Exploring North America’s Most Stunning Paddle Board Destinations
When temperatures fall and the snow starts piling up, getting out and enjoying the outdoors in winte ..Read more
When temperatures fall and the snow starts piling up, getting out and enjoying the outdoors in winter is important for physical and mental health. Skiing and snowboarding are fantastic activities that are growing in popularity, which means that ski resorts are hosting more visitors each year. With the influx of visitors comes crowded trails, long lift lines, and skyrocketing lift ticket prices. We’ve scoured the U.S. to find the best ski resorts to escape the crowds. These resorts may take a bit more effort to get to, but your reward will be wide open slopes and no lift lines – meaning you can get a lot more runs in.
Big Sky is one of the best resorts in North America to escape the crowds. With 5700 acres of terrain, there’s plenty of room to spread out at Big Sky. Its remote location in southwest Montana also makes it a bit more difficult to get to than the resorts located near a major airport.
Big Sky features beefy terrain for those looking for extreme skiing experiences. Combine that with crazy steeps, impressive backcountry access, and Montana powder that can reach up to 30 feet, you’ll soon understand why Big Sky is the ultimate ski destination for big mountain skiers looking for a little more solitude. On a clear day, Big Sky’s Lone Mountain peak treats skiers to stunning views of 10 Montana mountain ranges, as well as Idaho and Wyoming mountains including the Tetons.
Big Sky also features beginner terrain that makes it a great place for family skiing activities. Lone Wolf, Mr. K, and Cinnabar are wide green runs where you can hone your skiing skills before conquering the steeper trails.
Big Sky is located just 53 miles from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. With shuttle services and shuttle cars available at the airport, getting to Big Sky is easy.
For quality ski gear and equipment delivered right to your accommodation in Big Sky, book online with Black Tie Ski Delivery. Booking on TripOutside gets you an extra 10% off! Or choose the slopeside Christy Sports located in the Arrowhead mall with access to the Ramcharger ski lift.
Crested Butte lies just 12 miles from Aspen as the crow flies, with the remote Maroon Bells wilderness and some of Colorado’s highest peaks separating the two towns. In winter, Kebler Pass closes and the drive between the two can take almost 4 hours. Nicknamed Colorado’s last great ski town, Crested Butte’s remote location adds to its intrigue. There’s a number of things that will draw you to Crested Butte – the towering Mt. Crested Butte, the quaint Victorian town nestled in it’s shadow, and the breathtaking mountains that surround the valley. Add in the diverse and expansive terrain at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and you will agree that Crested Butte is the perfect destination for your next ski trip.
Crested Butte attracts advanced skiers willing to put their skiing skills to the test with it’s advanced inbounds terrain. Beginners will also enjoy skiing or snowboarding at Crested Butte – the front of the mountain are uncrowded trails that are perfect for beginner skiing. For intermediate and expert skiers, the resort features tons of more advanced terrain off the Paradise and East River Express Lifts, The North Face Lift, Gold Link Lift, and Teocali Bowl.
A trip to Crested Butte also won’t break the bank – lift tickets and accommodation are some of the most affordable in Colorado!
There are two regional airports you can fly to if you’re planning to visit Crested Butte. Gunnison Crested Butte Regional Airport is 30 minutes from Crested Butte and Montrose Regional Airport 90 minutes away.
Alternatively, you can fly to Denver International Airport, which may have more flight options. From there, you can rent a car for the 4 hour drive, or choose from several charter ground transportation services from Alpine Express.
TripOutside has vetted the best Crested Butte ski shops – whether you want to rent your gear in town, on the mountain, or have it delivered to your accommodation. Save up to 30% by booking your ski or snowboard gear online easily and securely.
Named for it’s copious amounts of sunshine, Sun Valley Resort is a fantastic ski destination that sees less crowds but offers the same incredible mountain resort experience. More popularly known as the “birthplace of destination skiing,” Sun Valley has diverse terrain spread across two different mountains. Bald Mountain is considered one of the best ski destinations in the world with it’s 13 lifts and 65 runs, while Dollar Mountain is a great place for beginners to learn.
Bald Mountain has a delightful base village perfect for apres ski, and the charming nearby town of Ketchum offers everything one could want from shopping to dining and nightlife.
You can easily reach Sun Valley by flying to Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey. From there, it is a 12 mile drive to Sun Valley. Rent a car for the short drive, or take a shuttle with Sun Valley Shuttle company. Ketchum is a compact, walkable town so a rental car is not always necessary.
For ski and snowboard gear in Sun Valley, you can’t go wrong with the 5-star rated Black Tie Ski Delivery. Booking on TripOutside gets you an extra 10% off with Black Tie Ski Delivery!
Whitefish Mountain Resort is a large ski resort in northern Montana, 35 miles west of Glacier National Park and 7 miles from the town of Whitefish. It is one of the most affordable large ski resorts in the West, with lift tickets under $100 per day. It’s 3,000 acres features 111 marked trails and lots of bowl and tree skiing. The resort is easy to access via Glacier Park International Airport just 18 miles away in Kalispell, which is served by major airlines like Delta, United, Frontier and more.
Whitefish boasts a vast 3,000 acres of terrain (one of the largest resorts in the U.S.!), 4 terrain parks, 12 chairlifts plus a conveyer carpet and 2 T-bars.
Fly into Glacier Park International Airport in the town of Kalispell, just 18 miles from Whitefish Mountain Resort. Direct flights land from Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Vegas, Atlanta and more. Or take the Amtrak into Whitefish for an incredibly scenic journey. The Empire Builder line train arrives daily from points east (Minneapolis, Chicago) and west (Seattle, Portland, Spokane). Both shuttle services and car rentals are available at the airport.
