well my first trip out west was about 4 years ago to Whistler and I was simply blown away. i had no words to describe the big mountain experience plus the incredible atmosphere and nightlife that never ends. on the other hand, and i cant stress this enough, you have to FOLLOW THE SNOW, especially given Whistler's high unpredictability. case in point, the next year i went right back to a slush fest where it rained almost the entire week i was there. luckily ur up high enough where the climate changes a bit from rain to sleet to snow but even still, kinda drab.
Vail the following spring was absolutely incredible. Loved it so much that hey, went back again two years later except this time the conditions were primo (it was this last spring that denver got struck with that monster blizzard. backcountry in the trees out past blue sky basin is heaven)...and you wont believe how freakin huge the mountain is...even coming off of a Whistler/Blackcomb high i was stunned by the enormity of the place. as was afoementioned, the whole I-70 strip is a GREAT destination for a group of friends. Me and two other guys got a ski-in/out condo right at breck + lift tickets & rentals for 4 days and it only cost a combined total of $1200. Not only that but those lift tickets allow you to also ski at Vail, Copper, & Beaver Creek if you're up for driving an hour or two. Basically its an incredible package plus the nightlife is also outstanding; we actually met Tiger Woods while eating at Vail Village and yes, he is a skier
Jackson Hole was the last trip i took in March. Despite the snow conditions being so-so, it was undoubtedely some of the best skiing of my life, see INCREDIBLE TERRAIN. Apres ski was pretty abismal but that just gave me another reason to ski sunup to sundown, not to mention the buffalo ribeye @ gunbarrel
:. Ultimately for challenge i'd choose JH or Whistler and snow condition and trees @ Vail.
I think the next stop for me is either Snowbird/Alta or Squaw. I figure i'll head back to JH once the new tram opens up. Ultimately all your choices are gravy~!