If your husband, girlfriend, friends, or family members love to ski and snowboard -- but you’d rather have a root canal than slide down a steep hill with plastic sticks on your feet -- you just need to rethink what a vacation to a snowy, slope-y destination can truly entail. Many resorts these days offer gourmet food, trendy bars, and spas galore, and the destinations below allow you to turn a ski trip into a getaway you’ll actually enjoy.
As one of the United States’ largest ski resorts, Vail has the off-mountain amenities to match. Explore upscale boutiques and cozy bars in Vail Village, the European-style base area, or give your palate a treat at highly acclaimed restaurants like Sweet Basil and Kelly Liken (a AAA 4-Diamond Award winner). Foot passengers can also take the Eagle Bahn gondola up the mountain for lunch or drinks at Bistro 14.
Known for its A-list celebs and casually luxurious hotels like Hotel Jerome and the Little Nell, Aspen has a charming downtown to explore and enough restaurants and cultural attractions to keep a nonskier busy for days. Visit the Aspen Art Museum, catch a musical performance at Wheeler Opera House, take a history pub tour, or enjoy a beer tasting at Aspen Brewing Company.
Northstar, Lake Tahoe, California
While your loved ones hurl themselves down mountains, opt for serenity at Northstar ski resort and its surrounding hotels. Take a yoga class at Balance Holistic Health Spa, sip spiked hot chocolate at a cabana next to the ice rink, enjoy a swim with mountain views in the Ritz-Carlton’s heated outdoor pool, or get a massage at the nearby Hyatt Regency’s Stillwater Spa -- followed by stargazing around a lakeside fire pit.
Whistler, British Columbia
Just getting to Whistler is the highlight of any trip -- the two-hour drive north from Vancouver on the Sea-to-Sky Highway takes you along the waters of Howe Sound, past waterfalls, and up into the mountains. Once you’re there, browse the shops of the pedestrian-friendly village by day, and then put on your party hat for Whistler’s lively nighttime bar and club scene.