Best Winter Ski and Snow Vacation Destinations

top Colorado ski and snow vacation at KeystoneThe best winter ski and snow vacation destinations are great for travelers who want a Christmas holiday trip, but who don’t need to warm up somewhere tropical. Cold weather has its adherents; top winter ski vacation spots in Colorado, Utah, and other western states offer more than just the best powder and slopes for skiing, snow boarding, and snow tubing. Now, there are lots of options out there for family winter travel, girlfriend trips, and romantic winter getaways besides winter sports. The Vacation Gals and other travel experts weigh in with recommended top winter travel destinations.

Travel Experts’ Best Winter Vacation Destinations

Colorado – It’s no surprise ColoradoGal Kara Williams’ favorite winter travel destination is her home state. Colorado beckons with 26 different ski resorts, for all budgets and ski levels. She’s partial to the ski hills in her own backyard, Aspen/Snowmass, and she loves the new slopeslide Viceroy Snowmass: the multi-bedroom residences are great for families. Her family had a ball at Keystone Kidtopia last winter, with all sorts of great special activities for kids and plenty of family-friendly condo-lodging options right at the base of the mountain. Another top resort is the luxurious Beaver Creek. The kids’ ski school is top-notch, and she recommends a stay at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek — make time for a treatment at the excellent Allegria Spa!

Quebec City, Quebec – TwinCitiesGal Beth Blair picks Quebec City as one of her favorite winter Snow Bath at Quebec  Winter Carnival (Beth Blair)destinations. The rich history, detailed architecture, cobblestone streets, and quaint shops add to the city’s cozy ambience. The best time to go is during the Quebec Winter Carnival. Be sure to get a photo with the carnival’s mascot Bonhomme. Another “must do” is a side trip to Hotel Glace, a hotel built out of ice and snow. Better yet, take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and spend the night.

Sun Valley, Idaho – Ciao Bambino’s Amie O’Shaughnessy comes from a family of winter sports enthusiasts, so ski venues are her favorite destinations for Christmas and winter travel. While her site has a terrific list of family-friendly ski hotels and resort reviews in North America and Europe, her favorite is Sun Valley, Idaho. Other than the hassle Best Ski Resort Area Sun Valley Mt Baldy View (Ciao Bambino)factor to get there, Sun Valley is a winter paradise. The ski terrain is comprised of long runs, so you don’t wait in line every 10 minutes, and there’s a separate ski area just for kids and beginners (the separation from the main mountain means that novice skiers don’t need to worry about being run over by experts). Accommodation options are plentiful; Amie likes Sun Valley Lodge for the old-world vibe, long list of children’s activities, and impressive list of special events.

Michigan — Jessica Voigts of Wandering Educators loves to take her family to Traverse City, Michigan any time of year. Summer is beautiful she says, but winter is magical. There are many places to ski and snowboard, but this part of Michigan is so much more than a haven for winter sports. Downtown Traverse City is lovely – old fashioned street lamps, a plethora of unique stores (including an incredible toy store), arts and culture, and extraordinary food. Family winter vacationers should consider staying at the Great Wolf Lodge; the huge indoor waterpark provides a great escape from the cold.

Olympic National Park — The Vacation Gals aren’t alone in our infatuation with this US National Park in Olympic National Park is a top winter travel destination (Pam Mandel)Washington state. Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View says, “Sure, you could go to Washington state’s Olympic National Park in the summer time, but the weather on the rugged northwest coast is unpredictable year round, so why not pack your foul weather gear, hope for the best, and head to the ocean in the off season!  If it buckets rain, you can watch the big stormy skies from your cozy beach front cabin at Klaloch or Ocean Shores, and hey, because it’s off season, you can get a killer deal on a place with a breathtaking view. And if the weather is good, you can hike in the rain forest or go to low tide at Ruby Beach, and then lurk by the big fireplace in the lodge on the edge of Lake Quinalt. You’ll see a million shades of green in the deep mossy forests, fill your lungs with the salt air of the ocean, and find a nature inspired winter peace like no place on earth.”

