North Conway wins Best Ski Town title
Nelson, Breckenridge, Truckee and Telluride in top five
What makes a great ski town? Some would say it's convenient access to the slopes, for others, maybe it's the variety of restaurants, bars, shops and accommodations. Yet others might gravitate toward a small town vibe or historic atmosphere.
Taos (New Mexico)
Taos started as a pueblo tucked within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Northern New Mexico. Today, the vibrant ski town encompasses a thriving artists colony, trendy boutiques, posh eco-friendly resorts and plenty of restaurants serving up spicy New Mexico green chile. Photo courtesy of Taos
Situated at the base of the underrated Whitefish Mountain Resort, the town of Whitefish is part rustic Western, part artsy chic. While only about 6,600 people call the town home, it boasts an impressive collection of restaurants, family-run stores and a lively apres scene at places like The Great Northern Bar & Grill and Caseys. Glacier National Park is just a short drive away. Photo courtesy of Brian Schott/ Explore Whitefish
It can be pricey. It can be hyped. But Aspen has long been one of the world's great ski towns, and for good reason. The downtown area is dotted with stellar restaurants, galleries and boutiques, and apres options include slopeside Ajax Tavern, iconic J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome and the excellent Aspen Brewing Company. With four ski areas within a 10-mile radius, Aspen is hard to beat. Photo courtesy of Jordan Curet / Aspen Snowmass
The cozy town of Sandpoint sits on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille between three different mountain ranges in the northern tip of Idaho. Natural attractions are understandably a draw throughout the year, but the town itself boasts a thriving art community, quirky shopping and a full events calendar. Photo courtesy of iStock / Silvrshootr
Revelstoke (British Columbia)
This well-preserved Victorian town not only offers easy access to the biggest lift-accessed vertical in North America, it oozes a sense of history. Established as part of the Canadian Pacific railroad, the compact town also boasts many heritage buildings and a thriving artist community–there's even a public Art Walking Tour. Outdoor recreation abounds year round. Photo courtesy of Destination BC/Ryan Creary
Telluride, one of North America's most photogenic ski towns, is also among the most charming. This former mining town surrounded by Colorado 14ers offers skiers and riders an impressive dining scene, historic apres-ski bars and a calendar-full of festivals to keep visitors entertained, with or without snow. Photo courtesy of Matt Inden/Miles
A former logging and railroad town, Truckee has 12 downhill and eight Nordic ski resorts within a 10-mile radius. But convenience isn't Truckee's only appeal; the town has a dining scene that offers everything from hearty comfort food to fine dining, as well as plenty of off-slope activities like starlight snowshoeing, dogsledding or cruising on Lake Tahoe. Photo courtesy of Truckee Donner COC
Breckenridge, established during the Colorado gold rush of the 1800s, is home to Colorado's largest historic district and an equally historic apres-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 Breckenridge
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 Reg Natarajan / Flickr
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 Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative via MWV Chamber of Commerce
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite ski towns, and the results are in.
The top 10 winners in the category Best Ski Town are as follows:
- North Conway, New Hampshire
- Nelson, British Columbia
- Breckenridge, Colorado
- Truckee, California
- Telluride, Colorado
- Revelstoke, British Columbia
- Sandpoint, Idaho
- Aspen, Colorado
- Whitefish, Montana
- Taos, New Mexico
A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Wendy Clinch (TheSkiDiva.com) and Kristen Lummis (The Brave Ski Mom) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the North American ski scene.
Congratulations to all our winning towns!