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36 Hours in Your Favorite North American Ski Towns

With collective mega-passes, more direct flights, and super-dialed snow forecasts, it’s never been a better time to plan a destination ski trip. Our up-to-date guide has you covered for packing the most into a weekend getaway.

Snagging 36 hours at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows this ski season? We've got you covered. (Photo: Courtesy Emily Tidwell/Squaw Valley)
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Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming

skiing
Caldera House, Jackson Hole (Photo: Courtesy Caldera House)

Friday 

4 p.m. For lodging in Teton Village at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, you can go bro style (get a bunk at the Hostel, from $32), eco-friendly (see rooms at Hotel Terra, from $249), or super luxe (reserve a two-bedroom suite at the year-old Caldera House, from $2,000). 

Saturday

8:45 a.m. Skip the tram for the Sweetwater Gondola for more access to beginner and intermediate runs. If the kids are going to Mountain Sports School, take a break at the newly built Solitude Station.

10:45 a.m. Make your way to Thunder chair to ski down groomers between rocky outcroppings in Laramie Bowl, then migrate to Sublette chair to sneak through the trees of Pepi’s Run. 

12:30 p.m. Southcable Café, next to the tram terminal, has pizza by the slice and sandwiches. 

1:45 p.m. From the top of the tram, Rendezvous Bowl to the Hobacks delivers more than 4,000 vertical feet of some of the most sustained in-bounds skiing in the lower 48. 

5 p.m. Slide into the new RPK 3, the watering hole next to the back dock of the tram. Afterward, hit up Teton Thai down the street for spicy curry.

Sunday

8:30 a.m. Hire the resort’s backcountry guides to take you to powder-filled out-of-bounds zones like Rock Springs or Four Pines.


Mont Tremblant Resort, Quebec

skiing
Mont Tremblant pedestrian-only village (Photo: pgiam/Getty Images)

Friday 

5 p.m. Stay at the contemporary 93-room Ax Hotel Mont-Tremblant (from $169), ten minutes from the hill, and take a soak in a hot bath alongside Diable River at the nearby Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant.

Saturday

9 a.m. Tremblant has separate and distinct versants, or sides. Versant Soleil gets sun first, so hit that in the morning for softened groomers on Toboggan.

11:45 a.m. Head to lunch early to beat the crowds. Le Refuge du Trappeur, on the Soleil side, is a midmountain cabin serving sandwiches and views of the Laurentians.

2 p.m. The north side, Versant Nord, preserves soft snow after a storm. Look for powder between the trees on Banzai or Tunnel. 

4:15 p.m. Microbrasserie La Diable is the spot for après brews. 

7 p.m. Have dinner at Choux Gras, an upscale brasserie in the town’s pedestrian-only village.

3 a.m. The party in the village goes until the wee hours at the DJ-fueled Café d’Époque or Le P’tit Caribou

Sunday

11 a.m. Take the short hike to the ridge between the Sud and Soleil sides to slide into the birch forest of Les Bouleaux.


Copper Mountain, Colorado

copper mountain
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Friday 

5 p.m. Check into your condo at Copper’s slopeside 86-unit Tucker Mountain Lodge (from $139). It’s a short stroll to Storm King Lounge in the village for ramen and sushi.

Saturday

8:15 a.m. Boot up, then grab coffee, a breakfast sandwich, and a pair of goggles at the main village’s Camp Hale ski shop. 

10:15 a.m. Beeline it to the new Three Bears triple chair on Tucker Mountain, which opens this season and will whisk you to 12,421 feet for steep, above-tree-line bowls previously only accessible via snowcat. 

12 p.m. Down a hearty waffle or bowl of soup at Flyer’s Grill, a ski-up cabin near the top of American Flyer’s new six-person bubble chair.

2 p.m. Copper is known for its terrain parks. The new Danny Davis–designed Woodward Peace Park opens to the public this winter with flow trails and jumps for all skill levels.

6 p.m. Follow the locals to High Rockies Whiskey and Wine Bar for live music and prosecco on tap.

Sunday 

9 a.m. Do a vinyasa class at Peak Yoga in the town of Dillon, on the way to the airport. 


Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, California

skiing
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (Photo: Courtesy Ben Arnst/Squaw Valley)

Friday 

6 p.m. Resort at Squaw Creek (from $249) has three heated pools, 405 rooms and suites, and its own ski-in, ski-out chairlift.

Saturday

9 a.m. After an Americano and avocado toast at Coffeebar in the village, pile into the lift line at KT-22 and veer toward the narrow steeps of Moseley’s.

11 a.m. Make your way into the Slot or adjacent Cornice Bowl, both with steep drops and scenic vistas that can be accessed via the Headwall chair. Migrate toward the Granite Chief chair for steep shots and fewer people.