We highly recommend the 5-star rated Black Tie Ski Delivery, which offers ski rentals delivered directly to your Whitefish accommodation. Booking online through TripOutside saves you an extra 10%!
Thanks to its legendary terrain, Telluride is considered one of the best skiing destinations not only in the US, but also in the world. . Telluride is home to 2000 acres of terrain which is known for its steep, vertical drops. Almost 50% of Telluride’s trails are advanced/expert which means Telluride is a great destination if you’re looking for a challenge.
It also delivers wide open slopes and a low pressure atmosphere which welcomes beginner snowboarders and skiers. With over two miles of blue and green runs, Ute Park, Sunshine, Prospect Bowls are runs that newbie skiers will love.
Surrounded by the nearby San Juan Mountains, the resort showcases spectacular scenery. Because of it’s remote location in southwest Colorado, Telluride is known for its lack of lift lines. This makes it a fantastic Colorado skiing getaway where you can enjoy a variety of runs all to yourself.
Getting to Telluride
The closest airports to Telluride are regional airports, which means you may have to connect. Telluride Regional Airport is a short 15 minute drive, Montrose-Telluride International Airport is a 1.5 hour drive, and Durango-La Plata Regional Airport is 2.5 hours from Telluride village. Shuttle services from Telluride Express are available at all airports mentioned above, as are car rentals.
Looking for ski or snowboard gear for your Telluride ski trip? TripOutside has vetted the best Telluride ski rental shops (all 4-star rated and above!) whether you want in town, on mountain or delivery. Added bonus: booking ahead online saves you up to 30%! For ski rental delivery with Black Tie Ski Delivery, booking on TripOutside gets you an extra 10% off.
Looking for a less crowded ski getaway in the Pacific Northwest? Schweitzer Mountain Resort is northern Idaho’s best kept secret. The resort is located in the panhandle region east of Spokane, WA. It’s panoramic views extend across the town of Sandpoint, Lake Pend Oreille, and all the way to Canada. This tranquil ski resort is the largest in Idaho and Washington but offers quiet, uncrowded runs and lots of solitude. Don’t assume Schweitzer is an easy ski destination, though – its epic steeps will also challenge you!
For top notch lodging near the runs, check out Schweitzer Mountain Resort Lodging. Other nearby accommodation options abound in nearby Sandpoint.
Schweitzer Mountain is just a 2 hour drive from Spokane International Airport. Or take the Amtrak from Seattle or Portland right to Sandpoint!
Schweitzer Resort offers gear rental for all of your resort activities right on the mountain.
If deep powder runs all to yourself is what you live for, Wolf Creek Ski Area will be right up your alley. With an annual snowfall of 430 inches, Wolf Creek is known to have the most snow in Colorado. Known for its one of a kind hike-to-terrain features, it’s favored by adrenaline junkies. With runs that are equally divided for beginners and more experienced skiers, there’s something for every skier and rider here.
The place may be more laid back than its neighbors, but its wide open powder runs are just as exciting. If you can’t wait to start the skiing season, visit Wolf Creek. It opens as early as mid-October depending on the snowfall!
To get to Wolf Creek, your best bet is to fly to Durango Airport. You can rent a car at the airport for the 1 hour drive to Wolf Creek.
Wolf Creek Ski Area offers gear rental for all of your resort activities right on the mountain. Alternatively, pick up your gear in Pagosa Springs, CO on your way to the resort!
Brighton Ski Resort rose to fame as Utah’s first skiing hub. Over the years, it has become a favorite of adventurous locals who enjoy its natural freestyle hits, terrain parks, and deep layers of Utah dry snow. Thanks to its good value skiing and distinct family friendly atmosphere, Brighton has become a big hit with families, couples and singles alike.
Brighton boasts that all of it’s terrain can be reached by high speed quads, making it easily accessible for all. Furthermore, the inexpensive lift tickets and gear rental make it a budget-friendly destination.
Brighton’s base doesn’t have as many lodging and dining options as other bigger resorts, but there are several lodges to choose from. Molly Green’s low key atmosphere and scenic views from the unique A-frame structure make it a perfect spot to enjoy après ski after you’ve tackled Brighton’s fantastic terrain. Another option is to stay in Park City or Salt Lake City and make Brighton a day trip.
The closest airport to Brighton is Salt Lake City Airport, just 39 miles away. From there you can rent a car for the short drive, or take a shuttle. Many visitors are able to ski the same day they fly in!
Brighton offers gear rental for all your resort activities right on the mountain. Or save some money and rent in Salt Lake City on your way up to the resort!
Tucked on the quieter western side of the Tetons in Wyoming, Grand Targhee is a hidden gem in the shadow of its more famous neighbor. With it’s incredible annual snowfall of 500 inches, backcountry skiing and powder stashes that last all day, the resort caters to those longing for exhilarating, deep snow skiing. Grand Targhee may get fewer visitors than the more popular Jackson Hole, but that just makes its epic powder and grand scenery even more enjoyable. Skiing the Teton Vista Traverse, Lost Groomer, and Painted Pony gives visitors a grand, panoramic view of the Grand’s stunning landscapes.
Grand Targhee is also far easier on the budget with inexpensive lodging in the base village and lower lift ticket prices than Jackson Hole. The base village is small but still has several great options for apres ski and dining.
Affordable and family friendly, Grand Targhee should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.
To get to Grand Targhee, book a flight to Jackson Hole Airport and rent a car for the 1.5 hour drive across the pass.
Grand Targhee offers gear rental for all of your resort activities right on the mountain.
In summary, our underrated ski resort recommendations may be off the beaten path, but that just means you get to enjoy their scenic beauty, uncrowded trails and happy hour specials without the crowds! For the ultimate ski road trip, check out our list of 21 ski resorts that allow overnight RV camping!