The 8 Best Ski Towns to Live in

Published on 03/29/2023 · 11 min readLooking for somewhere to relocate this winter? Ski Expert Charlie Turchetta gives his recommendations of the 8 best ski towns to live in!
Charlie Turchetta, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Charlie Turchetta

Photo by Taylor Turtle

Skiing is a beloved winter activity that draws in millions of enthusiasts from around the world each year. Whether you’re an experienced skier or a beginner looking to hit the slopes for the first time, there's no denying the thrill and excitement of carving your way down a mountain. But for those who live and breathe skiing, the best way to fully embrace the lifestyle is to live in a ski town year-round. These towns offer a unique combination of breathtaking natural beauty, world-class skiing, and vibrant community culture, making them some of the most sought-after places to call home. From cozy mountain lodges to quaint downtown areas, ski towns have a special charm that cannot be found elsewhere.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at eight of the best ski towns to live in, each offering a unique blend of outdoor recreation, culture, and community. If you're a seasoned ski pro or a newcomer to the sport, these towns are sure to provide the perfect balance of adventure and comfort for anyone looking to embrace the skiing lifestyle. So grab your skis or snowboard, and let's hit the slopes!

8 Best Ski Towns to Reside in Year-Round

1. Park City, Utah

Photo by Sixties Photography

Park City, Utah, is often regarded as one of the best ski towns in the United States, and for good reason. This charming mountain town is nestled in the Wasatch Mountains, just a short drive from Salt Lake City International Airport. With two world-renowned ski resorts, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort, Park City is a powder paradise for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. Park City offers over 7,300 skiable acres, making it one of the largest ski resorts in the United States.

But Park City is more than just a ski destination. Its historic downtown is a bustling hub of activity, with a vibrant arts and culture scene, boutique shopping, and a wide range of restaurants and bars. The town hosts plenty of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Sundance Film Festival, which attracts filmmakers and cinephiles from around the world.

In addition to skiing and culture, Park City is known for its beautiful natural surroundings. The area boasts over 400 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as numerous opportunities for fly fishing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. The town's proximity to Salt Lake City also makes it an ideal location for those who enjoy city life, with easy access to shopping, dining, and other amenities. With its unbeatable combination of skiing, culture, and natural beauty, it's no wonder that Park City is a top choice for those looking to live in a ski town.

2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Photo by Danny Holland

Nestled in the heart of the Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a true winter wonderland and a sought-after destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The town's most iconic attraction is the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which boasts some of the best skiing in North America. With over 2,500 acres of skiable terrain, including steep chutes, open bowls, and gladed runs, the resort caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Not to mention, the town's average snowfall of 459 inches per year is among the highest in the country.

But Jackson Hole's allure goes far beyond its skiing. The town is surrounded by some of the most stunning natural scenery in the United States, including the Grand Teton National Park. The park's jagged peaks, pristine lakes, and verdant forests provide a playground for outdoor enthusiasts year-round. Whether you're into hiking, wildlife watching, or snowshoeing, there's no shortage of activities to enjoy in the area.

Aside from its natural beauty and outdoor recreation, Jackson Hole boasts a thriving arts and culture scene. The town is home to a vibrant community of artists, musicians, and performers and hosts several festivals and events throughout the year. If you want to indulge in a fine dining experience or enjoy a night out at a live concert, Jackson Hole has something for everyone. All in all, it's no surprise that Jackson Hole has earned its reputation as one of the top ski towns in the United States.

3. Bend, Oregon

Photo by McKayla Crump

Bend, Oregon, is a unique and vibrant mountain town that offers much more than just skiing. Beyond its stunning natural surroundings, Bend is known for its thriving arts and culture scene, which includes several galleries, theaters, and music venues. The town also hosts a number of annual events, such as the BendFilm Festival, which attracts filmmakers and movie lovers worldwide.

Another highlight of Bend is its proximity to Smith Rock State Park, one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the United States. With over 1,800 climbing routes, the park offers a wide range of challenges for climbers of all skill levels. For those who prefer water sports, Bend is also a popular destination for kayaking, paddleboarding, and rafting on the nearby Deschutes River.

Despite its growing popularity, Bend has managed to maintain a strong sense of community and a laid-back, friendly atmosphere. The town's residents are known for their love of the outdoors and their commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. With its stunning natural surroundings, vibrant culture, and strong community spirit, Bend, Oregon, is a true gem of the Pacific Northwest.

Overall, Bend offers a perfect balance of outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, and community spirit, making it a top choice for anyone looking to live in a ski town. Whether you're an avid skier, a rock climber, or simply a lover of nature and the arts, Bend has something for everyone.

4. Aspen, Colorado

Photo by Vlado Sestan

Aspen, Colorado, is an iconic ski town that needs no introduction. Known for its luxurious amenities, stunning natural beauty, and world-class skiing, Aspen is a top destination for skiers and snowboarders from around the world. The town boasts four ski areas: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk, all of which offer a wide range of terrain for all skill levels. Additionally, the area is renowned for its extensive backcountry skiing opportunities, making it a paradise for those who crave adventure.

Beyond its skiing, Aspen is known for its luxurious resorts, high-end dining, and upscale shopping, similar to Vail. The town is home to a number of world-renowned restaurants, such as Matsuhisa Aspen, and a variety of high-end boutiques and galleries. Additionally, the town hosts several annual events, including the Aspen Food and Wine Classic and the Aspen Ideas Festival, which bring together some of the most notable figures in the world of food, wine, and culture.

Despite its reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, Aspen also has a vibrant local community and is home to a number of nonprofit organizations dedicated to environmental conservation and social justice. The town has a rich history as a mining town, and the historic buildings and architecture add to its charm and character. With its stunning natural beauty, world-class skiing, and luxurious amenities, Aspen, Colorado, is a top choice for anyone looking to live in a ski town.