2:30 p.m. It’s back to the village, via the twisting, groomed Mountain Run, for enchiladas and margaritas at the new Tremigo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar

4 p.m. Grab a drink at the Tram Car Bar, a restored seventies-era tram cabin, which opens in December and will be stationed on the Olympic House deck all winter.

6:45 p.m. Snowshoe up a mellow graded trail to reach the midmountain Chalet at Alpine Meadows for a candlelit dinner of raclette. Order the apple strudel for dessert. 

Sunday

10 a.m. Take the free shuttle over to Alpine Meadows to ride the new Treeline Cirque chairlift to the top of Sherwood Cliffs. Lap that or head to the sunny back side of the mountain to ski South Face down to Sherwood Express. 


Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

skiing
(Photo: Courtesy Aspen Snowmass)

Friday 

5 p.m. Check into the swanky 88-room W Aspen (from $379), which opened in August at the base of Aspen Mountain, before grabbing drinks at the rooftop bar. 

Saturday

8 a.m. Aspen and Snowmass have a free first-tracks program that lets you on their gondolas an hour before the public—reserve ahead of time by calling the resort.

12 p.m. After hunting powder in Hanging Valley Glades, head to Sam’s, a new Italian eatery atop Sam’s Knob. (It has loaner slippers if you want to take off your ski boots during lunch.)

5 p.m. MixSix and Moxi Bar is a solid vegetarian res­taurant that opens in early December at Snowmass Village’s new community hub the Col­lective. Afterward, stop by the center’s vintage-game arcade.

Sunday

10 a.m. Hop on the free town bus to Aspen Highlands and gear up for the 45-minute trek to Highland Bowl. Ride the free snowcat for a bump and be ready for a rigorous boot-pack along the ridge. 


Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

skiing
Celebrating at the Sugar Slalom alpine race, Stowe (Photo: Courtesy Stowe Mountain Resort)

Friday 

5 p.m. Check in at the 312-room Lodge at Spruce Peak (from $198), steps from the Over Easy Gondola. Or stay in the quaint town of Stowe, where Town and Country has 53 remodeled rooms (from $90) and a pizza joint with a bar built into an Airstream trailer. 

Saturday

7:30 a.m. On weekends and holidays, score first tracks on the Forerunner quad—the steep corduroy of Liftline is an invigorating start to the day. 

11 a.m. Ride the Mansfield Gondola while enjoying views of 4,395-foot Mount Mansfield before dropping into narrowly cut Cliff Trail to Nosedive. 

1 p.m. At the Cliff House restaurant atop the gondola, you can dine on a farm-to-table meal in your ski boots. 

2 p.m. Head to the south-facing slopes of Spruce Peak to check out Stowe’s signature trail, Main Street, which is the site of the Eastern Cup championships.

7 p.m. Ice-skate under the lights at the Spruce Peak Village Center rink. The nearby WhistlePig Pavilion has cocktails and shareable plates.

Sunday 

10 a.m. Load up on sweet or savory crepes at the Skinny Pancake, also in Spruce Peak.


Deer Valley Resort, Utah 

skiing
Bald Mountain, Deer Valley (Photo: Courtesy Deer Valley Resort)

Friday 

5 p.m. It’s not cheap (nothing here is) but the 154 rooms and 66 suites and residences at the Montage Deer Valley (from $1,115) are top-notch and ski-in, ski-out. Plus, its ski-concierge team will wax your planks and dry your boots overnight. 

Saturday

9:30 a.m. From the top of Bald Mountain, carve turns down the advanced Tycoon or Wizard runs on your all-mountain skis.

9:45 a.m. If it snowed recently, forget the groomers. Bring powder skis instead and book it to Mayflower Bowl for wide-open, untracked turns. 

3:30 p.m. You’ll find charcuterie and champagne inside a well-appointed yurt at the Après Lounge, behind the Montage in Empire Village. 

6 p.m. Yes, you’re in landlocked Utah, and yes, you should spring for the $80 Seafood Buffet in the Snow Park Lodge—the poke bar and raw oysters are surprisingly fresh.

Sunday

10 a.m. Stick to the Empire and Lady Morgan lifts, where you can swish through evergreens and aspens on runs like Centennial.


Steamboat Resort, Colorado

skiing
trawberry Park hot springs, Steamboat Springs (Photo: Dan Leeth)

Friday 

5 p.m. You can’t get closer to the lifts than the 382-room Steamboat Grand (from $97), which now offers a ski bellman who will deliver your gear to Gondola Square. 

Saturday

8:30 a.m. Fill up with pancakes at the hotel’s restaurant, the Cabin, before loading into the new gondola, which is significantly faster than the old one.

10 a.m. If you like tree skiing, the aspen groves in Shadows and Closets often hold dry, light snow.

