From California to Wyoming, here are three festive mountain getaways for everything from headlamp night skiing and spending a day with Yellowstone Gray wolves in Montana to winter-inspired spa treatments.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Located 12 miles from the town of Jackson, Wyoming, Teton Village is comprised of 2,500 acres of terrain on two mountains, Aprés Vous and Rendezvous. Skiers and snowboarders can tackle 131 runs and ride the aerial tram, or “Big Red” that reaches the top of the mountain in just nine minutes.
At newly renovated Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, celebrate the season with a slew of winter offerings including cookie decorating, wine tastings with local Jackson Hole Winery and build-your-own gingerbread house workshops.
After a long day on the mountain, warm up with at the spa with a 75-minute Warm River Stone massage featuring Swedish massage sensibilities and heated stones to promote relaxation and balance.
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, book the resort’s newly launched Day With the Wolves package designed along with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris and Yellowstone Safari Company to provide an up-close look at wolves, moose, elk, bears and bison in Livingston, Montana. Guests will be flown to the Yellowstone Basin via private plane and join a naturalist for a guided tour.
On December 23rd and 24th, join Santa at the Teton Village ice skating rink. Check out more than 5,000 items such as bear paintings by American artist Carl Runguis and bronze sculptures by Steve Kestrel at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Warm up with an espresso and turmeric latte and peruse baked goods such as holiday rice krispie treats, peppermint marshmallows, and chocolate-dipped Linzer cookies at Persephone Bakery. Make a stop downtown for live music and cocktails at the iconic Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (country legends such as Willie Nelson and Tanya Tucker have performed here), or shop for locally-made wares and gifts from soft, winter beanies to National Park prints at Made.
Big Sky, Montana
Consisting of four mountains with 5,850 acres of skiable terrain, Big Sky is the prime destination for winter activities and skiing and snowboarding with some of the most cutting-edge technology in the country (think the fastest chairlift in North America, Ramcharger 8, replete with heated seats and a weatherproof, cocoon-like bubble enclosure.)
Bundle up for headlamp night skiing via a guided tour of Andesite Mountain, or choose from snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice climbing, nordic skiing, and ice skating on the outdoor Big Sky Ice Rink.
For aprés skiing with a view (at 8,800 feet), order the truffled pomme frites or bison ravioli and sit mountainside in a log cabin-like setting at Everett’s 8800 helmed by Executive Chef Chris McCraken.
Stay at the newly renovated 213-room Summit Hotel with a complimentary ski valet and a 10-percent discount on lift tickets, or The Huntley Lodge situated on the mountain with guestrooms clad with wooden accent walls and amenities ranging from an on-site spa to a recovery lounge with the latest in therapeutic sports recovery equipment for muscle care post-slopes.
For last-minute holiday gifts and handmade crafts, venture to the Big Sky Winter Market on December 17th (from 5-7 p.m. at Marriott Residence Inn Big Sky/The Wilson Hotel ballroom and lobby lounge.)
Mammoth Lakes, California
Originally formed by a succession of volcanic eruptions, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area with a summit of 11,059 feet and 150 runs was initially founded in 1953 by avid skier and business mogul Dave McCoy. Poised at an elevation of 7,800-feet and named for the Mammoth Mining Co. that once resided here for gold and silver in the area, Mammoth is home to 65 restaurants and a plethora of hotels and lodging options.
Make Sierra Nevada Resort, an Outbound Hotel, base camp while exploring winter activities from fat biking to tubing and sledding. The historic hotel, once a hotbed for the likes of Hollywood greats including John Wayne and Jerry Lewis, has just undergone a major refresh to its 179 rooms with accommodations ranging from fireplace suites appointed with gas fireplaces and kitchens to Deluxe King and Queen rooms with pillow-top beds and LCD flat-screen TVs. Next year, the property will unveil 10 one-bedroom cabins along with a heated swimming pool. On December 17th, take a trip to The Village for a Night of Lights with a complimentary gondola ride and music by live DJs. At the Cactus & The Hawk boutique, pick up gear and keepsakes with a mountain aesthetic from handmade felt hats to Pendleton flannels and ceramic mugs by Los Angeles–based ceramicist Asami Hatanaki of Asamono.