The Best Epic and Ikon Pass Resorts to Visit in 2020-21

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Resulting from COVID-19, resorts are instituting reservation techniques, capping day by day guests, nixing same-day ticket gross sales, and abiding by native laws (learn: closed bars and limited-capacity eating places). The excellent news is snowboarding and snowboarding are socially distant by design, and Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass and Alterra Mountain Firm’s Ikon Pass are higher values than ever.

Epic passholders are prioritized in Vail’s reservation system and Ikon passholders are exempt from ticket-sale restrictions at Alterra resorts. That’s 76 U.S. resorts the place you’ll haven’t any hassle ripping laps this winter. Right here’s easy methods to choose which move is best for you.

Chairlift at Snowbird resort Chris Wellhausen

1. Steep and Deep

If you wish to spend your days careening down dizzying pitches, these mountains have a number of the most electrifying terrain your coronary heart may need (and legs can deal with).


The resort’s famed pitches and powder stashes are off the Excessive Elevate at Teocalli Bowl and Headwall. For an inbounds, avalanche-controlled space that feels extra like a backcountry paradise (suppose powder pillows, cliff bands, and some 45-degree traces that require complete dedication) head to the North Face.

Keep: The slope-side Elevation Hotel boasts a decked-out pool and spa to nurse sore muscle mass.


Regardless of having simply 1,800 vertical ft, you continue to get open glades, corduroy runs, and loads of steeps, together with nearly the whole Mill Valley aspect of the mountain (superb early on a powder day). For a burly trip, hike 15 minutes from the highest of seventh Heaven raise to the height of Cowboy Mountain.

Keep: There’s no lodging at Stevens Cross; head to the Bavarian Lodge 35 miles east in Leavenworth.


PCMR is the biggest resort within the U.S. and nonetheless by some means underrated for its double-black runs, together with 10,026-foot Jupiter Peak, a hike-to-only space that’s avalanche managed by ski patrol. On a powder day, the chutes usually get filled with windblown snow, rising its thrills. Ninety-9 90 can be plagued by gnarly runs, like Magic Line.

Keep and Eat: Main & SKY is inside strolling distance to High West Distillery, which, along with spirits, gives distinctive meals within the adjoining Nelson Cottage.



JHMR is the gold customary for lift-accessed backcountry. Ebook a information with Jackson Gap Mountain Sports activities Faculty to discover safely. On the slopes, the Aerial Tram gives 4,139 ft of vertical, and Casper Bowl (not accessible by tram) has a number of the most difficult chutes.

Keep: Diehards ought to go to the Four Seasons at Teton Village for out-the-door entry within the morning. In any other case guide the polished Hotel Jackson; it’s on the town close to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.


Taos is so well-known for its steeps, an indication in entrance of the principle raise reads “Don’t fear… now we have straightforward runs too.” The Kachina Peak raise accesses wide-open, high-elevation black-diamond runs, however locals know a number of the greatest photographs are hike-to runs alongside Highline and West Basin.

Keep and Eat: Keep at The Blake, the resort’s new 80-room alpine guesthouse adjoining to Elevate 1. Bavarian Restaurant—paying homage to an Alps chalet— is a can’t-miss après spot, with sauerbraten, wienerschnitzel, and German beers.


At Alta, check your self and hike Mount Baldy. It’s open solely often and requires an hourlong boot pack, however scoring just a few recent turns is well worth the sweat. Snowbird has dozens of memorable runs instantly off the Tram, however head to Gad 2 chairlift on your choose of steep glades.

Keep: Shell out for a room at The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird; the highway up the canyon closes throughout large storms and, if it does, you’ll have the mountain virtually to your self.

Fireworks at Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado
Fireworks at Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado Courtesy Picture

2. Bumps, Jumps, and Beer

Pinball throughout a mountain, tackling pitches, pillows, moguls, and drops by day, then desk your elbows for some heat grub and a frosty beer by evening, at these sizzling spots.



Plunge Elevate is stuffed with steep glades and egg-carton runs like Kant-Mak-M, with 800 vertical ft of moguls. The hike-to terrain atop the Prospect Specific raise has steep, difficult bump runs that mercifully lead into buffedout screamers.

Eat: Kick off the day by gobbling down a chorizo and migas breakfast burrito at La Cocina de Luz. At evening, stroll to Brown Dog Pizza to carb up, then wind down with sativa chocolate from Telluride Bud Company.


Breck has the very best lift-accessed terrain within the U.S., at 12,840 ft, simply off the Imperial Specific SuperChair. The traces up prime are steep chutes or bowls, which flip into quad-burning bump runs. Whale’s Tail, between Peak 7 and eight, is normally loaded with delicate bumps, and funnels naturally into Vertigo, one of many mountain’s greatest steep mogul runs.

Eat: At Breckenridge Distillery, pattern one in every of their whiskeys or juniper-heavy gin alongside chef David Burke’s patented steaks, dry-aged in Himalayan pink salt.


