I don't think you are going to get smaller lift lines at Jackson. World class out of control terrain for sure though. Just skip the Vail resorts idea. Passes are cheap, but crowds are also huge, especially on weekends or big powder days. The corridor (I70)that Vail resorts are located off of, is he most heavily traveled ski highway in the United States. I know first hand.
Big Sky/Moonlight would be an off the beaten path spot to look at. Great looking terrain there.
Crested Butte is a fantastic mountain. Very steep, plenty of kill yourself terrain. One of the most underrated "extreme" mountains out there. Seth Morrison broke on to the scene there. It's definitely bad ass, and if you can handle the terrain there, you can handle the other big mountains like Squaw or Jackson. Telluride would be another spot to look at. Way off the beaten path there.
Washington state would be another spot. Baker looks out of control good. No real resort towns there, but you can live in a real town plenty close to the area. The most snow in a season has fallen in Washington.