If you're thinking about starting the new year off with a trip to the slopes, we've got some suggestions. Here are three ski destination spots in the United States for January and February, along with some approximate costs for a trip:
- Vail, Colorado: Vail is a popular ski destination located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, about 2 hours from Denver airport with no traffic. It has over 5,000 acres of skiable terrain and is known for its challenging runs and luxurious amenities. If you happened to get the Epic Pass before the season it's a great deal, plus you get access to Breckenridge, which has some super solid dinner options after the day is done. But otherwise you'll need regular tickets at $208 online, or about $250 day of. Vail is definitely a bit pricey, but with the phenomenal conditions, it's a must-do. You can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 or more for a week-long trip, depending on the level of luxury you desire.
- Snowbird, Utah: I've been going to Snowbird for years, and it's one of my very favorite spots in the world. Conditions are epic and it's a little less commercially hustle-and-bustle than Vail or Aspen. Located in the Utah, it has over 2,500 acres of skiable terrain and is known for its excellent snow conditions. The cost of a trip to Snowbird will be on the cheaper side relatively, but will also depend on a variety of factors. For example, you can stay in Salt Lake City and commute up to the mountain easily each day (35-45 minutes), or stay at one of the luxury resorts like Iron Blossom at the base of the mountain (the latter being one of my favorite splurges). Lift tickets are about $140 per day online but you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 or more for a week-long trip.
- Aspen, Colorado: Aspen is right up with Vail as one of the high-end ski destination located in the Rocky Mountains. It has four ski areas with over 5,000 acres of skiable terrain and is known for its challenging runs and luxurious amenities. However, driving to Aspen is a bit more of a hike - likely 4-5 hours from DEN. Aspen is on the Ikon pass if you have it, but otherwise you'll have to go for the regular lift tickets at $200+ per day. The cost of a trip to Aspen will depend on a variety of factors, but you can expect to spend significantly more than $3,000 for a week-long trip, especially if you are staying in one of the more luxurious hotels or resorts. VERY IMPORTANT: getting a dinner reservation in Aspen is something of magic feat. Don't expect to walk into any places, let alone the top ones. Make your ressies well in advance.
As for gear, each one of these places can get quite cold, but most days are simply a matter of the right layering. Definitely have that ski jacket handy, which you can layer over a hoodie with a face warmer, and don't forget a warm beanie and some merino wool socks for inside your boots. If you're looking for a little more protection for your head, you can also opt for a helmet for skiing and snowboarding.