Jackson Hole (Teton Village, Wyo.) from The Best Ski Resorts for Non-Skiers
The Best Ski Resorts for Non-Skiers
Jackson Hole (Teton Village, Wyo.)
Even though this Grand Teton National Park mountain is known for its steep, expert-level slopes, its family-friendly side is equally alluring. The list of things to do in and around the resort seems almost endless: sleigh riding, dogsledding, snowmobiling, paragliding, and national park tours, to name a few things. If all these options still leave you at a loss, just pay a visit to the Jackson Hole Winter Adventures Concierge for even more ideas. Not to mention, the resort features five different spas, and although it’s considered a “small town” the village prides itself on a bustling nightlife scene with a variety of restaurants, bars, and pubs ready to please all types of travelers.
Whistler Blackcomb (Whistler, B.C.)
Blackcomb rightfully earned the number six spot on our 50 Best Ski Resorts list because it’s the most popular skiing destination in North America. But just because it’s a top pick for all types of winter sport lovers doesn’t mean the mountain town leaves non-skiers wondering what to do. In fact, the resort’s village almost has a big city vibe. You can start your day with endless amounts of shopping, choose from a long list of highly-rated restaurants when you’re ready to grab a bite, and then dance the night away at the Kokanee Kabin, famous for its parties that last well into the wee hours of the morning. Also family-friendly, the park boasts its very own cinema, an outdoor skating rink, and an epically exciting tube park, too. Be sure to ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for epic views, too.
Park City Mountain Resort (Park City, Utah)
Even if you don’t like to ski or board, you can still enjoy a ride down the mountain thanks to Park City’s popular Alpine Coaster. Of course, that’s not the resort's only non-ski extracurricular activity. Soar down the Flying Eagle zip line, cozy up on an old-fashioned horse drawn sleigh ride, or embark on a Viking Yurt adventure— a 25-minute snowcat-pulled sleigh ride to your very own hut tucked away amidst a “nighttime winter wonderland.”
Sun Valley (Sun Valley, Idaho)
Sun Valley was named for its bright, sunny weather, and whether you’re seeking out slopes or simply in search of an adventurous resort vacation, the park invites all visitors to “soak under the sun year-round.” Non-skiers can lounge in any one of three resort pools, catch a set of live jazz music at the renowned Duchin Lounge, or opt for one of several different massage services at the Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa. That’s not all though; the ski area best known for its rays has a long list of other activities to choose from, which makes it a delightful Idaho destination no matter what type of adventure you're after.
Mammoth Mountain (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.)
Mammoth is one of the largest ski resorts in the country and it happens to be one of the most family friendly, too. Wooley (Mammoth’s mascot) bops around the park greeting kids and posing for photo ops throughout the day. He also has his own tube park featuring six tube lanes, a snowman sculpting area, a merry-go-round, sleigh riding, animated snow sculpture adventures, and maybe best of all, lots and lots of hot cocoa. Vacationers in search of scenic views will enjoy a ride to the top of the mountain on the scenic gondola, and once to the top there's plenty to do. Pay a visit to the Sierra Interpretive Center or chow down at the Top of the Sierra Cafe as you take in some of California’s most stunning scenery from a height of 11,000 feet.
Aspen/Snowmass (Aspen, Colo.)
Aspen may be the epitome of North American skiing, but that doesn’t mean you’ll sit around twiddling your thumbs if you decide to skip out on the slopes. The park’s peak season features educational snowshoe tours, Friday night “Ullr Nights” (complete with bonfires, hill sledding, ice skating, and live music at the Snowmass Elk Camp), and even a few free yoga classes each week. Plus, as a world-class vacation destination, there’s always plenty to do in town. With over 100 bars and restaurants to choose from, a lively performing arts scene, and a star-studded lineup of live music acts every week there’s no doubt that Aspen can entertain everyone in your group.
Copper Mountain (Summit County, Colo.)
Travelers uninterested in pulling on a pair of ski boots won’t have to worry about being bored at Copper Mountain. Energetic adventure lovers will find plenty of fun at the park’s tubing hill, skating rink, and alpine zip line. Anyone after a more relaxing retreat will enjoy indulgent amenities like the resort’s full-service spa and outsized athletic club, which features a full-size lap pool, tennis and racquetball courts, saunas, and steam rooms. And although the resort prides itself on exuding the true spirit of Colorado, its top-notch dining scene is often touted for offering an assortment of international cuisines.
Big White Ski Resort (Kelowna, B.C.)
Just to name a few highlights, Big White’s list of “Adventure Activities” includes dog sled tours, an ice climbing tower, ice skating, hockey, snow mobile and sleigh riding, dining and wine tours, and scenic snow limo rides. Clearly this park isn’t a place solely for skiers. On top of all that the resort’s village also boasts more than 20 different dining options, two delightful day spas, and a buzzing après ski bar scene featuring live entertainment and Ski Canada Magazine's number one Canadian ski bar, Snowshoe Sam’s.
Jay Peak (Jay, Vt.)
The peak with the most snow in the Northeast happens to pride itself on much more than just powder. With so many amenities and activities there’s no way an unskilled skier couldn’t enjoy a stay at Jay. The picturesque, lodge-like resort features its own live music series in the Foeger Ballroom; a full service spa complete with facials, manicures, and massage therapy; an on-site fitness center; a long list of delectable dining options; a rustic Nordic center for the avid outdoor explorer; and a newly constructed NHL-sized ice arena. Oh yeah, and it’s also got its own indoor water park, too.
Keystone (Keystone, Colo.)
When we asked readers to chime in about the best ski resorts in North America, one gave a nod to Keystone for its “nice family atmosphere,” which comes as no surprise because, on top of lots of great skiing, there’s so much to do. From tubing to ice skating and snowbiking to horse drawn sleigh rides, Keystone offers all of the typical extracurricular wintertime activities and more. Indoor and outdoor tennis courts, group exercise classes, and yoga are all available year-round and the resort isn’t without plenty of shopping opportunities and spa services, too.
Smugglers' Notch (Jeffersonville, Vt.)
Another resort lauded for being extremely family friendly, Smuggler’s Notch has no shortage of non-ski activities and amenities. Smuggs has its own “Funzone Family Entertainment Center,” an indoor pool with two hot tubs, a zip line canopy tour, a massage yoga and wellness center, and even several weekly arts and crafts workshops. And that’s just within the resort itself. Vermont visitors often enjoy exploring the quaint and historic area that surrounds the ski area and sometimes even make day trips to Montreal, which lies about 90 miles north of Jeffersonville.
Crystal Mountain (Pierce County, Wash.)
Crystal Mountain is primarily a day resort, but it certainly caters to all types of tourists, especially those more interested in the après aspect of the ski scene. The resort is home to The Snorting Elk Cellar—voted “Top Ski Bar in the West” by Skiing Magazine—and Bullwheel, both of which feature happy hour, live music, and reportedly rowdy crowds. Guests interested in exploring the mountain beyond the bar can take a gondola ride (Mt. Rainer is actually home to the only gondola in all of Washington) or embark on a wilderness snowshoe tour.