The Best Places for a Winter Adventure Out West

Whether you’re ready to hit the slopes or embark on a snowy hike, the western part of the U.S. has several iconic destinations for a winter adventure.

Aspen, Colorado. Getty Images

Whether you’re ready to hit the slopes or embark on a snowy hike, the western part of the United States has several iconic destinations for a winter adventure. From Colorado to California, seasoned snowboarders and skiers flock to these states for powdery snow, breathtaking landscapes and crisp mountain air. Of course, if you don’t want to forgo luxury accommodations, most cities ensure that an elevated hotel is never too far. Grab your skis and start planning the ultimate winter adventure out west. 

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Lake Tahoe. The Ritz-Carlton

Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe is one of the best places for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. In other words, if you’re looking to enjoy the snowier side of the Golden State, Lake Tahoe is the place to be. You can also unleash your inner child with some premier sledding and tubing, or spend the day gliding along the ice at the Heavenly Village Ice Rink. After a long and cold day out in nature, cozy up with a hot toddy in the Living Room at The Ritz-Carlton

Where to Stay:

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe recently underwent a huge renovation, offering a fresh and exciting look for visitors and winter sports enthusiasts. One of the new additions is a 24-hour shop where you can pick up any and all skiing essentials, snacks and more. Another solid accommodation option is Desolation Hotel Lake Tahoe, which is a mere 10-minute walk away from the popular Heavenly Ski Resort. 

Vail. The Hythe, A Luxury Resort

Vail, CO

Home to one of the largest ski resorts in the country, Vail is a charming mountain town that turns into a storybook wonderland each winter. This European-esque village sits at the base of Vail Mountain, where cross-country skiers and snowboarders let loose along the pristine slopes. Vail is also known for having some renowned restaurants, including the Michelin-recognized Sweet Basil. Fuel up on innovative New American cuisine and craft cocktails after a day of adventures. 

Where to Stay:

The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail, puts you in the heart of Vail while still curating a sense of exclusivity and peace. The cozy yet modern design makes you feel right at home, and the hotel can assist in arranging a multitude of outdoor activities such as heli-skiing and backcountry snowboarding. 

Park City. Waldorf Astoria Park City

Park City, UT

Looking for a picturesque winter adventure in Utah? Skip Salt Lake City and head to Park City. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort are two of the most popular spots for skiing, but the landscape is also ideal for a guided snowshoeing excursion. Other winter activities include taking a scenic gondola ride, dog sledding and even ziplining. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, hit Main Street for food and drinks. Warm up with some hot sake at Yuki Yama Sushi and indulge in fresh rolls and nigiri. 

Where to Stay:

The Waldorf Astoria Park City is the only upscale hotel with slope-side access to the biggest ski resort in the U.S., making it a no-brainer for travelers seeking a winter adventure out west. There’s nothing better than being able to retreat right back to the fireplace in your room after a grueling day on the slopes. The St. Regis Deer Valley is on the other end of town and offers an even more secluded and private setting. 

Aspen. St. Regis Aspen

Aspen, CO

Aspen is known for its star-studded social scene, high-end hotels and world-class slopes. Winter hiking is a major hit here, thanks to iconic snow-dusted pines and towering peaks. If you want to get your adrenaline going, consider booking an afternoon of snowmobiling to see the Maroon Bells, which are two epic peaks in the Elk Mountains. Since Aspen is a luxurious destination in and of itself, you can end each day with a fanciful meal and a quality martini at one of the famous restaurants, like White House Tavern or Element 47.

Where to Stay:

Though there are several opulent hotels to choose from, The Little Nell is an Aspen staple. This five-star property provides a cosmopolitan haven with stunning mountain views, unmatched service and unbeatable access to outdoor adventure. Those who prefer a more rustic vibe will love The St. Regis Aspen, which sits right at the base of Aspen Mountain. 

Jackson Hole. Amanga

Jackson, WY

Experience a true cowboy town when you visit Jackson, Wyoming. There are three different ski areas within Jackson, providing an ample amount of opportunity to hit the slopes, both for beginners and seasoned professionals. If skiing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the great outdoors, such as a wildlife tour or Iditarod dog sledding. Jackson’s iconic Town Square makes you feel like you’re on the set of an old western film, and no visit is complete without a drink at the Million Dollar Cowboy. 

Where to Stay:

Take in the towering Tetons from the lavish and one-of-a-kind Amangani in Jackson Hole. The combination of redwood and sandstone architecture results in a warm yet contemporary ambiance that allows you to feel connected to nature even while inside. For a more homey and residential experience, book a room at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole.

Yosemite. The Ahwahnee

Yosemite, CA

Yosemite National Park is often seen as a summer or spring destination, but it is even more breathtaking during the winter. Though winter weather can always pose some complications, there is still plenty to do and see during the season. Horsetail Fall is one of the most popular waterfalls to see during winter, but you’ll need to make a reservation beforehand. When it comes to skiing, cross-country skiers tend to flock to the Badger Pass Ski Area. As expected with a national park, dining and drinking options are limited, but The Ahwahnee Dining Room is the perfect place to post up with a glass of red wine and a plate of prime rib in the evening. 

Where to Stay:

The Ahwahnee is perhaps the nicest hotel in Yosemite. It blends rustic, old-school cabin charm with grandiose architecture to create a timeless property that can be enjoyed year-round. Since it is actually located within the national park, guests have prime access to all things outdoors, and is one of the best places to stay in the area. 

The Best Places for a Winter Adventure Out West