Combine awesome skiing and riding and Olympic history, culture and activities at these incredible ski destinations.
Lake Placid, New York
1932 & 1980 Winter Olympics
Boasting 3,430 feet of vertical, Lake Placid’s Whiteface ski resort is a skier’s and rider’s East Coast dream. The New York ski resort offers terrain for every skiing ability, whether you’re a beginner or an Olympian. Whiteface’s renowned vertical drop tells only part of the story. Over six dozen trails provide everything from gentle novice slopes to a truly steep double-black diamond drop from the summit area. Whiteface boasts 11 lifts, including the eight-minute Cloudsplitter Gondola and a high-speed detachable quad. Whiteface has genuine Olympic credentials, as its nearby town, Lake Placid, was the host of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics. Located 4.5 hour’s drive from New York City, Whiteface draws visitors from around the world.
Located on Main Street in downtown Lake Placid, the Olympic Center is the home of the legendary “Miracle on Ice” hockey game of 1980. There three ice rinks to check out, and if you’re lucky you might even get to catch a hockey game or figure skating competition.
Squaw Valley, California
1960 Winter Olympics
A lot of skiing’s best and brightest moments have happened at Squaw Valley. The first televised Olympics took place at Squaw Valley in 1960. The resort, whose chairlifts were an engineering masterpiece in their day, propelled the North American ski industry into world-wide recognition in a time when Europe was considered the best place to ski. Squaw Valley is also considered one of the birthplaces of extreme or big mountain skiing thanks to its iconic lines off of Squaw Peak. Many pro-skiers and snowboarders call Squaw home, and on any given day you can see them “ripping” legendary lines from the chairlift. Squaw was the late Shane McConkey’s stomping grounds, and you can still experience his fun-loving legacy on a Squaw ski vacation.
Capture the spirit of the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley’s Olympic Museum, located at High Camp. This collection showcases Olympic memorabilia, including the hockey stick and puck from the 1960 Winter Games, news article and video presentations. Admission is free with an Aerial Tram ride.
1964 & 1976 Winter Olympics, 2012 Winter Youth Olympics
If you’re all about options, then there’s nothing that can top an Innsbruck ski vacation. Internationally known as the “Capital of the Alps,” and a three-time host of the Winter Olympic Games—in 1964 and 1976 and the 2012 first Winter Youth Olympics—Innsbruck is one of the greatest ski cities in the world. This Tyrolean metropolis is surrounded by some of the best skiing in Austria. It’s truly a ski getaway like no other: a high alpine and urban experience all-rolled-into-one. It’s a premier destination for those who seek a broader European experience than simply skiing. Nestled into a narrow valley beneath rugged mountain peaks, Innsbruck offers Old-World beauty and culture, including museums, galleries, restaurants, nightlife and shopping. Other don’t-miss activities include sleigh rides, tobogganing and even an exhilarating ride on the Olympic Bobsled run. Stay in the city and sample its nine ski resorts—also known as Olympia SkiWorld—to get an idea of which area fits your skiing and vacation preferences to a T.
Park City, Utah
2002 Park City Winter Olympics
With 7,300 acres, Park City Mountain is the largest ski resort in the U.S., but that’s not its only draw. A historic Western downtown bedecked in charming shops and restaurants as well as Olympic attractions from the 2002 Winter Games provide a myriad of on- and off-mountain enticements. Park City’s 13 Signature Runs are groomed regularly, and their steep pitches and perfectly groomed conditions are great for carving fast turns, just like the Olympic ski racers did during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Park City.
Three-time Olympian Picabo Street has been a longtime PCMR local and Silver King Trail is her favorite run. Street used Silver King in her training to battle back from injury for the 2002 Winter Olympics in her hometown.
Experience a thrill of a lifetime in a bobsled on the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Sliding Track on the Winter Bobsled Experience, located at the Olympic Park. The Track was home to bobsled, skeleton and luge events. If you’d like to enjoy the same cross-country skiing course that the Olympians competed on, visit the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center. In addition, you can learn to curl or glide around on the ice at the Utah Olympic Oval rink.
2006 Winter Olympics
Along the border of Italy with France, the Alps rise majestically, the Italian dolce vita blends with French laissez faire and the regional cuisine draws from the best of Italy and France. This region, the Piemonte including the major resorts of Sestriere and Sauze d’Oulx. These mountains that once formed a natural boundary are linked by hundreds of miles of ski and snowboard trails and a vast network of lifts connecting villages and resorts in Italy and France, known as Vialattea. This is the region that hosted the 2006 Winter Olympic Games with events taking place in Sestriere, Cesana-Sansicario, Sauze d’Oulx, Bardonecchia and Torino the gateway city at the base of the mountain resorts.
To schuss the same slopes the Olympians did, head to Sauz d’Oulx-Jourvencaux, which hosted Freestyle Skiing, or Sestriere’s Borgata and Colle areas for Alpine Skiing. Pragelato ski area hosted the ski jumping event, Nordic combined and cross-country skiing competitions.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics
If the biggest, the best and a former Olympic destination are high on your winter getaway “must haves” then a ski trip to Whistler should top your list. With 8,171 skiable acres, a Whistler ski vacation offers nearly 1,000 more acres of skiing than the second-largest ski resort—and fellow Olympic host—in North America: Park City Mountain. Interestingly enough, Whistler was found in the early 1960s in hopes of hosting the 1968 Olympics, but it would be nearly 40 years before Whistler Blackcomb would receive the honor of hosting Olympic events via the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
Skiers and riders can test their mettle on the Olympic and Paraolympic Super-G course or the Men’s Downhill course, aka the Dave Murray Downhill, which descends 2,799 feet to Creekside Village. Conveniently, one of the top spots for après-ski is located right at the base: Dusty’s. Grab a pint and some BBQ to celebrate your Olympic feat!
Discover the courses and tracks where Olympians competed for glory and gold. Experience the fastest ice track in the world at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Public bobsleigh and skeleton runs are available from mid-December to April 1. Visit the Whistler Olympic park, located south of Whistler and accessible via bus, and try your hand at cross-country skiing, biathlon, tobogganing and more. In addition, the Whistler Olympic Plaza brings a new social gathering place to Whistler Village where locals and visitors alike can watch live music and theatre in the band shell, have a picnic on the expansive lawn or play a game of catch or Frisbee.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.