Resort Picks: Gems

Five refreshingly undeveloped resorts

Gems Whitewater

Pristine powder at Whitewater Ski Resort    Photo: Doug LePage/courtesy, Whitewater Ski Resort

We love the steep, off-piste terrain and mellow vibe. But what makes Jay Peak, Vermont, our favorite New England area is the snow. It consistently gets about 20 percent more than other eastern resorts.

A winding dirt road and two antique double chairs keep the crowds away from Nelson, British Columbia's Whitewater, so you get plenty of snow to yourself. Fifty-plus feet a year falls on steep slopes dotted with trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. The locals call it Kootenay Gold. You should sample some.

With more than 900 vertical feet of legitimately steep terrain, a base area that consists of three interconnected yurts, and not a single groomed run, Michigan's Mount Bohemia is the Midwest's most challenging resort. The only catch? It's in the Upper Peninsula, a six-hour drive from Minneapolis.

It's huge (5,500 acres total) and sees just a fraction of the skiers that Utah's better-known resorts do. But here's the best thing about Powder Mountain: For 12 bucks, you can catch a cat ride to Lightning Ridge, where 700 sparsely gladed acres of 2,200-foot-long runs await.

Kirkwood is small—two high-speed quads, 2,300 acres—but it's also steep and gnarly. (The annual Subaru North American Freeskiing Championship is hosted here.) Nightlife? Bub's Pub is a hole in the wall with a jukebox and a pool table.

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