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With new lifts, expanded facilities, and plenty of in-crowd buzz, these are the slopes to hit this winter. And as resorts continue to consolidate, you can now access the best places with fewer passes and at lower costs.

It’s a Winter Olympics year in 2018, which means that skiing is on the collective mind more than usual. Not headed to Pyeongchang, South Korea, to witness American ski stars vie for Olympic glory? There are plenty of options closer to home with new features, fewer crowds, and even better snow.

But first, the big news on the slopes: the continuing consolidation within the ski industry. Following the 2016 acquisition by Vail Resorts of Whistler—North America’s largest resort—a capital group headed up by Aspen Ski Co. fought back by acquiring an astounding eight major resorts, including Colorado’s Steamboat, California’s Mammoth, and Vermont’s Stratton. But while Whistler is now part of Vail’s 14-resort Epic Pass ($859) this season, the Aspen portfolio will still run on separate ski passes. As in past years, however, the Mountain Collective pass ($469) affords purchasers a pair of days apiece at 16 of the world’s best resorts—including a few of the Aspen resorts.

So what’s the bottom line with all these partnerships and acquisitions? You’re buying fewer passes, while getting more access and, ultimately, cheaper skiing.

Park City, Utah 
Get in with: Epic Pass
A site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Park City remains the home training ground for dozens of current Olympic athletes. Whether visiting the ski jump or bobsled facilities (where you can pay to ride with a professional driver), or taking a chairlift near the expert-level Three Kings terrain park, you may well rub elbows with a few of them. On the other hand, Park City Mountain Resort’s expansive 7,300 acres of terrain means you can spread out and avoid the winter jocks and almost everyone else, too. Check out the new Miner’s Camp restaurant at the base of the Silverlode lift for grass-fed beef chili. If you happen to get tired of Park City’s 41 lifts and numerous slopes, Deer Valley is a 1.5-mile bus ride away. The resort caps skier numbers at 7,500 per day and snowboarders still aren’t allowed, which means it’s easy to find fresh lines all day after a storm.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming 
Get in with: Mountain Collective pass
After a record 593 inches of snowfall last year, and near records for most of the past decade, Jackson Hole is the place to be in these climatically uncertain times. In recent years, the remote Wyoming resort has added more direct flights from cities like San Francisco and Atlanta, bringing its total to 12 daily. Haven’t skied Jackson? This is your year. Its steep runs are legendary—expert Chutes and Corbett’s Couloir are international test pieces—and the out-of-bounds is so formidable that hiring a guide might be the difference between the best ski day of all time and a serious accident. The resort has worked hard to improve its intermediate terrain recently, and this season it will open Solitude Station, a 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art ski school facility atop the beginner terrain.

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Big Sky, Montana 
Get in with: Max Pass 
Just 45 miles south of Bozeman’s airport, Big Sky is now in the middle of a development boom, growing bigger and better than ever. When it merged with adjacent Moonlight Basin in 2013, Big Sky became a 5,800-acre, 4,350-foot-high colossus. That means less competition for the annual average 400 inches of snow and even less chance for on-slope collisions; in 2014 the resort sold an average of 3,000 tickets a day, giving each skier about two acres to roam. Two new lifts, the most recent additions to the resort, were unveiled last season. Although many families will have to fly to Montana, once there, things get cheaper: Kids five and under always ski free, and if you are lodging at one of the resort’s three hotels or dozens of condos, kids under 10 ski free. Evenings, head downslope to Big Sky Meadow for local breweries and great eats, like pizza purveyor Ousel and Spur.

Salt Lake City, Utah 
Get in with: Mountain Collective pass
Why Salt Lake City? East Coasters can catch a 6 a.m. flight and still make the Alta ticket window for a half-day ticket. This season, buy a Mountain Collective pass and you’ll have six days of skiing at three different world-class resorts in the area for $78 a pop (compared to an average ticket price of about $129 at Snowbird). Even better is the addition to the pass of Snowbasin, just 44 miles north in Ogden. Somehow, this 3,000-acre resort has remained a secret despite having hosted the downhill races in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Post up at a hotel in Salt Lake City to hit all three (Alta, Snowbird, and Snowbasin), or stay at Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge, which renovated its famous rooftop pool and spa this summer. New for Alta: The Supreme quad lift, replacing two older lifts, provides faster access to Alta’s legendary powder stashes. What hasn’t changed? Snowboarders are still not allowed at Alta.

Breckenridge, Colorado 
Get in with: Epic Pass
Breckenridge is a yearly contender for the top spot in skier visits for a reason—it features miles of excellent terrain for all levels. Peak 9 is a novice skier’s paradise with dozens of mellow, wide runs, and kids can work to progress through four different levels of freestyle park, from Trygve’s for those under three feet tall, up to Freeway, a pro-level park and home of Olympian Bobby Brown, which features one of the country’s remaining 22-foot half-pipes. Still, over half of the terrain is expert level, including hike-to double black diamond runs off Peaks 6 and 8. The town itself is far more concentrated than the vast resort. The shop- and restaurant–lined Main Street might be best known for hosting the world record shot-ski (1,234 people long, since beaten by 1,250 people in Park City) during the Ullr fest in January 2017, but it’s got plenty of all-ages fun, including a huge arcade at the  eatery Downstairs at Eric’s.

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Killington, Vermont 
Get in with: Max Pass
The biggest news for East Coast skiers is that Vermont’s Mount Snow just plunked $30 million into its snowmaking system. That means avoiding snow-shortage debacles like the 2016 season, one of the worst on record for Northeast resorts. The second biggest news is that Killington will once again host a pair of women’s World Cup ski races over Thanksgiving weekend. If you are feeling sheepish about skipping Mikaela’s races in South Korea, here’s your chance to see her honing her dominant form stateside. In addition, Killington sports the Northeast’s biggest vertical rise (3,050 feet) and a snowmaking system every bit as good as Mount Snow’s. “The Beast of the East” spans six peaks. Experts should try the moguls, trees, and steeps off Killington and Bear Mountain. Test yourself on Outer Limits, the longest, steepest mogul run in the East. Intermediates should look for the cruise-y blue runs off Snowdon Mountain, and beginners will feel comfy on Ramshead. 

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