Have a White Christmas at One of the Top Ski Resorts in the US

Aspen and the Colorado Rockies

Aspen is consistently one of the top holiday ski destinations every year, offering four mountains from which to unleash your skiing fury upon. Buttermilk and Snowmass are known as the more family-friendly of the four, with Snowmass holding the annual ESPN Winter X Games each January. The Aspen Highlands runs are reserved for the intermediate to advanced skiers, with over 35 percent of its terrain dedicated to experts.

Each year the mountains of Aspen receive 300-plus inches of snowfall, which helps fuel its famous double-black diamond runs, steeps, and breathtaking winter views. During the holidays, Snowmass village is decked out in all its holiday cheer, featuring carolers, Santa’s Village, and the annual Torchlight Parade. Aspen also features snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, and ice skating.

Killington Peak in Vermont

If your home base is closer to the East Coast, Killington Peak is definitely one of the top resorts for the holidays. Killington is the largest ski destination in the Eastern side of the United States, and also hails the highest vertical drops in all of New England. It has been said that you can stand at Killington Peak’s 4,241 foot tip, and see across five distant outlying states.

Kicking off the holiday season this year will be the Rails to Riches Jam and Party, featuring $15,000 in cash prizes for the best skiers and riders. The bonfire lit finals will begin at 5PM, and conclude with an awards ceremony and fireworks display. Concluding the holiday season will be the Collegiate Snowfest and Winter Games. The snowmaking machines are already overheating from opening day, but they will keep the powder fresh and temperament jolly through the rest of the season.

The Mammoth Mountains of California

Mammoth Mountain always tops the list as one of the best ski resorts in the US. Located in the Sierra Mountains, the area gathers over 400 inches of snowfall per year, which makes it hard to believe it also boasts over 300 days of clear blue skies. Mammoth features over 150 trails, 3,500 acres of ski terrain, 28 lifts, three gondolas, opens in mid-November, and runs clear through June most seasons. This year their doors opened a week early (November 7th), with Opening Day events kicking off on the 12th.

This years events included the world premier of the snowboarding film, Hot Lips, and live music from Shiny Guns. As the holidays approach, Mammoth Mountain traditionally highlights the season with some old fashioned holiday cheer, also known as their annual Night of Lights. The event includes spectacular Christmas displays, fireworks, and an “on-snow” Torchlight Parade.

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Vail Ski Holidays – A Quick Resort Guide

Vail is one of the larger ski resorts in North America, running all the way along a major freeway in Denver. The resort has one of the largest skiable areas in the US with slopes ideally suited to intermediate skiers or better. The slopes consist of 3 areas: the Front Side, Blue Sky Basin which features amazing, ungroomed, wooded slopes and the Back Bowls which, unusually for American resorts, are almost totally treeless.

A Vail lift pass gives you access to slopes in the surrounding resorts including Beaver Creek around 10 miles away and Breckenridge and Keystone which are just a short drive over the Vail Pass. Vail Village has a distinctly European feel to it with a number of influences evident including numerous chalets and bierkellers. Over recent years the resort has gone through a lot of redevelopment and now has a stylish and modern boutique feel.

Vail Village is really part of a multi-centre resort that includes the other places included with your ski pass. There are numerous chalets to choose from in and around the centre of Vail and these not only provide the best access to amenities, bars and restaurants but to the lifts as well. Look for accommodation near the Vista Bahn fast chairlift or in the Lionshead area, close to the gondola and the up and coming Vail Square. There is also a free bus service around the resort as well as to other places nearby so you can easily explore the entire area.

Vail has a brilliant natural snow record, averaging 348 inches per year, but also has extensive snowmaking capabilities that are only usually needed in the early parts of ski season. During the season, the Front Side closes earlier than both the Blue Sky Basin and Back Bowls and both provide very different skiing experiences. The Blue Sky Basin is north facing, wooded and holds its snow well, but sometimes when the weather is unseasonably warm, the snow on the Back Bowls can deteriorate and cause occasional closures.

Vail is renowned for the quality of tuition available and the Vail-Beaver Creek ski school is known as one of the best places you can begin to learn. Classes are never in groups larger than four people and if desired can be taken on the mountain from the start. Vail also has a reputation for pioneering new learning techniques so is a great place to start from scratch.

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