The mountains of North America are stunning at the best of times. Add fresh snow and they take on a mystical beauty with soaring peaks, deep canyons, ice waterfalls, frozen blue lakes and snow laden forests.
Lucky for you these roads are open so you can drive USA and Canada’s most scenic winter routes from one ski field to the next.
If you can’t decide where to ski next northern winter, why not rent a car and choose your ski resorts around these scenic drives. Take your camera, your phone, your GoPro and your license and thank us later.
Lake Tahoe – from Nevada to California and back again
Take the 72 mile lap of the lake and prepare to stop, often, especially in spring. There are so many vantage points along the way to get out of the car and explore, whether hiking on high snow trails or meandering the boulders on the lake. Lake Tahoe is known for the clearest waters with 98% clarity. The towns around the lake serve filtered lake water it’s that fresh and pure.
Head to Highway 50 from Reno and you’ll know when you’ve hit the lake because the blue will take your breathe away. Head south along the lake from Glenbrook to South Lake Tahoe and stop at Zephyr Cove in Nevada for your first snapshots. Then make your way to Emerald Bay and Inspiration Point or take the short hike up to Eagle Falls.
From here it is literally stop after stop of magic lookouts in Rubicon and McKinney Bay, meander the small town of Kings Beach, head up to the swanky Incline Village, stop at Sand Harbour on the way back south.
The drive can be done in a day but if you prefer to go from ski resort to ski resort then it’s Heavenly to Homeward, to Alpine Meadows, to Squaw, to Northstar, to Mount Rose.
Our tip? Stop in Truckee for the best coffee going at Dark Horse Roasters.
Million Dollar Highway, Colorado
If you like adrenaline with your beauty then this is the drive for you. It’s truly spectacular and part of the San Juan Skyway that starts in Durango, cuts through Silverton and Ouray and winds through three high mountain passes.
If you don’t like heights, this drive is not for you. Check the weather conditions and don’t attempt it in a snow storm, there are no guard rails and steep cliffs and the lane gets narrow and quite frankly. Weather in these parts can come in without warning.
Let the passenger take the pictures, safer that way.
Banff to Jasper – the Icefields Parkway, Canada
This drive takes you through both Banff National Park and Jasper National Park from Lake Louise and Sunshine Village ski resorts to Marmot ski resort. It can be done in a day and is a 232 kilometer stretch of double lane highway.
The parkway takes in over 100 ancient glaciers, a plethora of ice waterfalls, emerald rivers and lakes and The Columbia Icefield (325 square kilometers) then add the Glacier SkyWalk glass floor platform jutting out over the Sunwapta Valley.
Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia, Canada
This stunning drive, known officially as Highway 99, takes 2.5 hours from Vancouver to Whistler and skirts alongside the harbour waters and Howe Sound. You’ll climb past mountain peaks with the ocean on your left and discover park lands, waterfalls and the delights of Squamish, an adventure town on the water with the Sea to Sky Gondola.
British Columbia have set up seven kiosks along the way for visitors to have a cultural interpretive experience. Our picks? Stop at Horeshoe Bay, Porteau Cove, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, Shannon Falls and Squamish. Driving is easy thanks to a well maintained highway.