Slope season is here: Vacasa’s best places to ski this winter

Updated November 2021

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As the snowy season quickly approaches, travelers are starting to plan their ski trips—and, in many cases, replan. According to our most recent survey, 61% of Americans who are planning a ski or snowboarding trip this winter are rebooking getaways they had to previously postpone due to COVID-19 and other factors.

The survey also discovered that more than half of respondents list affordability as a top priority when choosing their ski destination (the #1 answer), followed by convenience and access to slopes (48%) and a variety of slope terrains and/or levels of difficulty (44%). It all goes to show that there are many factors to consider when choosing the best ski destinations, and finding the right mountain may depend on your priorities.

We looked at the most popular places to ski this winter—based on Vacasa.com searches filtered for "ski-in/ski-out" over the past month—and divided the list into splurge and wallet-friendly categories. Because even though affordability was ranked as the most important factor, not every group is budget-conscious: a third of Gen Z and Millennials who are gearing up for a ski trip this winter say they’re going to bigger and better destinations than they’ve visited before.

So, from previous winter Olympic venues in British Columbia to more affordable and accessible slopes on the East Coast, these are the six top spots to hit the slopes this winter.

For travelers looking to splurge...

1. Whistler, British Columbia

Located on the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, just two hours north of Vancouver, this legendary destination is an international mountain sports mecca and a luxe mountain town. Two side-by-side mountains, connected by the world-record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, offers full access to Whistler Blackcomb’s renowned alpine terrain. Not to mention, the town hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics—so visitors can shred the same runs as the pros.

Featured Vacasa home: Montebello #33

2. Big Sky, Montana

Situated in the Rocky Mountains of southern Montana, Big Sky is known for its top-notch skiing and downhill mountain bike trails. The Biggest Skiing in America® means one lift ticket gives visitors access to Big Sky’s 5,800 acres of skiable terrain and 4,350 feet of vertical spanning four mountains.

Featured Vacasa home: Moose Meadows Lodge

3. Park City, Utah

Park City Mountain stakes its claim as the largest U.S. ski resort, with more than 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. The destination has hosted many major ski and snowboard events, including the 2002 Winter Olympics. Travelers can take their pick between Park City Mountain or Deer Valley Resort, which caters to a luxe, skier-only crowd. That’s right—no snowboarders allowed.

Featured Vacasa home: Ski Lift Trail

For a more budget-friendly ski getaway...

4. Breckenridge, Colorado

This small mountain town sits in the heart of the Rockies and currently boasts five peaks, 2,908 skiable acres, 187 trails, four terrain parks, and the tallest chairlift in North America. Recognized as one of the best ski resorts in Colorado, Breckenridge offers winters with great powder days, bluebird skies, and a quaint Main Street to cruise after a long day on the slopes—at a lower price point than its neighboring ski towns.

Featured Vacasa home: Paradise by the Peak

5. Sugar Mountain, North Carolina

Sugar Mountain is a go-to spot for great skiing at a more affordable price, offering the most skiable terrain and the largest vertical drop (at an impressive 1,200 feet) in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. Sugar Mountain Resort features 125 acres across 21 slopes, with eight lifts for rapid transport. Ski slopes typically open by Thanksgiving even if serious snowfall is delayed, thanks to an extensive snow-making system.

Featured Vacasa home: Slopesider 18B

6. Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Located in northwest Colorado, Steamboat Springs is home to 18 lifts and 169 trails across six mountain peaks. It’s home to the Howelsen Hill ski area and the Steamboat ski resort, featuring six peaks, including Mount Werner. The destination prides itself on being one of the more affordable yet premier destinations in the country, and recently announced a $135 million plan to enhance the Steamboat experience on and around the mountains.

Featured Vacasa home: Parkview Cottage

And for those looking to shred in the upper right corner of the U.S., check out our ski-accessible vacation rentals from the Adirondack Mountains to the base of Killington, aka "the beast of the east.”

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