Each winter, there’s a dazzling array of sparkling, snow-capped ski resorts to choose from. But which one is right for you? Are you stoked for double-black-diamond thrills, or does even a bunny run seem daunting? Are you looking for a singles hot spot or are you traveling with the kids? Whatever your style, here are some excellent choices.
Beginners: Crested Butte, Colo.
It may surprise you that this picturesque Old West mining town, a favorite of advanced skiers, is also ideal for first-timers. Intimate in scale, Crested Butte offers small group classes, slopes you can walk to from your hotel and no long lift lines.
Best of all, you never have to worry about hot-doggers zooming past. All runs are separate from one another, and each lift is dedicated to a particular level of skier. There’s also an Adaptive Sports Center, one of the best in the nation, with instructors and equipment designed for people with disabilities.
Thrill seekers: Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Double black diamond doesn’t begin to describe America’s scariest ski slope. Even for pros, staring down into the vertical funnel known as Corbet’s Couloir is a heart-pounding experience. Dare to try it, and there’s a long free fall before your skis ever touch snow — a landing that requires precise mid-air maneuvering onto a narrow strip hemmed in by rocks. If you make it, good luck on the 40-degree run to the bottom. For die-hard adrenaline junkies, there’s also Snow King Mountain, the steepest slope in North America, and the treacherous S&S Couloir.
Kids: Courchevel, France
A ski vacation with kids doesn’t have to lack glamour. Take the little ones to Courchevel in the French Alps. Courchevel Village, the most family-friendly town in the area, is also the least expensive. Your kids will learn to ski at the Village des Enfants, a secure, cheerily appointed environment with its own ski lifts, snowmaker and trails. Children as young as 18 months can learn balance, confidence, ski basics and maybe a little French.
Maxine Nunes, LA Times Custom Publishing Writer