Major ski destinations can have all the charm of a factory assembly line—lifts dump snowsuit-clad locals and tourists into chaotic, crowded clusters. It's like the difference between booking a stay at a private resort vs. cramming onto a mass-market cruise liner. It pays to venture on the path less traveled.

"Resorts that take a little longer to get to often reward skiers and riders riders with fewer crowds, untracked powder, and down-to-earth mountain towns that make you feel at home,” says Dan Sherman, chief marketing officer at, North America’s largest provider of mountain vacations.

With more than 46 years of ski-vacation planning experience, the experts at recommend here seven hidden gems in the U.S. and abroad.