5 Awesome Ski Towns Even Non-Skiers Will Love

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Some ski resorts are best for powder hounds chasing the steeps. Others are better for couples looking for luxe. Then there are the do-it-all, make-everyone-happy places that prove it’s not the resort that matters; it’s the destination. Here are the five best ski getaways in North America.

WHISTLER—British Columbia

Niney minutes north of Vancouver, the resorts of Whistler and Blackcomb combine for a stunning 10,000 vertical fett of terrain. That includes glades, bowls, glaciers, and terrain parks, all with views of rivers, lakes and B.C.’s evergreen forests. In Whistler Village, the vibe is a mix of 20-somethings chowing down on putine and couples and families getting their fix of sushi or strolling along Skiers Plaza.


Stay Here: Located at the base of Whistler, the Pan Pacific Hotel is walking distance to the lifts and has a pool area that overlooks Whistler’s central thoroughfare.

Ski Here: Whistler is known for its warm Pacific storms, so the higher you get, the more quality snow you’ll find. head all hte way up to Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain, an open bowl that feeds into gladed trees that hold powder stashes. 

Play Here: After skiing, make your way to Forged, a BYOB joint where you can throw axes at bull’s-eyes. Then fill your face with spicy salmon rolls at Sushi Village.  


Stay Here: The Legends, situated right near the Creekside Gondola, the ski school, and a grocery store, has a large pool/hot tub area, a game room, and a movie cave. 

Ski Here: Both Whistler and Blackcomb are dotted with what the resort calls “Family Certified Zones,” mellow terrain that’s built out with tree forts and slides, like Magic Castle, on Blackcomb. The kids can have a snowball fight while you rip nearby runs like Countdown, a buffed-out groomer.

Play Here: After skiing, check out the Sunday night Fire and Ice Show, where pro skiers jump through rings of fire. Then chow down on clay-oven pizza at Creekbread


Stay Here: The 539-room Fairmont Chateau Whistler, at the base of Blackcomb, is as luxurious as it is massive, with five restaurants and a spa—meaning you can disappear together here with everything you need. 

Ski Here: At Whistler and Blackcomb, the terrain can go from easy to extreme quickly. Which is why it’s wise to meet up with one of the resort’s free mountain hosts, who can lead you to slopes that you’ll both enjoy.

Play Here: If you do venture out of the Fairmont, ride the Solar Coaster Express to the top of Blackcomb, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Coast Mountains, order a wine flight at Christine’s, and dine on local, slow-cooked wild salmon.

Image via Alan V. Young / Getty


Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is one of hte more challenging ski areas in North america and its consistently good snow—nearly 600 inches fell last year—has alwyas attracted serious skiers. But now, with more lodging options downtown; more flights into its airport, just 20 minutes away; and a new lift that accesses easier, family-friendly terrain, J-Hole is suddenly perfect for the masses.


Stay Here: Though the ski area is in Teton Village, 30 minutes away, post up closer to the action in the town of Jackson. The recently renovated Anvil Hotel, with a cowboy-meets-hipster vibe and craft cocktails, is a perfect base camp. 

Ski Here: Get to the mountain early and head straight up the tram. From there ski the wide-open, wind-buffed snow in Rendezvous Bowl, then take laps on the Sublette chairlift, making sure to hit the 40-degree shots in the Alta chutes. 

Play Here: Grab a beer at the Mangy Moose, then head back to town for an elk chop at Local. For late night, the brilliantly tacky Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, where horse saddles serve as barstools and country bands play late into the night, is a mandatory stop. 


Stay Here: While it’s tempting to stay in town, Snake River Lodge has an indoor-outdoor heated pool and a massive fireplace in the lobby, all right at the base of the resort. Staying here makes it far easier to get everyone geared up and going in the morning. 

Ski Here: Despite the mountain’s rep for expat terrain, the trails off the Apres Vous chairlift are intermediate groomers, a nice option for family cruising.

Play Here: Take the family on a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge, just 20 minutes from Teton Village, for a view of the mountains and a look at the hudreds of elk that feed there come winter. Then grab dinner at Pica’s, the town’s best Mexican joint. 


Stay Here: The Amangani, the most luxurious digs in Jackson Hole, has a heated infinity pool with absurdly dramatic views of Grand Teton. But be warned: it’ll be hard to leave and go skiing. 

Ski Here: Hop on the Bridger Gondola and cruise the intermediate groomed trails to the Casper Quad, or the gladed chutes under the Marmot double chair, stopping for a bowl of mushroom strudel back at the top of the gondola at Piste Mountain Bistro.

Play Here: For one day, skip the resort, rent cross-country skis from Skinny Skis, and glide out to Granite Hot Springs, a natural thermal swimming pool surrounded by evergreens and waterfalls. Afterward, have dinne at the Snake River Grill, with roaring fires and over 300 wines. 

Image via Derek DiLuzio / Getty

LAKE TAHOE—California & Nevada

The scene in Lake Tahoe is a tale of two regions. North Lake Tahoe, home to seven ski areas, typically attracts a more affluent and family-friendly clientele. south Lake Tahoe, which has two ski resorts and is close to Nevada’s many casino, has more a party scene. The closest airport for the northern side is Reno. For South Lake Tahoe, it’s usually cheaper to fly into Sacramento


Stay Here: The skiing at Squaw, on the northwest corner of the lake, is the best in the region. The Village at Squaw Valley offers three-bed, three-bath suites and the best breakfast in town: PlumpJack’s buffet.

