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So, you know you want to go skiing this year, but now what? With so many locations to choose from, and the potential need to learn a new sport that requires a good deal of gear to enjoy safely, where do you start? Our team of travel experts is here to help. We have compiled our writers' recommendations for the best ski resorts and gear and offer them to you as you plan your trip to the slopes. From the U.S. to Europe, we have brought the best of the best right to your fingertips, so all that is left for you to do is to choose your favorite and finalize your plans. Happy trails!

Skiers in Vail, Colorado.

United States

From the awe-inspiring Appalachians to the royal Rockies and on to the stately Sierra Nevadas: the U.S. has no shortage of majestic mountains ready for you to strap on your skis and enjoy fresh powder. From coast to coast, the U.S. is filled with great ski resorts. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly resort, searching for less crowded slopes, or needing to pick a ski resort perfect for beginners, we can help you find a location that is perfect for your specific needs and interests. And if you are traveling with someone who is less than enthusiastic about the thought of balancing on two boards while careening down a mountain, consider one of these ski destinations with plenty to do for the non-skier in your life to ensure everyone has something to enjoy.

Colorado

Colorful Colorado is generally the state that first comes to mind when considering a ski trip in the U.S. Seemingly endless natural beauty pours from the Rockies that cut the state roughly in half, and some of the world's most renowned ski resorts are located amongst the snowy crags. With so many great options in one place, we thought we would help you out by sharing our nine favorite Colorado ski resorts for every level and interest.

Oregon

The Cascade Mountains stretch from southern British Columbia down into northern California, bisecting Oregon as they go. While you can find slopes throughout the Cascades, our writer's favorites are all within driving distance of Portland, making them convenient and accessible to most travelers. Click to see our picks for the four best ski resorts in Oregon.

A ski lift at the Mt. Hood Ski Bowl in Oregon.

Utah

Salt Lake City played host to the Winter Olympics in 2002, showcasing to the world just how beautiful -- and challenging -- the areas ranges can be for winter sports. Whether you visit to enjoy the former Olympic venues, to experience the slopes themselves, or both, take a look at the seven best ski resorts in Utah for every skill level and interest.

Vermont

You don't have to travel west to the Rockies to find great slopes. New England is rich in its own natural beauty and alpine landscape to satisfy even the most avid of skiers. Within New England, Vermont is the premier location for ski enthusiasts. Here are our picks for the best ski resorts to choose from in Vermont.

Bonus: Alberta, Canada

The Canadian Rockies should not be overlooked when considering a ski trip in North America. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Banff National Park, you won't want to miss these three fantastic ski resorts in Alberta.

Aerial view of the slops in Kaltenbach, Austria.

Europe

The Alps are the heart and soul of European ski culture, stretching from France in the west to Slovenia in the east, effectively separating the Italian peninsula from the rest of continental Europe. Each of the eight Alpine countries has an abundance of powder and culture to enjoy during your next ski trip. While the Alps may be the most well known, don't neglect the other majestic mountains scattered across the continent. Inka Piegsa Quischotte and Richard Nahem, TravelAwaits writers based in Europe, shared their favorite slopes in Austria and France respectively. Or see our full list of the best ski resorts across Europe for every skill level for even more ideas.

Austria

Ski slopes are scattered throughout most of Austria, with over 400 ski resorts throughout the central European country. With so many options, you’re sure to find a resort that suits your skill level and needs. In addition to great slopes, Austria also has abundant cross-country trails as well. Take a look at Inka's choices of the 9 best ski resorts in Austria.

France

With the Pyrenees in the south and the Alps to the west, France is blessed with some of the best ski areas in the world, making it an excellent destination. Richard has lived in Paris for over 15 years and has graciously shared his expertise with us: Click to see his picks for the 8 best ski resorts in France for every level and interest.

Choose The Right Ski Gear

While most ski equipment can be rented upon arrival at your chosen resort, there are certain items that you may prefer to purchase for one reason or another. At times it is more cost effective to purchase items as opposed to resorting to renting them repeatedly. Additionally, a purchase allows you to have a stronger voice in the safety and comfort of the equipment you use. It is a good idea to research what you might need in advance of a trip so you can arrive prepared and ready to hit the slopes. Take a look at our ultimate ski gear packing list for our top picks or peruse our individual guides below and find the best gear for your needs:

And for those who own their own skis, here are some great options for other ski accessories to make your trip more enjoyable:

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