Big Sky Resort, Montana
COME THE FIRST WEEK of April, you can score a great package deal and stay in the slopeside Huntley Lodge for hundreds of dollars less than typical midwinter prices. And when you look out your window at Big Sky's Lone Peak in the morning, you'll realize what you really came for: some of the best all-mountain skiing in North America. The mountain's multiple exposures are ideal for making the best of spring conditions, but for those with big cajones, the supersteep Big Couloir is the perfect place to find dry snow.
COOL DIGS: Huntley Lodge ($709 per person for seven nights, including a six-day ski pass and breakfast; 800-548-4486, www.bigskyresort.com) is not ashamed to be western. Think elk-antler chandelier, bronze bear sculpture, and river-rock fireplace.
MOUNTAIN STATS: summit, 11,150 feet; vertical drop, 4,350 feet; skiable acres, 3,600; annual snowfall, 400 inches
LIFT TICKET: $58 Contact: 800-548-4486; www.bigsky resort.com
EVEN WITH ITS CELEBRITY statusit hosted the 2002 Olympic downhillsits 3,200 skiable acres, and its nine lifts (including two gondolas and a high-speed quad) that access 2,950 vertical feet, Snowbasin is still waiting for its first winter with more than 100,000 skier visits. (A place like Vail sees that many people in a couple of weeks.) Snowbasin remains the best undiscovered ski area in the country...for now. Hit the steeps of John Paul, almost 3,000 feet of vertical on a sustained 30-degree pitch, or carve the vast open spaces of Strawberry Bowl.
COOL DIGS: The Snowberry Inn (doubles, $65-$115, including breakfast; 888-334-3466, www.snowberry inn.com) in nearby Eden is a log cabin with an old-school, ski-lodge feeling.
MOUNTAIN STATS: summit, 9,465 feet; vertical drop, 2,950 feet; skiable acres, 3,200; annual snowfall, 400 inches
LIFT TICKET: $48 Contact: 888-437-5488, www.snowbasin.com