This area’s most well-known resort with stunning views of the Matterhorn (zermatt.ch) is a best bet for early and late season thanks to its reliable snowfall from November to April. Trails run the gamut of difficulty, so it works well for families with all levels of skiers, and the car-free town makes it easy and enjoyable to get around. Check into the Riffelalp Resort (riffelalp.com), the highest five-star hotel in the Alps, which reopens this season after a renovation of its rooms.
When You’re Not Skiing: Speed fiends can try their hands at tobogganing on Zermatt’s notoriously lengthy runs like Rotenboden, which takes nearly 10 minutes to complete and descends 233 vertical meters. You can also try your hand at Scottish and Bavarian curling (a bit like bowling on ice) at one of the 16 open-air ice rinks at the Zermatt Curling Club, which hosts one of the largest open-air curling tournaments in Europe during the third week in January.
Where to Eat: Some of the best meals in town can be had on the mountain: Othmar’s Skihütte (othmars.ch) is known for its lengthy selection of Alaskan seafood specialties, served al fresco at 1,900 meters above sea level, while Les Marmottes (les-marmottes.ch) dishes out organic fare from their own farm and local game. And, because a trip to the Alp requires at least some fondue, save room for a meal at stalwart Whymper Stube (whymper-stube.ch), known for their assortment of mouthwatering, molten cheeses.
Photograph by Michael Portmann
Park City, Utah
Deer Valley (deervalley.com) is the perfect pick for ski purists as snowboarding is not permitted on the resort’s six mountains. Its location, just 36 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, makes it easy to arrive in the morning and be on the slopes by the afternoon. Up your game by signing up for the resort’s Ski with a Champion program, offering visitors a one-on-one outing with an Olympian like Heidi Voelker, during which you’ll ski down the very runs that hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
When You’re Not Skiing: Spend a morning snowshoeing in the dramatic backcountry of the Wasatch and Uinta Mountain Ranges, or opt for a guided snowmobile tour with Summit Meadows Adventures. If you’d rather unwind, head to Remède Spa at the St. Regis Deer Valley (stregisdeervalley.com) for pampering treatments, then visit the hotel’s bar and lounge for a 7452 Mary—named for the bar’s elevation, it’s a blend of Bloody Mary mix (the cocktail was invented at their New York City property) and fine oat-distilled Vodka 7000 from local High West Distillery.
Where to Eat: For après-ski in the heart of the village, head to Edgar’s Beer and Spirits Lounge. Named for Deer Valley’s founder, Edgar B. Stern Jr., you’ll find satisfying snacks like the OOMPH popcorn flavored with Deer Valleys’ signature southwestern spice, and warming cocktails like Hot Buttered Rum mixed with Deer Valley’s housemade hot butter, spiced rum, butterschnapps and whipped cream. For a more formal meal, head to Fireside Dining at Empire Canyon Lodge, where four course meals include dishes like fire-roasted leg of lamb and dessert fondue. For an extra-romantic night, hire a horse-drawn sleigh to shuttle you home from dinner.
Over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, terrain parks, and 147 trails across a variety of levels make it easy to see why Telluride (tellurideskiresort.com) one of the best-loved ski destinations in Colorado. It’s intermediate-level See Forever run is a must, thanks to its 360-degree views of the San Juan Mountains.
When You’re Not Skiing: Explore Telluride’s backcountry via dogsled with Wintermoon Sled Dog Adventures (telluridedogsledding.com). Fueled by a team of Alaskan huskies, you’ll explore the snow-covered trails throughout the San Juan and Uncompahgre national forests. Souvenir hunters will also want to save time for strolling down Colorado Avenue and popping into stores like Elinoff & Co. (elinoff.com), which features designer jewelry and an art gallery.
Where to Eat: Telluride’s flagship restaurant Allred’s is accessed via a free gondola ride to Station St. Sophia at the top of the mountain. As you’d expect from such an elevated location, the mountain views are spectacular, as is the menu featuring hearty fare like elk, lamb and steak. Arrive early to watch the sunset over the town, cocktail in hand. In town, visit the cozy La Marmotte (lamarmotte.com), where meals are best ended on a sweet note with their deep fried banana, served with caramel sauce and pistachio ice cream.
Photographs by (mountain) Ben Eng; (downtown) Aurelie Slegers
Stowe Mountain Resort
Over one hundred trails crisscross Stowe Mountain Resort (stowe.com) in Vermont’s rolling Green Mountains. Cross-country skiiers should visit The Trapp Family Lodge (trappfamily.com), home to the first cross-country ski center in the country. Stowe can be reached via direct flight with Tradewind Aviation (flytradewind.com), which offers a private charter from Westchester.
When You’re Not Skiing: Try ice fishing with the Fly Rod Shop (flyrodshop.com). When you’re ready to unwind, book a treatment at Topnotch Resort’s outstanding spa, which features an indoor pool and salon (topnotchresort.com).
Where to Eat: Fuel up with a breakfast of Dutch pancakes at the Grey Fox Inn (greyfoxinn.com), which has dozens of versions of the thin, skillet-cooked treat. For dinner, drive to nearby Waterbury and Hen of the Wood (henofthewood.com), where the seasonal New American menu is created from locally-sourced ingredients. And a trip to the area isn’t complete without stopping by Cold Hollow Cider Mill for hot apple cider and freshly baked cider donuts.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
British Columbia, Canada
A fourth generation Swiss mountain guide, Peter Schlunegger, introduced helicopter skiing to the area in 1978 with his company Selkirk Tangiers (selkirk-tangiers.com). Acquired by Revelstoke Mountain Resort (revelstokemountainresort.com) in 2007, the company offers guided group or private trips into the backcountry via helicopter. Back on the groomed mountain, powder hounds will find the longest lift-accessed vertical descent in North America at 5,620 feet.
When You’re Not Skiing: Stroll Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail, which has trees more than 500 years old in Mount Revelstoke National Park (pc.gc.ca).
Where to Eat: Resort options include Revelation Lodge, where you can sip Mount Begbie beer in front of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Monashee Mountains. Or hang with locals at the Village Idiot Bar & Grill (thevillageidiot.ca) and try Canada’s comfort food, poutine (fresh cut french fries topped with beef gravy and cheese curds).
Photograph by Grant Gunderson