TripAdvisor(R), the world's largest travel community, today announced ten overlooked ski destinations in the U.S., as chosen by TripAdvisor editors. These ski resort destinations feature mountains with a 2,000 foot vertical drop on average, and also offer less expensive lift tickets, and more affordable lodging and night life than many of the country's more celebrated resorts.
1. Jay-Snow: Jay Peak, Westfield, Vermont -- Adult lift ticket: $62
Vermont's last ski stop before the Quebec border, Jay Peak is where travelers venture to for what some consider the best skiing in New England. Located in a snow belt that generates a remarkable 350 inches of snow on average annually, Jay Peak has developed a reputation for its excellent powder skiing with adventurous off-piste opportunities, and with less traffic than Vermont's trendier ski spots. Said one TripAdvisor traveler about Jay Peak, "Real skiing. Real Vermont. Unreal snow...feel free to keep skiing where you're skiing so I'll have the place to myself."
2. Super Solitude: Solitude Mountain, Solitude, Utah -- Adult lift ticket: $55
Less than an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, Solitude is located in the gorgeous Big Cottonwood Canyon. Offering Utah's self proclaimed "Greatest Snow on Earth," Solitude provides skiers plenty of the white stuff, at a better value than some of Utah's ritzier resort destinations. When its time for apres-ski, travelers can warm up in Solitude's quaint European-style village. According to a TripAdvisor traveler, "A quick weekend trip with the family to ski some powder at Solitude turned out to be one of the best resorts we've been to. The ski conditions were excellent, and there are no lift lines or restaurant waits."
3. Great From This Sandpoint: Schweitzer Mountain, Sandpoint, Idaho -- Adult lift ticket: $55
With breathtaking views of three mountain ranges, Schweitzer is a terrific ski destination in the Northwest that features excellent skiing for beginners and experts alike. Schweitzer boasts nearly 3,000 ski-able acres, 85 trails and an exhilarating six person high-speed lift named Stella. Remarked one TripAdvisor traveler, "Schweitzer Mountain is a great ski area that's undergone a lot of upgrades recently. It's a reasonably short drive to decent sized airports (in Boise and Spokane)."
4. Cannon Fodder: Cannon Mountain, Franconia, New Hampshire -- Adult lift ticket: $54
Situated in Franconia Notch State Park, Cannon Mountain was home to the "Old Man of the Mountain," before the famous rock formation collapsed in 2003. Experience wonderful skiing and a bit of history on Taft Slalom, one of the first ski trails cut in the U.S., or visit the New England Ski Museum with historical ski-related paraphernalia. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, "Cannon has been a wonderful place over the years. The experience is always memorable, regardless of the weather."
5. Don't Dodge It: Durango Mountain, Durango, Colorado -- Adult lift ticket: $60
Released from Purgatory (the former name of the ski area) and now called Durango, the often sunny (but still snowy) resort has recently undergone significant renovations as well. Durango is located in the San Juan Mountains, featuring some of the highest peaks in the Rockies. There is great skiing for all skill levels on Durango, and the base offers additional outdoor activities of all kinds. Offered one TripAdvisor traveler, "The drive to Durango Mountain resort was beautiful. It was so fun and my children had a great time."
6. Test in Taos: Taos Ski Valley, Taos, New Mexico -- Adult lift ticket: $63
Up for a challenge? Head to Taos Ski Valley where more than 50 percent of the runs are expert -- including a number of double black diamonds. Novices can enjoy a designated learning area or strive for the expert slopes with the Ski-Better-Week package. Enjoy the European flair of the Taos Ski Valley town, by immersing yourself in the surroundings of the Swiss-influenced village. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, "While it has been mentioned that Taos Ski Valley is more suitable for experienced skiers, I have to point out that it also provides an amazing experience for beginners."
7. Ski Gem: Diamond Peak, Incline Village, Nevada -- Adult lift ticket: $48
With a wide range of terrains, Diamond Peak enables skiers of all levels to enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Tahoe. Skiers can take full advantage of the scenery by riding the Lakeview Quad lift, featuring fantastic views on the ascent, and making this precious gem worth every cent. Of course, skiers will enjoy the mountain's excellent trails, and the excitement Lake Tahoe has to offer. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, "Weekends are never crowded, and during the week, you'll feel guilty that they are running the lift just for you."
8. Whitefish Story: Big Mountain, Whitefish, Montana -- Adult lift ticket: $56
Situated near breathtaking Glacier National Park (enjoy the glaciers before they are gone!), Big Mountain provides amazing views of the Canadian Rockies, Glacier National Park and the Great Bear Wilderness. Locals speak of evergreens that turn into "snow ghosts" after storms, but skiers can't be scared off from this great spot. Commented one TripAdvisor traveler, "Big Mountain is fun for the whole family! The ski runs are awesome, and rarely crowded. The views are amazing all over! The bars in the village are full of charm -- and the people are just nice!"
9. Back in the Saddle: Saddleback Mountain, Rangeley, Maine -- Adult lift ticket: $40
After undergoing renovations in the past few years, Saddleback now boasts great skiing along with a new ski lift, additional ski terrain and a new lodge at an elevation of 2,460 feet -- the second highest in New England. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, "Everyone around Rangeley was very complimentary of what has been done at Saddleback recently, and I was very impressed by the facilities and the friendliness of the entire staff."
10. Vote for Gore: Gore Mountain, North Creek, New York -- Adult lift ticket: $115 (2 day pass)
Despite being a relatively unknown destination, Gore Mountain has been serving skiers for over 70 years. In addition to downhill runs, Gore Mountain offers 15 miles of cross county skiing through the southern Adirondack Mountains as well as snowshoeing trails, snow tubing and snowboarding. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, "You're guaranteed a great time in the Adirondacks."
"These destinations don't have the cache of an Aspen, Park City, or Stowe, but they don't have the traffic either," said Michele Perry, director of communications for TripAdvisor. "Offering excellent skiing in their own right, these destinations make up for any shortcomings on 'ski scene' with value and most importantly to avid skiers, shorter lines."
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