Next Best Places: Honorable Mentions & Longshots

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Ground Floor

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Gunnison, Colorado
Locals, second-home owners, long-view investors and families priced out of Crested Butte are heading to tiny Gunnison, Colo. (pop. 5,300). The median home sale price was $410,000 in 2006 - not bad for a college town with two golf courses, a whitewater kayak park and two ski areas nearby (CBMR is 30 miles away, Monarch is 45). Explore Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, fish for landlocked salmon at Blue Mesa Reservoir (Colorado's largest lake) and hammer the singletrack at Hartman Rocks. Scruffy in areas, Gunnison isn't movie-set quaint, and winters can be frigid (average January low temp: minus-six degrees), but the payoff is prime proximity and lots of elbow room. sochi2014.com

Jumbo Mountain, B.C.
After 20 years of planning, British Columbia's $450 million Jumbo Glacier Resort appears ready to break ground on what would be North America's only year-round glacier skiing. (The Canadian ski team trains here in the summer.) A gondola and two quads would serve up miles of pristine high-alpine skiing. And with Panorama just down the valley, this region has the makings of a B.C. version of Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon. Calgary is a 3.5-hour drive away. Plans for expanded air service at nearby Fairmont Hot Springs would abbreviate the trip.