The most ironic ranking in this year's reviews is readers bashing the 'Bird for its weaknesses in the Terrain Park department. Dudes, Snowbird is a terrain park. The better part of its 2,500 acres and 3,240 vertical feet are just that, vertical feet. Skiers with a taste for adventure will find their curiosity rewarded. Steep chutes, tight trees, natural terrain hits everywhere; and we're only talking about the frontside. Spilling off the backside are the roller-coaster groomers of Mineral Basin, a refuge for the cruiser. "Snowbird is steep, deep and will wear you out in a hurry," observes one savvy visitor. "Now with Mineral Basin, it's like a brand new ski resort attached to the back of the original." For those willing to pay a paltry premium ($8!), you can pass into Alta and its legendary descents. Alta and Snowbird are oil and water, but what they share is more important: tons of snow on mountains made for skiing. While some grumble that snagging first tracks is difficult-"You have to be in the know," grouses one visitor-Snowbird rarely opens all at once on a powder day. Listen to the local chatter on the tram, and you can catch stashes like High Baldy just as the rope drops. Finding nightlife is more difficult. "Not a lot to do after skiing," harrumphs one. The Tram Bar does go off, and the sushi bar at the top of the Cliff Lodge is not to be missed. -J.H.
Great Lodging Deals here.