Under The Radar Ski Slopes, Resorts & Destinations

published on November 8, 2022 by

From Park City to Vail, the big names in the snow sports world are legendary for good reason. But there are plenty of charming, under the radar destinations to consider for your ski vacation. And, with RedWeek’s low by-owner rates, you can enjoy a snowy adventure for less this season. Check out a handful of options below. 

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Where To Ski: Tennessee’s only ski area can be found at Ober Gatlinburg, located at the top of Mount Harrison and accessible from downtown Gatlinburg via the town’s Aerial Tramway. From mid-December through mid-March, Ober’s slopes offer a wide variety of terrain suitable for skier and snowboarders of all experience levels. If you’re a newbie, there are plenty of low-pressure lessons offered on-site. If you’re an expert shredder, the Grizzly run will provide more than enough thrills and challenges. And don’t skip the amazing Tubing Hill and Alpine Slide, either. 

Where To Stay: Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park

Big Bear Lake, California

Where To Ski: Lake Tahoe and Mammoth are the names that come to mind when most think of snow sports in the Golden State. But Big Bear Lake is worth a look, too. Snowboarders love it here, with incredible terrain parks that are regularly included in TransWorld SNOWboarding’s top 10 rankings. You’ll enjoy several 12-foot and 18-foot halfpipes, along with more secluded and challenging backcountry experiences. Big Bear Mountain Resort also features the largest beginner’s area in southern California, making it easy for everyone to hit the slopes. The aprés ski experience is raised to an art form here, with a 13,000-square-foot sundeck that’s ideal for post-slopes relaxation and revelry. 

Where To Stay: Lagonita Lodge

Steamboat Springs, Colorado 

Where To Ski: Snow sports fanatics flock to Vail, Beaver Creek and Aspen every winter. Steamboat Springs is about three hours from Denver International Airport, but it’s worth the drive. Here, you’ll discover a family friendly Rocky Mountain winter wonderland filled with the area’s famed Champagne Powder® snow, which is the ideal mix of light, smooth and dry — perfect for skiing. Steamboat’s slopes have undergone a $200 million renovation in recent years, which means that it’s the right time to discover this Centennial State gem. And when you’ve had enough fresh powder, the brand-new Skeeter’s Ice Rink beckons. 

Where To Stay: Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas

Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

Where To Ski: Located 30 miles from Burlington in the Green Mountains, Smugglers’ Notch is known among snow aficionados as one of the east coast’s best ski destinations. With a season that goes from early December to early April, Smugglers’ Notch offers three mountains and six terrain parks for skiing and snowboarding, with offerings for every experience level. The beginner-friendly Log Jam trail is great for kids and novices with gentle snow features and small rails. The Zone, meanwhile, is for anyone in search of a fun challenge, with steep landings, narrow rails and big jumps.  

Where To Stay: Smugglers’ Notch Resort

The “Big Island,” Hawaii

Where To Ski: You read that right. You can ski during a winter vacation in Hawaii! The Big Island’s tallest peak, Mauna Kea, gets a healthy dose of snow (locals call is “pineapple powder”) between January and March each year, luring extreme skiers and snowboarders in search of an unforgettable adventure. Be forewarned: Mauna Kea isn’t for the inexperienced — and you’ll need to bring your own gear (Hawaii generally doesn’t have rentals available). You’ll also need an expert guide: Ski Hawaii leads regular expeditions in four-wheel drive vehicles to the mountain’s skiable terrain areas. If that all sounds good to you, then you might be ready to join the small number of people who can say they’ve surfed and skied on the same day in Hawaii. 

Where To Stay:Wyndham Royal Seacliff

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