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Resort Guide 2023

Top 10 Ski Resorts in the West for Quick Getaways

When you're chasing pow or looking for a quick ski weekend, these 10 resorts make it easy to maximize your slope time.

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Is getting there really half the fun? When you only have a weekend to slash pow turns, we say no—it’s not. In fact, if we could teleport to our weekend getaways this winter, we’d Star-Trek the heck out it. But alas, Scotty’s technology isn’t readily available, making your best bet to plan a trip to one of the resorts on this list, voted easiest to get to in the 2023 Reader Resort Survey. These 10 ski areas are either an easy drive on major highways, close to an international airport (hello, Salt Lake International), or served by efficient public transportation. See the entire survey results here.

Top 10 Resorts in the West for Access

No. 10: Breckenridge Resort, Colo.

Score: 7.78
Other Strengths:
Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses:
Value, Guest Service

Breckenridge Access RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“Dependable snow throughout the season. Good variety of terrain for my wife and I. Relatively easy to get to from my home state of Florida. Good lodging options. Reasonable parking fees.”

“First time at Breckenridge and it more than exceeded my expectation. Had heard all of the horror stories of ‘epic lift lines’ and I-70 traffic. We planned accordingly (Sunday-Thursday trip) and didn’t encounter any issues. The breadth and quality of terrain was great, especially the high-alpine runs on Peaks 6 and 8.”

“This is my home away from home. I have traveled to ski it multiple times in my life, and I don’t plan on stopping. The terrain always gives me butterflies in my stomach when I want a challenge, or I can run away to Peak 7 and the new Peak 6 for a true blue cruiser experience. Rinse, repeat. If I want to fry my legs, a run or two at Peak 10 or any of the bowls is enough to give you that workout. The town is fantastic, and travel to Colorado via Denver is a direct flight and a two-hour drive. It is my happy place, even though it is big and has winds that rightfully give it the nickname ‘Breckenfridge.’ I have skied January and late March/early April. Lift lines have never bothered me. Resort does a good job communicating. If you avoid Peak 8 at peak times, lines won’t be an issue. This is easy to do with beginner terrain on Peak 9, and easy traverses to get to Peak 7 and the bowls.”

No. 9: Snowbird Resort, Utah

Score: 7.99
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Snow
Weaknesses:
Nightlife, Après

What Readers Say

“Snowbird is an easy one-hour drive from Salt Lake City, a major airport that is easy to reach from anywhere. The ‘Bird is isolated—you won’t walk out of your hotel and stroll along a commercial promenade. Snowbird is there for the skiing—THAT is the focus.

“Superior snow conditions when it snows in LCC otherwise can be difficult in a low snow year because of rocky, jagged, terrain. Tops for terrain and challenge lots of steeps and chutes here with relentless vertical and few flats and run-outs. Not a great place for beginners, just looking at the mountain can be intimidating. Great for access and close to the SLC airport but also can be extremely crowded, especially on weekends.”

“Snowbird is a legendary place. Full of tradition and fun for three generations in my family. We love it! Parking can be a problem sometimes but mostly it’s easy. The Snowbird Center has so many choices for food and skier needs. Love the Creekside area and the ease of parking and lifts in Gad Valley. Baby Thunder is great for families. Fun concerts and family events year round.”

No. 8: Keystone Resort, Colo.

Score: 8.00
Other Strengths:
Lifts, Family Friendly
Weaknesses:
Après, Nightlife

What Readers Say

“It is one of the resorts where I skied this year. Family friendly, but I also enjoyed it skiing solo. Pretty easy to find your way around.”

“It’s simple, it’s extremely easy to access without being overcrowded. Additionally there is terrain for first-timers and higher-level experts.”

“Since skiing back East was terrible this season we decided to go to Colorado. Keystone had great terrain and chairlifts were all open as well as trails.”

No. 7: Alta Ski Area, Utah

Score: 8.01
Other Strengths:
Snow, Challenge
Weaknesses:
Nightlife, Après

Alta Access RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Alta Ski Area)

What Readers Say

“I find Alta to be a true skier’s resort. There are things I’m willing to give up for great skiing, and that’s all I ask of Alta. They provide what I want. It’s also easy to fly into SLC and commute to Alta.”

“Challenging terrain is everywhere and relatively easy to reach, yet the groomers are plentiful. There’s not a lot of beginner terrain, though. And the snow … the snow. Let’s just say that when you close your eyes and dream of extraordinary snow, you are seeing Alta.”

“Alta is fantastic! Parking is hard on the weekend but in the middle of the week it’s easy peasy. The folks are nice who work there. The lift lines are organized. They have fun events and music going all year. An exceptional environmental education program. Things for skiers and non skiers to do to enjoy the slopes and nature. The food is more affordable than most ski areas. Easy to brown bag a lunch or tailgate vs going into the lodge. Alta is currently my favorite in Utah.”

