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Rocky Mountain Renaissance

3 Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area
At the top of the Continental Divide, 20 miles from the historic hot-springs town of Salida, storm-pummeled Monarch is known as an advanced expert powder-skier's heaven. There's Sno-Cat access to 900 backcountry acres.
888/996-7669 OR 719/530-5000; www.skimonarch.com

4 Ski Cooper
Originally the training ground of World War II's famed 10th Mountain Division Special Forces, Cooper, just outside Leadville, has four lifts serving a mellow beginners' and intermediates' playground. Experts head for the backcountry Chicago Ridge, with 2,400 acres of challenging treed slopes and open bowls, accessible by Sno-Cat.
800/707-6114 OR 719/486-3684; www.skicooper.com

5 Arapahoe Basin
With half its trails above the timberline, A-Basin, just up the road from mega-resort Keystone, has big-league open bowls and the highest skiable terrain in North America.
888/272-7246 OR 970/468-0718; www.arapahoebasin.com

6 Loveland Ski Area
Fifty-three miles west of Denver, with 1,365 acres of skiable terrain on the flanks of the Continental Divide, this locals' favorite just off I-70 gets more than 400 inches of snow each season.
800/736-3754 OR 303/571-5580; www.skiloveland.com

7 SolVista Golf & Ski Ranch
Formerly Silver Creek, this low-key, well-laid-out family resort has two interconnected mountains, 33 well-groomed trails, ski-in/ski-out lodging, and an emphasis on learn-to-ski and -board programs.
800/926-4386 OR 970/887-3384; www.solvista.com

MEG LUKENS NOONAN contributes regularly to Outside magazine.


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