As I mindlessly scroll through my Amex Travel, I keep seeing all these ads for winter ski packages. “Book now and save 47%!” Sheez, okay! I will! But… I don’t want to ski. I want to go sit by the fire at the Four Seasons in Whistler and drink Cabernet Sauvignon all day and read a book! Is that so much for a girl to ask?
Sadly, growing up in Colorado, I never went skiing. I mean NEVER. It wasn’t until we moved to Oklahoma that we actually went skiing. Go figure.
Since ski season is now upon is, I thought I would share with you the top 10 ski resorts in North America for 2015 listed by Forbes based on their PAF (Pure Awesome Factor)
1. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming – PAF 99.0
With its short lift lines, it is no surprise that Jackson is the No. 1 ski resort in North America. It also boasts the best ski lift around. Expect a new lift expansion in the 2015-2016 season. Place to Stay: Hotel Terra – a mere 2 minute walk from the tram; Place to Eat: Spur Restaurant and Bar
2. Alta, Utah – PAF 97.8
Considered the holy ground of resorts for skiiers, you won’t find any snowboarders here as they are banned from the mountain. Place to Stay: Try looking on AirBnB or VRBO towards the Snowbird area. Place to Eat: Pack a sack lunch
3. Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia – PAF 94.1
I personally was not surprised when I saw this made top 3 on the list. While I can’t speak for Whistler in the winter, it is beyond incredible in the summertime. You can also watch Après Ski on Bravo TV as this show is based out of Whister! With 2 mountains at your disposal, what’s not to love about Whistler-Blackcomb? Should you want to visit the peaks of both mountains, just hop on the Peak-to-Peak tram and you’ll experience both peaks in 22 minutes round-trip. It is the world’s longest and highest aerial tram and not something to be missed. Place to Stay: Fairmont Chateau – steps from the Blackcomb lift; Place to Eat: Hy’s Steakhouse
Note: above is where we stayed and thought was the best to eat. Forbes recommends the following: Place to Stay: Four Seasons Whistler; Place to Eat: Peaked Pies
4. Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Utah – PAF 93.0
With a European feel, Snowbird features the second best tram in North America behind Jackson Hole. Feel up for an adventure? Ride through the tunnel bored straight through the mountain on an airport-style conveyor belt to get to the the southern terrain on the back side of the mountain. Place to Stay: Cliff Lodge; Place to Eat: The Forklift (Forbes pick for best breakfast at any resort).
5. Alyeska, Alaska – PAF 91.2
4 words here: More snow, less people. Behind Alta, Alyeska gets the most snow out of any resort on the list. A nice alternative for those who do not have $10,000 to drop on heli-skiing. Where to Stay: Hotel Alyeska – helicopter out the back if you’re feeling adventurous, or tram out the front. Where to Eat: Seven Glaciers
6. Revelstoke, British Columbia – PAF 89.4
Home to the largest North American ski resort. Being so remote, this means little competition on this excellent terrain. Where to Stay: Anywhere far away from the railroad tracks; Where to Eat: Nothing worth mentioning.
7. Vail, Colorado – PAF 87.7
With 5,289 acres, Vail is second on the list behind Whistler for it’s size. You won’t find a better place for snow in the state (besides Silverton – no beginners allowed there, and Wolf Creek in Southeast Colorado). Place to Stay: Ritz-Carlton, Vail; Place to Eat: The Little Diner.
8. Telluride, Colorado – PAF 84.7
Filled with tons of ambiance and scenery, this elite ski town is a place every skiier (and non skiier) needs to visit! I am overdue for another summer getaway here. Most of the terrain here sits above 9,500 feet, but does not receive mass amounts of snow, which makes it perfect. Place to Stay: Inn at Lost Creek – steps away from gondola and main chairs; Place to Eat: The Butcher & Baker Cafe for breakfast and Alpino Vino for dinner
9. Grand Targhee, Wyoming – PAF 83.7
With the No. 4 snow score in North America, Grand Targhee can’t be left off the list. This place is worth the 75 minute drive (on a good day) from Jackson Hole and offers skiiers ample terrain and lifts to keep them busy. Place to Stay: not mentioned; Place to Eat: pack a brown bag lunch in your backpack
10. Mammoth Mountain, California – PAF 79.2
With its sprawling acreage, good vertical, and solid snowfall, Mammoth is the place to go if you’re skiing in California. Place to Stay: The Westin Monarche Resort; Place to Eat: McCoy Station on the mountain.
While I have never skiied at any of these resorts, I can say that I have crossed 3 of them off the list as far as visits go; all 3 in the summer, but that counts for something I suppose.