Skiing Big Off The Radar

Big-name ski resorts, we don't need to remind you, often mean big crowds and big prices. If you're looking for a more mellow mountain escape, try these five authentic old school resorts, where you may find some rope tows and T-bars, but you'll also find great skiing and a nice local vibe.

Five of the coolest of the old school:

1. June Mountainin June Lake, California lives in the shadow of its big sister resort Mammoth Mountain, but makes up for its lesser acreage with smaller crowds, side-country access, a renowned terrain park and charm. Once you reach the main lodge halfway up the mountain, you're rewarded with unparalleled views and great skiing.

2. Powder Mountainin East Eden, Utah, couldn't have a better name for its resort. The quality of snow is long lasting and, with more than 7,000 acres, the resort offers more skiable terrain than any other resort in the U.S. Noticeably absent: Crowds. Noticeably present: An average annual snowfall of 500 inches.

3. Eldora Mountain Resort fills the niche of "quaint" among Colorado's myriad ski resorts. Located 21 miles west of Boulder, this small-town ski area is known for its 3-mile-long ski run, quality snow and uncrowded slopes. Dorothy, we aren't in Colorado anymore.

4. Red Mountain Resort in British Columbia's Kootenay Mountains has some of the oldest recorded skiing in Western Canada, dating back to 1896. The resort still has a mellow, funky vibe and is known for steeps, trees and powder.

5. Smugglers' Notch ski resort is where New England locals go when they head for the hills in Vermont. The low-key vibe, slow chairlifts and epic snow make it a local favorite, and still somewhat of a secret. The three interconnected mountains comprise northern Vermont's biggest vertical drop at 2,610'.