Author: Misty Milioto Photo: Courtesy of the resorts
Information provided by: Rivieria San Diego
This year, the top U.S. ski resorts are offering striking upgrades to further elevate your winter getaways to even higher levels of mountain luxury. We’ve vetted the finest offerings on or near the slopes in six buzzing ski states to curate this exclusive register of all that’s new and noteworthy where the powder is most posh. Along with superb lodging options and VIP-level packages come new-arrival restos, lively après-ski spots, can’t-miss events and hot nightlife. Even better? Uberlocal intel, off-the-grid ski runs and tips from local ski celebs. Enjoy the ride.
CALIFORNIA | NEVADA
The legendary skiing at Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes is reason enough to book the first flight to the Golden State. Located within the Sierra Nevada range (the most popular ski destination in California), Lake Tahoe boasts nine premier ski resorts situated around the lake. And with a variety of terrain and snow conditions, combined with sophisticated amenities and nonstop nightlife on the Nevada side of the lake, this is one area where you can have it all. Meanwhile, Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, located in the Eastern Sierras, boasts the highest summit of any California resort (at 11,053 feet), 3,500 skiable acres, 400 inches of annual snowfall, and steeps and bowls for a variety of skill levels.
North Lake Tahoe: Sugar Bowl Resort
MOUNTAIN MAKEOVERS This season, Sugar Bowl Resort is celebrating its 75th anniversary with top-notch regional bands at the Mt. Judah Lodge and new signature events. Silver Belt Banzai (a modern reincarnation of a classic ski race at Sugar Bowl) will now feature finish-line Jumbotrons, more festive pre- and post-race parties and a historical element that pays homage to the original Silver Belt races from the 1940s. Meanwhile, B4BC’s Shred the Love (an annual rail jam event), will feature music by a national act, a larger auction program and an even bigger competition venue. And special guest-appreciation days offer discounted throwback pricing on lift tickets. Coinciding with the anniversary is the new $3 million Crow’s Peak chairlift—a fixed-grip Doppelmayr triple—that offers lift-served access to the previously hike-to advanced and expert terrain on the Strawberry Fields area of the mountain. Accompanying enhancements include two new groomed runs; tree skiing through glades, chutes and cliffs; and a wind-protected area on inclement-weather days.
ALL-IN APRÈS Mellow Fellow GastroPub just opened a new location in Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe. Stop by for the selection of American craft beers and locally made sausages.
If you’re looking for some additional exercise after hitting the mountain—or if you just need some R&R—be sure to check out the new $4.5 million Sport Haus Fitness and Aquatic Center, available for use to lodge guests. Centrally located between Sugar Bowl’s lifts, the resort’s lodge and the snowbound village, it includes two lap lanes, outdoor hot tubs, fitness facilities, a yoga studio, spa treatment rooms and an athletic training space.
LOCAL LORE John Monson, director of sales and marketing for Sugar Bowl Resort and Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort, picks his top five must-do’s:
RUN OF YOUR LIFE It’s tough to beat the Lake Run. And although Sugar Bowl’s four peaks with 100-plus trails across nearly 1,700 acres offer plenty of action, it’s sometimes nice to enjoy backcountry powder with the professional guides at Backcountry Adventure Center’s Alpine Skills International.
North Lake Tahoe: Northstar
ALL-IN APRÈS The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, located midmountain at Northstar, has two new dining options: Backyard Bar & BBQ, offering ski-in/ski-out outdoor dining and saloon-inspired cocktails, and Café Blue (offering fresh-pressed juices and smoothies, paninis and Blue Bottle Coffee). Other après offerings at the hotel include Marshmology (roast s’mores with handcrafted marshmallow flavors at the fire pit at 4pm) and The Après Experience, featuring nightly culinary events (such as Barrel-Aged Cocktails) at the Manzanita restaurant. Guest rooms from $499 per night
RUN OF YOUR LIFE East Ridge, located along the ridge line of Northstar’s Mount Pluto, is a great place to take in the views of Tahoe’s Crystal Bay. Cruise the entire length of East Ridge’s intermediate groomed trail, or try the advanced options of Powder Bowl, The Chute or Tonini’s.
