IT'S NO SECRET ...
that Australians love visiting the USA in the winter.
With over 400 ski resorts to choose from, the country has a buffet of snow and cold weather experiences that will have you either chewing deep powder, climbing glaciers or kicking back in a luxurious mountain treehouse.
From the Rocky Mountains in the country’s wild west to the highest (underrated) peaks of the Appalachians in its east, here’s 16 unmissable snow experiences for an unforgettable winter spent in the USA.
IT'S NO SECRET...
that Australians love visiting the USA in the winter.
With over 400 ski resorts to choose from, the country has a buffet of snow and cold weather experiences that will have you either chewing deep pow, climbing glaciers or kicking back in a luxurious mountain treehouse.
From the Rocky Mountains in the country’s wild west to the highest (underrated) peaks of the Appalachians in its east, here’s 15 unmissable snow experiences for an unforgettable winter spent in the USA.
PRIVATE CAT SKIING EXPERIENCE
Steamboat Powdercats, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Cat skiing offers all the same remote, untracked fun as heliskiing without the noise, chaos and the skiing abilities of James Bond.
With professional backcountry guides, as well as plush, heated snow cats, Steamboat Powdercats takes advantage of the literally trademarked Champagne Powder® in Colorado’s Buffalo Pass.
The east coast mountains don’t get nearly as much airtime as the Rocky’s, but Mad River Glen in Vermont should be on your radar.
It has some of the most challenging and diverse terrain in the country, but a hard day of riding is perfectly complemented by the fire inside Stark’s Pub. This watering hole has regularly been named one of America’s best snow pubs for post slope brews. Mad River Glen is a skier-owned cooperative resort with an old-fashioned vibe which we love.
INSANE SNOW TUBING EXPERIENCE
Woodward, Park City, Utah
A favourite American winter pastime, ‘tubing’ (which involves sliding down a ramp of ice in an inflatable inner tube) is now an extreme sport at Woodward in Park City, Utah.
With two magic carpets that take you to the top of Utah’s longest and wildest tubing slide, this activity is perfect for those who want all the extreme speeds from a snow experience without the need to ever strap on a pair of skis or a snowboard.
MOST LUXE HOTEL EXPERIENCE
The Little Nel, Aspen Colorado
Perfection is not a word that the get lost team dishes out regularly when it comes to hotels.
But Aspen’s Little Nel certainly ticks all the boxes for the ultimate destination in opulence. This incredible ski-in-and-ski-out hotel is the haunt of celebrities and millionaires from around the planet. Our favourite is the personal ski concierge and the hidden, invitation-only wine cellar.
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Sun Valley Resort, Ketchum, Idaho
Sun Valley is a true year-round resort but it's in winter when it really sparkles.
Built in 1936, Sun Valley in the city of Ketchum is not only the oldest ski destination in America, it is also home to the country's first chair lift. There's a sense of Hollywood at Sun Valley Lodge and the foyer alone makes you feel like you've just walked onto a movie set. But don't let the opulence fool you, everyone here is going to be your best friend by the end of the trip and that is the real secret to a visit to Sun Valley. Get ready for the warm Idaho hugs.
BEST LOCAL SKI RESORT
Snow King Mountain Resort, Jackson, Wyoming
For decades, Snow King Mountain in Jackson has been overshadowed by its much more popular neighbour, Jackson Hole.
But with its quintessential local-feel and zero lift lines, you’ll be able to bust out a few trackless runs early one morning without the usual Wyoming winter crowds. But don’t cut anyone off here or you might end up coming to blows with a local. Remember, this is their mountain and you’re only visiting.
INCREDIBLE NIGHT SKIING
Mt Hood Skibowl, Oregon
We can’t do night skiing here in Australia because the risk of death and injury on our icy runs is just too high, but in the US it's an institution.
At Mt Hood in Oregon, we’re not just talking about a few bunny runs flanked by magic carpets. This is America’s largest night ski area, where all the lifts have lighting (sometimes neon lighting) meaning there’s 36 runs to choose from right through to the end of Spring. Go get it, powderhounds!
