The call of the mountains is downright irresistible this winter. Thanks to ski resorts partnering on lift passes — including Ikon, Epic, Mountain Collective, and Indy — you have an excuse to launch into powder in far-flung lands because, hey, your lift ticket is covered. The upsides of skiing and snowboarding go beyond the thrill of the descent: think drop-dead gorgeous views, exquisite cuisine, and opportunities to dabble in off-slope adventures. Plus, there’s the social distancing and all-ages-spanning nature of snow play. So, whether you like to hard-charge it, gently swoosh the day away, or kick back on the sidelines (a.k.a. bundle up next to a cozy fire with a barkeep nearby), there’s a little something for everyone at altitude.
Here, we’ve mapped out shred-worthy destinations for two, based on a range of budgets.* Be sure to check your chosen locale’s current health and safety-related requirements as well as your ski pass parameters, prior to arrival.
* Note: airfare costs and ski passes are not included in our projected expenses.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Grand Teton-rimmed Jackson may be notoriously spendy, but the average ski bum merely needs to focus on reveling in Mother Nature’s jaw-to-the-floor splendor while budgeting a bit — like avoiding the $89 margarita at The Four Seasons’ Handle Bar. To really get the most bang for your buck, bunk up at The Hostel or, for the hardy adventurer, roll into town in your RV, but be sure to research a campground to accommodate your rig in winter.
Ikon passholders have access to steep-and-deep Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. For a tamer, close-to-town sliding experience, Snow King Resort has full day access for $60, night skiing for $30, and all-day uphill access for $20, while kids five and under ski for free any time of day. For in-town eats, grab a pizza from Pinky G’s or heft a pint at Snake River Brewing. At Teton Village, the iconic Mangy Moose is a must.
Winter Attractions in Jackson:
- Snowshoe or cross-country ski the trails of Grand Teton National Park
- Venture to Yellowstone National Park for bison and geothermal wonder (and maybe splurge on a snowmobile adventure)
- Soak in Granite Hot Springs
- Après at the Mangy Moose
- Take a sleigh ride at the National Elk Refuge (or peer out at the wintering herds from the deck of the National Museum of Wildlife Art, after soaking in a bit of culture)
The White Mountains, New Hampshire
Whether you ski Loon (thanks to Ikon) or Attitash/Wildcat (merci, Epic) — pack your winter woolies for your gorgeous White Mountains getaway! In the quaint town of Lincoln, Loon Mountain has accessible terrain, top-notch accoutrements including New Hampshire’s only superpipe and a new, heated, high-speed lift nicknamed “The Kanc 8.” This ski area is also located about two hours from Boston.
It can be quite crowded on weekends, so consider a jaunt to nearby Cannon Mountain, which you’ll need the Indy Pass for if you want to stay within your $500 budget. On the east side of the dramatic Kancamagus Highway: Attitash in Bartlett and sister mountain Wildcat (located 20 minutes to the north in Pinkham Notch) throw down some serious terrain alongside milder slopes and stashes. Of note: The White Mountains are home to a baker’s dozen of alpine and Nordic resorts, which may not all be part of the collective passes, but each locale has unique flavor worth experiencing.
Winter Attractions in The White Mountains:
- Go Nordic at Bretton Woods and pop into the Omni Mount Washington Hotel
- Zipline across the “Pemi” (the Pemigewasset River) at Loon
- Hike or snowshoe some of the roughly 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest
- Ice climb with a guide
- For the true expert with a backcountry and avalanche know-how, hike and ski iconic Tuckerman Ravine
Under-the-radar and gloriously independent, Schweitzer has 2,900 skiable acres, 300 inches of annual snowfall, and plenty of uncrowded spots to drop into glades and groomers in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Ikon passholders will have their skiing/riding covered, which may free up some funds for resort extras like tubing, snowcat skiing, or dining at the summit. Beyond the resort, be sure to venture into the winter wonderland via sleigh, snowshoe, or Nordic ski. If you time it right, you may even be able to carve some ice on Sandpoint’s frozen Lake Pend Oreille.
