No resort gets a bigger La Niña bang for the dump than Crested Butte, which often has thin cover until February. But last year, 62 inches fell between December 16 and 23, allowing early access to the mountain's best terrain, Third Bowl, which could open early again this year. To make the most of the bowl's 75 acres of hike-to terrain, ride the North Face lift, then make the 20-minute trek to the top before dropping in. There, you'll find 45-degree lines, powder pillows, and cliff bands. Sound intimidating? Hire an instructor from the North Face Guide Program ($120) and learn to rip the steeps with confidence. Afterward, soak and steam at the Elevation Hotel's fully loaded spa (doubles from $249; skicb.com). Smart Idea: The newly opened CS Irwin Lodge outfits backcountry cat-ski trips on 1,000 acres of prime terrain up Kebler Pass ($500 per day; csirwin.com). Trips leave from downtown Crested Butte in cats outfitted as state-of-the-art touring coaches.
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