- Wild West towns
Swing-door shop fronts and traditional Wild West charms in Breckenridge - drop in at the Gold Pan Saloon, one of the oldest bars in the USA.
- Tree skiing
The USA is home to some of the world's best tree skiing - weave through the pines in Vail's back bowls.
- Après done differently
One half of Heavenly is in Nevada, so expect raucous on-mountain parties and hotel casinos aplenty.
- Deep powder
Have a taste of the famous soft, dry powder snow in Breckenridge.
So what's it like?
Big mountains, Old West towns and some of the quietest slopes around – there are lots of reasons to ski the USA. But it’s the snow that really sets it apart...
The resorts we’ve chosen in Colorado benefit from their high altitude, while the state also receives over 300 days of sunshine, which means bluebird days and a great goggle tan when you get home. Meanwhile, Utah claims to have the greatest snow on earth, with light and fluffy powder ensured by the moisture being drawn out of it over the Nevada desert. New for 2017/18 is Heavenly, which is split between Nevada and California, situated on the stunning Lake Tahoe.
Please note: When registering for your ESTA you must have a valid passport at the time of registration. For any travel to the USA, it must be an e-passport that contains the microchip and the e-passport symbol.
It's worth knowing that there won't be any reps based in the USA. We'll therefore email you your vouchers if you've pre-booked lift passes, equipment hire or tuition, and give you details on how to pick up your gear, to make sure you're ready for the mountain. If you need any assistance, you can call the Crystal team 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Linked ski areas
The Rockies are more gradual in their gradient and far more spread apart than the pointy and condensed European Alps, which means there’s less scope for linking ski areas with lift systems.
However, several resorts have expanded their boundaries and taken over their neighbours to offer multiple mountains on the same ski pass. Vail is perhaps most famous for this, with its lift ticket also granting access to Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone.
Something to keep in mind is that Americans hate queueing, so big, fast chairlifts and gondolas are the norm – with barely a drag lift in sight – meaning more actual skiing for your buck.
Best for families – Vail's pedestrian friendly village is easy to navigate with kids, as is the front side of the mountain. Hotels here will bend over backwards to assist with childcare, while teenagers and parents alike will love the on-mountain activity centre at Adventure Ridge.
Best for après – If you're a casino lover, then you can fill your boots on the Nevada side of Heavenly, Lake Tahoe.
Best for beginners – Vail matches its advanced terrain with a great ski school for beginners and lots of wide and gentle tree-lined slopes, perfect for when you're just starting out.
Best for experts – Breckenridge has legendary backcountry bowls, where advanced skiers can really test their skills in the steep and deep.
The standard of accommodation here is generally very high, across a range of hotels to suit most group sizes and budgets. Large, well-appointed rooms are the norm here, with most places also having access to a pool, gym and hot tub as standard.
Service with a smile is something Americans are rightly proud of, so don’t hesitate to ask for anything else to make your stay better; chances are the staff will go above and beyond to assist.
Cowboy towns with clapboard shopfronts and swing-door saloons are all part of the charm of an American holiday, with lots of old mining towns having morphed into ski resorts, while still maintaining their frontier history. Get your John Wayne on in Breckenridge and experience an après scene with a distinctly Wild West vibe.
Food and drink
Big portions of filling food is how it’s done in most American ski towns - so chow down on burgers, steaks, ribs and all the trimmings while you’re here. Stacks of pancakes and great granola for breakfast are also a must - plus some hotels even provide warm cookies at the end of the day.
Of course, other cuisines are available, and certainly in places like Vail there are some of the finest restaurants in the state, if you fancy a treat one evening.