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Best Ski Town (2021)

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Beyond convenient access to the slopes, what makes the best ski town? For some, it's having access to fantastic restaurants, bars, and shops. For others, it's about great accommodations, a small-town vibe, or a historic atmosphere. To find the best ski towns for 2021, a panel of experts selected 20 nominees, then our readers voted for the 10 best.

  • Red River

    Red River
    New Mexico

    Red River invites visitors to visit the “Ski Town of the Southwest” and take a skiing vacation in this community located in the Southern Rockies just north of Taos, New Mexico. Their ski schools offer learning experiences for everyone, and the ski area promises minimal lift lines and fresh powder that lasts days after a storm. With an average annual snowfall of over two hundred inches, over fifty trails for intermediate, expert, and beginners, and Saturday night torchlight parades and fireworks, Red River offers the perfect getaway for skiers of all ages and expertise.
    Photo courtesy of Town of Red River

  • North Conway

    North Conway
    New Hampshire

    Nestled within the scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire, North Conway sits within a half-hour drive of more than a dozen alpine and Nordic ski resorts. Visitors off the slopes can explore the town's pastel-hued Victorian architecture oozing New England charm. The Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center makes for an excellent rest-day diversion.
    Photo courtesy of WiseguyCreative.com

  • Rossland

    Rossland
    British Columbia

    Not only is Rossland a skier's paradise with Red Mountain Resort nearby, it's also one of North America's top spots for mountain biking. The unpretentious small town–once a gold mining outpost–has plenty for the non-skier as well, including spas, boutique shopping and a variety of restaurants ranging from casual pubs and pizza to sushi and Thai.
    Photo courtesy of Destination BC / Steve Ogle

  • Stowe

    Stowe
    Vermont

    Steepled churches and clapboard houses make Stowe a quintessential New England ski town, complete with excellent options for both downhill and Nordic skiers. While there are plenty of fine dining establishments and luxury resorts catering to well-heeled travelers, there's a lively apres scene as well, especially at The Matterhorn. Rest day activities can include a tasting at the famous Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory just down the road in Waterbury.
    Photo courtesy of Go Stowe

  • Banff

    Banff
    Alberta

    Walk 15 minutes in just about any direction from the town of Banff, and you'll find yourself surrounded by the majestic wilderness of Banff National Park. The resort town and gateway to the surrounding park boasts a surprising number of shops, art galleries, bars and excellent restaurants for its size.
    Photo courtesy of Noel Hendrickson / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

  • Bethel

    Bethel
    Maine

    Visitors staying in Bethel enjoy easy access to Sunday River (pictured), home to some of the best snow conditions in the East. Head to the Foggy Goggle or Matterhorn for a lively après-ski scene, or try out one of the many restaurants dotting the streets of this cute New England village.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Maine

  • Breckenridge

    Breckenridge
    Colorado

    Breckenridge, established during the Colorado gold rush of the 1800s, is home to Colorado's largest historic district and an equally historic après-ski scene; the Gold Pan Saloon is the oldest bar west of the Mississippi. Great restaurants, an art district and free bus service to Keystone and Copper Mountain make Breckenridge a winning and very atmospheric destination.
    Photo courtesy of Matthew Inden/Miles / Colorado Tourism

  • Salt Lake City

    Salt Lake City
    Utah

    Salt Lake City is the ultimate winter ski destination, with Utah’s four most famous resorts located within a convenient driving distance of the city and all accessible by public transit. Skiers can experience Alta, one of America’s oldest resorts which grew around a love of thrills on snow, or Brighton, known by many as “Salt Lake’s most laidback ski hill.” There’s also Snowbird, a “ride or ski fast, steep and deep” resort with high-speed chairs and an Aerial Tram, or Solitude, a resort with daunting rugged terrain and famous Honeycomb Canyon.
    Photo courtesy of legacyimagesphotography // Getty Images

  • Nelson

    Nelson
    British Columbia

    Located not far from Whitewater Ski Resort, the town of Nelson has personality in spades. On the shores of Kootenay Lake and surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains, Nelson sees rugged adventurers rub elbows with hippies and bohemians in its excellent cafes, bars and galleries centered around pedestrian-friendly Baker Street.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / StephenBridger

  • Park City

    Park City
    Utah

    Park City, Utah, provided the host courses for many of the significant skiing events of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and with good reason. The city hosts the largest ski resort in the United States at Park City Mountain and another world-class resort, Deer Valley, just a few miles away. Park City Mountain not only offers 7300 acres of skiable terrain, with plenty of moguls, powder, and trees but several terrain feature parks with steep jumps and other fixed features. Deer Valley provides over 2000 skiable acres, with plenty of runs for all ages and abilities from beginner to double black diamond.
    Photo courtesy of Park City Chamber of Commerce

The top 10 winners in the category Best Ski Town are as follows: 

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