Silverton, Colorado
Credit: Whit Richardson / Getty Images

In 2002, Jen and Aaron Brill designed Silverton Mountain resort in the spirit of the public ski fields of New Zealand. The concept: The mountain is all backcountry – there are no marked trails. So skiers ride a 1973 double chair to the top, then blaze their own route through bowls, trees, and snowfields. The couple also set the ski area on aptly named Storm Peak, so the slopes get hammered with snow early and hold it through closing on April 13. The terrain is steep – this is advanced skiing – but you'll get what feels like your own private mountain, zero lift lines, and $49 tickets for unguided skiing. The Grand Imperial Hotel on Silverton's movie-set main strip feels like the Old West (only with modern plumbing).