Ski schools aren't just for beginners anymore. As part of an overall resort revival, ski mountains are pouring millions of dollars into their instructional and guiding programs. "People are asking for more personalized coaching," says Andy Buckley, director of skier services at Northstar in Lake Tahoe. "When you struggle with something technical, it's analogous to work and life stuff – the psychological barriers, getting over the hump. The best ski coaches turn into life coaches." These days it's not uncommon for your instructor to be a local legend or an Olympic medalist; some resorts are engineering their runs so they have just the right angles and aspects to learn on; cat- and heli-skiing trips now often include a full master class on evaluating snow conditions. These are the best mountains, ski schools, and guided adventures to help you raise your game.
America's Most Hassle-Free Mountain: Deer Valley, UT
BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE
Thirty-one years ago, Deer Valley invented all-inclusive ski-luxe, with valets who lug gear from car to slope, full-time concierges, and state-licensed child care – all designed to get you on the slopes fast and keep you there. It isn't cheap, but the three-to-one guest-to-staff ratio will usher you through everything from renting your skis to the Max 4 instruction program so efficiently, you'll clock twice as much mountain time. Deer Valley even has mountain hosts who stand atop each peak and give you insider tips on the best-groomed runs by the hour. "We can get you skiing on corduroy at 2 p.m., Christmas week, after 7,500 skiers have been here all day," says mountain host manager Chris Sherwin. Plus, five of its six peaks have groomed green runs, so you won't be stuck in one bowl all week.
More information: Lodging, lift, and meals from $243 a night; deervalley.com.