The Chosen Ones

WIDE OPEN: Vail, Colorado     Photo: Jeff Cirro/courtesy, Colorado Tourism

UP-AND-COMER
The Sundance set will rejoice over the fact that The Canyons, a once unknown Park City resort, now hosts a Waldorf Astoria, complete with a slick new Spruce Restaurant from celeb chef Mark Sullivan. Avoid the glitz by hitting the steep, open glades off the Ninety-Nine 90 Chair. thecanyons.com

ENDLESS OPTIONS
Vail's wide range of terrain parks and village shopping means the family will stay busy while you make laps. Everyone rushes to the 3,017-acre Back Bowls. You should, too. But when Chair 5 gets constipated, make for Chair 11 and duck over to the trees and cliff drops on the front side. vail.com

BEST NIGHTLIFE
World-renowned sushi chefs, an international clientele, and some 200 restaurants and bars make Whistler-Blackcomb the most raucous party scene this side of France. That's especially true this year, when the Olympics come to town February 12–28. That's no reason to shy away, though: Olympic host resorts often see a dip in visitation immediately following the Games—meaning hotel rooms (and bar­stools) can be had. whistler.com

FUNKY TOWN
Despite its A-list residents, Telluride manages to keep things low-key. Credit a hearty civic spirit: Locals recently raised $50 million to prevent a massive development on the one road leading into this box canyon. Sure, the Mountain Village is a little ostentatious, but any place with an in-town "free box" (where you can score discarded ski gear) is all right by us. visittelluride.com

SNOWBOARD HEAVEN
Its world-class terrain park might be the main attraction for some, but Mammoth's slopes are mostly fall-line, meaning very few traverses or flat spots. And since it's in the Sierra, the snow comes in fast, thick, and heavy (18 inches in a 12-hour period is normal). So bring your biggest board. mammothmountain.com

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