There is very little that beats the wintery magic of skiing or snowboarding. Every descent down the slopes is an adrenaline rush you want to experience over and over again. Whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple, or among a larger group, there’s a ski town out there that will exceed your expectations. Be it a tranquil countryside or a scenic resort, we’re here to help you find some understated gems for the perfect ski holiday.
According to our data at VacationRenter, here are the top 12 most popular ski towns in North America for the 2021/2022 ski season — with 50% of the most popular destinations located in Colorado:
- Whistler, British Columbia
- Vail, Colorado
- Breckenridge, Colorado
- Big Sky, Montana
- Park City, Utah
- Mammoth Lakes, California
- Mont-Tremblant, Québec
- Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
- Telluride, Colorado
- Beaver Creek, Colorado
- Copper Mountain, Colorado
- Crested Butte, Colorado
If you’d prefer to dodge the crowds on the slopes, here are some alternative ski destinations to check out instead.
7 Underrated Ski Destinations for the 2021/2022 Season
You can now skip the busy slopes and find yourself at some of the most spectacular ski destinations that are only overlooked because the masses haven’t caught onto the hype yet.
British Columbia: Rossland
Instead of Whistler, fly to Spokane International Airport and drive to Rossland in British Columbia. Rossland is home to some of the best alpine and cross-country skiing in British Columbia, and has been producing ski champions like Kerrin Lee-Gartner and Nancy Greene since 1897.
This winter playground boasts a wide range of facilities and activities aside from skiing, including snowboarding, snowshoeing, fat biking, curling, and indoor swimming to name just a few. Rossland also has a diverse choice of nightlife, shopping, arts and culture to keep everyone on the trip happy!
Rossland’s RED Mountain has an impressive 120 kilometers of slopes and 3,850 skiable acres with five different peaks and eight lifts. This relatively undiscovered skiing destination holds a balance between family-friendly slopes and steep challenges. In terms of accommodation, there’s a boutique hotel and new mid-mountain cabins so you can make the most of your ski experience.
The 2021/2022 season opens on December 14th, and RED Mountain Resort will be holding an array of noteworthy events for the winter. This includes:
- December 25th, 2021 – Ski With Santa: Join in on the adventure with Santa and his helper gliding down the mountain handing out treats.
- December 31st, 2021 – NYE family Fun Night & Fireworks: Enjoy a fun-filled family night, which includes kids activities, night skiing, a bonfire, and a fireworks display.
- January 9th, 2022 – Demo Day: Visit for demo day and try out various winter sports equipment.
- January 27th to 30th, 2022 – The Rossland Winter Carnival from 27th: Experience the longest standing winter festival in Canada, which has been running since 1898.
- January 29th, 2022 – The Game Rail Jam: An unmissable competition down Queen Street, Rossland.
- February 2nd to 9th, 2022 – Canadian Open Freeride Championships: This event showcases North America’s most elite freeskiers and snowboarders for a whole week.
Colorado: Aspen & Steamboat Springs
Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. Aside from sport, Aspen is a cultural hub that’s popular for its annual film festivals and music festivals. If breathtaking alpine fun is more your vibe, look no further than the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster — located adjacent to the Elk Camp Restaurant, which reaches speeds of up to 28 miles per hour.
Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort
“Four mountains, two towns and one unforgettable experience at the confluence of nature, culture and recreation,” perfectly sums up Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort. Snowmass is renowned as the perfect resort for beginner skiers, thanks to an excellent ski school led by some of the best instructors around. The resort has sixteen ski lifts and 237 kilometers of slopes to enjoy.
The 2021/2022 season opens on 25th November. You’ll find a wide range of exhilarating winter events at Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, including:
- December 2nd, 2021 to February 24th, 2022 – Bud Light Game Of Stones: Every Thursday, check out a fun-filled curling competition at the Snowmass Base Village Ice Rink.
- December 2nd, 2021 to April 14th, 2022 – Music On The Mall: Every Thursday, you can also attend a vibrant live music event on the Tower Stage apres ski.
