Ski resorts aren’t just for skiers and riders anymore. From fat biking to dog sledding, there are more outdoor activities than you could possibly imagine and those more interested in fine dining, bar hopping, spa treatments, live music and epic slope-side celebrations can certainly find their fit among the snowy peaks as well.
Major ski resorts have made a conscious effort to become more than just their slopes and the on-mountain improvements have been mirrored by off-mountain developments. If you haven’t checked these popular ski spots out recently, you should see why they’re great for people who don’t ski too.
Host of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, Squaw Valley has long been known as a top-tier mountain and with the merger to Alpine Meadows in 2012, there’s more to love on one lift ticket than ever before, but travelers who would rather not don boots and boards can find plenty to love at these mountains. More than 300 days of sun make Lake Tahoe an incredible vacation spot any time of year and unique views of mountaintops and the alpine lake are tough to beat. Stay in condominium-style suites (complete with a kitchen, fireplace and balcony) at The Village at Squaw Valley and have everything you need within walking distance. From the ski lifts to hot tubs, fire pits, world-class dining and tons of shopping—you won’t have to drive at all and you certainly won’t be bored.
Stowe is the east coast beacon where luxury meets the slopes, so it’s no surprise the resort has something everyone can enjoy. Adventurers, foodies and those looking to escape from stress can all find their niche somewhere among Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak, Stowe’s two mountains. From dog sled tours to snowshoeing and then the spa and wellness center, guests at Stowe can build their own dream vacation even if that means avoiding the slopes altogether.
At Mont Tremblant they say there’s so much to do that guests run out of time before they run out of ways to spend it and they just might be right. In addition to the stellar skiing and boarding the mountain town of Mont Tremblant has tons of shopping, dining, nightlife and entertainment options—literally steps from the base of the mountain. Take to the outdoors for the snowshoe and fondue tour, sliding evenings on the tubing slopes and dune buggy tours that the whole family can enjoy.
Whistler Blackcomb may have the most skiable acres on the continent along with more than 200 marked trails, 16 alpine bowls, six different terrain parks and 458 inches of pure dry powder annually, but that’s not all. The resort also offers unparalleled sightseeing via their PEAK2PEAK Gondola, dog sledding tours and bobsleigh programs on track that was used in the 2010 Olympics. These adventures are just a few of the many slope-side activities around North America’s largest ski area.
Set in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Whiteface is another ski area with an Olympic heritage and a whole lot to do off the slopes. On top of the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, visitors can actually try out Olympic sports like biathlon, bobsled and skeleton with the help of trained professionals. If you’d rather try a winter sport that’s a bit less adrenaline pumping, Whiteface offers snow tubing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing too. Pair those sports with great lodging, dining and shopping options and even non-skiers will be happy with this vacation.
Just 80 miles west of Denver sits the snowy trails and bowls of Copper Mountain and though the skiing is among the best in Colorado, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure off the slopes as well. The major adrenaline rush for non-skiers comes in the form of a “barn”. More specifically, the Woodward Copper Barn—a 19,000-square-foot indoor adventure park that houses a skate and bike park complete with ramps, a bowl, a pump track, trampolines and some of the biggest foam pits around. Those looking for something a little less skate- and bike-centric can check out the Alpine Rush Zip Line, tubing hill or any of the amazing restaurants throughout the village.
One of the best spots for snow sports on the east coast, Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area, but the fun doesn’t stop at downhill. Well-known for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and guided backcountry tours, there’s an activity for everyone at this mountain. High-end lodging at the Omni Mount Washington and top-tier food help make this mountain resort a stand-out destination. Adventurers hoping for something besides snow sports can test their skills on the year-round zipline canopy tour or scale the huge indoor climbing wall that’s located in the base lodge.
