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Best Ski Destinations in the US to Try This Year

Written by Carolyn Albee

Ski trip time is here! If you dream of fresh tracks instead of fresh-baked fruit cake and ripping up slopes instead of ripping open presents, we totally get it. During ski season, the possibilities are endless. Where will you go this year?

We've got a few suggestions, and they might not be what you expect. After all, everybody knows the famous resorts—but have you ever thought of skiing in New Mexico? Some of the best places to go skiing in the USA aren't necessarily the big-name ski destinations. Here are our top picks for America's most memorable ski spots. Pack your stuff and get ready to shred.

1. Stowe, VT

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If there's one place you go to ski in the Northeast, make it Stowe. Set on the state's tallest mountain, Stowe Resort also has one of North America's most challenging trails: Goat—for experts only. This slope makes Stowe Resort many people's vote among best ski resorts on the East Coast. Speaking of challenges, the Black Hole run, just up the road at Smuggler's Notch, is the only triple black diamond trail in the Northeast. Stowe also has the best après-ski scene around, so if you came to party, you've met your match. In fact, why not come during WinterWonderGrass, April 10-11, and take a side trip to Stratton Mountain? Music, brews, snow skiing … Vermont knows how to do winter right.

2. Lake Tahoe, CA

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Stowe isn't the only ski area that knows how to have fun. With casinos, breweries, and plenty of nightlife, Lake Tahoe is the best in the west when it comes to après-ski. Ski hard at Sierra at Tahoe's Huckleberry Canyon double black diamond area; or check out Heavenly, which has region's highest peak and steepest inbound terrain, plus guided access to expert-only areas. Then play hard at events like the SnowGlobe Music Festival, December 29-31, 2019, and WinterWonderGrass at Squaw Valley, March 27-29, 2020. Eat, ski, rave, repeat is your new motto.

3. Lakewood, CO

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Located 7 miles west of Denver, Lakewood has the best of the city and the ski mountains. Warm up at the cafes along Alaska Drive before heading into the Rockies to shred some pow. Echo Mountain, 32 miles west, is the closest ski area to the city and a great value. Ski ambassadors, who will give you some pointers on your form, are included in your day pass. Eldora, 44 miles to the northwest, is a bigger option with multiple restaurants and Nordic skiing. You can even make a day trip to the fanciest resort—Vail is 93 miles west and is consistently rated one of the best ski resorts in the world. Would you rather just move here? The two Lakewood CubeSmart locations have plenty of room for your skis and more.

4. Layton, UT

Via Snowbasin Resort/Yelp

Forget Park City and head north of SLC to the winter wonderland of Layton. Start your ski day at Sill's Cafe, a mom-and-pop shop serving up classic American breakfasts since the 1950s. Then you're ready to head 30 miles north, where all kinds of adventures await. Get in some classic downhill runs at Snowbasin Resort or stick to cross-country at Nordic Valley Ski Resort. Need something a little more adrenaline-fueled? Whisper Ridge Backcountry Resort has 70,000 skiable acres—and you can choose cat skiing or heli-skiing. There's tons to explore, so you might be here a while. Store your skis at our Layton facility when you're not using them.

5. Taos, NM

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Talk about an unforgettable ski vacation: the funky atmosphere of Taos combined with the surprise—and beauty—of skiing in America's Southwest make for an experience like none other. Taos Ski Valley can compete with the big resorts, with sports massages, hydrating facials, and an energy-boosting oxygen bar at the full-service spa; rustic, fireside dining at 192 At The Blake; and more than 1,200 acres of skiing. There's also Angel Fire Resort, 25 miles east, which hosts cool programs like First Tracks, Nordic skiing, and night skiing. Bonus points if you visit during Taos Winter Wine Festival, Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, which draws over 40 national wineries each year. Just make sure you ski before you drink the wine.