South Lake Tahoe: Heavenly
SUITE STAY The Landing Resort & Spa—Lake Tahoe’s only five-star luxury lakeside property—opened last December with 88 lavish guest rooms just three blocks from Heavenly Village. Amenities include marble bathrooms with heated floors, 55-inch wall-mounted TVs, plush terry robes, fireplaces and private decks with stunning views. Grab a seat in one of the private alcoves (each with its own fireplace) at Jimmy’s Restaurant, located within the resort. Be sure to check out the backlit, onyx-walled bar with a 250-label wine cellar. And don’t miss the 3,600-square-foot rooftop deck or the full-service spa and hair salon. Guest rooms from $290 per night
Also set in the heart of South Lake Tahoe is the newly renovated Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. The $5 million face-lift includes upgrades to all 400 rooms in the nine-story, all-suite hotel, including new decor and 42-inch flat-screen TVs. Presidential/patio suites from $549 per night Keep an eye open: The former Horizon Casino is currently under a $60 million renovation to become a Hard Rock Hotel, scheduled to open this winter season. It will offer upbeat gaming action, multiple restaurants, an upscale bar, lounges, and both indoor and outdoor concerts.
ALL-IN APRÈS Thanks to a $15 million investment, a stunning new shopping area—dubbed The Chateau—mirrors the popular Heavenly Village shopping area with 27,868 square feet of vendors, boutique shops and restaurants near the California-Nevada state line. Also new is the Cold Water Brewery & Grill in the midtown area, and Mexican food restaurant Azul Latin Kitchen in the Village. Heavenly Mountain Resort is also having a new midday beach party at East Peak Lodge on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 3PM.
Located at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe casino, and featuring more than 6,700 square feet of hoppin’ nightlife and live-entertainment space, PEEK Nightclub’s new footprint includes 40 intimate VIP sections. Look for big-name DJs this season from Las Vegas, Miami, New York and Los Angeles.
Opal Ultra Lounge located at Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa, offers a sensual nightclub vibe. Significant improvements to the Pinnacle Room VIP area include soft lighting, oversize couches, marble tables and a glass-rail balcony area that overlooks the dance floor. Regional and national DJs get the blood pumping and the dance floor packed.
LOCAL LORE Johnny “Tahoe” Norman, snowboard instructor at Heavenly and nightlife ambassador for visiting VIPs, gives you his picks for an unforgettable stay:
ALL-IN APRÈS A new 2,500-square-foot day spa at the Sierra Nevada Resort features a juice bar and sauna, and treatments and wraps that highlight locally sourced ingredients. Try the Skiers and Hikers Sports Massage ($125 for 80 minutes).
For a sumptuous meal after hitting the slopes, try the new Mammoth Tavern. Enjoy dishes like shrimp ceviche and braised short-rib grilled cheese, paired with artfully crafted cocktails.
For something a little different, head over to Mammoth Rock ’n’ Bowl. Featuring two restaurants, 12 bowling lanes, three golf simulators and games galore, this is the spot to show off your après-ski skills.
LOCAL LORE Professional snowboarder Kimmy Fasani chimes in on her favorite Mammoth must-do’s and tips:
Home to numerous ski resorts spread across the state—all boasting bluebird skies, heavy snowfall, a variety of terrain and majestic mountains—Colorado has become the jet-setter’s go-to spot. From the sexy ambience of Aspen/Snowmass and the quaint yet chic vibe of Vail Mountain Resort to the notoriously advanced terrain of Telluride Ski Resort, the Centennial State is truly an elite skier’s paradise.
SUITE STAY The St. Regis Aspen Resort recently renovated its 2,000-square-foot Presidential Suite, which now features antique oak flooring, a grand piano, custom furnishings and marble bathrooms with double vanities. There’s also a butler’s kitchen and 24-hour butler service. Be sure to have dinner at Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE for seasonal dishes from the new lineup of Best New Chefs. Presidential Suite from $4,000 per night
The Gant, by Destination Hotels & Resorts, which recently completed a $5 million renovation and expansion (including a new specialty cafe, panoramic rooftop deck, flexible indoor and outdoor floor plans, and modern furnishings), is offering the Stay, Ski & Sip package this winter season. Enjoy a three-night stay in a deluxe three-bedroom condo, two-day lift tickets, a half-day snowmobiling adventure at the T-Lazy-7 guest ranch, a private tour of Aspen Brewing Co. and more. Stay, Ski & Sip package, $3,060-$4,230 (depending on dates), guest rooms from $225 per night
Aspen’s beloved ski-in/ski-out resort, The Little Nell, recently renovated all of its suites, and all now feature updated floor-to-ceiling decor. In addition to The Little Nell’s exclusive line of Champagne and sauvignon blanc, the hotel is expanding its offerings to also include chardonnay and a few red wines throughout the season. Rumor has it that the hotel is also planning to expand its bar/après-ski space this winter with a clear, heated bubble that would seat about 20 people and would most likely be used for private parties. Suites from $4,105 per night
ALL-IN APRÈS Viceroy Snowmass offers two new places to kick back after a day on the hill. Nest Public House is a ski-in/ski-out gastropub that’s centered around Colorado craft beer; Ricard is a new slopeside bistro (located at the base of Snowmass Resort), and it will feature a Belgian beer list, specialty cocktails and plenty of wine choices.