GLACIER ICE CLIMBING
Matanuska Glacier, Alaska
With over two decades of teaching under their belts, MICA Guides are experts when it comes to taking newbies climbing on the Matanuska Glacier in Alaska.
After donning your gear and a quick briefing, you’ll hike over an hour across a breathtakingly beautiful turquoise glacier before reaching some simple to moderate ice slopes designed to help you refine your climbing techniques. But beware, this experience is only for those with ice in their veins. It's tough, but well worth it.
BEST HOLLYWOOD CONNECTION
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
This luxury ski lodge in Oregon’s picturesque mountains has all the hallmarks of an archetypal American ski experience.
Timber clad rooms, roaring open fireplaces and snow draped roof pitches. It is both so beautiful and eerie that it was also used as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in the 1980 horror thriller, The Shining. We’d recommend staying away from room 217 (notable from King’s book) and instead opting for one of the Premiere Fireplace rooms.
BEST MOUNTAIN MICROBREWERY
DruBru | Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
With a beer list that would rival most German beer halls, this local Washington microbrewery in the shadow of Snoqualmie Pass brews its award-winning craft beers from fresh mountain water and serves them to thirsty skiers and snowboarders in their huge beer hall with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the ski area.
Try the DruBru IPA, or a full flight if you’re unsure … heck, try them all. We won’t judge.
BEST SKI RESORT TREEHOUSE
Ponderosa Treehouse, Whitefish Mountain, Montana
When we say that this magical treehouse is located on Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, we mean that it is actually ON Whitefish Mountain’s famous Hope Slope.
That’s right. You can ski to the Hope Slope lift from your bed to the ski lift in less than 30 seconds. With two huge bedrooms, including an epic star filled loft for the kiddos, your legs are going to love finishing a big day of riding and falling into the private hot tub.
BEST FINE DINING
Alpino Vino, Telluride
Close your eyes, breathe in that fresh mountain air and from this altitude your brain will trick you into thinking you’re actually in the Dolomite region of Northern Italy.
Instead, this quaint European wine bar and restaurant is in Telluride, Colorado. Alpino Vino is the highest altitude restaurant in all of North America and has an all Italian lunch menu with pastas, pizzas and extensive wine pairing. Enjoy the views of the Wilson Range while you can, because the way the wine flows here, things can get a bit blurry after 6pm.
BEST WINTER FISHING
Fly Fishing, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
The fish don’t stop biting during the winter in Colorado. In fact, some would argue this is the best time to hit the Yampa River when the crowds are down.
You can opt for a private guide through Steamboat Flyfisher to provide all your boots, waders, rods, reels and flies but you are advised to dress warmer than you would if you were skiing.
BEST SNOWSHOE ADVENTURE
Creekside Yurt Dinner, Midway Utah
Snowshoeing gets a bad rap. But that’s often because it adds a layer of complexity to the already laborious task of walking.
But on this magical evening of guided snowshoeing through a forest lit by starlight, you’ll be finishing your short snowshoe at your own private yurt deep in the Wasatch Mountain State Park, sitting down inside for a four course meal, endless booze and roasted marshmallows around an already lit fire.
Jackson Hole to Granite Hot Springs, Wyoming
Get on and hang on! This wild adventure through the snowy Gros Ventre wilderness starts with an early pick up at your hotel.
Your team of dogs (and your sled 'Musher') will guide you through Jackson Hole’s most iconic scenery in an exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The team from Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours work with a hybrid breed of Alaskan sled dog racers and Northern Huskies who will be responds to your commands by the end of the day. Bring your togs, because this adventure takes you all the way from Jackson to Granite Hot Springs for a much welcome soak, before returning back to your hotel in the afternoon.
BEST APRES EXPERIENCE
Cloud Nine, Aspen Colorado
At 3pm everyday, Cloud Nine in Aspen becomes a hedonistic melting pot of debauchery and we absolutely love everything about it.
In no other ski town in the world would this sort of drinking shenanigans be possible, let alone deemed appropriate. Revel in pure joy as overly expensive bottles of champagne are popped and sprayed over you and your guests while you dance and watch the sun drop over incredible mountain views.
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