By most ski town standards, Durango, Colorado, doesn’t hold up to the dramatic proximity of, say, an Aspen or Telluride, where slopes stare you in the face just leaving the grocery store. But what makes this southwestern town (pop.16,000) so dreamy is what it’s not. There’s no gondola you can catch just outside a sushi joint, but look north, where the 14,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains form a serrated horizon, where acres upon acres of lift, snowcat, backcounty and heli-accessed skiing provide nearly year-round opportunities. No, Durango is not technically a ski town (unless of course you count city-run Chapman Hill, the in-town double rope tow slope where kids learn to ski under the lights). Rather a mountain-biking, kayaking, rock climbing, fly-fishing, hiking town with nearby access to some of the best skiing in the U.S.
(Not into the Southern Colorado lifestyle? There are other dream towns)