Feel like you’re still shaking off the snow from last year’s brutal winter? Well, weathermen are predicting even more snowfall this year than last – particularly on the west coast – so we might as well embrace it. The promise of fresh snowfall sends some daredevils straight to the lifts, but for the rest of us, a hot toddy in front of the lodge fireplace beckons. For anyone looking to live the après ski life this winter, KAYAK has the answers.
We turned to our friends at Forbes, The Active Times, Freeskier and US News Travel to compile a list of the best U.S. ski destinations. With our list of ski destinations in hand, we then identified the most popular 4 and 5-star hotels with a bar or spa, based on user searches from January 2013 to March 2013 for travel during the 2013-2014 ski season*. We also researched the average nightly rate** from last year’s ski season so you have an idea of how much a little R&R in a winter wonderland might set you back. Here is our list of the most popular resorts for you to kick back, relax and get pruney in the hot tub.
1. Zermatt Resort – Midway, Utah ($202)
Ski bunnies will be off to the slopes in the complimentary ski shuttle. Not a skier? Head to the full-service spa for a day of massages, body treatments and facials, and check out The Crater, the resort’s geothermal pool.
2. Vail Cascade Resort & Spa – Vail, Colorado ($421)
Skiers shouldn’t worry about a crowded resort – this is the largest resort in the U.S., and on an average day, there are only two skiers per acre. But if you prefer to get your blood flowing indoors, check out the hotel’s indoor tennis courts for a quick set before you soothe your aching muscles in one of the private hot tubs.
3. Aspen Meadows Resort – Aspen, Colorado ($364)
This hotel is just one mile from downtown Aspen, making it super convenient for an Après ski indulgence with the masses. The hotel also offers its own handmade, indulgent cocktails, for those who prefer a shorter stumble back to the hotel room at night.
4. Westgate Park City Resort & Spa – Park City, Utah ($415)
Onsite amenities include Utah’s largest indoor/outdoor heated pool, the full-service Serenity Spa by Westgate, Drafts Sports Bar and Grill with gourmet burgers, pizzas, 50 different beer varieties and a complimentary on-call shuttle to downtown Park City if you’re more adventurous.
5. Keystone Lodge & Spa by Keystone Resort – Keystone, Colorado ($277)
Keystone is one of the most family-friendly resorts around, so don’t leave the kids at home for this one. Just don’t forget to schedule some alone time with you and your après ski cocktail.
6. Tivoli Lodge – Vail, Colorado ($431)
Skiing Vail Valley is a unique experience. To top off a day on the slopes with another one of a kind experience, stop by the Brown Hound Lounge for the signature Indini cocktail – inspired by former hotel mascot Indy, the chocolate Labrador for whom the lounge is named.
7. Beaver Creek Lodge – Avon, Colorado ($434)
Check out the breathtaking views of Beaver Creek and the towering mountains while dining at the Rocks Modern Grill.
8. White Buffalo Club – Jackson, Wyoming ($264) Flex those muscles with a complimentary yoga class in the fitness and wellness center before you head into Jackson’s charming Town Square for a bite to eat and a drink – just three blocks from the hotel.
9. Rustic Inn at Jackson Hole – Jackson, Wyoming ($190)
Skiers will enjoy a complimentary shuttle throughout the day, making sure you don’t miss out on the thrilling trails. Those seeking relaxation can find it in the outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi and sauna, or by taking a walk through the beautifully landscaped trails along Flat Creek.
10. Rusty Parrot Lodge and Spa – Jackson, Wyoming ($329)
Jackson Hole is a skiers’ paradise. But if you’re not into the outdoors, or still nursing an aching body from one too many falls, Rusty Parrot’s full service spa and an intimate fireplace restaurant might be more your speed.
Whether you plan to spend your vacation in a snowsuit or a swimsuit, these hotels are sure to leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed – bon après ski!
*Travel dates 12/01/2013 through 03/31/2014
**Average nightly rates for travel dates 12/01/2013 through 03/31/2014
(Preview photo cred: iStock.com/LockieCurrie)