Tahoe had 20 feet of snow by January, and its often-overlooked South Shore resorts are really thriving: The downfall left great coverage on the steeper faces at Heavenly, allowing it to shake its best-for-beginners tag. Plus, the brand-new Interstate 580 makes it a sub-hour trip from Reno. A scenic, 45-minute drive farther south is Kirkwood, where new avalanche howitzers and patrollers mean you can hit the best inbounds stuff early and explore the phenomenal side country after lunch.

Best Deal: After March 27, Heavenly and Kirkwood both offer three nights at the modest Lakeside Inn and three ski days for $248. Sierra-at-Tahoe's "Ski, Stay, and Soar" package includes two nights, a two-day lift ticket, and two scenic helicopter rides over the lake, for $265.