It’s a bluebird day at Vail, where you’ll soar over mountain peaks in a gondola powered, now that Vail has gone green, by wind-generated energy.
Photo: Vail Resorts Photography
3. Kirkwood Mountain Resort, CA
Season-pass steal: No question, skiing is a spendy sport, but there are deals out there, like Kirkwood's $339 season "value pass." One swipe
of the credit card and you've got five months of nearly unlimited access to 2,300 acres of skiable terrain, line-free lifts,
and arguably the best, not to mention the most, snow in Lake Tahoe. (Last season, Kirkwood boasted the deepest snowpack in
North America, at 850 inches.) Perks for non-pass holders include two-day tickets for $99 and free skiing for kids on Sundays.
www.kirkwood.com or 209/258-6000. ― R.L.
4. Red River, NM
Old school: For Western skiing the way it used to be, head to Red River, where, besides snowmaking and some newfangled modernizing, not
much has changed. Lifts take off right from Main Street and are a short stroll from the town's rustic lodging and steakhouses.
For the moment, you won't find any million-dollar condos, only a classic Rocky Mountain ski area with foot after foot of fluff―and not an ounce of pretension.
www.redriverskiarea.com or 800/331-7669. ― Ted Alan Stedman
5. Deer Valley Resort, UT
Four-star service: At $77 a pop, it better be posh. Skiers-only (and proud of it), Deer Valley is brimming with elitism and Utah's featherlight
snow. A max of 6,500 tickets are sold per day, which ensures solitary schussin'; free overnight ski storage eases the burden
of lugging; and, running to the top of Bald Mountain, a new high-speed quad has replaced a sluggish lift. Above all, Deer
Valley feeds its Chanel goggle-clad patrons well. Each day lodge has its own chef ― and specialty: butternut squash enchiladas at Snow Park, sushi at Silver Lake, and pressed panini at Empire Canyon.
www.deervalley.com or 800/558-3337. ― R.L.
6. Snowbasin Resort, UT
Locals' secret: When fresh powder blankets the Wasatch Range, most skiers flock to big-name Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. But those
in the know head to Snowbasin, 33 miles north of Salt Lake City. State-of-the-art snowmaking, four new lifts that doubled
the terrain, and three new day lodges were added so Snowbasin could host the downhill skiing events of the 2002 Olympics.
What wasn't built, though, was base lodging ― leaving locals with a world-class resort for themselves.
www.snowbasin.com or 888/437-5488. ― Ryan Brandt