Flashy ski resorts like Whistler and Vail may get all the attention with their Insta-friendly après-ski cocktails and heated bubble chairlifts. At these mega-resorts you can get lavish spa treatments and a ski valet to carry your gear – but what you won’t get is an authentic Alpine experience.
Luckily for those who don’t need a personal butler, there are plenty of no-frills, low-key, vintage ski resorts in North America. Mellow and unpretentious, these ski areas feel homey instead of hectic. Embrace the true spirit of the mountains at these nostalgic ski resorts, from New England havens built in the Great Depression to West Coast vintage-chic hangouts.
5 Vintage Ski Resorts with Retro-Chic Ambience
- Camden Snow Bowl (Camden, Maine) – Nestled four miles from the coast in charming Midcoast Maine, the Snow Bowl is the only ski destination on the East Coast with views of the Atlantic Ocean. Family-friendly and community-owned, the small ski area features 20 runs, a terrain park, and cross-country skiing—perfect for beginners. There’s also a vintage throwback wooden toboggan chute, which hosts the U.S. National Toboggan Championships every February. Tobogganers sled out onto the ice of frozen Hosmer Pond, where you can also skate and play pick-up hockey games.
- Alta Ski Area (Alta, Utah) – No snowboarders allowed. Retro-chic Alta is for purists of the alpine experience. One of the oldest ski resorts in America, it opened in 1939—when lift tickets were 25¢. You’ll find five vintage-hip lodges at the base of the mountain, including the original Alta Lodge. Thanks to its high altitude in the Wasatch Mountains, Alta gets more snowfall than almost every other ski resort in Utah (over 500 inches per year). And the snow here is renowned for being light and powdery – no wonder snowboarders have sued (unsuccessfully) for access to the epic terrain.
Mount Ashland (Ashland, Oregon) – Immerse yourself in Ashland’s folksy yet cultured vibe at this non-profit ski area. The eclectic enclave near the California border is best known for hosting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. But the slopes nearby are no slouch either, with Shakespeare-inspired trails like Sonnet, Romeo, and Avon. The mountain’s historic lodge also honors the Bard with its Tudor-style design. Enjoy unique community events throughout the season, including Bavarian Night, Dummy Downhill, and the Midwinter Jam Series.
Black Mountain (Jackson, New Hampshire) – Step back in time and discover idyllic New England at this hidden gem resort, which is almost 90 years old. Off the radar even for many locals, its 1,100-foot vertical faces Mount Washington for dramatic views. Black Mountain was the site of the country’s first overhead chairlift, and you might swear you’re riding it as you slowly chug up to the top. Tranquil and cozy, the independently-owned ski area is an ideal antidote for the chaos of modern life. Be sure to grab a cup of hot cocoa at the base lodge.
Homewood Mountain (Tahoe, California) – Boasting phenomenal views of Lake Tahoe from every trail, this 1960s-era ski resort is ideal for those who want to avoid the crowds at nearby Northstar, Squaw, and Heavenly. The vintage vibe here is decidedly different from its fancy-pants neighbors (and the lift tickets are less expensive), but you’ll find the same delicious powder and extensive snowfall. Don’t put this one off—plans are in development for a new ski village with additional lifts and a hotel
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