9. Breckenridge, Colorado
Why to go: Colorado’s ski resorts have no shortage of peaks, but it’s Breckenridge that offers some of the best high-alpine skiing, with a base elevation of 9,600 feet above sea level spanning multiple peaks and 11 bowls. And before you even start skiing, there’s the exhilarating ride up the Imperial Express—the highest chairlift in North America—where you can choose to start skiing down or keep hiking up to nearly 13,000 feet. If you’re not a local, a Breck Guide (the most elite of the resort’s instructors) can help you navigate the most challenging high-alpine runs on the mountain. Another area bonus: Because of its location, Breckenridge has one of the longest ski seasons of any major resort in the country.
Where to stay: If you’re there for the high-alpine adventures, make One Ski Hill Place your home base—it’s a luxury, ski-in, ski-out hotel right at the base of Peak 8, the heart of the ski resort. The BreckConnect gondola can take you right into town, but considering that The T-Bar, one of the world’s best après-ski bars, is right next door, you won’t have to leave. For off-the-grid accommodations, try Sisters Cabin. The secluded 2,090-square-foot lodge is only accessible by ski or snowshoe (a 3.5-mile trek at that), and is heated by wood stove.
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