LOCAL LORE Two-time world champion skier Chris Davenport lets you in on Aspen’s insider appeal:
RUN OF YOUR LIFE Highlands Bowl at Aspen Highlands offers breathtaking views and some of the best snow in Aspen. And, for advanced skiing at Snowmass Mountain, be sure to check out Burnt Mountain, a 230-acre area that opened last winter (it was previously backcountry terrain) and Powerline, a run that’s tucked away into the trees but that’s perfect for learning how to ski moguls.
MOUNTAIN MAKEOVERS A $1.3 million investment in Telluride Ski Resort’s snowmaking capabilities means more snow in high-traffic areas off of Lifts 4 and 5 (the beginner and intermediate areas in the heart of the trail system).
SUITE STAY The Inn at Lost Creek, a ski-in/ski-out boutique property located slopeside in the heart of the Mountain Village core, features 32 guest rooms with gas-fed stone fireplaces, kitchens, jetted tubs, steam showers and impressive views of the San Juan Mountains. Be sure to enjoy the drink specials (daily until 6PM) at the property’s Siam’s Talay Grille—Mountain Village’s newest dining establishment, offering contemporary Asian tapas and seafood. One-bedroom suites from $299 per night
ALL-IN APRÈS Grab a seat at the recently improved SMAK Bar, located within Hotel Madeline Telluride, where you’ll enjoy live DJs, cocktails and s’mores. Be sure to try the specialty Revelation cocktail: peppermint schnapps-spiked hot chocolate served in an oversize mug garnished with chocolate latticework, on which three boozy truffles rest.
LOCAL LORE Gus Kenworthy, Sochi Olympic silver medalist in men’s freeski slopestyle, offers his top recommendations and favorites:
RUN OF YOUR LIFE Intermediate skiers will love the See Forever Trail. Take Gold Hill Express (chair 14), and ride up to 12,255 feet where the run begins. Ski the ridgeline while admiring the deep couloirs and jagged terrain of Bear Creek to your right and the Wilson Range to your left. Advanced skiers looking to earn their turns should try Palmyra Peak. Ride Prospect Express (chair 12) to 11,815 feet; unclick from your skis or snowboard; and start the 1,505-foot hike to the top. Once there, get ready to descend more than 1,000 feet of vertical drop over untouched powder.
VIP PASS NEWS The ever-popular Epic Pass, which provides unlimited skiing and snowboarding at 11 resorts throughout the United States (including Vail and Beaver Creek), just got even better with the addition of five free consecutive days at Niseko United in Japan. Adult passes for $729
SUITE STAY Four Seasons Resort and Residences Mountain Collection, consisting of the three properties in Vail, Jackson Hole and Whistler, British Columbia, has taken last year’s Chasing the Storm package to a whole new level with this year’s Ultimate Winter Jet Set Experience. It includes custom routes and 24-hour private jet service (through Independent Jets) to whisk you away to all three resorts—with a two-night stay at each property. You’ll enjoy in-flight cocktails and Champagne; private transportation to your lavish, three-bedroom private residence; lift tickets; custom gear from Spyder and Kühl; top-notch demo equipment; a local celebrity ski athlete as a personal mountain guide for backcountry expeditions; daily breakfast; and private culinary experiences. Call 800.914.5110 to book. $65,000 for package, plus the cost of the private jet service (varies depending on type of craft and departure city), guest rooms from $1,390 per night, residences from $4,800 per night
The Sebastian-Vail is redesigning its guest rooms (to be completed in December), with a new category of one- and two-bedroom executive suites—bringing the new configuration to 84 guest rooms. In-room amenities include an iPod Home system and flat-screen TVs. Executive suites from $795 per night
The Lodge at Vail, A RockResort is also receiving a major face-lift (set to debut this winter season) with renovations to 56 guest rooms and public spaces. Also be sure to check out the new bar area at the hotel’s popular après-ski spot, Cucina. Luxury suites from $598 per night
ALL-IN APRÈS There’s a new distillery in town, dubbed 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company, with a tasting room at the top of Bridge Street. The distillery is producing Olathe corn moonshine; rye whiskey; bourbon; potato vodka; and a Colorado sage-infused, Palisade peach-vanilla cordial; plus more as the distillery matures.