Park City, Utah — One of my recommendations for a top winter ski vacation spot is Park City, Utah. I’m hardly a skier, but The Vacation Gals had an amazingly fun girlfriend getaway in Park City, and our ski instructor couldn’t have been better. He enabled me and Beth to feel comfortable (well…relatively comfortable) on the beginner slopes in one session. Park City is much more than a top ski resort, though; the town’s charm, hopping bar scene, and fabulous restaurants made it perfect for a girlfriend getaway. Not too ritzy but hardly humble, Park City hits all the right notes for a memorable ski vacation.

Vermont – Mara Gorman of Mother of All Trips has a hands-down favorite top winter destination as the Top Family Winter Ski Vacation in Vermont (Mara Gorman)slopes of Mad River Glen in Waitsfield, Vermont. This is a purely old-school New England ski resort that’s changed little from the days when Mara was a kid herself. What’s great about Mad River is the amazingly varied and gorgeous terrain, and the family-friendly atmosphere. It’s truly a skier’s mountain (no snowboards); the ski school offers the best programs in the area that will get children up on the mountains, and get them back down again with a clear understanding of the fundamentals. Mad River is all about skiing, skiing, and more skiing. And at what other ski area can you get beer that’s brewed using maple sap in the bar?

Top travel experts weighed in with their picks for tropical vacation spots too. Not every Christmas vacation in a wintry clime has to focus on winter sports, obviously. No matter how you tailor your winter vacation, The Vacation Gals wish you the best one yet.

15 Responses to “Best Winter Ski and Snow Vacation Destinations”

  1. 1
    yatra says:

    snow vacation in jammu and kashmir is very beautiful.

  2. 2
    Kathie says:

    Your list is missing Lake Tahoe – a beautiful place to spend winter or summer! We have many great world-class ski resorts in a very small radius – within minutes of each other :-)

  3. 3
    SoCalGal says:

    Kathie, Lake Tahoe is absolutely a great place to take a winter sports vacation! As a matter of fact, my family and I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas trip there a couple of years ago, at Heavenly.

  4. 4
    Christy T. says:

    In Colorado, Steamboat is best for winter or summer!!! Lots of new stuff happening there!!!

  5. 5
    Francesca says:

    Montana and Michigan are my two faves – in that order.

  6. 6
    Krista Parry says:

    Your always welcome in Park City where the skiing is great, the whiskey flows and the tubing… Well, you know about the tubing!

    Hopefully we’ll see you again soon!

  7. 7

    Mt. Bachelor in Central Oregon gets my vote. Nearby Sunriver Resort is very family-friendly with cross-country skiing, horse-drawn sleigh rides and a shuttle that takes skiers and snow boarders to Mt. Bachelor if you don’t want to hassle with driving.

    I also am fond of Lake Tahoe. Squaw Valley, Northstar and Dodge Ridge are all great places to ski, depending on your level. Of course, you can always hang out in the lodge and sip hot chocolate.

  8. 8

    Canada:- is the best place for snow vacation. Especially for the Christmas time….:)

  9. 9
    susi says:

    Yes Park City snow is great … also the ski resorts in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons are even closer to the airport and the snow is pure powder. For fun times after skiing, check out the upcoming music events … http://feliciaevita.blogspot.com/p/slc-concert-scene.html … lots of great musicians and fun venues.

  10. 10
    Byteful Travel Blog Carnival #4 – 2010 Dec 14 | Byteful Travel says:

    […] Miner presents Best Winter Ski and Snow Vacation Destinations posted at The Vacation Gals, saying, “Travel experts weigh in with their recommendations for […]

  11. 11
    Ski Trips says:

    Alyeska in Alaska is also a great destination. Alyeska is the haven for all levels of skiers during winter.

  12. 12

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