No. 6: Winter Park Resort, Colo.

Score: 8.07
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses:
Après, Nightlife

Winter Park Access RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Winter Park)

What Readers Say

“Large resort with plenty of high sped lifts. Convenient FREE parking is available, although it can fill quickly on a powder day.”

“Less time on I-70, better is snow than Summit County.”

“My day trip go-to in order to not spend as much time on I-70.”

No. 5: Arapahoe Basin, Colo.

Score: 8.10
Other Strengths:
Challenge, Value
Weaknesses:
Lodging, Nightlife

Arapahoe Basin Access RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Arapahoe Basin)

What Readers Say

“If you’re looking for a place with local flair that feels like skiing 25 years ago (in the best possible way), A-Basin is your spot. Setting aside the fact that I can be there in an hour from Denver, the Basin is a true skier’s mountain, built for purists who don’t want (or need) the pomp and glitz of a Vail or Beaver Creek. What it lacks in high-speed quads, the Basin makes up for on variety of terrain, gnarly hike-to options and length of season. Highly recommend for out-of-towners looking for a pure local experience and a hill where McConkey would have fit right in.”

“It’s a refreshing change of pace from the Colorado resorts. Great local color and very welcoming staff.”

“A-Basin is in an excellent location in Summit County, so you can get everything you need for the hours off of the mountain. The food on-mountain is better than any other resort, especially the grill at the base. Wish parking were easier.”

No. 4: Copper Mountain, Colo.

Score: 8.27
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Dining

Copper Access RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Copper Mountain)

What Readers Say

“Best laid-out mountain in Colorado, excellent grooming, easy to get to.”

“Copper is great fun. I skied there eight days over the last two years. Terrain variety is great. The lifts are good. Parking and FREE shuttle bus system are fantastic. Good for all abilities, wonderful fun. Like Mammoth Mountain, Calif., I never get tired of this place.”

“I love Copper! The terrain is great, staff so friendly, great visibility of ski patrol, great lodging and food options, easy to get to. The lift system is great. I would recommend it to all levels of skiers. Great for families and new skiers and plenty of expert terrain. Wish there were a few more places open to grab dinner on the resort and wish there were a few more non-expert level glades to ski.”

No. 3: Park City Resort, Utah

Score: 8.34
Other Strengths:
Lodging, Nightlife
Weaknesses:
Snow, Value

Park City Access RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“Park City has it all: easy access via Salt Lake International airport, amazing terrain and size, an authentic town with real amenities and world-class restaurants, and nightlife to boot. Family friendly services abound. The only issue is that everyone else knows all of this and flocks to Park City.”

“Easy access, good local transportation, great variety of trails and lifts, plenty of choices for terrain between Canyons and Park City. Some lifts were closed because not enough employees to run lifts. Great snow conditions when I was there, but overall less than average snowfall.”

“I love the short 40-minute drive from the airport to the mountain. I love the town, the people, and the vibe of this great town. 2021-2022 season had quite a few challenges although during my visit I only experienced the closure of most mid-mountain lodges/dining but was not a huge issue. We party in the parking lot at the end of the day and of course at The Pig Pen Saloon.”

No. 2: Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Score: 8.82
Other Strengths:
Lift, Guest Service
Weaknesses:
Nightlife, Lodging

Snowbasin Access RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Snowbasin)

What Readers Say

“Snowbasin has been discovered but it’s still not crowded. Great for families, great terrain, less than an hour to the Salt Lake City airport. Very friendly employees.”

“Best value proposition close to an international airport. Tons of space and no crowds or lines.”

“I liked the accessibility of the resort. You could drive up to the main lodge and drop off your stuff, and it was an easy walk to the main lift. The lodge is beautiful, food was good, and they had a nice patio area for lunch and après ski. They didn’t have a lot of snow when we visited, but conditions were as good as they could be. Locals were super friendly and spent time to show us around. We stayed at an Airbnb in Ogden so it was about a 30 minute ride to the resort.”

No. 1: Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Score: 9.14
Other Strengths:
Dining, Guest Service
Weaknesses:
Challenge, Value

Deer Valley Access RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Deer Valley)

What Readers Say

“Deer Valley is the best destination ski resort in the country. With a world-class ski school, fine lodging and dining, and great accessibility from an international airport, there is no better place for your family to have your best ski vacation possible.”

“Easy to get to via direct flights to Salt Lake City airport, amazing food options, good variety of ski terrain, short lift lines.”

“Great trees and bumps, great snow, normally great variety for all skiers, great local transportation to access mountains and restaurants, easy access from airport.”