I skied at Steamboat last spring. I've never skied Telluride, but would like to.
As far as Steamboat, the attraction supposedly is the "Champagne Powder", but coming from Utah it won't seem like that big of a deal to you. You'd find it's nowhere near as steep as a place like Snowbird, which you might consider a good thing. It does have good tree skiing. "Shadows" is a famous tree run and deserves its reputation.
The mountain/lift layout seemed a little awkward. It's kind of like Alta with the ridge down the middle in that you can't always get over and across the mountain where you want to go without taking a lift up-- if you see what I mean.
The town and resort area isn't as great as I expected it to be. I think Breckenridge, Aspen and Crested Butte are all neater towns. The town is a few miles from the resort but you don't need a rental car because the town bus is very convenient if you want to go into town for dinner. The resort base area isn't all that pretty-- lots of clumps of condos. Expect scenery more like Park City, rather than Little Cottonwood. (i.e. the mountains are more rounded with lots of Aspen trees, rather than real rugged with evergreens.)
As far as the other resorts, you'd find Breckenridge to be a lot like Park City-- neat, fun town, but lots of tourists and can be crowded. (I believe it's the nation's busiest resort.) Both are fairly easy skiing , but come to think of it they both have some tough terrain in the upper right corner as you face the mountain.
Crested Butte is neat but would be a long drive from Utah.
I would probably recommend Vail. I'm kind of surprised I'm saying that, because I personally prefer the low-key resorts (Alta is my favorite place if that's an indication.) But if you're going to trek to Colorado, Vail is a place that every skier should ski at least once. Kind of like every kid should go to Disneyworld/or land once. The Back Bowls are pretty neat in seeing how immense they are. It sounds like you're into apres-ski activities and even though it was "artificially" created, the Vail Village has its share of restaurants and it's certainly an amusing place to people/fur coat watch. Also, you could go over to Beaver Creek-- kind of like Deer Valley in that it's ritzy. There are escalators outside in the village. Surprisingly though, there are some bump runs at Beaver Creek that I think are more difficult than anything at Vail. It's a good place to avoid Vail's crowds. (By the way, Vail is so big that you can usually avoid liftlines there with a little planning and effort.) Copper Mountain is also a short drive from Vail and is a good skier's mountain.
Aspen also wouldn't be bad choice. It's maybe a tougher drive from Utah. It's a more "authentic" town than Vail (i.e. it existed before the ski resort). People claim it's a snooty town, but I've always had fun there. Ajax (Aspen Mountain) is actually pretty small in terms of skiing acres but it seems to ski bigger than it is. Highlands is a fun area nearby-- kind of like a tougher version of Solitude. Also nearby, Snowmass has lots of variety and cruising runs. One caution being that you're used to Utah snow amounts-- Vail and Steamboat generally get a little more snow than the Aspen area.
Enjoy your trip. Let us know where you decide to go.
<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 30, 2001 06:45 PM: Message edited 3 times, by Wags ]</font>