Aah skiing, one of America’s favorite winter pastimes. Dating back to the prehistoric Nordic days, the Sami people used skis to assist in hunting, military maneuvers, and as a practical means of transportation. Norwegian Sondre Norheim is known as the "father of modern skiing" and is credited with making it a recreational sport, being the first to challenge his friends to races and obstacles of agility. While not everywhere in the US is gifted with sprawling mountain ranges, what makes a good resort is more than just location, it includes range of options from beginner to expert, amount of powder received annually, number of lifts and runs, crowds, terrain, and amenities among other things.

Here are our picks for the best ski resorts in America.

"Breckenridge" by Justinknabb via Flickr Creative Commons

Best for Beginners - Breckenridge, CO

While Breck is also known for North America’s highest chair lift, whether you’re a novice who wants to tackle some of the longest and most gentle beginner trails in the country or a seasoned expert determined to conquer a double-black diamond run, Breckenridge offers lessons for every skill level. The Ski and Snowboard School boasts over 600 professional instructors and a range of group and private lessons to help you reach your skiing and riding goals. Every beginner and intermediate trail is groomed nightly so you can enjoy endless turns throughout your day.

"Snowboarding at Jackson Hole" by Ian via Flickr Creative Commons

Best Skiing for the Pros - Jackson Hole, WY

With 2,500 acres of legendary inbound terrain, a 4,139' vertical rise, 459" of average snowfall each winter, and unparalleled backcountry access, Jackson Hole offers a truly intense winter adrenaline rush. Winner of best backcountry access and best steeps by Skiing magazine, they don’t mess around with their powder.

Photo Credit: Zach Dischner

Most Underrated Ski Resort - Big Sky, MT

Montana is still an undiscovered landmass of wide open skies and serious skiing leaving it crowd-free and unpretentious. Known as the Biggest Skiing in America, you have access to 5,532 skiable acres and 4,350 feet of vertical drop. Runs up to six miles long and glades and bowls covered in 400~plus inches of annual snowfall.

Photo Credit: Tom Kelly

Best Groomed - Deer Valley, UT

Chosen the #1 Resort in North America for five consecutive years by Ski magazine, Deer Valley boasts six different mountains with elevations from 7950 to 9,570 feet. Whether you’re a green, blue or black aficionado, there’s a run to challenge you.

Photo Credit: Tracie

Best Ski Town - Vail, Co

One of Colorado’s best resorts, Vail boasts more than just killer skiing. Vail Village is a cute mountain town brimming with fine dining and a downtown that's far from sleepy. Vail offers hundreds of shops from boutiques to outdoor gear to art galleries for the whole family to enjoy. Get a good nap in because Vail is also known for its hopping nightlife, from cozy microbreweries to karaoke to clubbing.

Photo Credit: RenoTahoe

Best Weekend Getaway - Lake Tahoe, CA

Great for either a summer or winter escape, Lake Tahoe is home to seven world-class ski resorts, the most well-known being Heavenly or Squaw Valley. Recharge at night with happening casino entertainment, swank, cozy or rustic taverns and restaurants, dancing, music, local hangouts and events.