You have probably heard that private aviation is more flexible, reliable, and safer than commercial flight. Did you know that it can also take you to almost any airport in the world, whether it has a short runway made from grass or gravel? With the arrival of fall comes the ski season throughout the US and, although Aspen is the most famous resort in the country, there are a handful of other locations worthy of consideration and where only a private aircraft can take you.
Commercial aviation has obvious limitations in comfort and flexibility, but also is limited to the size of aircraft. Larger airliners cannot land in some regional or domestic airports, thus demanding more ground transportation to get from an international airport to destination. Private jet charter provider Monarch Air Group shares a list of the most visited ski resorts by their clients in the US, ranked by size, as skiers, especially those traveling with the family, usually prefer more square miles of snow as it suggests extra adventure and fun.
Big Sky, Montana: It is the third-largest in North America with 8,900 square miles, but it would be the largest if its Yellowstone Ski Club area was considered, as it would ascend to a total of 12,500 square miles of skiing, practically the same size as Whistler in Canada, the largest in the subcontinent. The ski slope is also among the biggest in North America, while also considered as the most popular ski resort in Montana.
-Closest runway: Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport – 45 miles from destination.
-Recommended aircraft: Pilatus PC-12NG
Vail, Colorado: Its 8,300 square miles makes it the largest in Colorado. It is equipped with 28 modern ski lifts and located in Eagle County, next to the city of Vail. You can either use Eagle County Regional Airport or Denver International to get there.
-Closest runway: Eagle County Regional Airport – 35 miles from destination.
-Recommended aircraft: Cessna Citation M2
Mount Bachelor, Oregon: Virtually unknown to the international skier, Mount Bachelor offers 5,750 skiable square miles. Equipped with 10 ski lifts, it provides all the services that a station of this size requires. It averages almost 26 feet of accumulated snow per year, which guarantees a long season that normally runs until May.
-Closest runway: Redmond Municipal Airport – 24 miles from destination.
-Recommended aircraft: Lear 60
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, California: 6,000 acres are available for ski lovers. The ski resort is in Lake Tahoe and has 42 ski lifts that take skiers to an area located between 6,200 and 9,055 feet of altitude. A new gondola will connect the two mountains instead of having to drive between the two. Interesting fact: It hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Closest runway: Truckee Tahoe Airport 15 miles, or Reno-Tahoe International Airport – 48 miles from destination.
-Recommended aircraft: Gulfstream 280
Mammoth Mountain, California: The list closes with the 5,450 square miles of Mammoth Mountain, a paradise in winter and summer seasons given its proximity to Yosemite. It offers 28 ski lifts to transport skiers to the station's tops, located between 7,950 and 11,050 feet of altitude. Mammoth is usually one of the places with the most reliable snow, generally the first to open in the United States and the last to close, typically in late June.
-Closest runway: Mammoth Yosemite Airport – 12 miles from destination.
-Recommended aircraft: Embraer Legacy 650
There are other great and more popular ski locations in the country, as Aspen and Telluride, and although they have more accessibility via commercial aviation, a private jet to your favorite ski resort will be the most flexible, reliable and safe way of transportation today, as there are fewer touchpoints in the process, less possibilities of infection, and more time to sit back and enjoy all the private aviation amenities.