Built in 1936 as a playground for the jet-set, a rail line from Los Angeles made Sun Valley the most accessible ski resort in the country. These days, it is in fact one of the hardest to get to. Surrounded by the largest roadless area in the lower 48, Sun Valley's remoteness makes it one of the most authentic ski towns in America, and the mountain's 2,000 skiable acres remain surprisingly empty, even on holiday weekends. With a 3,400-foot vertical drop, the ski area's main mountain, Baldy, is famous for its carving, as most of its 105 runs are meticulously groomed for speed demons. The Warm Springs run is considered by many to be the best stretch of downhill in the country, a two-mile-long, top-to-bottom screamer that never wavers from the fall line and maintains an average pitch of 35 degrees. But most of Sun Valley's user-friendly terrain is aimed right at intermediates, and recent development of a terrain park, halfpipe, and ski-cross course have given the iconic resort an exciting update for the future. Lift tickets are as low as $81 online in advance.
Where to Stay: Don't expect a cookie-cutter village or even ski-in, ski-out accommodations. In fact, don't expect many hotels at all. Most visitors rent a privately owned condo or house. Rub shoulders with locals in the evening at Apple's Bar and restaurant, a makeshift museum of Sun Valley skiing, with Zach Crist's X Games gold medal on display in one corner and Picabo Street's World Cup helmet in another.
Inside Tip: Immerse yourself in Idaho wilderness — and soak weary muscles — at Frenchman's hot springs on Warm Springs Road.