The 5 Best Reinventions

People change. Resorts change, too.

Skiing ski Storm snow winter backcountry skiing Tahoe Lake Tahoe blue nature landscape lake skier jumping Bern Atomic Helly Hansen Dragon

Above the lake at Squaw.     Photo: Ryan Salm

At one time, California’s Squaw was the jewel of American skiing, the birthplace of the modern freeskiing movement. Then mistakes were made—chairlifts went up haphazardly, the base village fell into decay—and one of the best ski areas in North America became irrelevant. In 2011, a private equity firm began a $70 million overhaul, including the purchase of neighboring resort Alpine Meadows. Now you can ski both on the same lift ticket, connecting via a brief shuttle ride. (When the resorts are eventually joined by a lift, the combined ski area will be the largest in the U.S.) And families have access to vastly improved beginner and intermediate terrain. All this is happening while new generations of junior extremists fling themselves down the steeps of KT-22, as J.T. Holmes, Ingrid Backstrom, Shane McConkey, Scot Schmidt, and dozens of other big-name skiers did before them.

Over the past two years, Canyons Resort, in Park City, Utah, has spent in excess of $50 million refurbishing itself, adding a heated chairlift, winter ziplines, and additional gladed terrain.

You saw the Olympic construction during the 2010 Winter Games. What does it mean for you now? Easier access from Vancouver, tricked-out lifts everywhere, and tons of lodging. All that and skier visits remain at pre-Olympics levels.

Thanks to serious upgrades in snowmaking, Tremblant now offers some of the most consistent cruising in the East. The Euro-style town is packed with architecture and dining that actually do justice to Quebec’s French connection.

Mammoth Lakes, five hours northeast of Los Angeles, may have filed for bankruptcy (long story). But the area is thriving, and the resort invested heavily in new lifts, making for faster access to the Rocky Mountain-quality snowfall.

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