For some, smoking weed and snow sports go together like spaghetti and meatballs. While the elevation could be steep, the snow fluffy, and the beer cold, there is just something not quite complete about the ski or snowboard experience without being able to smoke pot freely.
It's no surprise that the best places to smoke weed and snow ski are the states where cannabis use has become legal, especially Colorado, who has long been a premier ski destination in the United States. But in 2012, with the legalization of marijuana there as the first US state, not only did it become the dream of every skier everywhere because of its terrain, but also every stoner because you can light up without much hassle.
Furthermore, it's had the desired impact on tourism that you might expect, with skiers from around the world coming to the likes of Colorado, Oregon and California to legally smoke recreational marijuana. Just after legalizing cannabis, Colorado saw a huge 10% year-on-year increase during its 2014-15 winter season.
A disclaimer: we do not condone skiing while stoned (unless you really know what you’re doing). It can certainly be a dangerous activity. In addition, most ski resorts operate on federal land, which means that smoking marijuana while on the mountain is still technically illegal, even if the state has legal marijuana laws.
Check out our 5 best places to smoke and ski:
1. Telluride, Colorado
Telluride looks a little like heaven, and if you’re high enough it just might feel like that as well. What began as a small, old mining town in the 1700’s is now home to world-class restaurants, a nightlife worth checking out, and some of the best skiing in the US. Dispensaries where you can pick up your green are sprinkled throughout the quaint town, like the Telluride Bud Company and the Telluride Green Room. And you don’t have to be an expert skier or boarder. While the mountain gets gnarly at the top, the resort has over 50% beginner and intermediate runs. It was ranked as the #1 Ski Resort in North America in the Conde Nast Readers Choice Awards in 2018. There may be a lot of cool ski towns to smoke, ski, and hang, but Telluride has to be up there in anyone’s book who has visited.
2. Breckenridge, Colorado
We’ll focus on the great ski resort of Brekenridge here, but really a lot of this is relevant to all ski facilities in Summit County, Colorado, that boasts five quality ski resorts in Copper Mountain, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, and of course ‘Brek’ short for Breckenride. In terms of towns, Breckenridge has the most going on. Once being a mining town, today Brek boasts an impressive scene of eats, drinks, arts, shopping, and charm — and it also has a robust weed culture. There are a handful of top dispensaries located on Airport Rd. We recommend Breckenridge Organic Therapy and the Green Dragon, who both offer nice specials. Oh, and of course we can’t forget to mention how rad the skiing is. The ski resort has a lot of attributes, one worth noting is the 657 acres of snowmaking ability, which means they can pump it out if the conditions call for it. But also 5 six-person lifts and 34 of them in total means you should get your skiing in even on busy days (which there are a lot of). If you’re a boarder or a freestyle skier, this is a nice spot for you with a 22’ superpipe and 4 terrain parks.
3. Mount Bachelor, Oregon
When you talk skiing in Oregon, most people point to Mount Hood and its crazy year-round skiing regardless of season. However, we recommend staying in Bend and drive a half hour to Mount Bachelor. Now the 6th largest ski resort in North America, the mountain has 3,365 ft of vertical, 101 runs and over 4,000 skiable acres. Bend has fast become a trendy city for free thinkers and all-things-conscious people to hang out in, much to the shagrin of long time locals. In any regard, in Bend you can have a fun time and visit over 25 top-notch cannabis dispensaries, then hop in the car for 30 minutes and arrive to Bachelor for some great skiing and nice vertical, while enjoying the laid back atmosphere Oregon has to offer.
4. Tahoe, California
It was only April, 2019 when marijuana became legal for recreational use in Tahoe, so this coming ski season will be the first where you can pop into a dispensary to pick up some weed on your way from the mountain. Now states on both sides of Lake Tahoe (Nevada and California) have legalized marijuana! Some of the most majestic views known to man will transform your thoughts (or maybe it’s the strong Cali weed). Either way, with the recent legalization, natural laid back attitudes, and dispensaries popping up all over, Tahoe now becomes a part of this list given its great skiing and breathtaking beauty.
5. Winter Park, Colorado
Just over an hour outside of Denver, Winter Park features some really nice skiing conditions spanning over seven different territories (3,081 acres, to be exact). It’s the best skiing you’ll get so close to an international airport (Denver International) and is very friendly to cannabis users. I mean...one of the territories is even called Mary Jane for pete's sake! The Winter Park village is home to multiple 420-friendly hotels where smoking weed is permitted, and loads of dispensaries, especially if you are driving in from Denver. Easily accessible, close to the city, lots of terrain, and weed-friendly hotels...sign me up!
Not listed: Everywhere in Utah
**********UPDATE (MAY, 2021)**********
As more states around the US continue to jump aboard the weed train and legalize the herb, we’ve decided to update the list of the best places to toke and ski.
Since this articles’ publishing, around 10 states have put an end to their pot prohibition. We’ve added two of our favorite resorts that now fit the bill.
Taos, New Mexico — Just this month, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham officially signed legislation legalizing recreational Marijuana. And what a joy that must have been to hear for skiers in the area because Taos is a skier’s paradise…but you better know what you’re doing!
“Steep and deep” is an accurate way to describe the mountain. High altitude between 9,200 feet and 12,481 feet with a vertical drop of 3,281 feet can make anyone breathe a little heavy. While not a great mountain to learn how to ski on, if you know what you’re doing and hit it on a good snow day, it will be bliss.
What will now make it even more blissful is that dispensaries will soon begin to open up around the area. The town of Taos is about a 25-minute drive from the ski resort and boasts incredible art, shopping, and music that embody a mix of Spanish and Native American culture. A perfect experience.
Big Sky, Montana — Everything seems bigger in Montana. And the same can be said about its most popular ski resort, Big Sky. With over 5,800 skiable acres and 36 lifts, the name is perfectly appropriate.
Montana legalized recreational marijuana use last year, making this resort a natural to put on the list. Dispensaries are slated to open around the state in 2022, but there are a few medicinal facilities right in the town of Big Sky if you just so happen to have your medical marijuana card (our favorite is Greener Pastures). In any case, smoking, possessing, or growing it is no longer a crime.
The size of Big Sky makes it appealing to smoke and ski. I, for one, don’t ever like to feel crowded when I’m skiing, but ESPECIALLY when I’m a little stoned. Because it is so vast and spread out, you always feel like you have room to ski and do your thing. Not to mention there are plenty of remote spots to sneak off and take a puff on your way down.