Part of a great ski vacation is the town, the vibe and the après ski offerings
from western Rocky style lodging, local dining, to unique shops, friendly ski
bars, and fun things to explore off the slopes like cross country skiing,
visiting a National Park, snowmobiling or dog sledding. Western ski towns are
typically relaxed and rustic with just the right dose of ski shops, brewpubs,
art and clothing boutiques, leather belt and cowboy hat shops, and cool places
to eat to and drink after a big day skiing.
Here are the best western ski towns, and our
Top Ski Towns in the East, where we have found authenticity, friendly
locals, cafes and après ski pubs, diverse and delicious restaurants, and really
nice places to stay not too far from the ski slopes.
– The Northern Montana town of Whitefish is cowboy cool, with frontier style
cafes, brewpubs and shops in town, with beautiful views of Big Mountain and the
ski slopes of Whitefish Mountain Resort just
six miles up the street. You’re a half hour to Glacier National Park. Visit
Whitefish during the month long Winter Carnival for ski joring parades, parties
and snow sculptures.
Telluride Colorado – Telluride is a
beautiful old mining town at the base of the gondola-served slopes. It’s an
authentic silver town turned skier hamlet at the end of a boxwood canyon with
real western character (and characters) right down to the old Opera House.
Skiing at Telluride is vast, with incredible views to boot.
Steamboat Colorado is the
ultimate cowboy ski town, just take a look at Billy Kidd – the ski director
who wears a cowboy hat while skiing the snowy slopes and racing NASTAR. Steamboat is
classic western, wild-west style storefronts, bars and cafes line Mount Werner
Street with a grand view of the mountain, home to the most Olympic skiers
and riders in the country. Its clear why Steamboat is nicknamed Ski Town USA.
Hole Wyoming is as cowboy cool as any ski town gets. The Cadillac
Grill, the Antler Arch, and the western shops and bars make this Wyoming ski
town wildly picturesque. The skiing at Jackson Hole is kick ass too.
Vail Colorado is authentic
alpine chic – from historic Bridge Street, to the chalet architecture, Gorsuch
Boutique, and great bars like Bart and Yetis, Red Lion, and Pepi’s. Vail has it
all, big skiing, the best après ski, and posh lodging properties at Vail Village and Lionshead as well.
Park City Utah – Park City is an
historic mining town turned gold mine for skiers, home of the US's largest ski
resort with 7,300 acres. Park City has so many bars
and restaurants along the snowy downtown streets so don't worry about Utah being
"dry" due to its odd liquor laws. Another tip: During Sundance
Film Festival the bars are hopping but the slopes are wide open. And you
have skiers only Deer Valley next door too!
is an original with charming brick streets offsetting beautiful mountain views,
upscale boutiques for the chic clientele, lively après ski bars like Little
Nell, Sky Lodge, and Ajax Tavern, fancy hotels St Regis, Hotel Jerome and
Limelight, and powder-fiend locals.
Monarch Mountain is a hidden gem, a frontier town 20 miles from Monarch
Mountain ski slopes. Surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest, Salida has
old-fashioned shops offering art, ski and rafting gear, plus cool organic and
earthy bars and restaurants frequented by locals.
Sandpoint near Schweitzer Mountain Resort
in northern Idaho is a just a great lakeside ski town, 11 miles from
Schweitzer’s ski slopes. With incredible views of Lake Pend Oreille, lots of
cool places to shop and dine, and super friendly locals, Sandpoint is fun stop
on your ski trip.
Sun Valley Idaho might qualify as
urban cowboy, with upscale cafes, cool western motif and a classy après ski
scene. Sun Valley has incredible ski history, and the village is happening too.
Be sure to walk through the Sun Valley Lodge.
McCall Idaho near Brundage Mountain Resort
has a lake, friendly locals, less expensive lodging than Sun Valley, and great
festivals in winter. Skiing at nearby Brundage is off the grid, enjoy un-crowded
groomers, glades, lake views, and even cat