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Everyone is heading to the mountains. And we mean that literally.
According to the National Ski Areas Association, ski resorts reported 61 million total visits in the 2021-22 season, noting, “This record visitation signals that the U.S. ski industry is healthy, and that the demand for outdoor recreation remains strong.”
But what if you go to the mountains and never want to leave? Or, at the very least, what if you want to have a place to call your own when you visit your favorite snowy spot? Here are seven of the best U.S. towns to buy a ski vacation home.
In 2021, Vacasa named Newry the number one place to buy a winter vacation home, thanks to its cap rate, or its return on investment. The website explained, “Though the northeastern part of the country may not come to mind as the best place to hit the slopes, the powder at the Sunday River Resort helps boost the town’s 12.3% cap rate.” We’ll ignore the dig at northeast skiing, but we can still agree that Sunday River is certainly worth exploring. Home to nearly 900 acres of skiable terrain, with a mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert runs, this is a spot skiers and riders of all abilities will love.
Lake Tahoe, California
Searching for variety? Look no further than Lake Tahoe, home to more than a dozen ski resorts, including Heavenly, with its 4,800 skiable acres, and Palisades Tahoe, which has six mountain peaks to explore. The area is split between North Lake and South Lake, but you can’t go wrong with either. (However, it’s worth noting North Lake Tahoe is home to the largest concentration of ski resorts in North America. As North Lake Tahoe explained, it has 11 downhill resorts to choose from, all within a short driving distance from one another.)
New England mountains may be smaller than their Western counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t spectacular. That’s especially true for those looking to forgo a flight and drive to a snowy destination instead. And that’s why a town like Londonderry is great for those wanting to put down more permanent ski roots.
Londonderry is a small town by any measure, with fewer than 2,000 full-time residents. It’s a place where everyone knows one another, and that’s a good thing. It’s also a spot where you can find a more affordable ski house than at more popular mountain destinations. As Yahoo! Finance reported, the median home price was $368,505 in 2022. Plus, when driving, it puts you within one hour of Killington, 2.5 to Stowe, and just 10 minutes from the quaint Bromley Mountain.
The Poconos is a classic mountain getaway. Like Tahoe, it, too, has a plethora of ski resorts, just on a slightly less intense scale. The mountains here are excellent for those just starting out or looking to advance to the intermediate level, and places like Big Boulder Ski Area offer stellar park options for riders wanting to learn a few new tricks. The most central location to buy a winter home is in Tannersville, which puts you within an hour’s drive to places like Blue Mountain Resort, Big Boulder Ski Area, and Camelback Mountain, which sits right in town.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Yes, there really is spectacular skiing near Sante Fe. Take, for example, Ski Santa Fe, which holds the title of being one of the highest ski mountains in the nation. And it’s only a 30-minute drive from downtown. Want more? Make your way to Taos, a world-class destination that receives more than 300 inches of snow a year and sits a 90-minute drive from town. The other thing that makes Santa Fe a unique option on this list is its bigger city feel. With approximately 88,000 full-time residents, it’s not a massive metropolis, but it is big enough to attract divine dining establishments, fantastic museums, and a shopping scene that just can’t be beat.
North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway is another town that could just be seen as a tiny blip on the radar. However, its proximity to mountains like Attitash, which sits a 15-minute drive away; Loon, which is under an hour; Bretton Woods at 40 minutes; and Cranmore at a mere four minutes, makes it a true gem of a destination for a mountain home. The only caveat is that homes in North Conway are trending up in price, hitting a median listing of $425,000 in 2022. Plus, there’s very little inventory, so you may have to be patient in finding your dream mountain home. That said, it’s worth the wait to have such excellent choices for skiing and riding nearby.
Colorado has some of the best skiing and riding not only in America, but also around the world. It can, however, be a rather expensive proposition in towns like Aspen and Vail, which are known to appeal to the A-list crowd. If you can buy there, great, but if you’re looking to invest on a smaller scale, consider Alma. The town is tiny, giving you a bit more privacy than the aforementioned areas, but it sits within a 30-minute drive to Breckenridge, an hour to Arapahoe Basin, and 50 minutes to Copper Mountain, so you’re never far from outstanding terrain.