SKI - - RESORTS OF THE YEAR 2019 - —Su­san Reifer Ryan

Two side-by-side ski giants rise from a lush and lake-dot­ted val­ley, climb­ing high past tree line into a sprawl­ing alpine arena of glaciers, crags, and awe. This is where 8,100-plus seam­lessly con­nected acres of­fer weeks of in­ter­me­di­ate cruis­ing, ex­pan­sive kid zones, the con­ti­nent’s largest serv­ing of true ex­pert ter­rain, and a whole sep­a­rate uni­verse of tree ski­ing. Ex­pect big snow­fall—over 450 inches an­nu­ally—easy-to-man­age al­ti­tude, and vari­able tem­per­a­tures that de­liver mixed bless­ings. At the base, the lit­tle ski city of Whistler and its car-free cen­ter buzz and hum with in­ter­na­tion­al­ism, vi­tal­ity, and a non­stop spirit of fun. Both moun­tain and town are boom­ing, with 2018 bring­ing a com­bined $90 mil­lion in up­grades from Whistler Black­comb’s new par­ent Vail Re­sorts, the town’s big ho­tels, in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses, and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity it­self. The not so good? Prices have risen dra­mat­i­cally, par­tic­u­larly for lodg­ing and lift tick­ets—although the fa­vor­able ex­change rate and an Epic Pass dulls the sting. But with more than three mil­lion an­nual vis­i­tors from around the globe plus the week­end surge from Van­cou­ver and Seat­tle, noth­ing is slow­ing this me­teor down.

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