Squaw Valley, California

It’s easy to see why Squaw Valley stands as the birthplace of extreme skiing in the United States.  Its impossibly-steep slopes–rugged bands of snow-plastered granite, pockets of unforgiving trees and readily accessible 100+-foot cliffs–can be seen from the parking lot, and have served to inspire legions of the world’s best skiers and riders as they continue to push the limits of their sport. But Squaw is more than just the star of countless extreme skiing documentaries. The mountain village also perfects the luxury experience that more discerning vacationers desire, from five-star accommodation to high-end cuisine, day spas and a dangerous amount of shopping.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Engerbretson, Squaw Valley