GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The skiing here has a split personality, which is plain to see when you check out the skiers who descend on the place year after year. Its mellow half is the network of trails on the front side of the mountain, characterized by long intermediate runs. Families flock to Crested Butte for these trails, as well as the children's ski school facilities and the laid-back and friendly vibe. The wilder side of Crested Butte's personality is the Extreme Limits, more than 500 acres of backcountry-like terrain (all double black diamond), with steep bowls, gnarly chutes, and tight tree skiing. It's some of the toughest in-bounds skiing in North America. Sign up for one of the guided programs for expert instruction (and insider info on the best powder stashes on the mountain). The best expert skiing on the front side of the mountain is off the Silver Queen high-speed quad, which shoots you up 2,078 vertical feet in one quick ride. For beginners there's a wonderful expanse of easy terrain from the Red Lady Express lift. 12 Snowmass Rd., Crested Butte, CO, 81224. 970/349–2222 or 800/810–7699. www.skicb.com. Late Nov.–early Apr., daily 9–4.