In the Chalet: Ski USA playing cards

If you’re into card games or alpine culture, check out Inkstone Designs. The company takes the usual deck of playing cards and puts a new twist on it with different designs. Its products include golf courses, skys scrapers, dogs, and for our purposes here, ski areas.

Ski USA,  as the deck is called, has a card for 35  ski areas in the western states and 17 in the east. Each card features the resort’s longitude and latitude, base and summit elevation, and trail map. The map is simplified, and subject to obsolesnce as an area cuts a new trail or changes up its lift configuation. But still, it’s one way of understanding how a ski area is laid out.

In addition to serving as a deck of cards for playing solitaire, poker, or whatever your favorite card game happens to be, the deck can serve as a springboard for discussion in the lodge. Reminisce about trips to one of the areas or debate the merits of the ranking system implied by the deck. Jackson Hole, Squaw Valley, Sun Valley, and Vail, serve as the aces, while the kings are Aspen Mountain, Killington, Stowe, and Snowbird. Do they all deserve to in such a lofty position? Why is Snowmass only a Jack? Or Arapahoe Basin, a great springtime destination, only a deuce?

Anyone offended by resorts that exclude snowboards will have to live with the inclusion of Mad River Glen (two of spades) and Alta (Queen of clubs). At least Taos (eight of spades) now welcomes snowboards.


  • Alaska (1): Alyeska
  • Washington (1): Mt. Baker
  • Oregon (2): Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood
  • California (5): Alpine Meadows; Heavenly; Mammoth; Northstar; Squaw Valley



  • Idaho (1): Sun Valley
  • Montana (3): Big Mountain; Big Sky; Snowbowl
  • New Mexico (1): Taos
  • Utah (6): Alta; Deer Valley; Park City; Snowbasin; Snowbird; Solitude
  • Wyoming (2): Grand Targhee; Jackson Hole
  • Colorado (13): Arapahoe Basin; Aspen; Aspen Highlands; Beaver Creek; Breckenridge; Crested Butte; Copper Mountain; Keystone; Snowmass; Steamboat; Telluride; Vail; Winter Park


  • New York (3): Gore Mountain; Hunter; Whiteface
  • Vermont (7): Killington; Mad River Glen; Mount Snow; Okemo; Smuggler’s Notch; Stowe; Stratton
  • New Hampshire (4): Attitash; Cranmore; Loon Mountain; Waterville Valley
  • Maine (3): Saddleback; Sunday River; Sugarloaf

It would have been nice to see an entry or two for the Midwest, whether it would be Lutsen, Minnesota, for its great views of Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake, or Boyne Mountain, Michigan, the one-time home of Stein Eriksen, the legendary skier. Even with this omission, Ski USA is a fun and inexpensive bit of ski kitch for the winter enthusiast.


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