High Country Escapes: Get Stoked with These Ski Getaways for Every Budget
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 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 the 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.
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 accouterments 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
For the true expert with 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
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 snowfalls, humongous bowls, and the highest 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 Revlestoke Mountain Resort, 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 are 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 a long stay as driving time from the nearest airport in Kelowna is 2.5 hours away, Calgary is a 4.5-hour drive, and Vancouver is six hours away.
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 the Crystal gondola with glass floors, and venture 50 feet below the surface to the Glacier Palace for man-made ice tunnels and sculptures
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-skiing 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 breathtaking 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.