5. Lake Tahoe, California

Photo by Ethan Dow

Lake Tahoe, California, is an idyllic mountain town located on the shores of the mesmerizing Lake Tahoe. The town proudly boasts several of the most esteemed ski resorts in the world, including the Heavenly Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, and Northstar California Resort. With over 22,000 acres of skiable terrain, skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts of all levels can revel in the thrilling slopes. Furthermore, the area is famous for its constant sunshine and powdery snow, resulting in an unrivaled skiing experience.

Aside from skiing, Lake Tahoe provides a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and water sports. The lake itself is a favored destination for paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating, while the surrounding mountains present a plethora of scenic trails for hikers and mountain bikers. The town also has an abundance of restaurants, shops, and galleries, offering residents and visitors an array of options to explore.

In addition to its breathtaking natural beauty, Lake Tahoe has a robust local community and is home to multiple nonprofit organizations committed to promoting environmental conservation and sustainable tourism. The town's history as a logging and mining town adds to its allure and character, and the historic buildings and architecture provide a charming and rustic ambiance. With its stunning scenery, exceptional skiing opportunities, and a multitude of outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe, California, is undoubtedly an exceptional choice for anyone seeking to live in a ski town.

6. Stowe, Vermont

Photo by Myles Bloomfield

Stowe, Vermont, is a picturesque ski town located in the Green Mountains. The town is home to Stowe Mountain Resort, which offers over 116 trails across Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The resort offers a range of terrain for all skill levels, from gentle beginner runs to challenging black diamonds. Additionally, Stowe is known for its stunning natural beauty, with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Beyond its skiing, Stowe offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including snowshoeing, ice skating, and sleigh rides. The town also has a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, with various restaurants, bars, and cafes. Additionally, the town hosts several annual events, including the Stowe Winter Carnival and the Stowe Wine and Food Classic.

Stowe also has a strong sense of community and is home to several nonprofit organizations dedicated to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism. The town has a rich history as a farming and logging town, and the historic buildings and architecture add to its charm and character. With its stunning natural beauty, world-class skiing, and abundant outdoor activities, Stowe, Vermont, is a top choice for anyone looking to live in a ski town.

7. Whitefish, Montana

Photo by Roberto Nickson

Nestled in the northwest corner of Montana, the town of Whitefish is an idyllic mountain town that offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and small-town charm. North of Big Sky, The town is situated at the base of Whitefish Mountain Resort, which boasts over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain and an average snowfall of 300 inches per year. The resort is known for its varied terrain, runs for all skill levels, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

Beyond skiing and snowboarding, Whitefish offers a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the year. In the summer, residents can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and water sports on nearby Whitefish Lake. The town is also a gateway to Glacier National Park, which is just a short drive away and offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. Additionally, Whitefish has a lively downtown area with boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants, making it a great place to spend a day or evening.

Whitefish is also known for its strong sense of community and its commitment to sustainable living. The town has several organizations dedicated to environmental conservation, and many residents are passionate about preserving the area's natural beauty. With its stunning natural surroundings, abundant outdoor activities, and welcoming community, Whitefish, Montana, is a top choice for anyone looking to live in a mountain town.

8. Breckenridge, Colorado

Photo by Kevin Bree

Breckenridge, Colorado, commonly known as Breck, is a charming town located in Summit County, surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains. The town is widely recognized for its world-class skiing and snowboarding, with Breckenridge Ski Resort being one of the most popular winter destinations in the United States. The resort features over 2,900 acres of skiable terrain, 34 lifts, and five terrain parks, providing endless opportunities for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

Aside from skiing and snowboarding, Breckenridge is known for its vibrant arts and culture. The town is home to a variety of galleries, theaters, and music venues, including the Riverwalk Center, which hosts numerous events and concerts throughout the year. Visitors can also explore the historic district of Breckenridge, which offers a glimpse into the town's rich mining history with its Victorian-era buildings.

In the summer months, Breckenridge transforms into a hub for outdoor activities. The town is surrounded by miles of scenic trails, perfect for hiking and mountain biking, and the nearby Blue River is a popular spot for fishing and rafting. Additionally, the town hosts several festivals and events, such as the Breckenridge Music Festival and the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, which showcases a variety of art installations and performances. Overall, Breckenridge offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure, culture, and history, making it a great destination for visitors and a wonderful place to call home.

Other Ski Towns to Consider

Honorable mentions such as Taso, Sugarbush, Killington, Telluride, and Truckee also offer world-class skiing and a variety of outdoor activities for residents and visitors. Taso, known as the "Champagne Powder Capital," boasts an average of 300 inches of snow each year, making for some of the best skiing conditions in the country. Sugarbush and Killington in Vermont, near Mount Washington, New Hampshire, offer miles of scenic trails for skiing, hiking, and mountain biking and a vibrant local community.

Telluride, located in Colorado's San Juan Mountains, offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the region, with a charming town and world-class skiing. And finally, Truckee, situated just outside Lake Tahoe, offers a small-town atmosphere with access to some of the country's best skiing and outdoor activities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, ski towns offer a unique lifestyle filled with outdoor activities, stunning scenery, and a close-knit community. Overall, if you're looking for skiing, outdoor adventure, or a strong sense of community, these ski towns have something for everyone. From Lake Tahoe's picturesque beauty to Breckenridge's charming historic town, each ski town has its unique character and attractions. If you have any further questions about an upcoming ski trip, future hometown, or ski gear in general, reach out to a Curated Expert for free and customized advice!

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