Whether you're looking for a high-adrenaline adventure out on the slopes, the best spots for après-ski, or relaxing spa facilities for post-ski recovery, there's a perfect ski resort out there for you. Book a stay at one of these eight ski resorts around the U.S. and Canada to maximize the good time had by all, both on and off the mountain.
Many ski resorts cater to children these days, offering "kids ski free" promotions, day camps, and lessons for all ages. One of the very best options is Big White Ski Resort in Canada's British Columbia. Among the many pluses for moms and dads: Instructors will pick up your kids for lessons right at your door, giving you more time to ski. Or, try the "Mom/Dad & Me are Skiing" program, which introduces little ones to skiing while teaching parents games and activities to keep them excited about being up on skis.
Many resorts in Colorado are also known for their foodie scene, and one to check out for superlative gourmet experiences and on-mountain dining is Telluride Ski Resort in Telluride. Head to Alpino Vino for a five-course Italian meal atop the mountain (you'll need to take a snowcat to get there for dinner). For fabulous views, try Allred's; in town, look to the Chop House or 221 South Oak. If you have time, spend two-and-a-half hours with Telluride Food Tours to try out local food specialties, like jalapeno- and cheddar-infused elk sausage from Appaloosa Café, as well as to learn the ins and outs of this former mining town.
Sometimes you just want to hit the slopes without wee ones whizzing by. Head to Twin Farms, an all-inclusive, adults-only property situated in Barnard, Vermont, for nearly private cross-country skiing. Or, schuss down any of the five runs at the ski-in/ski-out resort. No need to wait in line for a ski lift either: A private snowmobile will take you back up to the top of the mountain for another run before you enjoy an in-room massage or a dip in the Japanese-style soaking tub.
At the end of a long day on the mountain, there's nothing better than a little après-ski action, and few resort towns do it better than Park City, Utah. Head to Legends Bar & Grill for tasty fare, like Ahi tuna nachos, or The Corner Store, for live music and drink specials. Take a walk down Main Street for the best of historic Park City, then stop in High West Distillery & Saloon, the only ski-in/ski-out whiskey distillery in North America.
If you're looking to keep costs down without sacrificing fantastic skiing, head to Northstar in the Lake Tahoe area. Throughout the season, you can buy a lift ticket at Northstar, then use the same ticket to ski at nearby Heavenly and Kirkwood, a fabulous deal for avid skiers in search of varied terrain. You'll also find loads of affordable vacation rentals in central Truckee on sites like HomeAway.com, enabling you to save even more cash on a ski getaway.
Whether you want to relax after a morning spent going up and down the mountain, or you just want to get a massage while friends and family take to the slopes, the spa at the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole is hard to beat. Among the most popular services is the reflexology treatment, which focuses on the hands and feet—ideal once you've slipped out of your clunky ski boots. The classic Swedish massage is another staple that guests return for time and again. Plus, in-room massages can be arranged when you just want to relax without leaving the comfort of your own hotel room.
Several ski resorts are working on ways to reduce their carbon footprints and one leading the way is Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon. Mt. Bachelor not only uses renewable energy sources to power the resort, but also engages in considerable recycling efforts and has a "no idling" program in place to reduce air pollution. The resort has even hired climatologists to identify what more they can do to preserve the environment and make their ski experience better for guests—and Mother Earth—alike.
If it takes more than a black diamond run to get your adrenaline flowing, look to heli-skiing and snowboarding at the Ruby Mountain Range, located just east of Elko, Nevada. Stay at Reds Ranch, a cozy 10-bedroom hideaway, where you can gear up for a half-dozen heli-runs, plus a vertical lift measuring 39,000 feet. Expect a backcountry ski experience tailor made for small groups—it's one you just can't get from the bigger resorts.
Photo Credits: Kid skiing, courtesy of Big White Ski Resort; Twin Farms, courtesy of Twin Farms; Northstar, courtesy of Vail Resorts; Mt. Bachelor, courtesy of Mt. Bachelor
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