The coolest ski towns make you jealous you don’t live there. You see stoked people with goggle tans and start recognizing a fundamental truth: life gets more kickass at elevation.
But even those who will never live in a ski town should be lucky enough to at least experience those mountain vibes as a visitor. Hopefully, these highlights get you motivated for the season ahead.
By virtue of the terrain, ski towns are river towns. Most every place here is just as interesting and fun in summer as it is in winter, and many of the watersheds here are spectacular, world-class destinations in their own right.
When putting together this list, the terrain features and quality of the local ski hill were definitely noted. But an equally important criterion was the story of each place.
Some, like Olympic hosts Sun Valley, Squaw Valley, or Whistler, are already famous. And yet others like Davis, West Virginia or Burke, Vermont have just as interesting and fiercely proud local characters and stories. Wherever you find yourself travelling (and hopefully carving) in 2018, here’s to fresh tracks and spreading stoke.
Golden, British Columbia
Gateway to the Canadian Rockies
You can think of Golden as the gateway to the Canadian Rockies. You can also think of it as a bad-ass ski town with easily accessible alpine terrain from the local hill, Kicking Horse Mountain. The town is situated in the gorgeous Columbia Valley, built at the confluence of two major rivers and surrounded by three mountain ranges (and five Canadian national parks). It’s an outdoor adventure haven with lots of options for hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, skydiving, and more.
Golden recently opened its first craft brewery Whitetooth Brewing Company, which has a tasting room to fill your growlers. Take your breakfast and coffee while checking the used books at Bacchus Books and Cafe, and don’t miss a dinner at Eleven22. For great accommodations, consider the Cedar House Restaurant & Chalets — every suite has its own hot tub and BBQ.
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