Forget the glitz of Aspen and the lure of mighty Mammoth, and consider a ski holiday in a boutique resort this northern winter. Mingle with locals at these little-known US resorts.
SILVERTON - COLORADO
Locals pride themselves on the no-frills skiing at Silverton in Colorado.
Forget the bling and fur coats, this resort is only for hardcore skiers and boarders. You'll need avalanche gear to be allowed on the lift, so novices, look elsewhere.
Powderhounds.com describes Silverton as "very rough around the edges" but that's what makes this place so good. That, and the average 10 metres of snowfall each season.
There are 736 hectares of terrain, serviced by an old chairlift, so it's best if you're up for some hiking and backcountry exploring. And pack your own lunch too - facilities are seriously scarce.
SCHWEITZER - IDAHO
Schweitzer is one resort that should definitely be on your powder list.
With 1173 hectares of skiable terrain and an average seven metres snowfall every season, I'm not sure why more Aussies don't know about this place.
There are 92 trails to choose from, two bowls, 32km dedicated to nordic skiing and three terrain parks. The resort also has slopes suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, with nine lifts to get you around.
Kids will love the tubing park and zip line, while adults will rush to try out the cat skiing, snowmobiling and gladed runs.
SUGAR BOWL - CALIFORNIA
With 12 metres of annual snowfall, Sugar Bowl in California is a worthy contender for visitors.
This resort may not be as well-known as nearby Mammoth, Heavenly or Northstar, but with 13 lifts, 667 skiable hectares, and a good choice of park features, it's worth a visit.
If you're an intermediate rider, this place is for you, with 45 per cent of terrain catering to your skills.
Recent upgrades worth USD$20 million ($24.35 million) will also see skiers and boarders enjoying more terrain, with a new triple lift accessing advanced slopes.
WHITE PINE - WYOMING
It may be tiny but don't discredit White Pine Ski Area in Wyoming. This is a great resort for beginners and intermediates searching for easy groomers and uncrowded trails.
There are just 149 hectares, with 20 per cent suitable for beginners and a massive 60 per cent for intermediates. Cross-country skiers will also enjoy it here, with 35km of trails to choose from.
If you're on a budget, you'll be impressed by the price of lift tickets - just USD$39 ($47) for an adult's full-day pass and USD$29 ($35) for children.
Most accommodation is in Pinedale, about 15 minutes' drive away.
WHITEFISH - MONTANA
If you like your skiing laid-back and family-friendly, head to Whitefish (formerly Big Mountain).
Across its 1214 hectares there are great beginner facilities, as well as plenty of impressive groomers for those who like their snow fast and compact.
It can get foggy here but the problem's solved by ducking into the trees, while when the weather's clear, you can take turns hitting up four terrain parks.
Snowboarders may wince at the cat tracks but there's some decent off-piste they can launch into to avoid them.
Whitefish has had a mini-facial, with new bars and accommodation, and the word is that the resort is becoming trendy.
It's just another reason to visit now before everyone else does.