Where to stay: Viceroy Snowmass
Skiers will love the ski-in, ski-out access (95% of the property is slope-side lodging), the 4,406 vertical feet of elevation and 3,332 acres of lift-served terrain. Snowmass has a formidable 94 trails—the longest clocking in at 5.3 miles. On-slope activities include snowboarding, uphill skiing, snow tubing, alpine skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. For those who want to hit the spa, but not miss any time on the powder, the new ski-in, ski-out treatments are a game-changer. The massages run 30 minutes or less, and are aimed directly at reinvigorating skiers to get back on the slopes and finish the day.
Fun fact: This winter, the town celebrates its 50th anniversary. On December 15, single-day lift tickets will be $6.50 (the price that was charged on opening day in 1967). Additional celebrations throughout the season include retro-themed parties and fireworks.
PARK CITY, UTAH
Where to stay: Stein Eriksen Lodge
The Utah license plate motto says it all: Greatest Snow on Earth. The quality of this state’s snow, referred to as champagne powder, is considered some of the best in the world. Park City Mountain has the largest lift-access ski terrain in the country and plenty of upscale ski-in/ski-out lodging. The Stein Eriksen Lodge has a ski valet team: they set you up in the right gear; carry and set up the skis outside and help you snap and buckle everything into place. Once you return; they greet you with warm drinks and help get you out of your gear; then they clean and store the skis and prep them for the next day. With 47 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a downtown that has an anti-chain ordinance, it has a unique feel. In addition to skiing, there’s snowmobiling, dogsledding, snow tubing and visits to the Utah Olympic Park (home of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games).
Fun fact: Before ski lifts were built, skiers used to ride old mining cars to get to the top of the mountain.
ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND
Where to stay: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
With more than 200 miles of slopes, the mountains surrounding St. Moritz become a snowy playground in winter. The historic Badrutt’s Palace Hotel dates back to 1896. It’s an intimate hotel with only 157 rooms and yet it has seven restaurants, two bars and a club—so many visitors don’t leave the premises, except to go skiing. In addition to the world-famous down-hill skiing, cross-country skiers can glide across frozen lakes or take the Alp Bondo high-altitude trail. There’s also high speed tobogganing, snow shoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides and skating. For non-skiers, there’s high-end shopping at 27 boutiques.
Fun fact: An indoor-outdoor pool lets guests swim outside in heated water while taking in the views of the Swiss mountainside.
NISEKO VILLAGE, JAPAN
Where to stay: Kasara Townhouses
The town of Niseko, Japan, boasts six ski areas with inter-linked resorts with a combined 2,191 acres of skiable terrain. The region gets sixty feet of snow annually and in recent years, Niseko has become a popular destination for Americans looking to combine great skiing, Zen aesthetic, onsen hot springs (Japan’s famous therapeutic hot spring waters with mineral-rich saltwater sourced from deep beneath the earth) and some of the best sushi in the world. Visitors can experience both snow rafting (where thrill-seekers sit in a raft wearing helmets while being towed by a snowmobile) and reindeer sledding. Often compared to Aspen, CO, or St. Moritz, Switzerland, Niseko Village has a host of other options outside skiing including snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Situated in the heart of Niseko Village at the base of Mount Annapuri, the Kasara Townhouses are just feet from the slopes and close to shops and restaurants. Kasara consists of eight well-appointed three-bedroom townhouses over two floors, each of which can accommodate up to six people.
Fun fact: Unlike many popular ski destinations, Niseko is at a low altitude (4,300 feet), so skiers don’t have to worry about acclimation.
Where to stay: Stowe Mountain Lodge at Spruce Peak
Stowe Mountain Lodge is the only luxury ski-in/ski-out resort in the Northeast, with the highest peak in Vermont and 116 trails over 485 acres. Spruce Peak Village at Stowe has a 30,000 square-foot Adventure Center with giant indoor rock wall built around an Olympic-size ice skating rink. There’s also a 2,100 square foot spa and wellness center. There are plenty of activities including: winter horseback riding, ice climbing, dog sledding, sleigh riding and snowmobiling. With direct flights on Tradewind Aviation, a weekend of skiing couldn’t be easier.
Fun fact: The kids’ spa, Chillax, offers princess pedicures and chocolate facials.
Photo by: (Snowmass) Jeremy Swanson