Can you feel it? You know, that soft touch of colder air running up the back of your neck, making all the tiny hairs stand up. So, you wrap your scarf around your neck, cup your hands, breathe a little warm air into them, and smile. Because you know this feeling means that ski season is almost here.
Ski towns across the United States are already prepped and ready for powderhounds and winter bunnies alike to descend on their mountains to carve down everything from easy breezy greens to challenging black diamonds. And this winter, you only deserve the best. Here are six of the best ski destinations to discover throughout the 2022/23 season and a boutique hotel to book in each spot that will surely leave you wishing for a few extra days in the snow.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole has long been a mecca for those who love to push themselves. The mountain is well known for its challenging terrain and even hosts annual “Steep and Deep” camps to help intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders excel to the next level. But don’t worry beginners, there are plenty of easy runs for you and an in-depth ski school ideal for kids and adults.
And there’s plenty to see and do off the slopes, too. The town of Jackson Hole is small but mighty, especially in its bustling Town Square, filled with shops where you can stock up on enviable winter and western wear. It’s also a destination with abundant outdoor attractions like the National Elk Refuge, where visitors can hop aboard a horse-drawn sleigh to see the animals up close. And, of course, no mention of Jackson Hole would be complete without throwing a shout to Grand Teton National Park, which sits just north of the city, and where visitors can find hundreds of miles of trails to explore throughout the year.
Where to stay: Hotel Jackson
Stay in the center of the action by booking a room at Hotel Jackson, a 55-room boutique hotel located just a few feet away from Town Square. The hotel honors the area with plenty of western flare in its decor choices, like shiplap walls, leather furnishings, and soft fur throws. It’s a hotel that will also delight the hungry masses after a day of skiing at its restaurant FIGS, which serves Lebanese-Mediterranean cuisine alongside a lengthy signature handcrafted cocktail menu. Guests can also level up their arrival via the hotel’s partnership with XO, which offers guests exclusive discounts for direct private charter flight services.
It doesn’t get more wintertime chic than Aspen, Colorado. Located in the Colorado Rockies, Aspen is a town of fewer than 8,000 full-time residents but attracts hordes of visitors all winter season long, including every celebrity you could ever imagine on skis and boards. It’s a place to see and be seen and a spot to absolutely shred. There are more than 330 runs across Aspen’s peaks, including a 5.3-mile run that will leave your quads burning for days. The mountain also sees 300 inches of snow a year, making it an excellent spot to chase down some powder stashes, even on its busiest days.
But make sure to leave a little gas in the tank for the end of the day, as Aspen’s apres ski scene is a must-experience event. Bars to explore for a pint or a cocktail include Venga Venga, a slopeside Mexican eatery at the base of Snowmass, Highlands Ale House in the Aspen Highlands, which has 16 beers on tap and 60 more in bottles and cans, and Ajax Tavern, an upscale bar with a stellar outdoor patio space for bluebird days at The Little Nell, which brings to where to stay…
Where to stay: The Little Nell
The Little Nell offers nothing short of perfection for its guests. The five-star hotel has fewer than 100 rooms, putting personalized service at the forefront. Here, guests can expect refined accommodations decked out in blue, tan, and gray furnishings meant to help you relax into your getaway, a full-service spa, and of course, its easy ski-in, ski-out access to the mountain. A stay here also comes with access to its Ski Concierge service that can help you get on the mountain before anyone else.
Park City, Utah
Park City claims to have the greatest snow on Earth thanks to its lake-effect snows. And you know what? It’s not wrong. The mountain comes with 7,300 skiable acres and receives an average snowfall of 365 inches. So yes, the snow is certainly something to write home about, but the mountain has so much more to offer. When you need a break from the trails, head into one of Park City’s eight on-mountain dining destinations, but not just for the same old chili bowls you find at other spots (don’t worry, they do have elevated versions of this too). Instead, find hearty BBQ options at Tombstone Grill, fine dining at Lookout Cabin, and some absolutely otherworldly donuts at Cloud Dine (pro tip: get there well before 10 a.m., otherwise the donuts will most certainly be sold out).
For more culinary delights, head into town, or ski directly to High West, the famed whiskey saloon that sits at the base of the appropriately named Quit’n Time Trail. Grab a spiked cider and snag a seat around the outdoor fire pits and chat up your fellow skiers and riders long into the night.
