 trails, 38 lifts, and seven terrain parks, it’s a mecca for both novice skiers and professionals. In 2002 the mountain hosted the snowboarding events for the Winter Olympics, and today it’s home to several training courses used by the US Ski Team. Park City is also host to the Sundance Film Festival every January.
Source: Park City Mountain
5. Colorado’s southern San Juan Mountains, home to Telluride Ski Resort, are one of the youngest mountain ranges in the country and offer unparalleled landscape views. While the mountain has runs of up to four miles long and a vertical drop of 4,425 feet, Telluride’s most remarkable asset may be Alpino Vino, which, at nearly 12,000 feet, is North America’s highest elevation restaurant.
Source: Telluride Ski Resort
4. Vail Resorts’ Beaver Creek comprises of three villages: the main Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead. In addition to its more than 1,800 acres of skiable terrain, Beaver Creek hosts the Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup, drawing huge crowds to its upscale village every December.
Source: Beaver Creek Mountain
3. Deer Valley Resort has maintained its commitment to first-class services, luxury accommodations, gourmet food, and ski-only mountains since its founding in 1981. The resort boasts one of the highest uphill capacities in the country and was the iconic site of three 2002 Winter Olympic Games events.
Source: Deer Valley
2. An average snowfall of 459 inches makes Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming one of the best ski destinations in the country. The resort’s two mountains, Apres Vous and Rendezvous, operate 14 lifts (including the 100-passenger aerial tram) to access 2,500 feet of skiable terrain, 50% of which is for expert-level skiers and snowboarders.
Source: Jackson Hole
1. Year after year, Vail is regarded as one of the best ski resorts in the Western Hemisphere. Vail Resorts’ eponymous mountain is the leader in winter resorts for its consistent snowfall and continued improvements. It’s comprised of 5,289 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain in three legendary areas: The Front-Side, Blue Sky Basin, and the Back Bowls.