3 Superlative Ski Towns to Visit This Year

Embrace brisk air, fresh powder and spectacular scenery in these alluring snowy spots.

By Amy Whitley, ContributorJan. 30, 2018
By Amy Whitley, ContributorJan. 30, 2018, at 11:26 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

3 Superlative Ski Towns to Visit This Year

A athletic skier rips fresh powder turns on a sunny day in Vail, Colorado.

These standout ski towns deliver small-town charm, lively après-ski scenes and impressive resorts. (Getty Images).

There's something about pulling into the porte-cochère (a covered driveway or entrance) at a leading hotel that feels indulgent. Maybe it's the convenience of not having to worry about grabbing ski gear until you're ready to hit the slopes or the ease of having a chair lift ride within steps of your suite that instantly elevates a high-altitude getaway. Or perhaps it's the simple pleasure of stepping into a suite overlooking a powdery mountain and an enchanting ski village. Regardless, slipping away to a luxury ski destination offers a lavish experience and a refreshing change of scenery. If you're ready to get pampered on your next ski break, here are a few top-notch places to embrace snow-covered landscapes, vibrant après-ski scenes and cold-weather pursuits in the lap of luxury in 2018.

Vail, Colorado

Set in the heart of the Rockies, Vail earns a reputation as a luxury ski destination for a reason. In many ways, this iconic ski area is the epicenter of posh ski trips. Vail Village boasts some of the best dining venues and shops in the country, all within walking distance of five-star resorts and boutique hotels. To arrive in style, use Vail's Eagle County Regional Airport, which offers nonstop daily service from multiple major U.S. cities, or use Colorado Mountain Express to take you from Denver to Vail with the convenience of Wi-Fi and a driver.

As for accommodations, check into the Sonnenalp, a chalet-style resort located in the heart of Vail Village. The property's well-appointed suites offer amenities such as minifridges, Nespresso machines and gas fireplaces. After settling into your accommodations, ease the stress of your travel day in the Sonnenalp Spa. The Sonnenalp’s European-style spa features ample amenities, including whirlpool hot tubs, a heated pool, a fitness center, a steam room and sauna and a crackling fireplace. If you’re feeling altitude sickness due to Vail’s high elevation, the spa also features an oxygen bar.

When you're ready to hit the slopes, check out one of the area's major ski resorts: Vail Ski Resort and Beaver Creek Ski Resort. Both areas offer perfectly manicured, groomed slopes at the ready. When hunger strikes, book a table at Swiss Chalet, which is adjacent to the Sonnenalp. The classic alpine cuisine includes fondue and raclette in an authentic German- and Swiss-inspired setting. On the mountain, stop in for lunch at The 10th, one of Vail Resort’s premiere dining venues. Take off your boots and slip on soft slippers, and take in stunning mountain views while dining on upscale versions of classics, such as chicken pot pie, truffle fries and flatbread pizza. The 10th is also a fan favorite for its bloody mary concoctions, and extensive cocktail, wine and Champagne list.

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe plays hosts to a plethora of ski resorts, however making your home base at Northstar California Resort guarantees a winning mix of luxury and family-friendliness. This resort, located on the north side of the lake, offers stunning lake views and a village atmosphere with posh shops and world-class downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and ice skating.

Another enticing luxury resort is The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, where you can relax in a stunning Living Room with vaulted ceilings and multistory stone fireplaces. Soak in the outdoor hot tubs after a day of skiing. Even better, if you're traveling with kids in tow, a ski concierge service takes kids directly to Northstar lessons each day, and offers s'mores on the patio each afternoon.

A ski day in Lake Tahoe can look vastly different for each guest, thanks to the varied terrain. Expert skiers will gravitate toward Northstar's many gladed regions, and kids will love The Stash, a terrain adventure park filled with natural elements. Intermediate skiers also have their pick of groomed runs. As for dining, book at least one meal at Manzanita, The Ritz-Carlton's signature restaurant, and take the gondola down to the Northstar Village as well for pizza, sushi or American cuisine. The kids can ice skate on the large outdoor rink as you wait for your order.

Deer Valley, Utah

It's hard to go wrong with Utah's beautiful powder, and the ease of transportation between Salt Lake City and the slopes is unbeatable. Deer Valley is conveniently located near Park City. For the epitome of luxury, book a stay at Deer Valley's Stein Eriksen Lodge or Stein Eriksen Residences, which grants you entry to exclusive Deer Valley spa services and offers an ideal location, with ski-in, ski-out convenience. Enjoy lounging at an infinity pool and spreading out in spacious accommodations.

You'll want to base your ski day at Deer Valley, since you'll be mere steps from the slopes, and you won't regret spending the majority of your time here: Deer Valley has arguably the most pristine slopes in the country. You'll also be within easy driving distance of Park City Mountain Resort, which combined with The Canyons Resort in 2015 to offer more than 7,300 acres of terrain. When you're ready to refuel, check out Fireside Dining, a Swiss-inspired spot with charcuterie boards, fondue and meats grilled directly in open fireplaces. Dining here is buffet-style, and you'll want to come hungry.


America's 50 Prettiest Winter Towns

Amy Whitley, Contributor

Amy Whitley is a family travel writer, editor, and columnist based in Southern Oregon. An avid ...  Read more

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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