If by "lacks character" one reader means that Vail is missing the rusty, crusty layer that some resorts spin as charm, he has a point: Vail's villages don't show their age, thanks to constant nips and tucks and a few recent face-lifts. The mountain, of course, is perfect -- and enormous -- just the way it is.
Other Colorado resorts to make the cut include Snowmass (#4), Beaver Creek (#7), Steamboat (#8). Breckenridge (#9), Telluride (#10), Aspen Mountain (#11), Winter Park (#14), Crested Butte (#15), Copper Mountain (#18) and Aspen Highlands (#19).
For some Westword favorites, check out our Best of Denver 2011 picks, including Keystone (Best Terrain Park), Breckenridge (Best Halfpipe), Copper Mountain (Best Ski Pass Deal), Mary Jane/Winter Park (Best Mountain Smoke Shack), and Silverton Mountain (Best New Ski Terrain). And don't miss The Edge, our annual winter activity guide dropping with the November 10 issue, for an insider's view of every ski area in the state.