Condé Nast Traveler readers name Vail, Beaver Creek to best ski resorts list
Special to the Daily
For 32 years, Condé Nast Traveler readers have voted on the best hotels, cities and ski resorts worldwide. This year, a record 600,000 voters weighed in, ranking Vail Resort 14th in North America and Beaver Creek 21st.
Voters based their decisions on the quality and number of ski resort trails, lifts, lines and après ski action.
Vail came in 14th, ahead of Aspen Highlands (19th) and Steamboat (17th). It even soared ahead of other Vail Resorts ski areas, namely Crested Butte (20th) and Park City Mountain Resort (18th). Though, to be fair, Vail Resorts has only operated these two properties last season and the last four seasons, respectively.
Condé Nast Traveler reporter Jen Murphy credited Vail for its 5,317 acres — especially the approximately 3,000 of which make up “the mountain’s seven legendary Back Bowls.” She called attention to the bowls’ intermediate and advanced ungroomed terrain, “plus some killer vertical” like the Forever trail in Sun Down Bowl, which offers 1,850 feet of descent.
“New complimentary guided tours of these gloriously gnarly bowls, as well as Blue Sky Basin, offer a sweet opportunity for intermediate skiers to level up,” she wrote.
Readers also appreciated Vail’s high-end hotels: the Bavarian-inspired Sonnenalp, the Four Seasons Resort Vail, the Manor Vail Lodge, the Grand Hyatt Vail, the Lodge at Vail and the Vail Marriott.
Beaver Creek outranked Breckenridge (24th), as well as the self-proclaimed “friendly giant of Canadian skiing,” Lake Louise Mountain in Alberta (26th) and Squaw Valley (30th), host of the 1960 Winter Olympics.
In readers’ minds, Beaver Creek delivers the most luxurious ski experience in the U.S., with its 23 lifts and 150 runs.
“Beaver Creek takes pampering to the extreme with big perks and small ones, like complimentary, just-baked chocolate chip cookies handed out in the base area daily at 3 p.m.,” Murphy wrote.
She called the resort’s grooming “immaculate,” said kids love the Candy Cabin at the top of Strawberry Park Express lift and concluded by praising the resort’s terrain.
“Beaver Creek’s frills get all of the attention, but the mountain boasts serious steeps,” Murphy said, citing the World Cup’s downhill course, Birds of Prey.
Beaver Creek also stood out in readers’ minds with its nearby plush hotels, including The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, The Pines Lodge, The Park Hyatt and Beaver Creek Lodge.
Cream of the crop
Here are the top 25 ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada, according to Condé Nast Traveler readers:
- Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah
- Telluride, Colo.
- Buttermilk, Colo.
- Deer Valley, Utah
- Snowbasin, Utah
- Bretton Woods, N.H.
- Sun Valley, Idaho
- Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.
- Snowmass, Colo.
- Purgatory, Colo.
- Aspen Mountain, Colo.
- Red Mountain Resort, B.C.
- Jackson Hole, Wyo.
- Vail, Colo.
- Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
- Powder Mountain, Utah
- Steamboat, Colo.
- Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
- Aspen Highlands, Colo.
- Crested Butte, Colo.
- Beaver Creek, Colo.
- Whiteface Lake Placid, N.Y.
- Big Sky, Mont.
- Breckenridge, Colo.
- Ski Santa Fe, N.M.