Crested Butte, CO
The southwest Colorado resort is one of few in North America that really does offer wide-ranging terrain for every kind of skier. Spanning 1,547 acres and topping out an elevation of more than 12,000 feet, Crested Butte has plenty of terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers—more than two thirds of that acreage, to be exact—while the rest is dedicated to insanely steep extreme terrain serviced by some of the best lifts in the country. Bonus points go to an expanded ski school program that isn’t just for newbies to the sport, but also for expert skiers who want an intro to that extreme terrain.
Where to stay: It’s hard to beat the location of the Lodge at Mountain Square in Crested Butte’s base area, just steps from the lifts and a free town shuttle.
Stats: One-day lift tickets average $75–$120; 15 lifts for 121 trails.
Aspen Mountain, CO
The resort, known by locals as Ajax, is the closest to the actual town of Aspen out of four ski areas (including Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk). Once a silver mining camp, Aspen today draws tourists for luxury lodgings, high-end dining, and exclusive designer shopping. The actual ski area is only one-fifth the size of Snowmass (without a single beginner run) but offers 673 acres of powder, beloved by intermediate and advanced skiers.
Where to stay: The St. Regis Aspen Resort, The Little Nell, and Aspen Meadows Resort.
Stats: One-day lift tickets average $145; eight lifts for 76 trails.