- December 17th, 2021 to February 27th, 2022 – Snowmass Luminescence:. Witness an awe-inspiring interactive art and light display that takes place on Fanny Hill.
- January 21st to 23rd, 2022 – X Games Aspen: Go watch 100 of the world’s top winter athletes take center stage in the biggest snow sport event of the year — for free!
Steamboat Springs, CO
Named after its hot springs, Steamboat Springs is perfect for nature lovers and adventurers. It’s home to the only ski resort with trademarked snow called “Champagne Powder” snow! This special snow is light, dry, and smooth, which makes it perfect for skiing.
Make sure you set aside some time to enjoy the natural hot springs after your fun on the slopes. Strawberry Park Hot Springs, in particular, has built a reputation for its inviting hot spring pools. You’ll find outdoor areas, open-air pools and plenty of Colorado winter sunshine! If you’re seeking a different kind of recreational winter experience, why not take a joy ride on a hot air balloon to appreciate the breathtaking scenery from a different point of view.
Steamboat Ski Resort
Steamboat Ski Resort offers some of the best tree skiing in North America. While Colorado is famous for its many ski destinations, Steamboat is one of the state’s best kept secrets. But with 18 lifts and a summit elevation of 10,568 feet it’s easy to see why locals, olympians, and all the other tourists who’ve been there, rate the resort among the very best.
The 2021/2022 season opens on November 21st with a range of amazing events in store for the winter months. This includes:
- December 31st, 2021 – New Years Eve Celebration: Start the evening with a Light Up Snow Cat parade featuring synchronized skiing that’s enhanced by vivid illuminations and then enjoy the fireworks display to step into 2022 in style.
- January 5th to 10th, 2022 – Musicfest at Steamboat: Revel in six days and 300 hours of the best Texas and Red Dirt music performances.
- January 16th, 2022 – Cowboy Up Balloon Glow: Enjoy a sensory delight of hot air balloons illuminating the Mountain Village with some night skiing fun thereafter.
- February 19th, 2022 – Steamboat Light the Night Celebration: Watch hot air balloons ignite the skies followed by fireworks and a parade at the Mountain Village.
- February 25th to 27th, 2022 – WinterWonderGrass Festival: The festival’s tagline is “Music. Brews. Mountains.” and the event delivers authentic Colorado entertainment with 20 live bands and numerous local brewery stalls.
Rather than stick with the flock at Big Sky, check out Bozeman instead. Huge crowds won’t ruin your landscape at this sleepy outdoor paradise. The area is magical in the winter thanks to the breathtaking scenery and cosy log cabins that look like they’ve come straight out of a Hallmark movie. Wake up to the warming winter sun, then go off and explore some local hot springs, museums, local breweries, or go hunting, snowshoeing, or ice skating
Bridger Bowl Ski Area
Bridger Bowl in Bozeman offers some of the finest terrain and snow conditions in Montana without any extra distractions that can sometimes put off the seasoned skier. Bridger Bowl also provides great prices for an action-packed trip. There is one quad, six triple and one double chair lift along with three surface lifts. If you’re an advanced skier, The Ridge at Bridger Bowl has very steep slopes and rocky terrain that will truly test your skills for an unforgettable experience.
The 2021/2022 season opens on December 10th with a range of events that will make this a winter to remember. This includes:
- December 4th, 2021 – Bozeman Christmas Stroll: Be part of Bozeman’s greatest holiday tradition as Santa Claus works his way down Main Street, singing Christmas carols and lighting the downtown holiday lights to get people into the holiday spirit.
- December 30th, 2021 – Torchlight Parade Firework Display: Watch the ski masters trail down the slopes with torchlights followed by a mesmerising firework display.
- February 5th, 2022 – King & Queen Of The Ridge: This lively fundraising hike and ski-a-thon supports avalanche education in West Montana.
