Ski Town Secrets: The Pacific

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PACIFIC

MT. BAKER, WASH.
In search of deep powder? Head to Mt. Baker. When it set the world record for annual snowfall last year with 1,096 inches, Mt. Baker brought its annual average to 615 inches-the highest average snowfall of any mountain in the United States.

NORTHSTAER-AT-TAHOE, CALIF.
Intermediate skiers intimidated by Squaw's steeps but looking for a challenge can find solace on the Backside at Northstar (800-466-6784). Runs such as Rapids, Polaris and Rail Splitter-just three of the seven black runs that are over a mile long-are some of the longest runs in the far West.

SQUAW VALLEY/USA, CALIF.
In addition to staggering views and pampered service, one of the best reasons to stay at the Resort at Squaw Creek (800-327-3353) is to ski with world champion speed skier Franz Weber, the hotel's director of skiing. Weber is happy to take you on a memorable mountain tour-if you can keep up.

TAHOE CITY, CALIF.
The best place to spin this part of ski country is at "One-on-One Fitness" (530-583-0653) in Tahoe City, where instructor Heidi Shaughnessy will motivate you to jump, climb hills and sprint on your stationary bike. When you tire of being good to your body, head to the Naughty Dawg (530-581-3294) in Tahoe City, where drinks served in dog bowls and shotskis (6 shots on one ski) are a good way to have a night you won't remember.

WHISTLER/BLACKOMB, B.C.
For a pre-ski caffeine fix and cheap eats après-ski, locals head to the Whistler Cookie Co. (604-932-2962), which serves mighty white-chocolate macadamia-nut cookies. If you eat one too many, head to the Meadow Park Sports Center (604-938-3133), just a 5-minute bus ride from the village up Hwy. 99. It's the area's best workout facility, with a 25-meter pool, a spa area, squash courts, aerobics and the ice-skating rink where locals satisfy their hockey cravings and the Canucks practice come summer. Bonus: A $4 day pass covers all facilities except squash.

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