6. Sciota, PA

Via Blue Mountain Resort/Yelp

The Poconos are an overlooked winter wonderland. In Sciota, enjoy quaint countryside living and some of the best places to ski in the Poconos. For families, there's Shawnee Mountain, 16 miles northeast, which has Camp Shawnee for little ones, plus events like Ski with Santa. For getaways with friends, head to Blue Mountain, 18 miles southwest, to check out Winter Fest (Jan. 25-26) or College Week (Jan. 6-10 and 13-17) for discounted student tickets. Snowboarders can get their shred on at nearby Park 1260, which specializes in terrain parks only. Whatever your ski style, the Sciota CubeSmart has all your winter sports storage needs covered.

7. Naperville, IL

Via RickD./Yelp

According to Niche.com, Naperville is the No. 1 place to raise a family in America—and it's a great place to take them on vacation, too. Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports, 5 miles east, has lots of class options, making it one of the best ski resorts for beginners. At Villa Olivia, 21 miles north, you can ski, go snowboarding, and tube, then have an après-ski meal in the Ski Café; a day trip to Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort, just over the line in Wisconsin, is also worth the drive. Want Nordic skiing? Head to Joliet Nordic Ski Club, 20 miles south. If you already live here, take advantage of our Naperville storage units to keep your skis and snow gear out of the way in the off-season.

8. Alta, WY

Via Tex M./Yelp

Bring thewhole crew with you for unforgettable family skiing in Wyoming. Grand Targhee is home-away-from-home for family ski trips, where kids have free reign in the Kids Adventure Zone. This area includes runs that are designed to teach ski fundamentals and improve skills. Don't skip the tubing park, which gives every generation a run for its money. Parents can take a night off while children enjoy dinner, star gazing, crafts, and other activities with childcare professionals at Kids' Night Out. As an added bonus, kids 12 and under ski for free with a stay of 3 or more nights and adult lift tickets. Wrap up a day outdoors with coin-operated games in Grand Targhee Resort's arcade.

9. Minneapolis, MN

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Cross-country ski fans have to head to Minneapolis in 2020. The Loppet Winter Festival takes place Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, with races, ice biking, and a nighttime ski around Lake of the Isles. In March, the city is hosting the first Coop FIS Cross Country World Cup in the U.S. since 2001. And no matter when you visit, there are over 80 miles of cross-country ski trails in the area, including trails right next door in St. Paul at Como Park Ski Center. Of course, you can always just move here—Minneapolis is a fast-growing metro area perfect for families and singles. Store your ski equipment in Minneapolis self storage and you'll be ready to explore.

10. Mammoth Lakes, CA

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California's chilled-out vibes are on full display in Mammoth Lakes, a picturesque town in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mammoth's regulars keep coming back year after year, but if you've never been, now is the time: Mammoth Mountain Resort is getting a $1.3M snow-making upgrade. Be the first to check out new restaurants like Sierra Grind espresso bar, Public House Tap Room, and the renovated Lincoln Bar fireplace lounge. Like any good California ski town, Mammoth knows how to party, too. Visit during the Mammoth Film Festival Feb. 27 to March 2 or Gay Ski Week, March 18-22, to see for yourself.

Wherever you're headed this winter, you'll need to keep your gear clean and dry and make sure you store it properly between trips. CubeSmart can help—we've got all the best tips in our blog, and our friendly managers are always here for you. Remove worry from the vacation equation and ski carefree this season.

Carolyn Albee

Carolyn is a writer, editor, and fan of the Chicago Manual of Style. She's based in Southern California (the greatest place on earth), but she lives by the belief that every city, and every person, has a story to tell. When she's not telling those stories, you'll find her visiting craft breweries and exploring new hikes with her best friend—her dog, of course.
Carolyn Albee

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About the author

Carolyn Albee

Carolyn is a writer, editor, and fan of the Chicago Manual of Style. She's based in Southern California (the greatest place on earth), but she lives by the belief that every city, and every person, has a story to tell. When she's not telling those stories, you'll find her visiting craft breweries and exploring new hikes with her best friend—her dog, of course.

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