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4 Top Après-Ski Spots to Visit This Winter
These enchanting towns attract skiers and gourmands alike.
Discover alluring post-ski scenes to recharge and unwind after an exhilarating day on the slopes.(Getty Images).
Cold-weather enthusiasts and avid skiers around the globe are in search of more than days whooshing through fresh powder on challenging slopes followed by a few drinks in a rustic bar by the fire. They want luxury resorts, high-end boutiques and destinations that give new meaning to the term "après-ski." They are interested in excellent wines or a craft beer scene and elevated regional and creative cuisine near the slopes. If you're looking for a game-changing post-ski scene, consider these exciting winter destinations that will delight everyone, from the novice skier to the advanced powder hound that appreciates refined food, wine and an upscale après-ski ambiance.
The Dolomites, Italy
The upper valley of the Val Badia, known as Alta Badia, is located in the South Tyrolean Dolomites in the Italian Alps in northern Italy. A chic and popular luxury destination in both summer and winter, Alta Badia is part of the Dolomiti Superski ski domain. The rocky peaks and the lush green valley is breathtaking in warmer months and even more magical when snow blankets the landscape in winter.
This region hosts many international events, such as the ski world championships and ski mountaineering competitions and culinary events, like Care's, The ethical Chef Days, where two-Michelin-starred chef Norbert Niederkofler and other acclaimed chefs gather to discuss sustainable gastronomy with roundtable discussions, master classes and presentations. The area is also known for its wellness centers, top-notch resorts, outstanding cuisine and excellent wines. Traditional Ladin dishes, the local cuisine, are on many menus and include a barley broth with cajinci, stuffed pasta pockets similar to ravioli and an Italian version of apple strudel or kiachln, which resembles a yeast doughnut with a filling.
Plan to stay in Corvara on the Sellaronda, where you can ski all around the Sella massif and cover nearly 25 miles of ski runs in a single day. The Sellaronda is one of the most impressive ski circuits in South Tyrol and all of the Italian Alps. For a memorable stay, book a room at Hotel La Perla, a family-run chalet-style boutique hotel with spectacular views, and an evening at La Stüa de Michil, the property's Michelin-starred restaurant with impressive cuisine and a notable wine list.
Located in the mountainous Hida region of Gifu Prefecture in central Honshu (Japan's main island), Hida-Takayama (or Takayama) is part of the Japanese Alps. The best way to reach this area is by train. From Kyoto, the ride is about three hours.
The Sanmachi Suji District of Takayama is known for its well-preserved old town, with buildings from the Edo (or Tokugawa) period, the final time of traditional Japan from 1603 to 1868. The Takayama Festival, held biannually in the spring and fall, is considered to be one of the most beautiful festivals in Japan and dates back to the mid-1600s. In the winter months, the surrounding mountains beckon to skiers with popular resorts, onsens (natural hot springs), outstanding dining and locally brewed sake, as well as the prized Hida beef, a branded kuroge wagyu beef from the Gifu area.
The closest ski area to Takayama is Honoki Daira Winter Resort, which is accessible via the Nohi bus. The bus company even offers a ski package that includes ski gear rental and a lift ticket. Ciao Ontake Snow Resort is further from town, but you can arrange for transportation to the resort. Skiers are likely to find optimal powder conditions at Ciao Ontake with its approximate 6,500-foot-high elevation and north-facing slopes.
After an action-packed day on the slopes, wind down in the evening with an onsen bath in the spa at a favorite Ryokan (or Japanese inn), Honjin Hiranoya Kachoan, followed by a restful evening in one of their traditional Japanese rooms. Many restaurants serve the rich marbled delicacy of Hida beef, and one highly rated spot is Syuntei-Nakagawa, a French-Japanese teppanyaki-style restaurant where the meat, fresh vegetables and seafood are prepared on a hot grill tableside and served with local sake, or you can select from an excellent wine list.
The alluring French ski destination of Megève is located in southeast France, near the Italian and Swiss borders, and is about an hour by car from Geneva. A charming medieval resort town with cobblestone streets and stunning views of Mont Blanc, Megève was conceived by Noémie de Rothschild a century ago. The wife of Baron Maurice de Rothschild, Noémie de Rothschild's wish was for Megève to be the French competitor to the famed Swiss ski town of St. Moritz. With its picturesque setting, high-end boutiques, luxury resorts, spas and wellness centers, and the only three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the Alps, Flocons de Sel, Megève is a world-class ski destination.
Plan to stay in one of the rustic yet elegant, alpine chalet-style properties in town featuring cozy and romantic accommodations, such as Le Fer à Cheval or Les Fermes de Marie. There is also a new Four Seasons Hotel Megève, which recently opened in time for this year's winter season. Created in partnership with Edmond de Heritage Rothschild, a lifestyle company, the 55-room property is the first hotel to offer direct access to the Mont d'Arbois slopes and is also home to a two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le 1920.
Park City, Utah
For top-notch skiing combined with luxury accommodations and a sophisticated dining scene that's closer to home, plan your next winter getaway in Deer Valley. With ski valets to carry guests' ski gear and other first-class amenities, Deer Valley is consistently lauded as a top ski retreat. Guests return year after year to enjoy the optimal weather, family-friendly atmosphere, off-slope activities, upscale lodges, exceptional restaurants and après-ski scene. If you're looking to splurge, consider spending a few nights at Stein Erikson Lodge, named after Norwegian Olympic gold medalist Stein Eriksen. A luxury European-style alpine ski lodge with spectacular views of Deer Valley Resort, the property also features award-winning dining at Glitretind Restaurant and Utah's only five-star spa.
For other dining options, one of the most memorable spots is the Goldener Hirsch Restaurant, a AAA Four Diamond Award recipient and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, featuring contemporary alpine cuisine and classic cheese fondue. Another noteworthy dining institution is The Mariposa, located in the Silver Lake Lodge, which earns high praise for its creative, modern and classic dishes and award-winning wine list.
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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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