1 p.m. Follow @tacobeastsbt on Twitter to locate the trail tacos slung from a converted snowcat. 

2 p.m. You can still likely find powder lingering after a storm in the O’Clock Trees, a gladed zone off the Sunshine Express chair.

4:30 p.m. Soak your tired legs at Strawberry Park hot springs. The access road is rugged, so book the shuttle from your hotel.

9 p.m. The late happy hour at downtown’s Table 79 serves tasty, half-price burgers.

Sunday 

8 a.m. Tuck into eggs Benedict at Creekside Café along Soda Creek.


Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado

skiing
Peak 6, Breckenridge (Photo: Courtesy Breckenridge Ski Resort)

Friday 

4 p.m. Gravity Haus (from $255) debuted 60 rooms in December at the base of Peak 9. The hotel offers bunk rooms for families and a Japanese-style onsen, or hot springs.

Saturday

9 a.m. New this winter, book a Breck Guide through the resort to show you the mountain’s best high-alpine zones. You’ll get early ups on select lifts and behind-the-scenes access to ski patrol’s morning meeting. 

10:45 a.m. You could spend all day exploring the 543 rolling acres of Peak 6, the resort’s most recent expansion. Hike out to far-reaching Serenity Bowl or Six Senses, or hit lower-elevation glades like Delirium and Wonderland.

1 p.m. Refuel with bison bean chili at Pioneer Crossing, midmountain on Peak 7. 

2 p.m. Make your way to 12,840 feet atop Imperial Express, North America’s highest-elevation chairlift. From there, hike to the vertical drop off Lake Chutes or traverse into the expansive bowl of Whale’s Tail.

6 p.m. End your day with microbrews and giant pretzels on the deck of the TBar, at the base of Peak 8. 

Sunday

10 a.m. Head to Peak 8’s base, which recently unveiled a major revamp, including a new coffee shop.


Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

skiing
The Bavarian at Taos (Photo: Courtesy HagePhoto/Taos Ski Valley)

Friday 

5 p.m. The Blake Hotel (from $259) at Taos Ski Valley has 80 artfully designed, geothermally heated rooms at the base of Lift 1. Stay put for wood-fired pizza at the hotel’s restaurant. 

Saturday

8 a.m. Hop onto Taos Ski Valley’s new “gondolita” for a short and fun ride to the Rio Hondo Learning Center, where children can spend the day on pint-size chairlifts and beginner terrain. 

9:30 a.m. For a leg-pumping bump run with an audience, Al’s Run under Lift 1 is a solid warm-up. 

11 a.m. Hit the boot-pack: from the top of Lift 2, head to West Basin Ridge for long, elevator-like shafts or to Highline for punchy shots through trees. 

1 p.m. The quaint, midmountain Whistlestop Café serves hot soup in doughy bread bowls. 

5 p.m. End your day with steins of beer and house-made spaetzle at the recently renovated Bavarian at the base of Lift 4. 

Sunday

10 a.m. You don’t have to hike up Kachina Peak anymore—a lift delivers you to 12,481 feet in five minutes. 


Sugarloaf, Maine

skiing
Skiing the back side of Snowfields at Sugarloaf (Photo: Courtesy Sarah Sindo/Sugarloaf Mountain)

Friday 

5:30 p.m. Retreat to the 119-room Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel (from $109), just 100 yards from the SuperQuad, for a swimming-pool-size outdoor hot tub.

Saturday

8:30 a.m. The Loaf has 1,240 skiable acres, the most of any ski resort in the East. Start on the Sugarloaf SuperQuad and rip high-speed laps anywhere under the chair.

9:45 a.m. Brackett Basin feels like the backcountry, with rugged tree stands and small cliff bands, but it’s patrolled. Still, don’t head into this zone alone or without a plan—pop into the ski-patrol cabin at Spillway Crosscut for beta before you go. 

12:20 p.m. Refuel with a burger at the newly renovated Widowmaker at Sugarloaf’s base lodge.

2 p.m. The Snowfields atop the resort’s 4,237-foot summit offers the only above-tree-line lift-accessed terrain in the northeast. After a storm, Powder Keg lives up to its name.

4 p.m. Ski up to the Shipyard Brew Haus for a cold Maine beer. 

Sunday

8 a.m. Depending on conditions, Sugarloaf now runs New England’s only cat-skiing operation in the more than 100 acres of freshly gladed terrain on Burnt Mountain, which was previously only accessible via a short hike. Reserve a time slot for two runs.


Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia

sun peaks
(Photo: Green slash/Wikimedia Commons)

Friday 

5 p.m. The Burfield (from $79), a hotel directly across from the Burfield chairlift, has 22 private rooms, shared hostel pods, and a storage room for gear.

