Favorite Snow Spots in the West

These destinations offer something for every snow lover, from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and sledding.

pair of skiers pause for a panoramic view of the winter scenery above Lake Tahoe, California
The Lake Tahoe area is a top winter sports destination.
Rachid Dahnoun / Tandem Stock

"The Lake Tahoe area, at the California-Nevada border, has plenty of ski opportunities, from family-run slopes to megaresorts. I've skied them all and taught my children—and now teach my grandkids—how to ski here. We always enjoy the beauty of Lake Tahoe." —Mitch Kopp

"The sweet mountain town of McCall, Idaho, is covered in snow all winter, and quiet after the summer tourists leave. Payette Lake has wonderful ice fishing. You can ski and snowboard at Brundage Mountain or snowshoe the trails of Ponderosa State Park. From late January to early February, McCall holds its annual winter carnival, with public snow sculptures adorning the town. It's a winter wonderland!" —Lauren Mast Hershey

"To play in the snow, we head to Oregon's Crater Lake for cross-country skiing and making snow people in the midst of beautiful scenery." —Barbara Kochevar

"Yellowstone National Park provides winter hiking, snowshoe, and cross-country ski trails—and most of the time the elk and bison stay physically distanced. Ice sculptures form around the geysers and hot springs, and Old Faithful and all the other Yellowstone wonders are a special treat with smaller crowds around." —Beth Landis

People ski beneath the Needles Gondola at Utah's Snowbasin Resort.

Needles Gondola at Utah's Snowbasin Resort.

Courtesy Snowbasin Resort

"Snowbasin Resort just outside Ogden, Utah, has excellent snow for skiing and snowboarding, with trails for all levels. The gondola and lifts get you to the top of the mountain quickly, with stunning views of the snowcapped peaks. And trails for snowshoeing and tubing are right down the road, too." —Cherie Malone

"British Columbia's Whistler Blackcomb is the best place to play in the snow—and one of the largest ski resorts in North America. The area offers skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and tobogganing at Whistler Olympic Park, the venue for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. The hub of Whistler is a compact village at the base of both mountains, and the friendly hosts make a visit all the more relaxing." —Michael Stone

"We love Mount Shasta in Northern California. Great runs for young and old alike, with a deep base of snow. Plus, it's not too expensive and never that crowded." —Elizabeth Johnson

"Arizona's Pinetop-Lakeside is a nice escape. There's a winter celebration with a tree lighting and holiday floats in the park. Forest Service trails leading straight from town are great for snowshoeing, and there are plenty of hills to sled down." —Suzanne Singer


This article was first published in Fall 2020 and last updated in November 2021.