To help you make the choice of where to visit this season, we've put together an overview of four of the best U.S. resorts for 2015. The four selections have been based on which resorts are the best for snow, value for money, families and thrills. Plus, to make sure your stay is as comfortable as possible, we've included tips on renting a car and driving safely in winter conditions.
Best For Snow: Snowbird, Utah
Snowbird is situated on one of the highest parts of the Salt Lake City ski region. As such it enjoys up to 500 inches of snowfall throughout the skiing season, which is almost twice as much as some of the best Colorado resorts. This level of snowfall means that Snowbird is usually one of the last resorts to close its slopes each season.
For the 2014/15 ski season, Snowbird day tickets cost $95 per day for an adult and $45 for a child. However, if you book at least two days in advance using this site, you can save up to 47% on those prices. For more information about prices and bookings at Cliff Lodge, the resort's best accommodation option, click here.
Best For Value For Money: Banff, Alberta, Canada
The Banff area is home to three resorts that provide excellent skiing conditions throughout the season. Sunshine Village is the largest of the three and enjoys the most snowfall. Meanwhile, both Norquay and Lake Louise offer beautiful slopes and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
In winter, the accommodation in Banff is cheap, and you should be able to find a good deal at the excellent Banff Caribou Lodge relatively easily. A Tri-Area Lift pass provides access to each of Banff's three resorts and costs $98 per day for adults and $32 for a child. However, the prices decrease rapidly the longer you stay and the pass provides a free bus ride from the town to all three resorts.
Best For Families: Winter Park, Colorado
Although Winter Park still has an excellent selection of restaurants and shops, the nightlife is relatively quiet and child-friendly. In addition, the gentle slopes of Sorensen Park and the 25-acre area dedicated to beginners at Discovery Park make this resort ideal for novice skiers. There are challenging slopes too, and if you want to hit the piste without your kids, Wee Willie’s provides an excellent child care solution.
Day ticket prices start from around $83 per day for an adult and $51 for a child – however the prices do increase at weekends and during the peak season, The Zephyr Mountain Lodge, at the base of the resort, provides affordable accommodation for families on vacation. For more information about prices and bookings at the Zephyr Mountain Lodge, click here.
Best for Thrills: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is regularly voted by readers of Ski Magazine to have the most challenging terrain of any resort in North America. There are a few beginner and intermediate slopes at Jackson Hole, but it's the steep, expert slopes that draw the crowds to this world-class resort.
If you're looking for somewhere to sink a couple of cold ones, the town of Jackson is just a 15 minute drive away. The town is characterized by its wooden sidewalks and cowboy saloons, which gives it a Wild West feel. Day ticket prices vary throughout the season, so it's best to check this site for the exact days when you want to visit. In addition, Four Seasons provides the resort with amazing accommodation and facilities – for information on prices and booking, click here.
Renting A Vehicle In The Snow
- Choose the right vehicle – Choosing a vehicle with the drivetrain is more important than choosing a vehicle with a large clearance. This is because the roads around most resorts are well-maintained and snow is not allowed to build too high. As such, four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles offer the best drivetrain for driving safely in snowy conditions.Because you will need to transport a lot of luggage on a skiing vacation, you may want to consider renting a larger vehicle such as a SUV. However, you should also be wary of driving a vehicle that is a lot larger than what you are used to at home.
- Choose the right tires – After choosing a vehicle with the correct drivetrain, making sure you have the right tires is the next most important thing for road safety in snowy conditions. In some states, snow tires are a legal requirement during the winter. If this is the case your rental company should provide your vehicle with snow tires, but it is advisable to ring beforehand to check.
- Driving in winter – Packing the correct equipment and driving in a safe manner are also important for preparing to drive in the snow. For more information on how to prepare for both of these things you can check out this infographic on our sister website.
- Buy the right insurance cover – Unless you have a Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver (CDW/LDW) in place, you will be liable for the full cost of damage if you have an accident in your rental car.
You can purchase CDW/LDW cover from your rental company, but it usually very expensive. If you buy CDW/LDW cover online with Insuremyrentalcar.com, though, you can save up to 70% on the price offered by rental companies. For more information and to grab a quick quote, click here.
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