If you want to hit the slopes of Utah, you’ll find more snow-filled ski destinations aside from Park City, including Alta. Alta has played a leading role in the development of skiing in Utah, thanks to a magnificent landscape that provides a perfect setting for a wide range of winter events. Whether you’re after an adrenaline rush or just want to relax, the great outdoors here will be sure to deliver. Choose between helicopter skiing from an operating base at Snowbird, backcountry skiing at the Backcountry Tour, or enjoy some downtime at the spa, among a host of other things to do in Alta.
Alta Ski Area
The Alta Ski Area has everything a skier could wish for, including 6 lifts, 119 runs, hike-to runs, cliff lines, and steep, soft snow. They’ve even gone as far as banning snowboarding to protect the snow and keep it at peak softness for avid skiers visiting from around the world. Once you’ve satisfied your skiing fix, you can also make the most of the many other activities that are available like engrossing yourself in Alta’s natural and cultural history.
The 2021/2022 season is estimated to start on the 20th of November. Events include:
- Alta Town Race Series. Making a return for the 2021/2022 season, the series is open to people of all abilities who are over the age of 18.
Although Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes are very popular destinations, an alternative would be Lakeshore. Lakeshore is one of the best kept secrets of the Sierra National Forest. The area is undeveloped and surrounded by forests, lakes, streams, and waterfalls that will take your breath away.
You can do as much or as little as you want to do in Lakeshore. Winter activities there include snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, and ice fishing. If you’re just looking to unwind, the wide expanse of beautiful landscape is the perfect place to relax and be away from the pressures of modern life.
China Peak Mountain Resort
California’s China Peak Mountain Resort has 11 lifts and 45 runs, with the longest run being a staggering 3.62 kilometers. This affordable resort has ample picnic spots to enjoy the surrounding area with easy accessibility for people of all ages and abilities.
The 2021/2022 season opens on December 6th and China Peak Mountain Resort will be celebrating winter in style. Their winter events include:
- November 19th to 20th, 2021 – Local Job Fair: A fun event with seasonal positions available in addition to free lesson offers and free access to the slopes.
- November 20th, 2021 – Pray 4 Snow Party: Enjoy some live music and beer specials among other brilliant entertainment.
Nevada: Incline Village
Since Lake Tahoe lies on the California and Nevada border, another option in Nevada would be Incline Village. Incline Village is the height of activity with non-stop family fun and recreation including bowling, a casino, plus an aroma and oxygen bar. Like the typical smaller towns, it’s quaint and understated but with all the fun of a big city.
If a vacation means true relaxation for you, Incline Village can cater to your needs too. Head up to the Stillwater Spa and Salon, nestled high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and experience the detoxifying properties of the lake as you rejuvenate and cleanse your body of toxins. The versatility of Incline Village ensures that it is a great spot for any kind of vacation.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort
Diamond Peak Ski Resort has a dreamy setting with amazing views of Lake Tahoe. It has miles of welcoming runs that are less crowded than other resorts in Nevada. As one of Tahoe’s best ski resorts for families, it’s free for anyone under the age of 6 and there are even lessons available for children over the age of 3 if you want to introduce skiing early on. All in all, Diamond Peak features a high speed quad lift, 5 chair lifts, and 40 named runs for you to enjoy!
The 2021/2022 season opens on December 9th with a selection of events over the winter you don’t want to miss. This includes:
- January 14th, February 11th, and March 18th in 2022 – Moonlight Snowshoe Hike: This award winning event is a three mile round trip, which includes exclusive out of hours access to Diamond Peak and the Snowflake Lodge.
- March 14th, 2022 – Pi Day: It’s a truly unique celebration, which gives you the chance to indulge in as much pie as you can consume while trying to recite the most digits of Pi for special prizes at the end.
Enjoy the 2021/2022 Ski Season
There you have it, folks! Take the path less travelled and discover these exceptional alternatives to the most popular U.S. ski towns this winter. Book your ski accommodation on VacationRenter now before the Christmas rush.