Winter Attractions in Idaho:
- Nordic ski or fat bike the resort’s 20 miles of groomed cross-country trails
- Drink a Lake Paddler Pale Ale — named for the Lake Pend Oreille’s monster — at Mick Duff’s Brewing Co.
- Go big in the Selkirks either via snowmobile, snowcat, or helicopter (which, let’s face it, will blow your budget)
- Hook a trout or smallmouth bass on a chilly fishing adventure at Lake Pend Oreille or the Clark Fork River
- Ride the Great Escape chairlift to Sky House (even if you’re not skiing) for the eats and views
Revelstoke, British Columbia
As the name implies, this north-of-the-border, railway town is brimming with both revel and stoke. With 3,121 acres within the resort, record-shattering snow falls, humongous bowls, and the most vertical on the continent at 5,620 feet, Revelstoke is much more than a snow-capped Canadian Rockies postcard.
In fact, the sprawling Revelstoke brand — which includes RMR, Revelstoke Cat Skiing, and Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing — grants skiers and snowboards access to a mind-blowing 515,000 acres of terrain. Off the slopes, there’s oodles of small-town, historic charm and snowy adventure to be had, from dogsledding to fat-tire biking. Ikon and Mountain Collective Passholders are good to go at the resort. Be prepared to settle in for the stay as driving time from the nearest airport. Kelowna is 2.5 hours away, Calgary is a 4.5-hour drive, and Vancouver is 6 hours away.
Of note: proof of COVID vaccination is required for all visitors, aged 12 and older.
Winter Attractions in Revelstoke:
- Snowshoe Revelstoke National Park
- Après at Mt. Begbie Brewery or Rockford Bar-Grill
- Ice skate Three Valley Lake
- Take a tandem paragliding flight for views of Monashee and Selkirk mountains as well as the Columbia River
- Mush through the forest via dogsled
Fondue with a Matterhorn view? Ja, bitte. Reaching almost as high as the iconic 14er in its midst, this quintessential ski destination is part of the Ikon passholder family this season — well, the Swiss side of the border-straddling swath of skiable wonder is Ikon-accessible (and don’t fret, Epic has some incredible access to Alps locales, too).
Set up basecamp in Zermatt, a bustling, snow-globe-like, car-free, city-village, and explore more than 200 miles and 7,477 vertical feet of spectacular swooshing. Beyond the slopes, check out everything from moonlit fat-tire biking to world-renowned cuisine. Danke schön.
Winter Attractions in Zermatt:
- Visit sky-touching Glacier Paradise via Crystal gondola with glass floors, and venture 50 feet below the surface to the Glacier Palace for man-made ice tunnels and sculptures
- Hike 13,123-foot Breithorn with a guide
- Take the lofty cog rail to famed Gornergrat ridge, and possibly time it for stargazing from the lofty Kulmhotel’s observatory
- Après at the artist-built igloo village on Rotenboden perched at 8,947 feet
- Hop aboard an Air Zermatt chopper for heli-ski magic (okay, this might blow the budget)
Heliskiing The Last Frontier (Starting point: Anchorage, Alaska)
Untamed Alaska possesses the trifecta of ski nirvana: massive mountains, deep powder, and breath-taking wilderness. Traditional resorts, such as Alyeska and Eaglecrest (accessible with the Indy Pass), are within striking distance of Anchorage and Juneau respectively and well-worth the lift-served turns.
To answer the tantalizing call of hundreds of thousands of acres beyond the ropes of any resort, enlist a seasoned guide, board a heli (or ’cat) and point those tips toward the Chugach… or Talkeetna… or Tordrillo ranges. Then, bask in the glory of pioneering your own floaty tracks in the untrammeled vastness of national forestlands.
Winter Attractions in Alaska:
- Soak up the Northern Lights in Denali National Park
- Snowmobile a glacier
- Dogsled like an Iditarod competitor
- Dine at Alyeska Resort’s Seven Glaciers
- Whale watch, particularly if you time your trip for spring migration
Enjoy a Snowy Getaway with VacationRenter
No matter which of these cities you decide to visit, VacationRenter can help you find accommodations to fit any budget. Plan your next ski trip with VacationRenter today!