Forget the traffic on I-70 and the hours-long liftlines at Keystone. Head out for a long weekend this winter to poach the secret stashes at Colorado's small-time mom-and-pop resorts. There's Cooper (not Copper!), Monarch, Sunlight, the bad-boys down by Telluride and more.
Everybody would love to ski Aspen -- there's no lift lines, the terrain is great, and you might just end up in a hot tub with Demi Moore for aprés ski -- but let's face it, the $90-plus tickets are hard to swallow. So unless you got a Kutcher-sized bank account, you might want to consider Sunlight.
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The 470-acre Sunlight Mountain Resort is where the valley locals go to play. And with a 52-degree jaw-dropper, The Heathen, it's easy to see why. Plus lift tickets are just 50 bucks.
Ski Cooper is a good spot for beginners and the older cruiser set. With 1,200 feet of vertical, a terrain park and $42 lift tickets, you can probably even swing for a hotel in nearby Leadville.
To get to Monarch, you gotta head over a ridiculously dangerous mountain pass and share the mountain with youth in revolt from Colorado Springs. But, for your efforts, you'll be repaid handsomely with 800 acres, short lines and some pretty kick-ass powder.
And if you've got time on your hands, head down to Wolf Creek. It always has more snow than any other resort in the state, and tickets are just $52. Plus its web site looks like it was put together by my Uncle Vinny.