BE THERE Vail will become celebration central during the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, taking place Feb. 2-15 and showcasing nearly 700 athletes from more than 70 countries. While the majority of races will take place at Beaver Creek, Vail is the official hub of the ceremonies and nightly festivities. For those looking to hone their skiing skills, Vail Mountain Resort is offering lessons where you’ll observe the pros, refine your skills and even get a behind-the-scenes look at the competition.
And, March 2-7, Vail will once again be hosting the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships. Known as “The World’s Greatest Snowboard Event,” it features the planet’s best riders vying for top honors in halfpipe and slopestyle events, plus free concerts and more. This year’s slopestyle course will have new creative features that will challenge the athletes to display proficiency in a variety of riding styles.
LOCAL LORE Mikaela Shiffrin, reigning Olympic, World Cup and world champion in slalom, takes you around her town:
RUN OF YOUR LIFE On a classic bluebird powder day after a big storm, head to Après Vous. It’s an often-overlooked run that’s chock-full of snow and long enough to get in some serious turns. After that, go back up to the PHQ area; traverse over to China Bowl; and hit Sweet ’n’ Sour (another often-overlooked run that allows for big swooping turns).
MOUNTAIN MAKEOVERS A new high-speed, state-of-the-art combination lift has replaced the Centennial Express Lift at Beaver Creek Resort. This first-of-its-kind combo lift features six-person chairs alternating with 10-person gondola cabins for an uphill carrying capacity of 3,400 people per hour (a 35-percent increase). In other news, the Beaver Creek Ski School is offering elevated private ski school lessons that include express chairlift access, ski valet service and special add-ons (like an on-mountain gourmet lunch experience and access to limited availability first tracks). Full-day private lesson experience from $850
SUITE STAY Beaver Creek Resort is offering the ultimate White Glove Winter Package as a way for you and three guests to be completely spoiled. It includes first-class airfare, a private helicopter transport and private car to the luxuriously secluded on-mountain Trappers Cabin, a Champagne toast, gourmet meals prepared by your own private chef, skiing with a Ski School ambassador from Beaver Creek’s Ivy League of Ski Schools, four Epic Passes, apparel from Helly Hansen, first tracks and more. White Glove package from $50,000 for four people, Trappers Cabin from $1,249 per night
ALL-IN APRÈS Toscanini, a fine-dining restaurant that overlooks the ice skating rink in Beaver Creek Village, welcomes new Executive Chef Paul Wade. A native of California wine country, Wade has created a new Italian-style menu, focusing on handcrafted, organic, sustainable and small-farm food sources.
LOCAL LORE Chris Anthony, local pro skier and Warren Miller Films and Entertainment athlete, shares his favorite Beaver Creek spots:
RUN OF YOUR LIFE Beaver Creek’s notorious run, Golden Eagle, boasts a variety of terrain that will get the adrenaline pumping. The run builds momentum at the top, and then it takes a very steep dive down a double black-diamond face (requiring adept turns). It’s long; it’s steep; and it provides a sense of accomplishment at the bottom.
Utah’s 14 ski resorts beckon with 500 annual inches of the lightest and driest powder to be found on the planet—hey, it isn’t billed as the “greatest snow on Earth” for nothing. From the Alps-like setting of Alta Ski Area and Snowbird to the luxurious vibe of Deer Valley Resort and the rusticly chic Sundance Mountain Resort, world-class skiing is all within reach.
SUITE STAY The St. Regis Deer Valley has partnered with Volant Skis (both for purchase and for test drive on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort). And, thanks to the new relationship between The St. Regis Deer Valley and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, guests of the hotel can arrange for exclusive training with an Olympian at the USSA Center of Excellence—a national training and education center.
Explore the world-class slopes of Park City with the Passport to Park City Package, offered by the Washington School House Hotel boutique property. It includes private transportation from Salt Lake City International Airport to Park City, a three-night stay in a King Room, complimentary daily breakfast and après-ski custom ski-fitting, and a day of skiing for two people at Canyons, Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort. Passport to Park City package from $1,225 per night, guest rooms from $700 per night
Robert Redford’s Sundance Mountain Resort is offering the new Stay and Ski Free Package, which includes two free lift tickets per night of stay when you book one of the resort’s luxe cottages. The lift tickets also include night skiing on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as access to the Sundance Nordic Center. Stay and Ski Free Package from $299 per night
ALL-IN APRÈS The St. Regis Deer Valley has appointed a new executive sous chef and chef de cuisine, Richard Samaniego, at the award-winning Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Grill. He focuses on locally sourced ingredients, and his menus pair perfectly with The St. Regis Deer Valley’s 13,000-bottle wine vault.