Ski Here: Peak KT-22 will challenge you with chutes, open bowls, and glades. If you want a leg burner, head to Chute 75, a 35-degree, 1,500-vertical-foot line.

Play Here: Stash a swimsuit in your pack and head to High Camp, at the top of the Aerial Tram. You can soak in the hot tubs while sipping on seasonal drafts and taking in views of the Sierra Nevada. 


Stay Here: Northstar, in North Lake Tahoe, was made for families. The terrain is mostly intermediate, and the village, which is centered on a large skating rink, has enough s’mores and booze to keep everyone happy. For privacy and quiet, rent one of the houses located among the pines—just a quick walk from the village—through Airbnb.

Ski Here: Take the Vista Express lift to mid-mountain so the kids can try the small terrain park while you rip mellow groomers right alongside them.

Play Here: Grab one of the cabanas alongside the rink with a fire pit, and try a s’mores cocktail, called a Dirty Snowman, while the kids get their skating fix. 

Image via Bill Stevenson / Getty


If you’re planning a last-minute trip, there’s no easier getaway that offers as much on-hill and off-hill fun than Park City. The town—a mix of pastel-colored homes, luxury hotels, and trendy restaurants-is only 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City Airport, and its two ski areas get coated by some of the lightest, fluffiest snow in the world. 


Stay Here: The Main & Sky, right in downtown Park City, has 33 luxury suites, pool tables, patio Jacuzzis, and outdoor decks overlooking the action on Main Street.

Ski Here: Park City now includes and is connected to the former Canyons Village, opening up 7,300 vertical feet of skiing. For powder, head to Canyons and ski Red Pine Chutes to Ninety-Nine 90.

Play Here: High West distillery has become famous for its hooch and bottled manhattans, which you can buy to go. After drinks, grab dinner at Firewood, a local favorite where eferything is cooked by flame, before capping the night at the No Name Saloon.

Family Trip

Stay Here: Canyons Village is 10 minutes from the hustle of downtown, and the Grand Summit, at the base of the resort, has a relaxing bar where parents can chill while the kids swim in the outdoor pool. 

Ski Here: The mountains above Canyons Village are known for the terrain parks, and the area gondola lets the kids practice the smaller jumps and rail slides whil you cruise Kokopelli, a rolling intermediate groomer. 

Play Here: Take the kids to the plaza around 3 o’clock to meet the ski patrol’s avalance dogs. Later, go to the Farm for dishes like the pstachio-crusted lamb loin, while the bood grabs sliders off the kids’ menu. 


Stay Here: Deer Valley, with its five-star lodging, spa-on-every-corner layout, and utter disdain for snowboarding (it’s still not allowed here) can seem snobby. It is. But staying at the Montage, which looks like a castle, will make you feel like royalty. 

Ski Here: Head out of the Montage and onto the Empire Express chairlift for 3,000 vertical feet of perfectly buffed-out corduroy. 

Play Here: Walk to the Empire Canyon Lodge for raclette and cured meats, served next to giant stone fireplaces. 

Image via Tetra Images – Erik Isakson / Getty


Blending rustic nostalgia with chic restaurants, trendy hotels, and happening bars. Aspen, with four ski areas and an airport that receives direct flights from most major cities, attracts a glorious mix of Hollywood elites, ski bros ripping big lines, and families taking it all in.


Start Here: The Limelight hotel, right downtown, is the perfect mix of upscale—it has a ski valet and an outdoor heated pool—and affordable. More important, it’s within walking distance to all of Aspen’s restaurants and bars. 

Ski Here: Of the four mountains, Aspen Highlands ahs the most expert terrain, including Highland Bowl, a large section of 40-degree steeps and glades that hold powder well after a storm. 

Play Here: Apres beer at Highlands Alehouse, dinner at Steakhouse No. 316 (the porterhouse is hard to beat), and, late night, check out a live show at Belly Up, an Aspen institution for a decade. 


Stay Here: Skip the bustle of downtown and head to Snowmass Village, a few miles down valley. It has fire pits, a tubbing and terrain park, and a brand-new mountain coaster to keep the kids happy. Make life easy by booking a slopeside condo wit ha full kitchen through Stay Aspen Snowmass. 

Ski Here: Snowmass has one of the best ski schools in the country. Drop the kids there, then sample some of the mountain’s gloriously wide groomers, including Sneaky’s, nearly 1,200 vertical feet of rolling terrain with stunning views. 

Play Here: At night, take the gondola to the Elk Camp restaurant for live music and pizza while the kids tube and ride the 5,700 foot coaster. 


Stay Here: The St. Regis has a daily 4:45 champagne toast—the bottles are opened wit ha saber—and a spa. It’s also an easy walk from the base of Aspen Mountain in case the afternoon calls for, um, extracurricular activities. 

Ski Here: Take the Silver Queen Gondola all the way to the top of Aspen Mountain, where you’ll find 3,300 vertical feet of beautifull groomed trails, glades, and bumps.

Play Here: Matsuhisa has a cool vibe and world-renowned sushi, but if you want something more memorable, take the horsedrawn sleigh ride to Pine Creek Cookhouse for the local elk chop steak and lots of snuggle time on the return trip. 


Image via Tyler Stableford / Getty

The post 5 Awesome Ski Towns Even Non-Skiers Will Love appeared first on Men's Journal.


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