As a crisp autumn breeze breaks through summer’s stifling heat, winter travel destinations worldwide are gearing up for the 2015-2016 ski season. With so many ski spots to choose from, we’ve broken down where to splurge – from adrenaline-rushing experiences and indulgent comfort food to aprés ski pampering, and where to save – from time saving tricks that guarantee more time on the slopes and value-add packages to boredom-saving activities for non-skiers.
SPLURGE ON: ADRENALINE, CALORIES & APRÉS SKI LUXURIES
- ADRENALINE: Adrenaline junkies shouldn’t skip on thrills. The newly transformed Madeline Hotels and Residences in Telluride, Colorado, coordinates heli-skiing on the miles of untracked powder in the San Juan Mountains and a Fresh Tracks program that invites guests to discover the region’s hidden enclaves as they are led by expert instructors. Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah’s “Ski Day with Our Olympic Ski Ambassador” gives guests the chance to experience the ski slopes with two time Olympic medalist, Shannon Bahrke. For those who want to experience the latest award-winning ski innovations and professional-grade equipment, The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, boasts the Southeast’s only Rossignol Experience Center, sure to impress ski novices and experts alike.
- CALORIES: A full day of skiing means travelers can indulge in calories…right? A longtime favorite of international travelers, Gstaad Palace is the perfect place to take advantage of Switzerland’s famous export – cheese. The hotel’s cozy Swiss restaurant, La Fromagerie, is a must-visit post-ski hideaway, serving indulgent cheese fondue including the signature Champagne and Black Truffle Cheese Fondue. Those looking to indulge in some serious calories closer to home can head to Hotel Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, to pay a visit to the nation’s first Beer Concierge, who is on staff to provide skiers with an inside look at Vermont’s famous craft beer scene.
- APRÈS SKI LUXURIES: Ski vacation splurges can continue even after skiers have retreated from the slopes – post-ski pampering is well worth indulging. Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, offers a Rest & Recreation Package including cozy accommodations and a choice of spa credit or ski ticket with lunch. Skiers can relax at the 25,000-square-foot Spa and enjoy specialty services created especially for skiers and sports enthusiasts, including the Adventurer’s Massage or the Skier’s Massage. Wine enthusiasts can attend an exclusive wine tasting as part of Montage Deer Valley‘s Wine & World Cup package. After sampling fine wines from Johndrow Vineyards, guests will head to a private dinner and indulge in some of Park City’s finest cuisine.
SAVE ON: SPENDING, TIME & BOREDOM
- SPENDING: Travelers can create memorable ski vacations when booking value-add packages offered by many winter getaway destinations. Omni Mount Washington’s Stay Here, Ski Free Package includes luxurious accommodations and two ski lift tickets each day, as well as meal options for an additional charge. Skiers willing to forgo ski-in, ski-out accommodations can stay at The Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, Vermont, which offers world class cross country ski touring, and a complimentary 15-minute shuttle ride to downhill skiing at Killington Ski Resort. Snow-lovers who plan their winter getaways early can ski down the Adirondacks at an unbeatable price with Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, New York’s Early Bird Blitz package which includes 25% off room rates at the Lake Placid resort, with rates starting at $75 per night for rooms booked by October 31.
- TIME: Remote locations and lengthy travel times are a necessary evil when it comes to ski vacations. This year Tradewind Aviation will offer a solution to those hitting the slopes in Stowe, Vermont, who typically must succumb to a commercial flight to Burlington followed by a 45-minute drive when traveling from the New York area. Following a major renovation to the Morrisville-Stowe State Airport, the alternative air travel provider will launch the only direct route to this wildly popular ski destination from Westchester County Airport. For those who want to hit the slopes as soon as the sun rises, Madeline Hotel and Residences employs complimentary Ski Valets who are on-call to arrange every detail for guests-from lift tickets to equipment care and even boot warming before the day’s first run.
BOREDOM…FOR NON-SKIERS: No skis? No problem! As much fun as ski vacations seem, not everyone is cut out for a long day on the slopes. This season, non-skiers can save on boredom. Gstaad Palace offers countless winter activities including dog sledding, tobogganing and sleigh rides. The intimate village is comprised of chalet-style architecture housing extravagant, high-end shopping outlets, perfect for travelers with a more leisurely vacation in mind. Hotel Vermont is certainly up for the challenge of entertaining winter travelers, offering ice fishing expeditions on frozen Lake Champlain and the hotel’s signature Beer Tours through the city’s South End. Located in the heart of the 1980 Winter Olympic Village, visitors to Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid can enjoy living like an Olympian, from cruising down the Olympic bobsled course, extreme snow tubing, or watching a sky-high performance from professional ski jumpers.