5 of the Best Vehicles for Ski Weekends

Snow-beating, passenger-friendly vehicles that are ready to get you to the slopes and back.

Capital One

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Getting you and your family to a ski resort can be a major undertaking, but the right vehicle can haul ski and snowboard gear, and safely sail through the worst of winter weather.

We combed through a myriad of four-wheel-drive SUVs to look for vehicles with excellent cargo space (especially up top for skis), decent fuel economy since it can be a long trek into the hills or mountains, and a comfortable cabin with room for your whole family. While vehicles that fit that bill were fairly easy to find (the formula isn’t terribly complex) each of our picks has a few distinct cold-weather features that might be especially helpful when flurries turn to flakes.

2022 Ford ExplorerFord

2022 Ford Explorer Hybrid

If a three-row, seven-seat ski machine is on your agenda, the four-wheel-drive hybrid version of the Ford Explorer offers a winter-ready alternative, priced at about $56,000. The 318-hp, 3.3-liter V6/hybrid powertrain generates 25 combined city/highway mpg, and a Deep Snow mode on the drive select knob can help with additional traction. Power-folding third-row seats leave a big spot for equipment, especially with the optional second-row captain’s chairs, while a Yakima SkyBox rooftop cargo box is a dealer-installed option. Additional niceties include heated front- and second-row seats, a self-washing rearview camera for melted splashback, and optional floor liners.

2023 GMC Yukon XL GMC

2023 GMC Yukon XL

With huge seats-up cargo room (41.5 cubic feet) and much more adult-friendly third-row seating than its previous generation, at about 225-inches-long the Yukon XL makes for a solid ski machine. Pricing starts at about $65,000 with 4WD. It’s a bit of a reach to scrape window ice or load rooftop gear on this nearly 77-inch-tall SUV, but its height-adjustable air ride suspension can help, and it also smooths out the ride. A 355-hp, 5.3-liter V8 or a 420-hp, 6.2-liter V8 both return 16 mpg combined according to EPA estimates, and are standard choices. Or consider the optional 3.0-liter, six-cylinder diesel engine, which gives the 4WD Yukon 22 mpg combined and up to 756 miles of range — enough to make it from Breckenridge, Colorado, to Breckenridge, Texas, on one tank.

2022 Kia TellurideKia

2023 Kia Telluride

Named after an old-time mining town-turned ski destination, Kia’s successful three-row SUV is an affordable option with loads of wintertime style, plus room for up to eight occupants. A 3.8-liter V6 provides 291 horsepower and, when paired with AWD, 21 mpg combined for about $39,000. Telluride’s Snow mode and AWD Lock mode can also help provide solid traction on icy roads. Water-resistant synthetic seating surfaces are perfect for carrying a load of snow-soaked passengers, with heated (and cooled, just in case) first- and second-row seating available. Roof rails can accommodate a cargo box to help maximize space, and Safe Exit Assist is a nice feature in a busy ski hill parking lot.

2023 Mercedes Benz GLE ClassMercedes-Benz

2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

The midsize member of the Mercedes SUV family offers a sweet spot for weekend skiers, with all-wheel drive and a range of AMG performance models, plus a sleek coupe version. The traditional 362-hp GLE 450, priced around $65,000, will serve your wintertime needs with 33.3 cubic-foot of cargo space and 22 mpg from a turbocharged, 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine with an integrated hybrid starter and generator. The GLE is also available with small third-row seating.

A wide digital instrument display, multicolored LED interior lighting, and heated second-row seating paired with optional rapid-heating front seats, armrests and door panels (even the cupholders are heated) will give your ride home a decadent feel.

2023 Subaru Outback WildernessSubaru

2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness

It’s unlikely your Outback will be the only Subaru at a ski resort, but you can stand out a bit with the $40,000 Wilderness edition, which gives it a more distinctive, rugged look, and also pushes snowy-road clearance to 9.5 inches. With waterproof upholstery, a helpful 180-degree front-view camera and standard, full-time AWD with enhanced traction from the dual X-Mode system, Outback is also as versatile as ever. It also gets 23 mpg from its 260-hp. 2.4-liter engine. There are only two rows, but it’s also built to handle 200 pounds of dynamic (while driving) roof-rail load, or 700 pounds of static load capacity for hardy rooftop campers who want to be first on the lift in the morning.

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Andy Stonehouse
Andy Stonehouse literally fell into the world of auto writing while working as a ski-town journalist, and has not looked back since. A childhood spent dealing with the eccentricities of a 1976 MG Midget has made any subsequent auto experience a more safe and reliable drive. He has been blessed with nearby mountain trails and snowy roads in Colorado to do TV-adventure-styled test drives on a weekly basis.