You’ll find snow, peace and quiet, and a place to sleep at the base of Schweitzer Mountain, located just south of the Canadian border.
Photo: Brown Cannon III
7. Vail, CO
Green giant: Ski areas don't exactly have that enviro-feel-good rep, but Vail Resorts ― which recently switched to 100 percent wind-generated energy ― is now the second-largest corporate purchaser of wind power in the country. The operator of five major mountains (Vail, Keystone,
Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, and Heavenly) will avoid spewing millions of pounds of CO2 emissions annually. And Vail's growing:
Renovations at LionsHead Village are on track for completion in fall '07, but experience the mountain's back bowls, bumps,
and chutes now.
www.vail.com or 970/476-9090. ― T.A.S.
8. Winter Park Resort, CO
Easy ride: After tackling the moguls of Mary Jane Mountain (including seven new glade runs this year), nothing feels better than letting
someone else do the driving back to Denver. The Ski Train departs from the base right after lifts close―and the two lounge cars come to life before the wheels start turning. Admire sweeping vistas as you chug the quick two hours
to Denver, gloating all the way about how you bypassed the battle on I-70. From $49 round-trip.
www.skitrain.com or 303/296-4754. ― R.B.
9. Schweitzer Mountain Resort, ID
Slopes to yourself: Set far up in the Idaho Panhandle, Schweitzer feels like your own private Idaho, sans day-trippers, traffic, or a chaotic
village scene. With its tree skiing, quiet glades, endless untracked backcountry, and views of Canada, Montana, and Washington
from the 6,400-foot summit, Schweitzer is achingly beautiful. Four hundred new acres make Schweitzer's already uncrowded terrain
even more delightfully deserted.
www.schweitzer.com or 800/831-8810. ― K.B.S.
10. Big Sky/Moonlight Basin, MT
Most mountain: Like sisters forced to share the same room, a frosty relationship was inevitable when Moonlight Basin opened next to Big
Sky Resort on Montana's Lone Mountain in 2003. Last year, though, the ice melted with the debut of the Lone Peak Ticket ($79),
combining the resorts' 5,300 acres. Bolstered by 200 more acres at Big Sky this year, the area is now the largest contiguous
swath in U.S. ski country ― with enough greens, blues, and double-blacks to keep everybody happy.
www.bigskyresort.com or 800/548-4486; www.moonlightbasin.com or 877/822-0430. ― R.B.