While almost every skier and boarder will tell you that powder days are the reason they live, play and breathe in the mountains, that doesn’t mean they speak for all of us.
In fact, for some, those stormy days of low visibility and wet outerwear are kind of a nightmare. For some the best days of skiing come with the sun.
Warmer temperatures, softer snow and better views, it’s hard to deny that sunny days change the way we ski, and there are some resorts that do it better than the rest.
For anyone in the market for a goggle tan this season, here are the best ski destinations in North America to score some rays all winter long.
Despite its location along the freezing corridor of Vermont’s Route 11, Bromley Mountain is a welcomed break from the typical New England cold. That’s because the family resort faces south, grabbing more sun and for longer than typical East Coast ski hills.
The difference is noticeable, keeping unbearable cold at bay and softening up hard conditions by mid-morning.
While the mountain doesn’t offer the same size as its neighbors, its reasonable prices and warm atmosphere (and slopes) are tailor-made for the family getaway.
True to its name, Sun Valley is the place to go for winter rays. While the area gets its share of snowfall, the classic ski resort’s arid climate also yields its share of sunshine to the tune of 205 sunny days a year.
Sun Valley is home to the first chairlift in the world, and also one of the quintessential ski areas in North America. Featuring over 2,000 acres of skiing ranging from fast groomers to steep tree skiing and everything in between, Sun Valley has something for every skier and boarder in your crew (including a 20,000-square foot spa).
With altitudes topping out above 9,000 feet, these sunny days can get intense, so make sure to pack that SPF 50 sunblock.
Ski Santa Fe rises up to touch the sky above the hip, outdoors town of Santa Fe, New Mexico. With the third most sunny days of any ski resort in the U.S., this local gem is all about the goggle tan and smile lines, serving up 73 trails and plenty of off-the-map goodies for backcountry adventurers.
Just 45 minutes up from New Mexico’s most eclectic city, Ski Santa Fe’s base sits above 10,000 feet, and its high desert location make it prime for mid-winter sun and long, pleasant ski days.
Sun Peaks might be the most northern ski destination on our list, but that doesn’t mean it has any shortage of Vitamin D. In fact, this British Columbia resort sees 2,000 hours of sun a year, making it one of the best bluebird powder areas on the continent.
Combining coastal precipitation with latitude along the 50th parallel, Sun Peaks gets the goods and keeps them fresh despite its sunny exposure.
Canada’s second largest ski area has gotten even bigger in recent years, adding 500 acres to its Gil’s backcountry zone a few years ago and a master plan to double the resorts size over the next decade.
The king of high pressure, Colorado has handfuls of sunny resorts, but none more so than Aspen Snowmass. With the local area receiving up to 246 sunny days a year, Aspenites can be sure to have some of the most legendary goggle tans in the game.
Split between four mountains, Aspen Snowmass has become a staple on the competition scene due to its bountiful snowfall and stable weather patterns, attracting the X Games and World Cup events every year.
The resort is also home to one of the most iconic hike-to descents in North America in Highland Bowl and has one of the rowdiest mountain towns in the country at its feet.
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