WHY

Crested Butte might be overshadowed by fellow Colorado ski resorts Vail and Aspen, but offers some of North America's best skiing and outstanding powder snow. Beginners and intermediates can hog four-fifths of the mountain, while the other fifth has some of the most challenging inbounds runs in the world. The slightly hippy edge of the historic town is a wonderful contrast to big-name resorts: no chain stores, fast-food outlets or snobby fur-clad fashionistas here.