Monarch Mountain, Colorado
There's no lodging at the base, most of the lifts are fixed double chairs, and its ski rental operations are housed in what looks like a giant white golf dome. But the low-key operation belies seriously fun terrain, with 350-plus inches of annual snowfall hitting the resort, one hour west of Salida. At just 800 acres, the it has a surprising mix of family-friendly green runs on the lower mountain, glades that hold fresh powder even a few days after a big drop, and 130-acres of hike-to terrain that can challenge even expert skiers. There's even a 1,000 acres devoted to experts-only cat-skiing. The best part? At $57 for an online lift ticket, Monarch is one of the best deals in all of the country. And its season pass gets you free lift tickets at 23 other resorts, from Colorado and British Columbia to Europe.
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