Ski till three, then head for the nearest bar.
The tried-and-true itinerary behind your classic American ski vacation.
But classic can be … boring. Forgettable. A surefire route to recreating the same trip you’ve been taking for the last decade.
Why not try new afternoon plans? Like: fly fishing. Yes, it’s a thing. Even in winter. An afternoon fly fishing pairs perfectly with a morning spent on the slopes: a peaceful complement to your morning, full of austerity, scenery and nary another human in sight.
Intrigued? Here are five game plans to get you skiing and casting this winter — hotel, mountain and outfitter included.
St. Regis Aspen
Aspen has one hell of an après scene. But stay longer than a weekend and you’ll need a booze-free afternoon. First step, book a room at the St. Regis. It’s a minute-long drive via chauffeured Escalade to the gondola, and Aspen Outfitters is located on the lobby level. Sign up with these fly fishing aficionados and they’ll take you to hook trout at one of the Gold Medal-designated rivers that surround Aspen — some of which can be yours and yours alone, thanks to Aspen Outfitters’ exclusive land leases.
The Ranch at Rock Creek
The Ranch is home to everything you’ve ever wanted from a winter vacation: luxury cabins, snowmobiles, sport clay shooting and fireside cocktails. And fly fishing. The property is 35 minutes from Discovery Ski Area, the mountain that makes Philipsburg one of North America’s best secret ski towns. Post pow-sesh, pick up a guide and some top-of-the-line fly fishing gear from the Ranch’s Rod & Gun club and head down to Rock Creek. Several species of trout await.
Sun Valley Lodge
Sun Valley, Idaho
While skiing in Sun Valley is a seasonal obsession, fly fishing is a year-round affair. To take part, get a room at the legendary Sun Valley Lodge (of note: Hemingway wrote parts of For Whom the Bell Tolls in Room 206). Then, ski Sun Valley Resort. Afterward, be sure to schedule at least a half-day of fly fishing through Lost River Outfitters. They’ll lend you guidance and gear, along with some of the area’s best winter fisheries.
Skiing Jackson Hole is serious business. So is drinking afterwards. Check both off your list by snagging one of the 54 rooms at Hotel Jackson. It’s located in the center of town and one block from après classic The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Just be sure to reserve an afternoon for fly fishing with hotel partner Wandering Anglers. By way of fat bike or boat, they’ll take you to some of the Snake River’s best spots to catch cutthroats and rainbows.
Lone Mountain Ranch
Big Sky, Montana
After your valiant effort to carve all 5,800 of Big Sky’s skiable acres, head back to your cozy cabin at Lone Mountain Ranch. Leave time for dog sledding, but mostly for casting lines. You’ll strap on snowshoes and trek three miles through a classic American winter wonderland to reach more remote parts of the Blue Ribbon-designated Madison or Gallatin Rivers. Bagging a hearty trout will make the journey worth it.
— Trevor Morrow
Main image by Louis Cahill