Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Top 10 Ski Resorts


Because ski slopes and luxury hotels make cozy bedfellows, we always have fun compiling this list. There is no better way to beat the winter blues than by fleeing to a sparkling mountain resort and schussing the slopes. In this snow-kissed collection of properties, spas and fine dining set up camp just a snowball's throw from bunny slopes and black diamond runs. Some are even known for the moguls who check in to hit the moguls on nearby pistes. If you're looking for a stylish place to test out that new pair of Rossignols, this diverse collection is for you.

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UNITED STATES

Aspen, Colorado
The Little Nell

www.thelittlenell.com

The Little Nell likes to tout its country inn atmosphere, but we actually appreciate this property for its sophisticated urbanity. It's the kind of stylish oasis you'd like to discover in a big city, and the fact that it's at the base of Aspen Mountain makes it even better. The Aspen/Snowmass resort area is appealing for a variety of reasons, from the fact that you can ski down to element 47 for a leisurely lunch, to Elevator Shaft on Silver Queen run. You can ski in and ski out of The Little Nell, and if you need your boots warmed, snowboard tuned or lift tickets ordered, there is a full concierge team dedicated to ski needs. Although there's no full spa onsite, you can request deep tissue and sports massages.

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Mount Washington Hotel
www.mtwashington.com

Most mountain resorts embrace a casual, laid-back, slope-friendly lifestyle. But it’s an old-fashioned formality that gives this property its charm—colonial-style décor in the bedrooms, and jackets required in the Dining Room, where an orchestra serenades diners. After two years of construction by 250 master craftsmen, this hotel opened in 1902, and today it’s a National Historic Landmark. It’s a part of The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, and right outside the door are hundreds of acres of ski terrain. You’ll find 101 trails and glades (including plenty of black diamond glades), White Mountain National Park for cross-country skiing, high-speed quad lifts and a gorgeous landscape for night skiing.

Park City, Utah
Stein Eriksen Lodge
www.steinlodge.com

When seeking the ideal ski retreat, a lodge founded by an Olympic gold medallist seems a good choice. Stein Eriksen created this place in 1982 to bring full-service luxury slopeside. With its blond wood and mountain décor, the property has a Scandinavian feel. But while the look is rustic, the ambience is anything but. Ski-in/ski-out access is offered to Deer Valley Resort, and if you need skis, boots or other snow-friendly accoutrements, you can pick them up or rent them at the onsite Stein Eriksen Sport. Glitretind Restaurant pays tribute to alpine style, and the full-service spa includes treatments suited to a day on the slopes. For sun-damaged skin, try the Nordic Princess. And to relieve sore muscles, go for a Deep Tissue Massage.

Teton Village, Wyoming
Teton Mountain Lodge

www.tetonlodge.com

With 120 runs and one of the country's longest, steepest continuous vertical drops, Jackson Hole is a favorite for skiing and snowboarding. Situated slopeside at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Teton Mountain Lodge makes sure you're as close to the action as possible. It's just a few steps to the resort tram and Bridge Gondola, and when the slopes shut down, you can ski in. You can also satisfy the appetite you worked up with Black Angus beef or native game dishes at Cascade Grill House & Spirits. If you're seeking an experience beyond the standard, give heli-skiing a shot, or book the Skiers Deluxe package at the spa. The homey lodge rooms with stone fireplaces and custom kitchens ensure you get your rustic-luxe fix.

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CANADA

Whistler
Four Seasons Resort Whistler

www.fourseasons.com/whistler

There are a few things that can always be counted on to warm up a cold winter day: hot chocolate, warm gloves and a cozy Four Seasons resort. This luxurious outpost resides in the Whistler/Blackcomb ski area, forthcoming site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Guestrooms and suites go for a lodge look, but don't expect anything rustic here. At the full spa, you can try a treatment with clay harvested from British Columbia's glacial lakes, and at Fifty Two 80 Bistro, seafood is served fireside, against a backdrop of dramatic mountain views. Complimentary transportation is offered between the resort, its dedicated ski concierge and the lifts at the base of Whistler Mountain.