Montage Deer Valley has completely reimagined its Vista Lounge & Terrace as the ultimate hub for on-mountain après-ski this winter season. It now features billiards tables, a board-game concierge, a shared-plate menu and live music every night of the week (including free performances from A-list bands during the Sundance Film Festival). Also, be sure to enjoy the Ski with a Pro experience, which consists of a day on the slopes with Olympian Shannon Bahrke (the Montage’s official Ski Ambassador). Ski with a Pro experience includes skiing for up to six people, $1,250 for a half day and $2,500 for a full day
As part of a $6 million investment, Deer Valley Resort is opening The Brass Tag restaurant, located in the Lodges at Deer Valley. Look for comfort food and brick-oven specialties.
LOCAL LORE Park City-local and two-time Olympian Kaylin Richardson details her top Canyons-area recommendations:
RUN OF YOUR LIFE At Canyons, take Lookout Ridge to the base of the Orange Bubble Express. This run offers perfectly groomed pitches ideal for carving S-turns at a comfortable speed, plus incredible views of the resort and the Uinta Mountains in the distance.
With 19 alpine ski areas, 300 inches of annual snowfall, tight trees, untracked backcountry, adrenaline-pumping fall lines and classic Yankee hospitality, Vermont is the East Coast’s top luxury ski region. Our favorite area, Stowe Mountain Resort, boasts a new high-speed quad lift on Mt. Mansfield, an intermountain transfer gondola connecting Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak, 485 skiable acres, the highest elevation in Vermont (at 4,395 feet) and a high percentage of intermediate trails.
ALL-IN APRÈS Topnotch Resort, located near Stowe Mountain Resort, is offering a new Après-Ski Party Menu at its restaurant, which includes themed après appetizers and craft beers, combined with fuzzy socks, cards for drinking games, après recipe cards and take-home Topnotch pint glasses. Guest rooms from $495 per night
LOCAL LORE Bud Keene, a local Stowe snowboarding pioneer and Olympic gold medal-winning coach, on what makes Stowe special:
RUN OF YOUR LIFE You might be familiar with Stowe’s most famous and challenging trails (Goat, Starr, Liftline and National) but, this year, try Bruce Trail. It plunges more than 2,000 vertical feet down the side of Mt. Mansfield. Narrow throughout, it’s punctuated by steep double fall-line sections.
The Teton Range is home to a number of ski resorts, but the state’s crown jewel of skiing is Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. With 450 inches of annual snowfall and a vertical drop of more than 4,000 feet, Jackson Hole is also home to 2,500 acres of challenging in-bounds terrain and 3,000 acres of open backcountry terrain (and the site of the famous Corbet’s Couloir). However, beginners and intermediates will still find plenty of options to get in some serious turns.
SUITE STAY Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole is offering The Fantasy Camp Jan. 6-12—an ultimate backcountry ski adventure—that includes four days of guided off-piste skiing with Teton Gravity Research athletes and Exum Mountain Guides. Perfect for storm chasers and powder hounds, the six-night experience also includes a welcome swag bag complete with backcountry backpack and down jacket, personalized boot- and gear-fitting, a promo movie from your guide and athlete, a welcome reception and dinner at the resort’s restaurant (The Handle Bar), a farewell dinner at the TGR screening room, transportation to and from skiing locations, and more. $3,500 per person for Fantasy Camp (not including lodging), guest rooms from $699 per night
Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa is refreshing its lobby with a new concierge and front desk area, updated elevators with new art and an added bar area that will be open during peak season. This winter, the lodge is also offering an on-property rental shop operated by Teton Village Sports to equip guests with the latest in ski and snowboard gear, all while being comfortably seated fireside in the property’s lower lobby. And, from Jan. 14-17, the lodge will host the unique Elevate: The Women’s Ski Camp at Jackson Hole. Led by some of the world’s top women professional skiers, it includes four days of world-class instruction, dinners, après-ski meals and Pilates classes. $1,645 (with lift tickets) for the Elevate: The Women’s Ski Camp (not including lodging), guest rooms from $359 per night
LOCAL LORE Cory Carlson, former World Cup skier, gives insider advice on Jackson Hole:
RUN OF YOUR LIFE When the mountain is still waking up, ride the Après Vous chair and take a right into Saratoga Bowl for a great little stash of powder. As the mountain starts to fill up, try Rendezvous Bowl down into the Hobacks for some pure vertical pleasure.