3. The Pacific Northwest
They’re ski areas—not resorts—and they’re all great. Only one or two of them have lodging. Here’s what you do. Fly into Seattle and ski Crystal; go do a day in Alpental, drive to Mission Ridge in Wenatchee, Washington, and then drive back over to Stevens Pass. If you have time, go ski Mount Baker, but don’t plan on seeing Baker—chances are it’s all socked in with a snowstorm. pnsaa.org
2. Crystal Mountain, Washington
They just put in a new gondola and some better lifts, but it’s never gonna have a big hotel or crazy bars and restaurants. What it does have is the best view of any resort in North America: from the top, Rainier is right in your face. And it has 2,400 vertical feet of great skiing. Afterward, hit Snorting Elk for great food and beer. It’s old and it feels like an Austrian ski hut. crystalmountainresort.com
Also, if you're driving to Stevens, Alpental (Snoqualmie) or White Pass (not on the above lists but has really good snow) you'll want to plan around closures for pass clearings. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/passes/default.aspx
Crystal was great opening day last Friday. Summit W (adjacent to the yet to open Alpental) was good too, though at lower elevation, snow wasn't as stellar as Crystal's. Alpental is lowish too but gets it's own weird little microclimates & secret stashes.