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CHILE

Portillo
Hotel Portillo

Hot summer months north of the border mean it’s time to head for the slopes down south. In the Andes on the shores of Lake Inca, Portillo Resort attracts quite the range, from Fidel Castro to the U.S. and Austrian ski teams. It got its official start in the late 1940s, pulled in Stein Eriksen to run its ski school in the 1950s, and hosted the Alpine World Championships in 1966—needless to say, it has an impressive pedigree. As for the hotel, it’s hard to separate it from the resort, even though there are a few other lodgings in the area. It’s quite a sight, a bright yellow arc beaming in the snow. The rooms are fairly simple, but there’s a nice Old School feel, and a great fostering of camaraderie, since most people skiing in the area stay here.

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ITALY

Cortina d’Ampezzo
Cristallo
www.cristallo.it

Technically, the Cristallo isn’t a dedicated ski resort. But it is a fabulous historic hotel in one of Italy’s most popular ski destinations. Tucked into the Dolomites, Cortina was home to the 1956 Winter Olympics. It has eight ski areas with miles of slopes and dozens of cables cars—we recommend taking the Freccia nel Cielo (Arrow to the Sky) for the spectacular views. The Cristallo has a palatial feel, and its bedrooms are particularly beautiful, with hand-painted boiserie and frescoes and ceilings that feel like works of art. This is also a great après ski sanctuary, featuring the Monkey Club (a jet-setting hotspot in the 1960s and ‘70s), the glassed-in La Veranda with mountain views and a wellness center with sauna, Turkish bath and hydro-massage.

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NEW ZEALAND

Queenstown
Remarkables Lodge

www.remarkables.co.nz

A former farm homestead that dates back to the 1860s, this Southern Hemisphere getaway features a contemporary, streamlined style that would make Frank Lloyd Wright proud. Hospitality is warm, casual and distinctly Kiwi (this is the sort of place where you while away the time playing billiards and sipping local wines), and the setting is great. The lodge sits in the foothills of the Remarkables mountain range and is within easy driving distance of Cardrona, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak. The latter features night skiing on weekends—hit floodlit slopes under the stars with beautiful views of Queenstown. If you need equipment, you can be fitted right at the lodge. And you can enjoy heli-skiing from the lodge’s own helipad.

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SWEDEN

Åre
Hotel Diplomat Åregården

www.diplomathotel.com

Bottom line: This hotel is downright pretty, with its clean, countrified Scandinavian style. It opened in 1895 and is a mainstay in Åre, one of Northern Europe’s most popular ski resorts. On the slopes you’re bound to find lots of fun-loving, partying Swedes, but the hotel itself is classy and subdued, with a wonderfully quiet ambience. Its Restaurant Bakfickan serves modern Swedish dishes in Åre’s first bank. And it is close to the ski lifts. Among Åre’s many snowy attractions is a World Cup downhill run. Åre will also host the Alpine World Championships in 2007.

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SWITZERLAND

St. Moritz
Badrutt's Palace Hotel

While St. Moritz arguably competes for world's most popular ski destination, Badrutt's Palace Hotel is the hands down winner for grande dame in this star-studded village. Nobility from royal realms and Hollywood are in love with this Swiss Alps darling, and when they're here, they stay at Badrutt's. Built in the late 1800s, the landmark retains its classic style both in décor and attitude. To complement the five surrounding ski areas—which feature downhill slopes, cross-country tracks and an Olympic ski-jumping hill—the hotel has a ski school and a shop for ski rentals. There's also a private ice rink and full beauty spa. Among seven dining venues are the signature Le Restaurant and an outpost of Nobu. Who says après ski has to be all about fondue. Sushi, anyone?

(Updated: 12/28/12 CT)


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