The unique vacation spot ski resort in North America nonetheless gives celeb sightings and a rowdy nightlife (or what passes for it as of late). For bump lovers, Exhibition is without doubt one of the most iconic mogul runs within the West. New this 12 months is a high-speed quad that’ll open up 380 acres on Bald Mountain, with an open bowl up prime that feeds into freshly thinned glades.

Eat: Seize one of the best burger on the town at Michel’s Christiania, the place Ernest Hemingway himself ate. (Reservations are a should.)



The mountain’s identify will change in 2021, however its 6,000 acres, which have lengthy attracted a number of the greatest showoffs in snowboarding, will stay the identical. Take KT-22 Specific raise for Moseley’s Run—a protracted, fall-line bumps run named after Olympic mogul champ Jonny Moseley.

Eat: Seize après drinks on the Tram Car Bar, a restored 1970sera tram. Ikon Cross holders get offers, like a free Backscratcher, a spicy riff on the Moscow Mule.


The “Beast of the East” boasts 3,050 vertical ft of driving—probably the most in New England. Take a look at your mettle (and knees) on Bear Mountain’s Outer Limits, a half-mile of moguls careening instantly down the autumn line. Carve down the 6.2-mile Juggernaut, the longest path within the East, or take pleasure in some cruisers on Killington Peak and Snowdon Mountain.

Eat: Journey to Rutland, 15 miles away, to chow down on an ancho pepper ribeye, then wash it down with a craft beer at Roots the Restaurant.


Steamboat is known for its excellent glades, trademarked (actually) champagne powder, and crowd-free runs. The
evenly spaced aspen and fir bushes maintain powder days after a giant dump, and its two hottest glades, Shadows and Closets, are 1,900 vertical ft of branch-free enjoyable.

Keep and Eat: The slope-side Steamboat Grand resort has an 85,000-gallon heated outside pool and full-service spa. At Laundry, snack on small bites and sip a Fiery Margarita, constructed from pepper-infused tequila and lemongrass easy syrup.

Family skiing at Northstar California resort
Household snowboarding at Northstar California resort Brian David Elledge

3. Household-Pleasant (With a Aspect of Thrills)

Planning a household ski journey that pleases the little ones and sneaks in some stoke of your individual can seem to be a harebrained endeavor—however these resorts show you actually can have all of it.



The majority of the resort’s 150 runs are immaculate blues and greens, plus many ski faculty instructors are person- personable former professionals. Children will go in a position bonkers for the skating rink, Thursday evening fireworks, and devoted studying terrain.

Keep: The Osprey is refined but homey, and the Strawberry Park raise is true outdoors. For an improve, guide the Trappers Cabin; it sleeps 10, has ski-in/ski-out entry, and a private chef.


This resort blends California cool with European allure. Its 3,170 acres are break up properly between buffed-out groomers and more difficult glades, like Burnout and Monument Glade. For the youngsters—and limber adults—there’s a terrain park with flawless halfpipes and well-maintained jumps.

Keep and Eat: Relaxation your head at One Village Place. Two chairlifts out entrance make it straightforward to get the youngsters organized and out. Hit up Rubicon Pizza Co., adopted by Italian-level gelato at Euro Snack.


Since Vail Resorts bought the mountain in 2017, Stowe underwent main upgrades, making it arguably one of the best large resort within the East. There are 314 inches of annual snowfall on 485 skiable acres, over 50 % of that are blues.

Keep and Eat: Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa is a fast, free trolley trip to the mountain and throughout the road from native favourite Piecasso pizzeria.



With 4 peaks to select from, Snowmass has extra acres of terrain (3,342) than Aspen’s three different resorts mixed. There are many wide-open cruisers and more difficult runs, like these on the East Wall.

Keep and Eat: The Viceroy Snowmass has a heated outside pool for the youngsters and a 7,000-square-foot spa for world-weary mother and father. Snowmass Village is faraway from the Aspen scene, however nonetheless shut sufficient to city and barbecue joint Hickory House.


Large Sky is without doubt one of the largest resorts in North America, with 5,850 skiable acres, 4,350 ft of vertical, and 45-degree slopes beneath the Lone Peak Tram. It’s additionally stuffed with mellow groomers, and has kiddie perks like a tubing hill and 7 terrain parks—plus fats biking on the resort and Bozeman’s dinosaur-heavy Museum of the Rockies solely an hour away.

Keep: The Whitewater Inn has a pool with a 90-foot waterslide, excellent for younger children, whereas the Summit Hotel is extra upscale.


The resort sprawls over eight peaks and 870 acres of terrain, with 53 miles of trails, making it one of many largest on the East Coast. It’s additionally nice for freshmen; greater than two-thirds of the runs are blues and greens. There’s tubing and dogsledding if the youngsters’ legs get uninterested in touring the mountain.

Keep: The Grand Summit Hotel has ski-in/ski-out entry, and a heated outside pool and sizzling tub.

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