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gold standard

Lodging: St. Anton, Austria

When Europe calls, this Tyrolean outpost lays out the welcome mat.

Perhaps Europe is on your life list. Or maybe you've never even considered it. You should. St. Anton, whose residents know how to host a vacationing skier, won't disappoint. A stay here promises a slice of the good life — ski large, relax deeply, eat like a gourmand, sleep like a baby, repeat — with a globetrotter's gold standard of comforts and its own unique sense of place. The challenge is deciding where to stay. With 9,500 guest beds, the choice is rivaled only by where to ski amidst the area's 273 square miles of terrain. Here are our picks.

Aspen, Colorado: Rank 2 West, 1997

Features

Aspen is like Donald Trump: arrogant, flashy, ostentatious¿and not to be missed. What Aspen's not is bashful: Both the town and its mountain trumpet the resort's elite and clamorous lifestyle.

2003 Number 1 Resort in the East: Tremblant, Que.

Travel

At some point during your Tremblant vacation, you'll see a small knot of serious people strolling the village taking notes. These are rival ski executives making a pilgrimage (and shaking their heads about their own pitiful villages back home).

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Features

When you think of teams, you think of basketball dunks followed by high-fives, head-butting touchdown celebrations and dugout-clearing homeruns.

2002 Number 6 Resort In North America: Beaver Creek, Colo.

Travel

Rightfully regarded as "a plush resort with great service," Beaver Creek also is chronically criticized as too expensive. However, most visitors eventually agree: "You get what you pay for."

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