Where to stay: Washington School House
Keep it classic with a stay at Washington School House, a hotel built inside the remains of an 1800s schoolhouse that has just 12 suburb suites. Each room comes with special details that harken back to the building’s past, including open rafters, crystal chandeliers, and detailed woodworking found in its penthouse. Along with this detail, the designers punched up the history even further with restored vintage and antique furniture. Though small, the hotel boasts big amenities, like a heated pool and spa area, ski concierge, in-room massages, Molton Brown products, and so much more.
Stowe may not be as big as the mountains out West, but it more than makes up for its size with enormous charm. The mountain has been delighting skiers (and later snowboarders) since its inaugural season in 1936 and is still home to one of the oldest continuously operating ski patrol teams in the nation. If you’re a beginner skier or rider Stowe is absolutely where you want to be, as it’s home to a fantastic ski school that will take things slow and steady and bring you over to the larger runs when you’re ready. Hit the greens like the ultra-chill Toll Road, or when you’re ready, cruise down the famed Front Four, aka Starr, Liftline, National, and Goat, four of the steepest trails you’ll find on the East Coast.
Take a little time on your getaway to explore the town of Stowe too, including walking and shopping down Main Street, where you’ll find adorable coffee shops like Cafe on Maine and cozy dining venues like Harrison’s. And for an apres scene you won’t forget, stop by the Matterhorn for a beer, live music, and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
Where to stay: Edson Hill
Make yourself at home in Stowe with a stay at Edson Hill, a 22-room boutique hotel just down the hill from the mountain. Each room seamlessly blends timeless New England style with all the modern amenities one would need. Cozy up by its fireplaces, gaze upon its more than 30 acres of pristine landscape, and between laps at the mountain, take to its Nordic trails for a little cross-country skiing to keep the blood pumping.
Taos, New Mexico
New Mexico may not be the first place you think of for winter skiing, but it most certainly deserves a spot high on your list, especially for a visit to Taos. Taos Ski Valley is another mountain that sees an epic amount of snow each year, topping off at an average of 300 inches that spreads across almost 1,300 acres of skiable terrain. But what makes Taos ultra special is its commitment to protecting winters for generations to come. The mountain became B-corp certified in 2017, and in August 2022 it officially became Certified CarbonNeutral.
Visitors can continue the fun off the mountain in Taos by taking snowmobile tours through the picturesque landscapes or see it all from above via a nearby hot air balloon ride. Just don’t forget to dine in some of the area’s best restaurants, like The Love Apple, which highlights a regionally sourced menu, and the Taos Mesa Brewing Taos Tap Room, a craft brewing operation creating drinks you won’t find anywhere else on Earth.
Where to stay: Palacio de Marquesa
With just eight rooms, you know a stay at the Palacio de Marquesa is sure to delight. The luxury mountain getaway specifically honors the women of Taos through its designs, including via its color palette of bright silver and soft ivory tones, with pops of color throughout. Guests at the hotel also receive complimentary breakfast, which can be delivered right to their room, so they never have to leave the comfort of their canopy bed facing their roaring fireplace.
Big Sky, Montana
For big trails, big conditions, and big views, there’s only one place to go: Big Sky, Montana. Big Sky is as breathtaking a destination as they get, with views that seem to go on until the end of the Earth. The mountain stretches to more than 11,000 feet at the summit and provides skiers and riders with 5,800 skiable acres of terrain. It’s a spot ideal for groups of varying abilities as 15% of its runs are listed as beginner, 25% as intermediate, 42% advanced, and 18% as expert only. It’s also a destination where you can ski just a little bit longer if you want via its headlamp night skiing. Strap on an ultra-powerful headlamp to light up the trail ahead, and zip down the mountain with a few of your buddies, hollering all the way, knowing it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
The winters here really are pretty centered around the mountain, but you can still have a little off-day fun with some furry locals with outfitters like Spirit of the North Dog Sled Adventures, which will take you through the powdery landscapes behind a pack of rather excited pups, and with any number of sleigh ride operators who will tour you behind a clydesdale or two.
For a show-stopping meal, book a seat at North Fork Cabin, a candlelit farm-to-table dining experience in a historic cabin at Lone Mountain Ranch, which requires a 20-minute sleigh ride to get to under the stars, making it all the more romantic.
Where to stay: Lone Mountain Ranch
Following your meal at North Fork Cabin, lay your head at Lone Mountain Ranch. Just a few dozen log cabins are sprinkled across the property, and each one will make you feel like a (rather luxurious) homesteader, even for just a few days. We’re rather fond of the Ouzel cabin, thanks to its covered front porch, claw-foot soaking tub, and plush king-sized bed next to the ever-comforting wood-burning stove.
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