The Curbed Cup, our competition for the ski town of the year, is kicking off with 16 ski towns vying for the prestigious trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tournament bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!
In this round of the Curbed Cup, it's a bit of a David versus Goliath match up. On the one hand, we have a little town called Assssspen. It's arguably the most famous ski town of them all and a retreat for both ski bums and celebrities alike. Aspen offers up some of the best restaurants and hotels in ski country (with more on the horizon), and we frankly just can't get enough of the skiing at Ajax, Highlands, Buttermilk, or Snowmass. But perhaps the best part about this ski town is that it just won't stop improving. There are new developments on the horizon, including a completely revamped base area for the old Lift 1A. The airport will be getting a new terminal, and Aspen Skiing Company is continually listed as one of the top places in the country to work. Sure, sometimes people might have a little too much fun, but from museums to real estate, no ski town is hotter. Throw in some of the best skiing in Colorado (if not North America), and it's no wonder everyone wants to live here.
Can Schweitzer even compete? You bet. Schweitzer Mountain Resort has changed a lot since it opened, but through it all, this northern Idaho resort has 2,900 acres of skiing, gets 300 inches of snow each year, and has been a great Western ski destination. At Schweitzer (and in nearby Sandpoint), it's all about the skiing. From local dive bars like the 219 Lounge to the fact that you can still sleep in the parking lot before a powder day, Schweitzer focuses on the snow without all the pretense. That doesn't mean the ski area isn't quick to improve, however. Skiers can expect a new $3.8 million summit lodge by fall 2016 that will have 360-degree views, a restaurant, and a full service bar. And while locals may want to keep the mountain's glades, bowls, and chutes a secret, the ski area is worth a stop for anyone who loves snow.