Travel and Leisure was really right on it when they picked the five best small ski towns in America. How often do you look through one of these lists and wonder what they were thinking, if they had ever been to these places or who paid them to put some of those towns on the list! These are five places to check out if you love the mountains and prefer vacationing and/or living in more laid back small towns.
Crested Butte, Colorado
… stately Victorian houses and antique streetlights still line the town’s 37 blocks, and a proud tradition of locally owned businesses continues. Also, they do not allow any chain restaurants in town! Crested Butte was the first Rocky Mountain ski town that I visited back in the early 90’s that clued me in to how close the community can be in a ski town. I felt this everywhere around this small town. Also, great mountain biking and unbelievable wild flowers in the summer!
Warren and Waitsfield, Vermont
Revisiting Vermont after many years away, traveling all over the state in a matter of three days, I absolutely loved Waitsfield, Vermont. I wrote about this earlier this year, Mad River Valley; Mountain living at its best.
Bend has the best of all worlds: it’s well-watered by the Deschutes River but avoids the coastal drizzle; bluebird skies are the norm. Come wintertime, that means plenty of snow atop nearby Mount Bachelor—and plenty of sunshine. Factor in 2 million acres of adjacent national forest, and it’s no wonder Bend consistently ranks as one of America’s favorite multisport adventure towns.
There are quite a few Jackson Hole transplants that have made Bend, Oregon their home and report that they are very happy there. The only confusion here is why it is on the best “small” ski towns list. Bend may have a small town feel, but it is not really a small town.
Victor, Driggs, Tetonia, Idaho
I am a little (probably more than a little) prejudice about the area. Victor is my personal favorite out of the three. One thing I am surprised about is that they did not mention the Knotty Pine (MySpace page) . You can’t come to the area and not check out the Knotty Pine in Victor. It is a local favorite. Another local favorite if you are around during the summer, Music on Main Thursday’s in Driggs. This is a weekly event during the summer, outdoors in the center of Driggs that is definitely worth seeing!
After the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, the Lake Tahoe region became synonymous with the stirrup pants–and–cheese fondue après-ski high life. But the glamour—and the high prices—never quite made it to the little town of Truckee, a historic logging and railway hub just 15 miles away. A big set of railroad tracks cuts the main street off from the otherwise lovely Truckee River, and hanging wires mar the beauty of the 19th-century frontier-style façades, but there’s an undeniable rough-hewn charm to the place. No personal experiences to share about the area, but have only heard good things!
For the complete article and slideshow, see America’s Best Small Ski Towns