Silverton Mountain, Colorado
First, know that this is not your typical resort. There's no base lodge. There's no great place to stay nearby. There's only one lift, which often shuts down because of high winds. During most of the season you need a guide. And to get on the ski lift, patrollers will check to make sure that your avalanche beacon is on and signaling. But here's why it's worth it: Silverton accesses some of best terrain, hands-down, in all of North America, from large bowls and open (and tight) chutes to cliff bands with mandatory airs. The resort is fond of saying that it gets more annual snowfall than daily visitors — 400 — and it's no hyperbole. Needless to say, this resort is for advanced or expert skiers only. But once you visit, you'll never look at another resort the same way again.