Experienced skiers and snowboarders are constantly in search of powder — the layer of lighter snow that sits on top of the base layer. When conditions are just right, the lighter snow is deep enough so your skis never touch the base, creating an exhilarating floating sensation as you fly downhill. In many cases, the best powder forms in areas with frequent, high-volume snowfalls and ideal weather patterns. As you plan your upcoming ski vacation, check out vacation rentals near these 10 resorts — each is known for having just the right environmental and topographical conditions to create fantastic powder.
1. Snowbird Ski Resort, Utah
Utah prides itself on having “the greatest snow on earth,” and for good reason—the Great Salt Lake and the weather patterns over the Wasatch Mountains produce exactly the right conditions for powder. Snowbird, as well as its neighbor Alta, sits directly in the epicenter of the snow zone; each one receives well over 500 inches of snow per year. Both resorts offer a variety of vacation rentals around the base of the hill, some with ski-in, ski-out access. If you’re on a budget, the suburbs of Salt Lake City are just 12 miles down the canyon.
2. Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah
Solitude Mountain Resort, which lies 14 miles east of the Salt Lake City suburb Cottonwood Heights, also boasts some of Utah’s best snow conditions. With an average snowfall of more than 500 inches per year, and a selection of fantastic powder bowls, this resort attracts riders who aren’t afraid to hike. Look for vacation rentals along Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, but don’t worry if you need to stay in nearby Salt Lake City; Solitude is known for its short lines and quiet backcountry. Next door, Brighton offers similar conditions, with the added advantage of lighted night skiing.
3. Alyeska Resort, Alaska
Alyeska is the undisputed king of deep powder. The mountain, which lies less than an hour from Anchorage in Alaska, has an average snowfall of more than 660 inches; many years, this number rises above 800 inches. When fresh powder falls, the spectacular lines on New Year’s Chutes or the Headwall are a dream for advanced and expert skiers. Stay in Girdwood, and try to visit midweek to enjoy long, Alps-style runs in near-complete solitude.
4. Powder Mountain, Utah
While Snowbird and Solitude get all of the glory for great snow conditions, Powder Mountain has quietly built a loyal following of powder-hounds. This small resort, which is located about an hour north of Salt Lake City, offers more than 8,400 acres of terrain. It receives an average of 500 inches of lake-effect snow per year, ensuring fresh powder nearly every day of the week. If you’re hoping to blaze brand-new lines, Powder Mountain is a great choice; it sells only 1,500 lift tickets per day. To get on the mountain quickly, stay in nearby Wolf Creek or Wolf Creek Village.
5. Grand Targhee, Wyoming
For skiers who value spectacular snow and low crowd levels, Grand Targhee is the place to be. Though it’s slightly less glamorous than the nearby Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee makes up for it with bluebird skies, heavy snowfall, and minimal competition for fresh powder. Since it sits on the other side of the mountains from Jackson Hole, on the far western edge of Wyoming, Grand Targhee gets more snow: over 500 inches each year. It’s also a better option for less-advanced skiers who want gentler chutes and bowls. For the best access, stay in the vacation rentals near the base of the mountain.
6. Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington
Mt. Baker Ski Area, a small resort nestled in northern Washington, has a dedicated following of local powder-seekers. This unassuming ski hill has an important claim to fame: it’s among the top resorts in the world for average annual snowfall. In fact, in the 1998 ski season, Mt. Baker saw a shocking 1,140 inches. The epic snowfall delivers a regular dose of new powder that’s particularly popular among local snowboarders who come for the steep drops and heart-pounding, tree-lined slopes. If you’re heading to Mt. Baker, look for rentals in Glacier, which is about 30 minutes away by car.
7. Wolf Creek, Colorado
Tucked away in Southwestern Colorado, Wolf Creek has achieved cult status among extreme skiers and powder-junkies; nearly half of the resort is rated for expert and advanced riders. What’s more, the mountain receives well over 400 inches of lightweight, dry snow each year, ensuring excellent powder in the higher elevations. Best of all, the resort has a decidedly relaxed, low-key vibe that welcomes families and adventure seekers. The best vacation rentals are a short drive through the mountains in Pagosa Springs or South Fork.
8. Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado
Hidden away in Southwestern Colorado, beautiful Telluride is simultaneously sophisticated and relaxed. In a single day, you can enjoy breathtaking powder rides with a crew of down-to-earth boarders, and step off of the mountain for dinner at a five-star restaurant. This constantly growing resort features more than 3,800 feet of vertical drop across terrain served by 18 different lifts. With approximately 300 inches of annual snowfall, fresh powder is common, particularly above the tree line in Revelation Bowl. Look for vacation rentals in Mountain Village or the lovely town of Telluride.
9. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
When it comes to the combination of difficult terrain and frequent snowfall, it’s hard to beat Jackson Hole. Any winter morning after a snowstorm, you’re sure to find the lifts crowded with everyone from local powder-hounds to the world’s best extreme skiers. With 4,139 feet of vertical drop, 50 percent of terrain rated for experts, and more than 450 inches of annual snowfall, it’s a breeze to find great, challenging powder. Beat the crowds by booking a vacation rental in the Jackson Hole village; beautiful options are also available in nearby Jackson, Wyoming.
10. Silverton Mountain, Colorado
Join the legions of thrill-seeking skiers and boarders at Silverton Mountain, which sits a few minutes outside of Silverton in Southwestern Colorado. The resort’s tagline sums up the terrain and conditions perfectly: steep and deep. More than 400 inches of snow falls on the mountain each year, but the real draw is the intense terrain. Fly through champagne powder on huge bowls, sail over drop-offs in a cloud of snow, and power through trees on steep slopes. The mountain offers limited services, but restaurants and comfortable vacation rentals are available in Silverton.
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