The Chosen Ones

Dec 9, 2009
Outside Magazine
WIDE OPEN: Vail, Colorado (Jeff Cirro/courtesy, Colorado Tourism)

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.