The tradition of alpine skiing in the United States goes back to the 19th century. During the long winter months miners in the snowed in mining towns across California and Colorado would entertain themselves by organizing ski races.
Nordic skis have also been used as a means of personal transportation in Minnesota and other flat states.
Resurgence of skiing in the U.S. took place immediately after the second world war when the returning veterans of the 10th Mountain Division came back home with a newfound passion for skiing. Some of the veterans worked actively on formation of modern ski resorts and popularization of winter sports.
There are hundreds of ski resorts roughly distributed in three main areas in the United States. The northeast states of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire have older, lower mountains and typically very cold winters with hard fast snow.
The Rocky Mountains ski areas span the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. This massive range has to offer some of the best resort and off-piste skiing in the U.S. due to high elevation and spectacular light dry powder.
The Sierra Nevada range in California and Nevada features the highest peak in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney at 14,505 ft (4,421m). The abundant snowfall in the Sierra Nevada is heavy due to moisture from the Pacific Ocean.
The western ski states also include Washington and Oregon with volcanic Mount Hood which features all-year-round skiing and snowboarding.
While there are ski areas in other parts of the country they tend to be smaller local mountains with less challenging terrain.