Acres: 2,965 | Vertical: 3,668’ | Snowfall: 349” | steamboat.com
Steamboat sits entirely below treeline (a rarity among Colorado resorts) so its abundant northern track snowfall gets less wind-hammered. Pair those fluffy pileups with vast swaths of aspen and spruce glades, and you get some of America’s best tree skiing. For winter 2017 look for the new Elkhead Express (a detachable quad) to reduce ride time from Sundown to three minutes.
Can’t-Miss Run: Everyone—most locals included—routinely flocks to the resort’s upper reaches, but savvy powder skiers plunder the lower mountain’s snow-loaded, north-facing pitches. “Ted’s Ridge and Vertigo offer fun terrain,” says longtime local Billy Grimes. “Then check out the trees below the Four Points Lift. They hold powder late into the day.”
Resort Bite: Given its slopeside location, the Paramount could serve meh food and still thrive—but this breakfast, lunch, and après spot turns out clean, copious, and flavorful fare. Try the lemon ricotta stuffed French toast or the crab BLT with cornmeal-crusted softshell crab.
Stay an Extra Day: The (clothing optional after dark) Strawberry Park Hot Springs get busy at night. Instead, delay your return flight long enough to go at 10 am, when the pools open to the public. Or, since overnight guests get expanded soaking hours, book one of the Zen-simple log cabins to enjoy sunrise. —Kelly Bastone
From the Early Winter 2016 issue.