There’s something really special about a ski trip. Planning and packing for your next winter adventure is always exciting, bringing with it the anticipation of fun times with family and friends on the slopes. Because of geography and climate, there are only so many locations where you can slide on snow – and many are located in relatively remote areas. Depending on where you live, you might have to hop on a plane to reach one of these special resorts.
Numerous ski areas are accessible from major airports like Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno. This post focuses on smaller airports that can get you quickly from your urban, sea level home to skiing bottomless powder, sometimes on the same day. Now is the time to plan your winter ski trip, so consider one of these airports to speed you through to your destination.
1. Jackson Hole, WY
The Jackson Hole airport is the only commercial airport in the US located within a national park and is the busiest airport in the state of Wyoming, with the summer season handling about twice as many passengers as the winter season. The terminal building was expanded and renovated in 2010, winning numerous awards for its architecture and wooden truss design. The lodge-like atmosphere inside has casual seating areas in front of a comfy gas fireplace – a perfect place to relax before your flight home.
For this winter, the airport has arrivals from 12 different cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis. If you are skiing Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee or Snow King this season, then the Jackson airport is your destination of choice.
2. Eagle County Airport, CO
The Eagle Airport is located on Cooley Mesa just west of Eagle, Colorado, 35 miles from Vail (only 28 miles from Beaver Creek) and it can also be an alternate airport for those skiing in the Aspen area. It offers non-stop flights on four airlines from 10 cities, including Toronto. Those who land at Eagle airport can exchange their airline boarding pass for a free lift ticket at Vail or Beaver Creek that same day.
The Eagle airport has somewhat fewer flights compared to some of the other ski town airports. Since Vail is only a two-hour drive from the larger Denver airport, some snowriders opt to land in the Mile High City and drive to the mountains.
3. Burlington, VT
The Burlington International Airport has many unique services, from the maple candy in the concession shop to the yoga studio to plane watching from the observation room in the old control tower. But for skiers and snowboarders, the appeal is the easy access to some of Vermont’s best ski areas, including Stowe, Smuggler’s Notch, Jay Peak, Mad River Glen, Sugarbush, and Bolton Valley.
BTV is a small local airport that serves residents and visitors alike throughout the year, with non-stop flights from 10 cities on the east coast, including a new flight from Charlotte on American Airlines. The Burlington Airport is a terrific option for eastern snowboarders and skiers who are seeking a quick trip to make turns in the Green Mountain State.
4. Big Sky, MT
The Big Sky area is served by the Bozeman Yellowstone airport, which has grown steadily for the past three decades. In 2013, it became the busiest passenger airport in Montana – more than Billings or Missoula. Big Sky and Moonlight Basin, now merged into the largest ski area in the US, and the smaller local non-profit Bridger Bowl, are both easily accessed from the airport. Flights arrive from a diverse set of 13 cities across the US, including the usual suspects of Chicago, Dallas, New York City, and Los Angeles but also smaller cities like Las Vegas, Portland, OR, and Phoenix.
Like many other ski town airports, this facility is essential to bringing visitors to southwestern Montana. The closest metro area is Salt Lake City, nearly 400 miles distant and not a source of skiing road trippers for Montana, given all the great ski areas in Utah.
5. Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, CO
The Aspen airport is possibly the most convenient of all the ski town airports, with a location right in the Aspen valley and only 10 minutes to Buttermilk. In fact, the airport is so close to the ski area that the Aspen SkiCo has told the photographers it contracts with that they are prohibited from flying drones. Indeed, a man was arrested for flying a drone in the airport’s flight path during last winter’s X Games.
The Pitkin County airport runway was expanded by 1,000 feet in 2011, which has been crucial to increasing the commercial air service at the facility. Pitkin County airport had its best winter in 2014/15 since the 1997/98 season in terms of numbers of commercial passengers. With over 180 flights per week during the peak season, it’s one of the busiest ski town airports in the US. And that doesn’t even count the numerous private planes, which can be seen parked by the dozens during busy winter periods.
Other great ski town airports include Montrose, CO (Telluride), Hayden/Yampa Valley, CO (Steamboat), Sun Valley, ID, and Mammoth Lakes, CA. Hopefully your favorite ski area is near one of these great airports. Safe travels and happy turns!