A-Basin, as locals call it, is basically the anti-Vail, a resort with terrain every bit as good as its more corporate neighbors — some say better — but with a vibe that's more Carhartt than Cartier. A mix of locals, expert out-of-towners, and employees of other ski resorts come for the 2,200-foot vertical drop and super challenging terrain, 60 percent of which is black or double black diamond. Perched at the top of Loveland Pass, A-Basin is one of the highest ski areas in North America (13,500 feet) and gets pounded by over 350 inches of nice dry snow, annually, which means the extreme terrain is always in condition. In March, the resort opens its towering East Wall hike-to chutes to daredevils. Lift tickets are $76.
Where to Stay: Live like a local by booking a self-contained condo or home in Frisco. It's a little further than, say, Keystone, but it's Summit County's only "real" town, with fun divey spots like Moose Jaws.
Insider Tip: Smart skiers and boarders poach the good stuff at A-Basin fast — unless you know where to look. Head to the North Glade for hidden stashes, which hold snow longer than anywhere else on the mountain.
SNOW REPORT: Where to Ski Now in the Southern Rockies