The majestic Rocky Mountains draw serious skiers from all over the world for good reason. With over 3,000 miles of craggy peaks stretching from British Columbia to New Mexico, powder junkies can get their fix at hundreds of slopes that dot the Western U.S. and Canada. But for those who want to indulge, these five spots top the luxury list.
Designer boutiques and designer slope
Trails: 76 | Lifts: 8 | Avg. Snow: 300” | Acres: 675
Slopes: With only eight lifts and predominantly challenging terrain, Aspen Mountain is the smallest and toughest on our list. It’s ideal for expert skiers who don’t want to worry about sharing the hill with those learning their technique. Luckily, Buttermilk and Snowmass mountains are nearby to offer beginners and intermediates some excellent slopes.
Village: Aspen Village is the glitziest on our list. You can pop into Prada or Louis Vuitton to spend some serious cash before inevitably spotting someone famous at the glamorous Matsuhisa for sushi, but you’ll find the real foodies over at Ajax Tavern indulging in their decadent burgers and truffle fries.
Accommodations: The Little Nell is the place to be in Aspen and constantly comes out on top in all of Colorado. Tucked away at the base of the mountain, it’s great for those wanting to put their skis on first thing, and for off-the-slopes enrichment.
Family/Activities: Not only is there world-class shopping in the village, but Aspen has its own ballet company and modern art museum for those looking for enrichment off the slopes.
Canada’s biggest and best
Trails: 200+ | Lifts: 37 | Avg. Snow: 358” | Acres: 8,171
SLOPES: North America’s largest resort offers more than 200 trails, ranging from green cruisers to the challenging back bowls of Blackcomb mountain, which draws over three million visitors annually.
Village: With over 90 restaurants, you’re bound to find something just right for you, but we keep going back to perennial favourite Araxi, for the best oysters in town and its incredible wine list, curated by sommelier Samantha Rahn.
Accommodations: There’s a Four Seasons in the village for those who want their classic understated luxury, but those hungry to hit the slopes with ease should opt for the Pan Pacific, slope side, a stone’s throw from the gondola.
Family/Activities: The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is one of the best ski (or not ski) experiences you can have. You travel 2.7 miles in 11 minutes, with the highest peak being 436 metres above the valley.
Mountain skiing at its best
Trails: 193 | Lifts: 33 | Avg. Snow: 354” | Acres: 5,289
Slopes: With over 5,000 acres of slopes, you can find everything from easy greens to chutes, bowls, and steeps. Vail’s Mountain Haus is the standard that all Rockies resorts try to live up to.
Village: Vail combines the feel of a European ski village with the skiing of a top-notch Rockies resort. You’ll hear as many languages being spoken as you walk through the streets as you would in Times Square, and with five square miles of village, you’ll never run out of bars or restaurants to try. We love getting cozy underground at The George.
Accommodations: Since opening in 2011, The Sebastian brings a personalized boutique feel to this massive resort. Its bar, Frost, is also a great spot for an après-ski martini.
Family/Activities: Adventure Ridge is a fun spot for families, as it offers tubing and snowmobiling for those taking a break from the slopes.
Rustic Utah luxury
Trails: 101 | Lifts: 21 | Avg. Snow: 300” | Acres: 2,026
Slopes: The slopes of pristine Deer Valley are for skiers only (snowboarders are relegated to Park City down the road), and are known for their miles of well-groomed corduroy — the pattern in the snow left by the grooming cats. Deer Valley invented the luxury ski experience, with tissues and sunscreen at every lift, hot chocolate, and a ski butler who runs out to collect and store your skis as soon as you get to the bottom of the hill.
Village: Gone are the days where blue laws made après-ski tippling difficult in the Utah town of Park City. These days, all you need to do is order an appetizer with your mountaintop suds and take in the stunning vistas. Head to the Buvez bar at The Chateaux for cocktails, with views of both the mountain and the village.
Accommodations: The Stein Eriksen Lodge is quintessential ski luxury. Rooms are spacious and well-appointed, but the staff, who consistently go above and beyond, make this hotel one you can’t wait to get back to at the end of a day on the slopes.
Family/Activities: For 10 days every January, Park City is overrun with celebs and Hollywood types as they invade for Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival. While dinner reservations can be a hassle during this time, the parties, pop-up nightclubs, and of course movies, add to the fun. Plus, everyone’s worried about the film festival, leaving the slopes nearly empty!
Understated mountainside elegance
Trails: 150 | Lifts: 25 | Avg. Snow: 325” | Acres: 1,832
Slopes: With 150 trails of varied terrain, Beaver Creek appeals to all levels of skiers. The popular run Centennial offers three miles of corduroy-blue perfection, but for the dare devils out there, the off-piste areas (outside the designated slopes) offer acres of terrain that’s never skied off.
Village: The village at Beaver Creek is small, but offers some serious shopping. Beano’s gets all the attention for mountaintop dining, but insiders opt for Zach’s Cabin, which serves game and hearty fare in a beautifully adorned mountain lodge accessible only by snowcat. So cuddle up under the blankets and be ready to be blown away by a starry night.
Accommodations: The Ritz is the best game in town in Beaver Creek and is the focal point of the nightlife. It’s the best place for an après-ski cocktail, and it even has little s’mores kits to use with its fire pit for the kids — or those of us who still eat like one.
Family/Activities: At the top of the Strawberry Park lift, kids can pop into the Candy Cabin to indulge in confectionary delights to power them through the ski day.
Text by Laine McDonnell Translated by Rui Chen