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 again and again. Whether you’re traveling 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 slope or a scenic resort, we’re here to help you find some understated gems for the perfect ski holiday.

If you’d prefer to dodge the crowds on the slopes, check out these underrated ski destinations.

1. RED Mountain

Skier at the top of Red Mountain.

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. 

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 accommodations, there’s a boutique hotel and new mid-mountain cabins so you can make the most of your ski experience.

This winter playground also boasts a wide range of facilities and activities aside from skiing. These include 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!

2. Aspen Snowmass

Panoramic view of Snowmass Village, with skiers skiing at the Aspen Snowmass ski resort in the foreground and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in the background, on a partly cloudy winter day.

Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. Aside from its abundance of winter sports, 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, this alpine coaster reaches speeds of up to 28 miles per hour.

“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 nearly 150 miles of slopes to enjoy.

3. Steamboat Springs

Crosscountry skiing in Steamboat Springs.

Named after its hot springs, Steamboat Springs is perfect for nature lovers and adventurers of all kinds. This is one of the unheralded meccas of winter fun. In fact, it’s home to the only ski resort with trademarked snow called “Champagne Powder”! This special snow found at Steamboat Ski Resort is light, dry, and smooth, which makes it perfect for skiing.

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 an elevation of 10,568 feet, it’s easy to see why locals, Olympians, and tourists rate the resort among the very best.

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?

4. Bridger Bowl

Overlooking the Bozeman area and Gallatin valley on Bridger Bowl.

Rather than stick with the flock at Big Sky, check out Bridger Bowl in Bozeman instead. Bridger Bowl offers some of the finest terrain and snow conditions in Montana without any extra distractions that can sometimes put off a seasoned skier. This resort also provides great prices for an action-packed trip. There is one quad, six triples, 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.

Huge crowds won’t ruin your winter escape at Bozeman’s sleepy outdoor paradise. The area is magical in the winter thanks to the breathtaking scenery and cozy log cabins that look like they’ve been plucked straight out of a Hallmark movie. Wake up to a warming winter sun, then go off and explore some local hot springs, museums, and local breweries, or go hunting, snowshoeing, or ice skating.

5. Alta Ski Area

A ski lift climbs over snowy trees on a mountain.

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, or enjoying some downtime at the spa, among a host of other things to do in Alta.

The Alta Ski Area has everything a skier could wish for, including six lifts, 119 runs, hike-to-ski 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 here, like engrossing yourself in Alta’s natural and cultural history.

6. China Peak Mountain Resort

A skier on a mountain overlooking Lake Tahoe.

While Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes are very popular destinations, an underrated 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.

California’s China Peak Mountain Resort, found in Lakeshore, has 11 lifts and 45 runs — with the longest run being a staggering 2.2 miles! You can do as much or as little as you want in Lakeshore. Winter activities include snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, and ice fishing. If you’re just looking to unwind, the wide expanse of an unfolding wintery landscape is the perfect place to relax and be away from the pressures of modern life.

7. Diamond Peak Ski Resort

A pair of skis on a ski lift going up the mountain.

Incline Village, in Nevada, is the height of activity with non-stop family fun and recreation including bowling, a casino, and an aroma and oxygen bar. Like the typical smaller towns, it’s quaint and understated but with all the fun of a big city.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort, in Incline Village, has a dreamy setting with amazing views of Lake Tahoe. It has miles of welcoming runs that are less crowded than other nearby resorts. As one of Tahoe’s best ski resorts for families, it’s free for anyone under the age of six. There are even lessons available for children over the age of three if you want to introduce skiing to a youngster. All in all, Diamond Peak features a high-speed quad lift, five chair lifts, and 40 named runs for you to enjoy!

If a true vacation means 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 and Diamond Peak ensures that it is a great spot for any kind of vacation.

Enjoy Your Ski Season Getaway

There you have it, folks! Take the path less traveled 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.