Kirkwood Resort, California

Kirkwood’s relative isolation from the rest of South Lake Tahoe means less crowds and a lower-cost lift ticket. Yet this self-contained resort makes it easy to stay once you’ve arrived, which is a decided boon for families. But this mountain boasts some pretty extreme runs, with high-elevation bowl, glade and cornice skiing–the skull-and-cross bone warning signs speak to the more extreme terrain. The resort awards the skilled and the adventurous with lots of hike-in terrain, while the beginner runs are refreshingly isolated from most of the black-diamond runs, which keeps the X Game aspirants from charging down the greens.

Photo courtesy of Abby Hein / Vail Resorts

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