What is ‘soul’ as it pertains to sliding down a mountain on skis or a snowboard? The answer is subjective– but here at Unofficial, we know there are a few tell-tale signs of a soulful ski area.
Free parking at the base area, shrines dedicated to mountain legends, loyal locals, and aprés bar bathrooms decorated with the finest of ski memorabilia are just a few of the qualifying details. With such parameters in mind we’ve compiled a list of six Ikon Pass destinations that meet the standards.
Known for equal parts glamour and fun-loving locals, Aspen Snowmass is an often underrated soul skier’s paradise. That soul is on full display across Aspen Mountain at the various shrines located on mountain. John Denver, Hunter S. Thompson, and Elvis are just a few of the personalities honored at these trees, swings, and mini huts.
Alta Ski Area
Alta Ski Area is a mecca for ski historians as well as hungry up and comers. Add in the Peruvian bar, free parking, and the iconic double chair Wildcat and you have one of the most soulful ski areas on the planet. Don’t believe us? Then take Frank’s word for it.
June Mountain is Mammoth Mountain’s little brother with an equally big heart and even bigger backcountry access. The facilities, chair lifts, and locals are all throwbacks to skiing’s golden age and experiencing a powder day is a must for any California soul skier or snowboarder.
Located directly within the boundaries of its namesake National Park, Mont Tremblant is a beautiful ski area whose classic alpine architecture resembles Chamonix more than it does Quebec. Architecture aside, this destination is 100% Canadian. Amazing views of Lac Tremblant, cabanes du sucre (sugar shacks), and outstanding skiing and riding gives this mountain a vibe unlike any other in North America.
Sugarloaf stickers are everywhere. From lift towers out west all the way to tram cars in the alps, the mountain moniker’s prevalence is proof positive that something special is going on at this Mainer destination. For steeps and powder in the east, there’s likely no better spot to make turns. But what makes Sugarloaf truly soulful is its tried and true locals, all of whom have a sticker on their car letting you know, they’d rather be skiing “The Loaf.”
Winter Park Resort
Winter Park Resort and its seven territories, including iconic Mary Jane, make up one of Colorado’s oldest and most unique ski areas. No other hill has a ski train that takes you from the city to the chair in less than two hours. Its locals who can be spotted lining up at the Super Gauge Express a full hour before the lift opens.
Also Read: Mapping the Ultimate Ikon Pass Road Trips