Expert: Jeremy Nobis
Claim to fame: A former U.S. Ski Team member who competed in the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, Nobis is now a heli-ski guide, lodge owner, and ski-film star who’s made appearances in more than 20 ski films by Teton Gravity Research, Warren Miller, and others.
“Alta and Snowbird have a very laid-back, old-school vibe. The resorts sit at the end of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and there are great lodges (like the Alta Lodge, preferred by William F. Buckley and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman) that offer multiday stays that include breakfast and dinner. Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge & Spa, [built in] 1973, is a steel and concrete modern palace decorated with the largest private Oriental-rug collection in the world and should not be missed.
“The two resorts share a boundary and offer a combined ticket, giving visitors the opportunity to ski an enormous area, similar to what they’d find in Europe. Alta only allows skiers, but Snowbird has terrific boarding terrain. The steeps are more concentrated at Snowbird, and Alta has wonderful glades, confidence-boosting hike-to areas, and one of the world’s best ski schools.
“Whether you’re a beginner or looking to take your skills to the next level, you can do it there. The best thing about these resorts, though, is no other resorts compare to their snow, size, and extremely unique character.” Info: www.alta.com, www.snowbird.com
Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Expert: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Claim to fame: Kennedy is an environmental activist and attorney, a best-selling author, and the founder of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Celebrity Sports Invitational, which raises money for the environmental protection group Waterkeeper Alliance.
“I can’t think of any other resorts in the world with grander mountains or more majestic vistas. Here at Lake Louise, you have the jagged, sawtooth rock outcroppings and long, open slopes. It’s like skiing in Yosemite [National Park] but better.
“The skiing is phenomenal. You don’t get crowds or long lines, and the terrain is so varied, you can ski backcountry-type conditions without ever leaving the resort. If you want to ski backcountry, you can do that too. Every year, the resort hosts extreme-skiing championships, but you don’t need to be an expert to appreciate the skiing. There’s something for everyone.
“The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is world famous. Its architectural beauty, restaurants, and comfort make it a great place to go and an ideal place for kids. The town of Banff looks like a European village. In terms of physical beauty and resort comfort, I don’t think Lake Louise has a rival.” Info: www.skibig3.com, www.banfflakelouise.com