Saturday 

7:45 a.m. Book the first-tracks program to load the Sunburst Express and Crystal chairlift an hour before everyone else. Head for the wide-open swaths on Headwalls or untouched pow in Crystal Bowl.

1 p.m. Meet Olympian and giant slalom champion Nancy Greene at the top of Sunburst chair for a free tour. She knows the nooks and crannies on this mountain like nobody else. 

3 p.m. Order nachos and a Canadian-brewed Sleeman Honey Brown Lager at Bottoms Bar and Grill, the après spot of choice.

4:45 p.m. After the lifts close for the day, load into the Sunburst Express again for a ride to the midmountain Sunburst bar and eatery, where a three-course fondue dinner and music await. Bring a headlamp so afterward you can ski down the gentle slopes of 5 Mile Trail in the dark. 

Sunday

9 a.m. Take the ten-minute boot-pack to Gil’s, a formerly out-of-bounds area that is now controlled in-bounds terrain with short, off-piste shots and minimal traffic.


Big Sky Resort, Montana

skiing
Lone Peak Tram, Big Sky (Photo: Colton Stiffler)

Friday 

4 p.m. The 205 rooms at the Huntley Lodge (from $99) come with hot tubs, easy chairlift access, and a massive breakfast buffet. 

Saturday

10:30 a.m. Make friends on the new eight-person Ramcharger lift. Hit Ramcharger Lift Line run for protected glades. 

1:15 p.m. It’s back to the base area for lunch at Vista Hall, a food court that opened in November with a taqueria, a sushi and ramen station, and a stone-fired pizza bar.

2 p.m. From the top of the Headwaters double lift, follow the boot-pack up the ridge. Drop into the extra-steep chute of your choice and enjoy the smooth apron of Stillwater Bowl at the bottom. 

4:15 p.m. Westward Social, a barbecue spot that opens this winter in Mountain Village, feature views of Lone Peak. 

6 p.m. Get a pint of craft IPA at Beehive Basin Brewery in town, 13 miles from the resort. 

Sunday

9 a.m. If you want to ski Big Sky’s signature line, the Big Couloir—a 50-degree, 1,400-­vertical-foot chute—hustle to the ski-patrol shack atop the Lone Peak Tram to check in and reserve a time slot. You’ll need a beacon, shovel, probe, and partner. 


Alta Ski Area, Utah

skiing
Hitting the High Sunspot run at Alta (Photo: Rocko Menzyk)

Friday 

4 p.m. Since opening last January, the 58-room Snowpine Lodge (from $349) has brought a new level of luxury to the traditionally funky ski area of Alta. 

Saturday

9:30 a.m. When ski patrol drops the rope on the High Traverse, off the Collins lift, be ready to charge. The locals don’t stand for lollygagging on the single-file traverse. The vertical pitch of Alf’s High Rustler drops you directly back to the Wildcat base area for the next lap. 

1:15 p.m. Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge, at the base of the Collins lift, has an espresso bar with comfy couches, plus pizza and beer in the saloon.

2:30 p.m. Tree skiing off the low-key Supreme chair never feels frenzied. After the short hike to Catherine’s Area, take your time skiing Sunset to Last Chance. 

5:30 p.m. Pop into the Sitzmark Club at Alta Lodge for an après hot toddy and snacks by the fireplace. 

Sunday

8:45 a.m. Ski up to Alta Java, at the ­Albion base area, for a Susie’s Special—an espresso-boosted chai latte—and a strawberry waffle.


Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California

skiing
Mammoth Mountain (Photo: John Duarte Media/Cavan)

Friday 

4 p.m. The A-frame, 215-room Mammoth Mountain Inn (from $135), near the main lodge, has the only hotel rooms that are walking distance to the Panorama Gondola.

Saturday

9:40 a.m. From the top of the Panorama you can see the entire region, including Mount Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park. Enjoy the view as you cruise down Dave’s Run.

11 a.m. From the high-flying Chair 23, look for a figurine of the Incredible Hulk bolted to the rocks below. Then carve up the sheer, wind-buffed bowl nearby. 

1 p.m. The Yodler, across the parking lot from the main lodge, has salted pretzels the size of pizzas.

3 p.m. If it’s a storm day and the upper mountain gets shut down, wind-protected Chair 22 is a storm skier’s dream. 

9 p.m. The Public House Taproom opened in town last year to showcase local beers. Sidle up to the bar to sample four nitro taps and chow down on a meat pie.

Sunday 

8 a.m. Stellar Brew, off Main Street, has acai bowls and breakfast burritos to go. 

From Outside Magazine, December 2019
Filed To: Air TravelSkiingSnow SportsAspenAltaColoradoTaosCaliforniaUtah
Lead Photo: Courtesy Emily Tidwell/Squaw Valley
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