You can never really predict the weather. That’s why more and more resorts are offering snow guarantees, essentially promising decent conditions or your money back. Killington, in Vermont, has a summit elevation of 4,241 feet, so the resort tends to get more natural snowfall (250 inches annually) than the lower ski areas nearby. Still, if the snow isn’t up to your standards, return your lift ticket within an hour of purchase and before noon and receive a rain check for the next powder day.
At Maine’s Sunday River, you can buy a lift ticket and take a few runs, and if the groomers feel like an ice-skating rink, you can swap your ticket for a voucher and come back another day. The area just added a new terrain park and opened an additional 75 acres; head for the thinned-out steeps on White Cap peak.
At Franconia, New Hampshire’s Cannon Mountain, a small-town ski area that happens to have the highest lift-accessed peak in the state (4,080 feet), you can return your lift ticket within an hour of purchase for an equal-value voucher if the snow disappoints.
Hotels are catching on, too. At Colorado’s Westin Riverfront at Beaver Creek, if you book a room by November 19 (for dates between November 27 and December 19), and there’s anything short of a 19-inch base the day before your arrival, you can cancel with no penalties (doubles from $190).