For the diehard winter sportsman, naught but the mountain and the depth of its powder matter.
That man could sleep in a cardboard lean-to and be happy.
But for the rest of us — especially in a year when conditions have been more than a little underwhelming — those off-hours by the fire with a nice dram and some slope bunnies can be just as appealing. So to help you select your winter home away from home, we rounded up a handful of the grandest lodges North America has to offer.
They may be ski-in, ski-out, but don’t blame us if you find yourself giving the gondolas the cold shoulder. You’ve been fair warned.
Stowe Mountain Lodge
An Alpine-style lodge nestled among the lakes and woodlands of Stowe Mountain. Soak your bones at the spa and take a dip in the outdoor/indoor swimming pool. Dine at Solstice for some artisanal eats. Or — assuming you can drag yourself out of the cabin — head over to snazzy Cliff House for a rustic Austrian ambience and dizzying panoramas. When you’re not on the slopes, have a go at ice skating, dog sledding, sleigh rides or log furniture making.
The only Forbes four-star locale that also happens to be a ski resort. There’s a fireplace in every room, a fireplace-laden lounge — hell, there’s even a jacuzzi with a fireplace. Après-ski, you’ll be dining at the seasonally inspired Powder. And if you’re feeling a little young and robust, there’s a bobsledding course. Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme.
Four Seasons Jackson Hole
Out. Door. Whirlpools. Tons of ‘em. During the winter months, they come with heated robes and towels, as well as complimentary hot chocolate and s’mores. You’ve also got myriad dining options: the Westbank Grill (casual and elegant), The Handle Bar American pub (whiskey and provisions) and Ascent (cozy outdoor fire tables). If you’ve got the coin, go for the Soar Above the Wild helicopter tour over Yellowstone — they employ an in-house biologist to play host.
Complete with the largest spa in Utah and all the heated outdoor pools and jacuzzis a man could ask for. Five dining options from burgers and bourbon to Yama sushi. Outdoors there’s year-round hiking, fishing and live concerts. Indoors there’s a retro arcade and a pub with its own bowling alley.
The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe
The only AAA Five Diamond mountain luxury resort in California. In-room fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows. A 17,000 square-foot slope-side spa. Dining options that include the artsy Manzanita or Slopeside Backyard Barbeque, a St. Louis-style pit joint. Fill your downtime on the 9,000-square-foot ice rink or explore the “Art of the S’more” by the fire pit.
The Westin — one of Vail/Beaver Creek’s newest resorts — is action meets peace and quiet at its finest. The 25-yard lap pool offers a steamy respite after a day in the pow, and you can retire to three infinity hot tubs overlooking Eagle River afterward. And Spa Anjali is the ultimate in après ski: 27,000 square feet of rejuvenation named one of the “Top 25 Resort Spas” by Condé Nast Traveler. Go for the Moor Mud Wrap and finish off at the Maya, where you can choose from 100+ agave-inspired spirits and rent out your own tequila locker.