A country where mountains are impressively huge, snowfall is pristine and champagne powder is de rigueur: the USA certainly has sublime ski territory. We’ve chosen our favourite spots for a truly indulgent trip to the slopes.
Aspen has four spectacular mountains to choose from: Snowmass – home to the largest lift-served vertical descent in North America – Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. The latter has two exciting terrain parks (the Winter X Games are hosted here), and incredible glade skiing.
Wide, mostly pedestrianised streets and restored Victorian buildings give Aspen a quaint feel. Hotel St Regis is a glamorous spot to hang up your skis, with its roaring fires, crystal chandeliers and antique decor. The Presidential Suite even includes a baby grand piano, an imposing marble fireplace and butler service. In the evening, step into the spa for a customised facial, wrap or massage, or sample a Bloody Mary made with local vodka. The menu at the Chef’s Club restaurant features 20 signature dishes produced by 20 top chefs.
Park City, Utah
Park City was once a silver mining town – now it’s a pretty resort and the largest in the USA. There’s a range of wide, easy blues, large bowls and, for those seeking a challenge, you’ll find a number of short, sharp blacks and a proliferation of couloirs, cliffs and plunges.
The ski-in ski-out Waldorf Astoria is an elegant spot to rest your head. Relax post-ski in the heated outdoor pool, or visit the spa, hot tub and sauna. Spacious suites with up to three bedrooms cater for larger groups, and each commands a spectacular view. While away the evenings at Powder restaurant with a seafood tower to share, glazed pork belly or crab-crusted moonfish. Off-slope, experience the magic of a horse-drawn sleigh or try husky sledding or snowshoeing.
With more than 370 inches of snow a year and 5,289 skiable acres, not to mention spectacular views of of the surrounding Gore and Sawatch mountain ranges, skiing at Vail is a once-in-a- lifetime experience. The alpine-inspired Vail Village is rather special too, with its peaceful ambience, cosily heated streets and sparkling lights.
The charming Arrabelle Hotel prides itself on giving guests a truly luxury experience. Besides the fitness area and spa, concierge service and lavish pet accommodations, they also offer a GoPro to each guest so you can fully capture your experience. After you’ve indulged in a sunset view from the rooftop hot tub, head down to Tavern on the Square for coffee-cured Elk loin, with Bourbon peach trifle to finish.
Heavenly has more than earned its name, with its thrilling slopes and varied terrain: there are 34 miles of wide-open cruisers, 1,600 foot plunges and double-black diamond canyons to keep you on your toes. At the end of a day’s downhill fun, swap your skis for some skates and experience the romantic atmosphere and music at the open-air skating rink in town.
Afterwards, make your way to Hotel Montbleu, a hotel so committed to relaxing that they have an on-site spa and salon. Book a couple’s massage, a manicure or simply flit between the sauna and steam room. Start the evening at Ciera restaurant with a Chateaubriand steak for two, or head to Fortune and dip into the extensive sushi menu. The hotel has its own nightclub and casino as well, so if you’re looking for a Vegas-worthy experience, you’ve found the prime location.
The home of champagne powder, the Steamboat ski area is the perfect choice for beginners, with gentle green trails up to 3,000 metres high and the opportunity to take private family lessons to make memories together. There are plenty of places to go off-piste too: experience the one-of-kind thrill of night skiing, or try the double-black diamond trails on Big Mountain.
When you hang up your skis, make your way to the nearby Saddleback Ranch to be whisked off for a horse-drawn sleigh ride, followed by warming apple cider and a four-course dinner in a traditional lodge. Alternatively, take an afternoon off from ski lessons and head to Strawberry Park Hot Springs to relax in therapeutic thermal pools and admire the mountain scenery. The luxury Steamboat Grand hotel is a wonderful place to rest those tired muscles. It has a swimming pool and spa facilities, as well as a luxurious whirlpool tub for two in every Deluxe King Room.
Craig Burton is Managing Director of Ski Solutions.