Just sayin' layout is not everything. At Telluride you have the rugged terrain and large vertical rise of the San Juans. One of the few spots where the riding goes through terrain like you find in Europe. Look for pictures of people in Gold Hill (I believe that is the spot) for reference.
Heavenly just kind of blows btw. It's rather flat and getting from lift to lift can be a pita.
Lift design is just not that big of a deal imo. What is offered off of the lifts is. The only thing that does suck is if you have to take a lot of T Bars and Pony tows. Which is about the only drawback with Crested Butte. The T-Bar and Pony tows there get you to the best terrain. I end up riding them most of the day when I am there. I don't have a problem riding them, but they still do suck in comparison to a chairlift...
There are some really good deals to be found in Colorado too. It's a rather large state and resorts are littered through out the mountains here.
Wolf Creek is probably number one bang for your buck. Cheap lodging in South Fork, cheap lift tickets, tons and tons of snow, low crowds. I love that area, the bc on the pass is some of the best in the state.
Monarch is underrated, but the stuff in Mirkwood Basin is legit. Cheap places to stay in Salida.
Crested Butte. Kind of an odd one, but if you stay in Gunnison or better yet Almont (15 minutes to CB), they have the ski and stay packages. Last time I did that it was $60 a night and included is your lift ticket. Pretty hard deal to beat. Almont is rad and I can not recommend that place enough. If you got a solid crew, you can just have a blast there apres wise.
For California, Tahoe in particular, I'd recommend Kirkwood on the South Shore. If you stay North Shore, Squaw is a must visit, Sugar Bowl, Alpine, and Homewood are all worthy. I've actually always wanted to stay at Sugar Bowl. You take the gondola down to the slopes and stay right there. It's kind of like a hut trip without the hiking into the hut. Seems super cool.
i will save this thread as i discuss this with the woman...if we go to Co, im hitting you up!
No worries man. I've been living here for 20 years and have some pretty good insights about the regions. The only major resort I haven't been too is Telluride and that is because it's so damn far away. Solid 8 hour drive from Denver to get there.