Outside magazine, Travel Guide 1997-1998
Where to Bunk: The elegant but relaxed Alta's Rustler Lodge (888-532-2582) has ski-in/ski-out access to the base lifts, a new Jacuzzi and outdoor pool, and a fitness center. New six-person dorm rooms with bath cost $90-$125 per person per night; new two-person "luxury rooms" run $195-$270 per person; each additional adult is $75, kids 6 to 11 $50; under five is free. All rates include breakfast and dinner. One of Alta's best deals is the Alta Peruvian Lodge (two-bedroom suite, $624-$756 for a group of four, including three meals and lift passes; 800-453-8488).
Local Wisdom: Following a big dump, ski the High Traverse, High Rustler, Gunsight, or Supreme Challenge off the Supreme Chair. A free shuttle leaves from Alta for Snowbird, ten minutes down the canyon, about every 20 minutes.
ARAPAHOE BASIN SKI AREA, COLORADO
Where to Bunk: Arapahoe Basin has no on-site accommodations; the majority of skiers stay in Keystone. Colorado's first dedicated skiers' lodge is now a B&B called the Ski Tip Lodge (doubles with bath, $130-$204, including breakfast; 800-222-0188). The lodge has massive stone fireplaces, and is decorated with old ski memorabilia. At the Keystone Lodge (doubles, $205-$276; 800-222-0188), you get an ice-skating rink, a fitness center, hot tubs, and a swimming pool.
Local Wisdom: There are no on-mountain public facilities (excluding the trees), so be sure to use the bathroom before you catch the lift.
JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT, WYOMING
Where to Bunk: In Jackson, the Parkway Inn (doubles, $69-$95; 307-733-3143) has antique furnishings and a fitness center. At the base of the ski hill is the recently remodeled ski-in/ski-out Alpenhof Lodge (doubles, $98-$284; 800-732-3244), whose alpine decor includes Bavarian wood furnishings and down comforters.
Local Wisdom: Enroll in one of the Jackson Hole Steep Weeks to take part in a combined expert ski clinic-cum-steep-chutes confrontation. Or take a day trip to Grand Targhee on the Targhee Express (round-trip ticket, $15; call 307-733-1700).
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CALIFORNIA
Where to Bunk: The Mammoth Mountain Inn (800-228-4947) has ski-in/ski-out access to all 29 lifts, a bar, a restaurant, and child care. Mid-week lifts-and-lodging packages, with three nights' lodging and three days of lift tickets, start at $528 for two; a standard double runs $115. The inn also rents condos (one-bedroom units with loft, $325 and up).
Local Wisdom: Check out http://www. hairynet.com/highsierra/mammoth3.htm for the latest earthquake reports. Purchase the Mammoth Club Card for $60 and save $14 on every lift ticket; one teen or child membership is free with the purchase of an adult card.
TAOS SKI VALLEY, NEW MEXICO
Where to Bunk: In Taos Ski Valley, ski-school technical director Jean Mayer's Hotel St. Bernard (seven-day packages, $990-$1,390 per person, including all meals, six lift tickets, and six ski lessons; 505-776-2251) provides old-world hospitality and international cuisine served at a communal table. Close to Taos Plaza is La Posada de Taos B&B (doubles, $85-$135; 800-645-4803), a 100-year-old adobe home with six rooms, five with kiva fireplaces and all with patios.
Local Wisdom: On busy days avoid the Kachina Lift (Chair 4) and ski chairs 2 or 8 instead. Hike Highline and West Basin Ridges — then pick a chute, any chute. Enroll in the Ernie Blake Ski School ski week (six lessons, $335-$372, $298 before December 20). Ernie Blake's instructors tend to push their students, so don't be afraid to say "no thanks" to big bumps, vertical chutes, or weird snow.
WHISTLER RESORT, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Where to Bunk: The Pan Pacific Lodge, opening December 15, 1997, in the heart of Whistler Village, is an eight-story complex with a health club, outdoor pool and spa, and restaurant (studios, U.S.$148-$332; one-bedroom units, $258-$443; two-bedroom units, $369-$553; 800-538-4040). At the elegant Chateau Whistler Resort (standard doubles, $117-$353; 800-441-1414), at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, you get ski-in/ski-out access, a health club, restaurants, and bars.
Local Wisdom: Hire Peter Smart of Extremely Canadian (800-938-9656) to guide you to Whistler/Blackcomb's hidden chutes and powder stashes. At the new Snow Adventure Centres you can rent skis, shaped skis, snowboards, and snowblades.