A love-it or hate-it kind of place, New England's largest and most bustling ski area offers more vertical drop -- and variety of experiences -- than any other New England resort. It's certainly exciting here; you've got to give it that. You'll find a huge choice of slope types across the seven peaks here, from long, narrow, old-fashioned runs to killer moguls high on the mountains' flanks or tree-glade skiing. This is the Vermont choice of serious skiers. (That said, it's also the skiing equivalent of the Mall of America: a huge operation, run with efficiency and not much personality, where tickets and passes are referred to as "products.") It's easy for kids to get separated from friends and family, and the resort seems to attract boisterous packs of young adults, so families should stick to Ramshed (the family area) or head to another resort such as Sugarbush, Stowe, or Suicide Six. But for a big-mountain experience, with lots of evening activities and plenty of challenging terrain, this is still a great choice -- maybe Vermont's best.

Lodging No Complaints: A Field Guide to Killington

The key to Killington is knowing its various personalities. The five lodges here each dispense slightly different food, fun, skis, and general atmosphere.

The K-1 Lodge  is the most fun place for miles around, by far. It's the place to meet a partner, go on a ski date, and see the best views. Not only do you get up here (at 2,500 ft. of elev., not bad) via a zippy express gondola, but there also are plenty of skiing trail choices from here. Even better, food-wise, you can find anything from pizza to sushi to chicken wraps to trailside waffles. Or just grab an espresso on the go. Literally.

Snowshed Lodge is ground zero for adult skiing and snowboarding instruction. This is also where you rent equipment, or get it fixed if it breaks. Translation? You'll probably end up here at some point. There's an unimpressive food court, but also a pub with cold beers on draft.

Ramshead Lodge is the HQ of the kids' skiing and snowboarding schools, and it's also where you find the day care center. Dining options are kid-friendly, of course. This is the resort's most family-friendly section.

Bear Mountain is where extreme-skiing nuts come. There are terrain parks, a snowboarding Superpipe, and the Outerlimits -- the longest (and steepest dropping) mogul trail in the East. If you're thinking about training for the Olympics, this is a good place to find out if you've got the right stuff. The deli has a deck overlooking some of the most rad sections.

Finally, the Skyeship Lodge has another fast gondola -- this one in two stages -- which goes up to Skye Peak. There is a true bar here, way up on the mountain, selling hot spiked drinks; no kidding. Otherwise the food options are somewhat limp.