GG Ski, a special supplement to GG Magazine, is now available. Explore this season’s edition, and immerse yourself in the international social scene, world-class shopping, and laid-back culture of these top rated ski-town experiences.
Come for the winter, and stay for the summer. Inhabitants of premier ski towns know this phrase all too well. While skiing may be the initial attraction that brings millions of people into the heart of a resort, ski communities worldwide boast award-winning golf courses, hiking trails, fishing, cultural amenities, and world-class shopping—giving the ski town experience a year-round allure.
Every ski town has a unique charm, but they are all united by skiing’s special bonds and culture. You’ll never forget where you learned to ski, the time spent with family and friends or those peaceful moments on the chair lift where time seems to standstill. These are the elements that make ski-town life priceless.
For many winter sports fans, skiing in the Rocky Mountains is the dream, but renowned resort destinations like Aspen and Vail are by no means the only ski hotspots in North America. Read further to explore some of the Americas’ best ski communities.
Park City, Utah
They say that Utah is home to the greatest snow on earth. Known as powder, the crystal-like snowflakes here are incredibly dry, light and fluffy, and excellent snow conditions continue well into the spring. Park City, Utah, is no exception. The town was founded in the 19th century when silver mines attracted adventurers and emigrants from Europe. Much later, in the 1960s, the first ski slopes were created in the forests, starting close to the top of the almost 10,000-foot mountain peaks.
Park City soon evolved into a first-class resort town. A ski lift transports skiers directly from the main shopping thoroughfare, Main Street, up to the slopes. One hundred and fifty-five miles of pistes await, making it the largest ski region in North America. Unlike the Alps’ rugged peaks and steep runs, the terrain in Park City offers more gradual inclines, with undulating hillsides, slopes lined by dense forests and breathtaking views.
The snow in Aspen is known as “Champagne Powder,” and a typical winter night comes with eight inches of fresh snowfall. As one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, Aspen attracts a wide range of visitors. Originally a mining community during the Colorado Silver Boom, it has grown into a second home for the international elite. Despite its celebrity and cosmopolitan vibe, Aspen remains idyllic. Famous for wooded downhill runs, the mountains in Aspen allow advanced skiers to push their limits on steeper routes and mogul slopes.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is Wyoming’s largest ski area. The rugged terrain is “steep and deep”, and the region offers ample terrain for free-riders, including the notorious Rendezvous Mountain and the Casper Bowl, a 180-degree cirque of cliff-littered chutes. If you’re looking for more of the Après-ski approach there’s an abundance of options in the town of Jackson, with many bars styled in an original Wild West theme featuring outdoor fire-pits.
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler, British Columbia, feels more European than its American counterparts. Some 60 years ago, four businessmen laid the foundations in this remote corner of British Columbia for what would become the largest ski resort in North America. Whistler Mountain owes its name to the whistling sounds of marmots who inhabit this terrain. Luxury accommodations, chic restaurants and shops are all proximate to the ski lifts, while over 8,100 acres of slopes offer challenges to skiers of every ability. Regarded as the Canadian equivalent to Aspen, Whistler attracts millions of tourists annually.
Rob Boyd, a former Olympic and World Cup skier and current a real estate advisor with Engel & Völkers Whistler, has noted a significant upswing in ski home purchases. The pandemic has people taking a step back from their busy city lifestyles, realizing they can be just as productive, and working from a chalet in the mountains. Boyd attributes it to Whistler’s beautiful environment, fresh air, and invigorating activities. He notes that the city’s appeal extends far beyond its status as Canada’s most exclusive ski area.
“Whistler has all the infrastructure you need. From highspeed communications to high-end restaurants and rental shops for skis, snowboards or electric bikes. It has outstanding medical clinics, a heliport and, thanks to the 2010 Olympics, there’s an international airport only a two-hour drive away on a fantastic new highway.”Rob Boyd, Engel & Völkers Whistler
The summer of 2021 was incredibly active, with many residents frequenting lakes, bike parks and provincial parks. The same beauty that drew ski enthusiasts to Whistler decades ago is now drawing more newcomers than ever as demand continues to rise.
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