It’s time to plan your next ski vacation—but it’s going to take more than just a weatherman to determine where your skis hit the slopes this year. After all, you need a little dose of luxury with your powder—the high life, if you will. And besides, not every ski resort is created equal. Some mountains offer epic snow and trails, while others offer the complete luxury package—the ultimate in terrain, combined with A-list crowds, resorts, restaurants, shopping, après-ski hideouts. We went in search of the complete package and ended up in front of three in-the-know travel editors: Bruce Wallin from Robb Report, Monica Drake from The New York Times and Jennifer Ceaser from the New York Post. Which North American ski destinations are on their luxury radars this year? Read on to find out.
Bruce Wallin, Travel Editorial Director, The Robb Report
Destination: Park City, Utah
Hotel: Montage, Deer Valley
Eating: J&G Grill in The St. Regis Deer Valley, where the food is by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The St. Regis also just opened a Champagne ice bar, Après, so you can now have drinks at the bar and then go over to J&G for dinner.
To Do: A perfect day in Park City is to go skiing at Deer Valley and maybe make a side trip to the Alpine Coaster at Park City Mountain Resort, and then go back to Montage and have a pint at the pub and go bowling with my kids at the resort’s bowling alley.
Luxe Tip: My best advice for luxury travelers is to make use of the concierge. Too often, people fail to take advantage of these great local resources. The best luxury hotels have highly knowledgeable concierges who can point you toward experience you might otherwise never know about.
Monica Drake, Travel Editor, The New York Times
Destination: Aspen, Colorado
Hotel: Hotel Jerome. Staying at a renovated landmark hotel in a ski town rather than the ski village can make it feel like you’re getting two vacations in one. You get to ski during the day, dine off-resort at night, and meet a slightly different crowd than you’d otherwise see. Also, the nonskier can tag along and not feel left out. But if you’re doing a family stay, scratch that and just stay at Little Nell.Shopping: I don’t like skiing and shopping!
Eating: That pizza at the Elk Camp gondola at Snowmass.
To Do: As soon as you leave, book a return trip for the summer, when you can explore those trails on foot.
A Perfect Day in Aspen is: Waking up to get the first runs at Snowmass, taking a private lesson and then working my way over to the Silver Queen gondola to chow down on some pizza at the Sundeck restaurant. Followed up with a couple more runs, and head to Jimmy’s for après-ski. And then dinner at the Chef’s Club at St. Regis, followed by a nightcap at J-Bar at the Jerome.
Luxe Tip: Get the room with the fantastic view. Whatever the price, it’s worth it…better get the most of those mountains while you’re there.
Jennifer Ceaser, Deputy Editor of Travel & Home, New York Post
Destination: Lake Tahoe
Hotels: In Tahoe, whether south or north (definitely not the east side, in Nevada), renting a condo or cabin is really the way to go. Heavenly Mountain Resort, in South Lake Tahoe, has lots of different accommodation options and is closest to all the mountain sports, but I prefer the areas to the west of that and closer to the lake. For the ultimate luxury, it’s The Ritz-Carlton in Truckee…amazing.
Shopping: It’s not something that’s big in Tahoe. There are some cute boutiques along the historic main street of Truckee. Also, quite a few local art galleries and jewelry-makers are there. For some reason, they love stained glass in this town, and there are several artisan glassmakers. I dig the Truckee Variety store, which is penny-candy (although it’s more like a dime) and old-fashioned toys that take me back…they even sell whoopee cushions!
Eating: Don’t miss the Jax Truckee Diner for its food and old-school setting. It’s fun! The Red Hut cafe for lunch—a fave of locals. I honestly haven’t eaten much “fancy” food in Tahoe, but I’ve heard Jimmy’s, at the five-star Landing Resort, is supposed to be great.
To Do: Walk down main street of Truckee at night when it’s all lit up for the winter season. Drive the hairpin turns on the road extending from north to south (or vice versa) along the lake’s western edge—scary, exhilarating, with jaw-dropping views of the water far below.
A Perfect Day in Lake Tahoe is: Waking up early and walking to the lake to watch the mist rising from it with the snowy peaks surrounding you. Breathe in deeply—yes, I know it’s cold! But that’s some of the freshest air you’ll ever inhale!
Luxe Tip: Stay, drink or at least dine at The Ritz-Carlton…it’s the best resort in town.