This ski area may be best known for hosting events in the 2002 Winter Olympics, but that’s certainly not the only thing people remember about Park City. The resort (which has recently merged with Canyons to become the biggest ski area in the U.S.) has people coming back year after year, not only for the outstanding skiing and riding, but also the one-of-a-kind après culture. Kids and adults alike enjoy zipping down the mountain on the Alpine Coaster or soaring high on the Flying Eagle Zip Line. Though the real après treasure that sets Park City apart is the world-class dining options—guests can take a snowcat-pulled sleigh ride up to a five course meal, enjoy incredible views at the Summit House or simply enjoy a mid-day snack at the Mid-Mountain Lodge.
This major east coast mountain boasts some great snow and even better terrain, but that’s not all they offer. In addition to the slopes, Jay Peak also has some incredible water and ice in the form of their Pump House Indoor waterpark and NHL-sized Ice Haus skating rink. If relaxation is what you’re after there’s also the amazing Taiga Spa, a fitness center and Inspired Yoga classes led by a certified instructor.
Many come to Sun Valley seeking powder-packed slopes drenched in sunshine, but this mountain offers far more than just great skiing and snowboarding. Those who enjoy the outdoors without boots and poles can take advantage of lift-serviced snow tubing on Dollar Mountain, ice skating on a scenic outdoor rink or take a tour on a sleigh led by horses. The wintry outdoors isn’t for everyone, though, Sun Valley also has a fantastic spa to keep guests relaxed and a movie theatre that has been transformed from an old opera house.
A 10,000-square-foot luxury spa, the largest maintained outdoor skating rink in the country and more than nine miles of groomed cross-country trails are just a few of Keystone’s offerings for those who would rather not spend their days on the slopes. Visitors can get their workout in yoga class, on a snowbike or in the Tennis Club, which is open year-round and those looking to relax will find more than 20 shops nearby in addition to great restaurants and the aforementioned spa.
The resort that touts itself as the last of the old west offers some pretty rugged adventures—and we’re not just talking about the incredible skiing and boarding that Jackson Hole is known for. Plow through untamed backcountry terrain on a snowmobile; discover Grand Teton National Park on two fat wheels or paraglide from the mountain over Teton Village. Guests looking to unwind in style will love the conveniently located Hotel Terra, complete with a rooftop spa and two of the best restaurants in the village.
This ski spot set in Aspen never fails to charm each and every guest—even those not interested in the excellent powder-topped terrain. Ullr Nights, the Friday night gathering that takes place each week, includes family, friends, tubing, snowbiking, ice skating, s’mores, hot chocolate, a bonfire and live music—what more could you ask for? The resort also hosts yoga classes at 11,212 feet with stellar views and some excellent kids programing to boot.
This high-end resort frequently tops lists of best ski resorts, due, in part, to incredible service, an exceptional après ski culture and it’s long list of activities and amenities that are separate from skiing. Off the mountain, fine dining and shopping take center stage—The Mariposa (pictured) was rated the number one restaurant in all of Utah by the Zagat Restaurant Guide and in town visitors will find more than 150 shops to choose from. Those looking for something a bit more active will find snowmobiling adventures, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities with the added bonus of a beautiful backdrop—the Wasatch and Uinta Mountain Ranges.
This far-out mountain town is unlike any other place on earth—and that’s the appeal. Bordered on three sides by the towering red peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos is one of the few places that retains its native culture, thriving art scene and connection to the great outdoors. Those skipping out on skiing and riding can visit local art galleries, soak in the Ojo Caliente mineral hot springs or embark on a guided snowshoe tour. When it’s time for dinner, dining and drinking options in Taos are plentiful and intriguing.
Big White is likely best known for, you guessed it, tons and tons of the fluffy stuff, but the base and the town below has some accolades of its own. To start, the town has more ski-in/ ski-out locations than any other place in Canada and on top of that the village has more than 20 different dining options, two delightful day spas, and a buzzing après ski bar scene featuring live entertainment. Beyond the town, the mountain is a top family resort, with activities like dog sled tours, an ice climbing tower and ice skating, there is certainly something for everyone.