Snow Bunnies rejoice. The famed ski resorts of Park City, Aspen Snowmass and Jackson Hole in the Rocky Mountains offer the perfect balance between deep powder, adrenaline pounding adventure and luxurious amenities. Bed down in a stunning alpine mountain lodge and enjoy the ultimate winter vacation on and off the slopes.
Park City, Utah
Situated between two world-class ski resorts and within an hour’s drive of three others, Park City is a skiers paradise. Significantly because it happens to be home to Utah Olympic Park where thrill-seekers can enjoy the rush of speeding down the same track of the 2002 Olympic bobsled, skeleton, and luge events. This charming city surrounded by staggering mountains also has incredible spas, restaurants, and a nightlife scene to elevate your apres ski experience. You’ll find most of the action along historic Main Street lined with local gems, mountain-inspired fashion retailers, and gallery spaces.
The Mountain: A stay in Park City gives you access to two of the Rocky Mountains headliner resorts, Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort. Deer Valley is a luxury ski only resort known for its 103 runs, 2,000 acres of skiable terrain first-class facilities, exceptional on the slopes dining, and five-star ski-in/ski-out accommodations. Spanning 7,300 acres Park City Mountain Resort has a whopping 341 runs and 8 terrain parks makes it the largest and one of the most coveted ski resorts in the US.
Best Place to Stay in Park City: One of the most romantic hotels in Park City, The Chateaux Deer Valley has a distinct look and feel of a European mountain chalet. Located mid-mountain at Deer Valley Resort just minutes from the ski lifts, guests will enjoy the tranquility that comes with a bit of distance from Main Street. The guest rooms are filled with exposed beams, electric fireplaces, and cozy cashmere blankets. We also recommend Montage Deer Valley and The Lodge at Blue Sky.
Apres Ski: Main Street is the culinary hub of Park City, luring guests from each of the surrounding resorts for elevated dining and plenty of great cocktail bar action. The Riverhorse on Mai is a culinary gem that features a seasonal menu along with tried and true favorites like the Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut. A casual alternative to this fine dining establishment is Riverhorse Provisions known for its exceptional smoked meats – we’re particularly fond of their breakfast. When it comes to spirits, High West Distillery and Saloon is it. The world’s only ski-in distillery serves high-quality whisky with insane panoramic views. For lively nightlife head to local favorites No Name Saloon or Riverhorse on Main.
Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
Aspen Snowmass has long been the winter playground of the rich and famous. The village has quaint pedestrian-only streets that transform into a winter wonderland of high-end boutiques, incredible art galleries and restaurant hotspots helmed by top chefs dining against the iconic backdrop of the Colorado Rockies. Combining four mountains and two ski villages, Aspen Snowmass is a globally renowned destination for incredible skiing, food and wine enthusiasts and posh lodging.
The Mountain: With four mountains; Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk at your fingertips, ski and snowboarding addicts are spoilt for choice, so a bit of pre-planning is required to maximize your snow adventure. Together the mountains offer over 5,300 skiable acres, have 10 terrain parks and a base elevation of 8,104 ft so you can expect to avoid the effects of altitude that can be challenging at other popular Colorado ski resorts. Here’s a snapshot of each of the mountains:
Aspen Mountain (Ajax) – Advanced and expert level runs and drops into the town of Aspen. There is a good reason this mountain is legendary.
Highlands – Known for its steep runs and mid-mountain groomers. It’s considered the “locals mountain” and consistently has smaller crowds.
Buttermilk – Is home to the X-Games and is a favorite for freestyle riders. On the flip side, it also has tons of great beginner runs plus a great ski school.
Snowmass – This is the largest with the most terrain options. Experts and newcomers will be impressed by the options.
Best Places to Stay in Snowmass: For a luxury hotel that offers tranquility and exhilaration in equal measures, there’s nowhere quite like Viceroy Snowmass. With ski-in, ski-out access, a state-of-the-art spa and multiple on-site restaurants – if you wanted to spend your entire trip hauled up here we wouldn’t blame you. The lodge itself has a Scandinavian feel with sleek modern furniture, cozy rooms with elegant linens and deep-soak tubs for soothing those sore ski legs. In Aspen, we’re also fans of The Little Nell and Hotel Jerome.
Apres Ski: Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain is an apres-ski staple. With a large outdoor patio, it’s known as much for the celebrity people watching and as its legendary truffle fries. Another popular favorite that found its way on the World’s Best Apres Ski Bars is the Oasis Champagne Bar, a pop-up concept serving Veuve Clicquot champagne and caviar. The best bit is that each night the bar is pulled by snowcat to a different location on the mountain. To find it you have to follow the clues given by The Little Nell’s social media team on Facebook and Twitter. Fun!
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Deeply rooted in wild west charm, Jackson Hole is a dude ranch renowned for having the biggest vertical drop (4,139 ft) in the United States and deep powdery snow through an extended season that runs from November through April. You won’t find quite the glitz and glam of Aspen and it’s not close to a major airport like Park City, but it’s Jackson Hole’s remote location and historic vibe that makes it a totally unique, hugely popular ski destination. The town square’s arches made from shed antlers and old-timey saloons are national treasures, but you’ll also find high-end dining and luxurious resorts. Nestled beside Grand Tetons National Park and close to Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole can be enjoyed year-round and off the slopes, a horse-pulled sleigh ride through National Elk Refuge is an unforgettable experience so make sure you have your camera at the ready.
The Mountain: Just steps from downtown Jackson is Snow King Mountain. A smaller resort with 400 acres, Snow King Mountain features 33 runs including some steep runs and gorgeous mid-mountain cruisers and not to be missed night skiing events. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has epic snowfall, around 450 inches each year and over 2,500 acres of groomed runs, mostly advanced and expert level as well as 3000 acres of backcountry skiing. Nearby Grand Targhee Resort is considered one of the top beginner ski destinations in the country.
Best Places to Stay in Jackson Hole: Caldera House is a small trendy boutique hotel, meets stylish mountain lodge just steps from the Teton Village Trolly. There are only eight guest rooms each with their own outdoor hot tub, fireplace, and rainfall shower. The small size allows for exceptional service. If you want to dog sled, snowshoe, whitewater raft, fly fish, or just need help with your skis, they’ve got you covered. We also recommend Amangari, one of our absolute favorite National Park Hotels, and the Anvil Hotel
Apres Ski: A visit to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar where barstools have saddles on top or Silver Dollar Showroom for live music and swing dancing is a must. Not that Jackson Hole isn’t also afraid to show off its more modern and glamorous side, especially in its burgeoning food scene. Sample handmade plates of pasta at Glorietta Trattoria or enjoy the seasonal brunch at Café Genevieve. For a fine dining experience make reservations at a Snake River Grill right off the town square. Try their Pan Seared Steelhead Trout, with cauliflower risotto.