Planning Your Snow Vacation
Here's 8 additional mountain ski resorts to add to your bucket list this winter.
If you’ve ever dreamed of a white Christmas, spring break, or at least a wintery vacation, North America has some of the best mountains and resorts for your bucket list.
Northstar California in Truckee, Calif. is a unique ski destination located in the heart of the Sierra Mountains just around the bend from Lake Tahoe, and a short 30-minute drive from Reno. From the top of the mountain, you have views of both the lake and the Martis Valley, where the adorable town of Truckee is located. Truckee has a strong local art community and remains a small, quaint town, providing a laid-back California mountain feel.
Northstar is where expert and aspiring snowboarders choose to spend their time, so that should tell you something. It also has some the most extensive snow making capabilities of any of the resorts in Tahoe, so even when snow conditions aren’t ideal, Northstar remains fully open.
The Waldorf Astoria in Park City is a quick, direct flight away from Austin offered by Delta and Southwest, with shuttles picking up and dropping guests off at the hotel. Park City, Utah, is a popular destination for many reasons, some of which are the celebrity sightings combined with all the action and events, like the renowned Sundance Film Festival. Check out Park City for lively diversions both on and off the slopes, or figure out a way to get them all in.
The Waldorf has residences ranging from one bedroom all the way up to four bedrooms, so bring the entire family and hit the slopes. The Waldorf Astoria was also voted Ski Magazine’s Reader Resort Award for 2013.
At the Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., it’s just as cowboy-country as Texas, but add to that the beautiful mountains. The Snow King Resort just completed a stunning $16-million renovation, and is the town’s largest full service, year-round resort. The Western-feel hotel is located six blocks from Jackson Hole’s Historic Town Square, which is full of amazing restaurants, shopping, and more picture-worthy snapshots of mountains than you can imagine.
Snow King offers complimentary airport transportation, in-town transportation as well as to nearby Jackson Hole Mountain. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been raved about as one of the toughest mountains around, so it’s the perfect place to take your beginner skills up a notch. The terrain includes two mountains of 2,500 acres of in-bounds and a vertical drop of 4,139.
The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe, N.M. is another great spot for Texas travelers looking to hit the slopes throughout any of their 57 unspoiled acres.
Santa Fe has grown into a true ski destination for Texas travelers. Ski Santa Fe is located just 15 miles from the heart of the unique and charming city. The area itself is outstanding with a wonderful kids program and terrain fit for all levels.
Snow Mountain Ranch, with three locations in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, is one of the more affordable winter ski destinations and is an ultimate family-friendly spot, thanks to their many on-site activities included for guests at no charge.
Snow Mountain Ranch, located just 90 miles outside of Denver, is a year-round resort with winter activities such as Nordic skiing, ice-skating, tubing, and sleigh rides plus guests can enjoy a truly unique experience—dogsledding. Guests who stay at Snow Mountain Ranch receive complimentary ski trail passes, with equipment rentals as low as $10. Snow Mountain Ranch is located between the alpine resorts of Winter Park and Ski Granby Ranch for families of all levels of skiing capabilities, and guests can rent gear on-site.
Arizona Snowbowl, located just outside of Flagstaff in Northern Arizona, offers FREE SKIING on your birthday. If you’re traveling on your actual birthday, present your ID at the Guest Services Office and get one free lift ticket at Arizona Snowbowl, which offers 2,300 feet of vertical on “Desert Dry” powder snow, showcased by incredible views north of the Grand Canyon.
The 2,300 vertical drop at Arizona Snowbowl is more than Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Durango, Brian Head, Eagle Point, Monarch, Wolf Creek and every ski area in New Mexico except Taos (source verticalfeet.com and skitaos.org).
Catch a direct flight on US Airways from Austin to Flagstaff (also just two hours from Phoenix), to make it a quick and worthy destination this winter. Along with some of the best-priced full day lift tickets around, Arizona Snowbowl is one of the most affordable options for vacationers.
Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colo., offers an easy and fun all-inclusive visit, which is a unique and virtually unheard of option for domestic travel. All meals, beer, wine, activities, guides, equipment, instruction, kids program, airport transfers are included in the rate—plus more.
Vista Verde, located just north of the world-class downhill ski destination of Steamboat Springs, is a luxury ranch resort offering one of the most unique winter destinations across the country. At Vista Verde, you’ll experience something completely unique thanks in part to their small size and personal service, it’s a great option for those just warming up to the idea of a winter vacation or if you’re a lover of snow, but not necessarily on skis or a snowboard. Instead, enjoy an intimate luxury resort experience at a winterized dude ranch where you can still partake in activities such as back country skiing, snow shoeing, horseback riding, sledding, sleigh rides, yoga, wine tastings and many other fun events, all included in your package price.
Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Vail Valley/Beaver Creek is an award winning property featuring 230 finely appointed guest residences ranging from studio suites to three-bedroom condominiums, all featuring custom kitchens, five-piece bathrooms and gas fireplaces, making it the perfect spot for a family vacation or a romantic getaway. You can also bring Fido to this dog-friendly resort, which features a ski-valet and on-site equipment rentals. The Westin Riverfront is connected to Beaver Creek’s spectacular ski terrain via the Gondola.
(Be sure to check out AFM’s February 2014 article, “Escaping the Texas Winter,” to see four additional highlights—Mammoth Mountain, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Aspen Snowmass, and Vail).