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25 Great North American Ski Resorts

sunday river

Info, 207/824-3000; reservations, 800/543-2754; tickets, $47; ski season, mid-October to late May; www.sundayriver.com. In the Mahoosuc Mountains of western Maine, this eight-peak resort, full of broad, meticulously groomed cruising trails, has snowmaking facilities on 92 percent of its 126 runs. Boston families hit the area each weekend, knowing conditions will be good here despite quirky coastal weather. Accommodations range from dorms to condos to the new $18 million Jordan Grand Hotel & Crown Club. Rooms with real New England character can be found in nearby Bethel, Vermont.


lake louise

Info and reservations, 403/522-3555; tickets, $33; ski season, early November to early May; www.skibanfflakelouise.com. High in the jagged, glaciated peaks of Banff National Park, Lake Louise has 11 square miles of skiing on terrain so overwhelmingly gorgeous that it's hard to concentrate on keeping your ski tips from crossing. Don't expect the super-convenient, roll-out-of-bed-onto-the-lifts kind of experience that American resorts now promote with such fervor. There is no cutesy village at the base; skiers stay either in the nearby town of Lake Louise—where lodging choices include the historic 500-room Chateau Lake Louise and the small, elegant, and very Swiss Post Hotel—or in the larger, wilderness-chic resort town of Banff, about 40 minutes away. New this season: a four-story timber base lodge and expanded glade skiing.

mont tremblant

Info and reservations, 800/461-8711; tickets $35; ski season, late November to early May. Tremblant's cobblestoned base village—modeled, incredibly enough, without a trace of hoariness, after old Quebec City—sets the tone for this chic resort. The dining and lodging possibilities (including the Château Mont Tremblant) are stellar, and the skiing, while not overly difficult, is more extensive than it looks. Sure, it gets très froid up there in the Laurentians, but Tremblant has devised a new diversion this year to take your mind off the weather: pull on your swimsuit and hit the new $4 million indoor water park, where you can swing through an ersatz rain forest like George of the Jungle.

british columbia

Info and reservations, 800/944-7853; tickets, $40; ski season, late November to late April (to late summer on Blackcomb's Horstman Glacier). Seventy-five miles north of Vancouver in the heavily glaciated Coast Range, the massive neighbor mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb offer a savvy international clientele the two highest vertical drops in North America, more than 7,000 skiable acres (including several new intermediate and novice trails on Blackcomb), and 13 bowls—all linked by a sophisticated pedestrian village that has a Pacific Rim flavor. Lodging is mostly on the high end, including the newly expanded Chateau Whistler and the new 121-suite Pan Pacific Lodge.


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