30. Vail, Colorado
Why go: Vail is the most popular ski destination in America. With 195 runs across 5,289 skiable acres, 53 percent of which are advanced or expert terrain, it’s a veritable playground for those who know what they’re doing. Sure, it’s a two-hour drive from Denver (which can be much longer depending on the weather) and 45 minutes from the local Eagle-Vail airport, but the sacrifices you make in getting there are negated by the sheer convenience of everything once you’re on the mountain.
Where to stay: Vail Village was built specifically for the ski resort, so it feels a little Disney-fied. But things are downright homey at Sonnenalp, Vail’s reimagining of a European chalet (literally, they have a sister property in Germany). The proximity to the chairlift is great, but so is the 10,000-foot spa.
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