By Shivani Vora
Come winter, there are two camps: the beach-bound and the ski-set. And while we love a little sea-kissed time in the sun, there’s an everlasting allure to a classic ski vacation that just can’t be beat. “Ski trips never lose their appeal, no matter how many times you’ve taken them,” says Monique Thofte, a partner at MAYAMAYA, a New York-based boutique luxury travel company. “There’s a destination for everyone—from bunnies to skilled backcountry skiers.” We’ve honed in on five categories to help guide your next adventure—whether you’re in it for the ski, the scene or the scenery.
Aspen: Go for the scene, stay for the snow
Aspen, according to Thofte, checks all the boxes for a perfect ski vacation. “You have skiing to satisfy all levels, a sophisticated crowd and fantastic culture, arts and food,” she says. With four ski resorts and a bevy of museums and art galleries, including the renowned Aspen Art Museum, and a long list of buzzy restaurants, Thofte is spot on. Downtown Aspen, with its dozens of designer boutiques, is another draw. Visitors have even more to look forward to this season: it’s the 75th anniversary of skiing in Aspen and there will be a series of events to celebrate, while the already-vibrant restaurant and après selection gets even more of a boost with several new additions such as Catch Steak, the sister of the famed New York seafood spot, and The Board Room, a den-like speakeasy at The Little Nell. On the hotel front, Aspen Street Lodge—a stunning property with nine rooms, a two-bedroom penthouse, a pool, game room and expansive terrace—opened earlier this year in downtown. Available for buyouts only, it’s the place to stay when you’re traveling with a group of friends or family in tow.
Jackson Hole: For the real snow pros
With more than 2,400 acres of slopes and snow that reaches 12 feet deep, Jackson Hole is for the serious skier. “Experienced skiers are going to be very happy here,” says Thofte, “yet it also has a broader appeal—from the stylish western town of Jackson, to the quaint Grand Teton Village, it has loads of soul.” Among the top-rated accommodations is The Four Seasons Resort and Residences, Jackson Hole, which is ideal for families and has an incredible kids program. Then there’s the more intimate Caldera House, which this season is introducing a day on the slopes with professional skier and local legend Griffin Post, who will lead guests through some of his favorite lines and secret spots. With two- and four-bedroom suites, as well as a spa, yoga studio and in-house ski shop, the property has lots to offer, including a well-connected concierge who can orchestrate excursions such as glider flights above the Tetons, stargazing and trips to Yellowstone National Park. With its all-suite accommodations set amid the wilderness, Amangani is a popular choice for couples. The resort’s new Winter Adventures in the Wild experience is a romantic escape for animal lovers and includes a four-hour sunrise or sunset wildlife tour in a BMW X7. Guests can also choose between a private snowshoe hike and a sleigh-ride tour of the National Elk Refuge, home to more than 10,000 elk in winter.
Heli-skiing in British Columbia: For the bucket list
Looking for a heart-pumping adventure? Heli-skiing, says Thofte, is truly a bucket-list worthy experience, and there’s no better place to go for the thrill than Canada, which offers endless terrain for the sport. Thofte recommends booking your getaway with CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, a high-end travel company founded in 1959 that claims to have invented heli-skiing. It offers trips in 11 backcountry areas throughout the country that total more than three million acres of virgin snow. Guests, who are spoiled with awe-inspiring scenery and a perspective unlike any other, get to ski in small groups and never have to wait in a lift line. To make these adventures even more seamless, CMH maintains its own lodges in these remote regions so that after a day of unforgettable snow-drenched experiences, one can return to their luxurious lodge where the only decision left to make is what time to take in that massage.
Dolomites: For the Après
Three hours north of Milan, the Dolomites bills itself as the world’s largest ski region. It has 12 ski resorts, more than 745 miles of slopes, around 700 miles of cross-country trails, and altitudes between 5,000 and 10,000 feet. With its pristine landscape that includes jagged limestone alps and untouched snow, it’s no wonder that this part of Italy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dolomites offers magnificent skiing but isn’t necessarily for the hardcore, says Thofte. “It’s emblematic of la dolce vita,’” she says. “There is this great balance of skiing with long, pleasurable meals and lots of wine.” The Dolomites is known for its après scene, where skiers stop in refugias or mountain huts in between runs for a glass of red wine or a refueling plate of local meats and cheeses. In fact, the area’s gastronomy is world renowned, with 25 Michelin stars spread among 20 restaurants. Don’t miss the three-starred St. Hubertus, where Chef Norbert Niederkofler uses seasonal ingredients to prepare modern versions of regional dishes. To stay, the cognoscenti know to check into the family-run yet notably high-end Rosa Alpina, which recently became an Aman partner hotel.
Zermatt: Fun for the whole family
Zermatt, a charming car-free town in southern Switzerland, is known for some of the best skiing in the world, with more than 220 miles of runs for all levels and 54 lifts. In addition, the ski area around the Matterhorn has pistes up to 12,700 feet above sea level—the highest in Europe. “It’s a classic first-time European ski experience that both adults and kids will enjoy,” says Thofte. “The car-free town has this quintessential and authentic Swiss Alpine style. It’s easy to explore on foot or you can take a horse-drawn carriage.” The big news this season is that the town is opening a new ski lift that will complete an “Alpine crossing” by connecting the Klein Matterhorn to Testa Grigia in Italy’s Aosta Valley for the first time. Also, the iconic Schweizerhof hotel recently reopened with fresh look following an extensive renovation. Designed in an Alpine-chalet style, it has five restaurants and a spa with a hammam and three saunas. The kids club, with its arcade games and climbing wall, is exceptional. Families should likewise consider Mont Cervin Palace, which has been welcoming guests since 1852. All the rooms have stunning views of the Mischabel mountain chain, the Edelweiss, or, of course, the Matterhorn. The spa offers an indoor and outdoor heated pool with a separate kiddie pool, and the children’s club includes a kid’s kitchen, craft corner and games.
Ready to pack your bags?
We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite looks for cozy winter style that’s also perfectly on trend. See you on the slopes!