Ski inside Yosemite National Park | Cover Photo: Lee Canyon Facebook Page

When people talk about exotic ski resorts, the conversation almost always turns to places like Morocco, India, and Japan.

Related: Ski Trains – The Genteel Way to Travel (Part I)

However, the good ole US of A has its own exotic ski spots that are worth a visit if you don’t have the thousands of dollars and/or time required to ski somewhere like Gulmarg. So without further ado, here are the 5 most exotic ski resorts in the USA.

Alyeska, AK

See the sea while you ski | Photo: Alyeska Resort Facebook Page
Ski by the sea… | Photo: Alyeska Resort Facebook Page

As one of the only resorts in the USA where skiers can “see the sea while they ski” (others include Camden Snowbowl and Eaglecrest), Alyeska Resort is a one-of-a-kind resort experience in the USA. With the mighty Chugach mountains serving as the backdrop, the resort boasts 2,300 vertical of epic terrain along with 669″ of annual snowfall– making it a must-ski for any winter enthusiast.

Mountain Stats:

Average Annual Snowfall – 669″

Vertical Drop – 2,300′

Skiable Terrain – 1,610 acres

Badger Pass, CA (Yosemite National Park)

Just an hour drive away from Half Dome | Photo:

Badger Pass is one of only three ski areas that still operates within the boundaries of a national park. Half Dome, El Cap, and Yosemite Falls are all within an hour’s drive of the ski area, giving skiers unprecedented access to great skiing and majestic scenery– all in a single day. Not to mention the turns are as sweet as they are affordable ($47/day).


Average Annual Snowfall – 300″

Vertical Drop – 800′

Skiable Terrain – 90 acres

Lee Canyon, NV (Las Vegas)

Photo: Lee Canyon Facebook Page
Nothing like a cold chairlift to cure a hangover | Photo: Lee Canyon Facebook Page

Formerly known as Las Vegas Ski And Snowboard Resort, sin city’s favorite ski hill, Lee Canyon is a mountain oasis that sits above the barren but beautiful, Mojave Desert. Just under an hour to the west, Lee Canyon provides a quick hangover cure to all those taking advantage of the many vices Vegas has to offer.


Average Annual Snowfall – 212″

Vertical Drop – 860′

Skiable Terrain – 195 acres

Taos Ski Valley, NM

Taos balances many flavors-- one of which is Bavarian | Photo: Taos Facebook Page
Taos balances many flavors– one of which is Bavarian | Photo: Taos Facebook Page

Taos Ski Valley is funky beyond description. From its unique artisan community to its steep skiing, the ski area (and town) located in the southern portion of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range is a cultural force within the ski world. Archeological sites, riverside hot springs, New York level art gallery’s, and amazing terrain combine to create a significant piece of what I like to call, “Ski Americana.” 


Average Annual Snowfall – 305″

Vertical Drop – 2,612′

Skiable Terrain – 1,294 acres

Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center, VA

Sending it on “SnowFlex” | Photo: Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre

While the town of Lynchburg, VA is far from what most would consider an exotic locale, the image of skiers flying through the air all year-long is far from expected in this part of the country. Thanks to Snowflex, a type of synthetic carpet, skiers can ride whenever they want, even in warmer/less snowy climates such as Virginia.


Average Annual Snowfall – NA

Vertical Drop – 153′

Skiable Terrain – NA

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