Stowe, Vermont

Ski Magazine and Freeskier Magazine ranked Stowe Mountain Resort as the best ski resort in the Eastern region of the United States. Stowe Mountain Resort comprises two separate mountains: Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. (Though the first chairlift opened at Sun Valley Resort in 1936, Mount Mansfield has the distinction of being the first ski area in the United States.) Stowe features 116 ski trails, 13 lifts and an average snowfall of 300+ inches, and is known as a legendary ski destination.

Where to stay: Inns in Stowe offer accommodations to suit every traveler's tastes—from vintage Victorian at Village Victorian to modern luxury at Field Guide. At Garden Tower B&B in nearby Waterbury, warm up after a day on the slopes in a spacious suite with a steam bath, a sauna, a fireplace and heated floors.




Bozeman, Montana

Skiers and snowboarders love Bozeman, Montana, because it's home to Moonlight Basin, Bridger Bowl and Big Sky Resort. Big Sky wins for the most acres per skier in the country, with 300 runs on four connected mountains offering 5,800 acres of snowy terrain. Plus, visitors can take advantage of its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, which is about an hour's drive away. Bozeman is a very walkable town with interesting restaurants and cute cafes and shops dotting its Main Street.

Where to stay: Staying at a bed and breakfast in Bozeman is, of course, the thing to do. Inns range from quaint 19th-century Victorian mansions such as Voss Inn to unique lodges like Howlers Inn—North America's only bed and breakfast and wolf sanctuary.




Anchorage, Alaska

The resort town of Girdwood sits in the southern end of Anchorage amid the Chugach Mountains and beckons outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. If seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, you're in luck because the auroral activity in this region is frequent. Seafood specialties and Alaskan game are on the menu at local restaurants. Better yet, Girdwood is home to Alyeska Resort, which is known for its steep terrain and deep snowpack, and welcomes skiers year-round with an average annual snowfall of 650 inches.

Where to stay: The 11th Avenue Bed and Breakfast offers gorgeous mountain views and reindeer sausage with breakfast, while the Highland Glen Lodge Bed and Breakfast has spacious rooms and suites (some with separate sleeping areas) and serves English high tea in the afternoon.




Mammoth Lakes, California

Originally settled by miners in 1877, Mammoth Lakes is now inhabited by those prospecting for powder instead of gold. With a summit more than 11,000 feet high, an average snowfall of 400 inches per season and 3,500 acres of terrain, Mammoth Mountain is one of the largest skiing and snowboarding resorts in North America. The longest run here is more than three miles! The resort includes 100 acres of park terrain with rails, boxes, jibs and jumps galore. There are plenty of other winter activities to keep the whole family entertained, including ice skating and dog sledding. Yosemite National Park is just 45 minutes away by car.

Where to stay: Stay at the newly remodeled M Inn Mammoth, located within walking distance of the Village and Canyon Lodge Gondola, or try the New England colonial-style Cinnamon Bear Inn in the heart of downtown Mammoth Lakes.




North Conway, New Hampshire

Near North Conway in New Hampshire's White Mountains, you'll find Cranmore Mountain Resort, King Pine Ski Area, Wildcat Mountain, Black Mountain, and the historical Bretton Woods ski area. The nearby Mount Washington Valley includes 780,000 acres of National Forest and has been a popular retreat destination since the 1800s. Moreover, the area is home to some of the most charming B&Bs in New England, some of which date all the way back to the 1700s.

Where to stay: Stay at the Inn at Ellis River and enjoy a room appointed with period furnishings and modern amenities. Or stay at the Bernerhof Inn and book an apres ski massage appointment at the on-site serenity spa.




Sandpoint, Idaho

Located in the tippy top of Idaho, Sandpoint is nestled by three mountain ranges: Selkirk, Cabinet and Bitterroot. It's situated on the western shores of Lake Pend Oreille, with several ski resorts nearby including Schweitzer Mountain, Bald Mountain and Lookout Pass, making it an attractive base camp for skiers and snowboarders. This picturesque mountain town is on the International Selkirk Loop and two National Scenic Byways—it's so beautiful, in fact, that in 2011 both Rand McNally and USA Today designated it the "Most Beautiful Small Town."

Where to stay: If you stay at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, a rustic dude ranch, and you can book an on-site sleigh ride with your bed and breakfast stay. The Sweet Magnolia Inn was built in 1907 and is the very picture of what you might imagine a bed and breakfast to be with its wrap-around deck and antique furnishings.



—by Melissa McGibbon