Top 10 North American Ski Resorts

From the top of Rendezvous, one can take advantage of Jackson's open backcountry policy and ski off the backside into Grand Teton National Park or stay inbounds and tackle such Jackson benchmarks as Corbet's Couloir, a double black diamond run. If you don't feel like committing to the 20-foot jump inside the steep 10-foot-wide chute, you can watch those who do from either the top or from Tensleep Bowl at the bottom.

The Sublette Quad Chair offers access to several more of Jackson's legendary bowls as well as to some chutes that are not quite as heart-stopping as Corbet's. Rendezvous Trail, a winding, roller-coaster intermediate run from the top of Sublette, provides some great views of surrounding mountains and access to the Hobacks. An experts-only area, the Hobacks will satisfy powder hounds who don't feel like venturing out of bounds.

Thunder Lift, also a quad, accesses Laramie Bowl and Tower Three Chute, so-named because it begins at the third tram tower. Heading toward skier's left from the top will get you to some easier expert runs that, in turn, lead to some hidden intermediate terrain.

What's New: For the first time, the public will have access to the Crag's terrain (an additional 200 acres and 1,000 vertical feet of expert terrain above the Casper Lift area).

Also, the new East Ridge Chair is a temporary double chairlift which goes from the Sublette Chairlift up to Rendezvous Bowl, replacing the aerial tram until the new edition is ready in '08.

KILLINGTON SKI RESORT, VERMONT

By Mitch Kaplan

Price: $$ Number of Runs: 104 Number of Lifts: 19 Terrain: 26% beginner, 36% intermediate, 38% advanced Skiable Acreage: 1,209 Vertical Rise: 3,050 feet Season: November to April Annual Snowfall: 250 inches Web Site: http://www.killington.com/

It's difficult to say anything about Killington -- because everything applies. This beast of the East is the region's largest resort, and offers something for everyone. With the recent addition of neighboring Pico, there are now seven distinct peaks to explore. Not only can you find what you want, you can find it separated from other terrain. Experts flock to Bear Mountain, Skye Peak, and The Canyon. Intermediates love Needle's Eye and Snowdon. The novice area at Snowshed can get crowded, but it stands apart from speeding experts. Add on Pico, a superb mountain in itself, and you've got the complete picture.

Here, too, accommodations are good, but Killington lodging stretches for miles into downtown Rutland. The resort is famous for attracting ski clubs and people sharing houses, which fosters a hard-charging party sensibility that is heartily reinforced by numerous bars strung along the access road.

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN SKI RESORT, CALIFORNIA

By Alistair Wearmouth

Price: $$ Number of Runs: 156 Number of Lifts: 28 Terrain: 25% beginner, 40% intermediate, 20% advanced, 15% expert Skiable Acreage: 3,500+ Vertical Rise: 3,100 feet Season: November to June Annual Snowfall: 400 inches Web Site: http://www.mammothmountain.com/

For once the hyperbole actually applies. A summit elevation of 11,053 feet and hefty 3,100-foot vertical drop are just some Mammoth stats that don't need any embroidering by Bay Area marketing whiz kids. The mountain is served by 27 lifts numbered in the order they were built, giving a nod to in-the-know locals who are able to think in creative, non-linear ways.

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