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THE ROCKIES W I N T E R 2 01 7

Hit the Slopes 15

AMAZING WINTER GETAWAYS

BEST GEAR OF THE YEAR

OFF-THEPOWDER ADVENTURES


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CONTENTS

ROCKY MOUNTAIN STATES

UTAH Now the largest U.S. ski resort, Park City o! ers even more to its guests

COURTESY OF PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT

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FEATURES

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COLORADO Four di! erent resorts make Aspen Snowmass a mustsee ski destination

MONTANA For families, Big Sky resort is more than just a great place to ski

WYOMING From cowboys to caviar, Jackson Hole has something for everyone

IDAHO Home of the first chair lift, Sun Valley resort’s new additions keep it modern

BANFF/LAKE LOUISE Canada’s first national park, Ban! National Park, includes three scenic ski areas

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DIRECTOR

Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR

JOANIE SCHWARZ

Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com MANAGING EDITOR

UP FRONT

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SKI GEAR Items to help you achieve peak performance on the powder

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RESORT WEAR ! ese garments will keep you warm and cozy on the slopes

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Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com EDITORS

Elizabeth Neus Hannah Prince Sara Schwartz Tracy L. Scott DESIGNERS

Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders Ashleigh Webb Lisa M. Zilka

BRIGHT BAGS Smart suitcases mix style and function for high-tech travelers

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Matt Alderton, Lisa Davis, Allison Entrekin, Maisy Fernandez, Adrienne Jordan, Tina Lassen

SKI APPS ! ese 10 apps will help you navigate and enjoy the snow

ADVERTISING VP, ADVERTISING

Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com

RECREATION

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ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

FROM SKY TO SKI Take a helicopter to find challenging ranges with few crowds and fresh snow

NO! SKI VACATION If skiing isn’t your thing, there’s plenty more to do in the snow

YES TO YOGA Relax after a day on the slopes with yoga in scenic locations

COURTESY OF YMCA OF THE ROCKIES

Justine Goodwin | (703) 854-5444 jgoodwin@usatoday.com FINANCE BILLING COORDINATOR

Julie Marco

ISSN#0734-7456 A USA TODAY Network publication, Gannett Co. Inc.

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USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are the trademarks of Gannett Co. Inc. or its aÿ liates. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Editorial and publication headquarters are at 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108, and at (703) 854-3400. For accuracy questions, call or send an e-mail to accuracy@usatoday.com.

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A skier flies high over Aspen Mountain in Aspen, Colo. | MattPowerPhotography.com

All prices and availability are subject to change.


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▶ The 2017 Full Tilt First Chair 6 ski boot boasts a roomy toe box, a heat-activated core that molds to the foot and a flex that can be adjusted by changing out the tongue. $499.95, evo.com

▶ The Macon helmet by Bern boasts a sleek, thin-shell construction that still protects your noggin. $82.99 to $99.95, evo.com

▶ DC’s 2017 Torstein Horgmo BOA snowboard boots have a dual lacing feature, strong heel hold and impact-absorbing outsole. $449.95, the-house. com

SLAY THESLOPES Tackle the terrain with equipment that offers comfort and style By Maisy Fernandez

Fresh powder demands fresh gear. From boots to boards and more, shop the ski season’s best new products.

▶ Versatile enough for any terrain, the RMU Apostle 98 2017 takes the brand’s flagship ski and offers a 98-millimeter underfoot version. $799, rmuoutdoors.com

▶ Oakley Canopy goggles feature a large lens, anti-fog coating and comfortable fit, letting you focus on your ride. Available in a variety of hues. $91.99 to $190, evo.com

▶ The TomTom Spark music and GPS watch has 3 GB of storage for your tunes, GPS capability and multiple ways to track your activity. $195.99, Best Buy

▶ The convex base of the Burton Genie snowboard helps beginners learn balance and control. $359.95, burton.com COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES


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SUIT UP

▶ The U.S. Ski Team knit pom hat features the team’s official logo. $34.95, llbean.com

Lift your look with new gear By Maisy Fernandez

The only thing better than conquering the mountain is looking good and staying warm while doing it. Check out these hot new looks — and some tried-and-true favorites — for the season.

▶ DaKine Titan Gore-Tex mittens feature an exterior pocket for hand warmers and fleece liners that are touch-screencompatible, just in case you need to send a text message or photo. $64.95, evo.com

▶ The women’s Ultralight 850 down jacket has a slim fit, repels water and comes in a variety of colors. $199, llbean.com

▶ Bean’s Alpine ski socks feature lightweight shin padding and flat toe seams, and wick away moisture to keep you warm. $19.95, llbean. com

▶ This women’s Gore-Tex Patroller jacket has an adjustable helmetcompatible hood, waterproof zippers, an interior media pocket and raised front collar. $499. The matching Patroller bib pants have outer and inner leg vents for crossflow and multiple pockets. $449, llbean.com

COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES


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GET SMART

Bags with brains put the tech in travel By Quinn Kelley

From zipperless closures to GPS technology, these new “smart suitcases” will send your old bags packing

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COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES

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Charge your phone up to six times — and charge any other device — using the Bluesmart carry-on bag. The bag also alerts you if you ever leave it behind. $449, bluesmart.com

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Andiamo iQ smart luggage provides travelers with two of their top priorities: a removable battery and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Eliminate excess baggage fees with a built-in scale. Prices start at $395, andiamoluggage. com

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Unlock the PlanetTraveler Space Case 1 carry-on with the touch of your fingerprint. Its global tracker allows you to know your luggage’s location at all times. $750, planet travelerusa.com

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The sliding rolltop door on the Trunkster 22-inch carry-on allows for zipperless entry. Charge, weigh and track on the go with integrated scale, GPS and charging technologies. $295, trunkster.co

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The collapsible design of the Barracuda makes storage and travel easy. The hardside suitcase also boasts a built-in tray, USB charger, a proximity sensor and location tracking. $299, barracuda.co

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Lojel Octa’s 29.75-inch large hardside spinner upright suitcase contains multiple compartments to keep your belongings organized, as well as a TSA lock system that keeps them secure. $191.95, overstock. com

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The Delsey Pluggage’s overload indicator helps avoid overweight bag surprises at the airport. And the suitcase will let you know once it’s safely on board the plane. Prices start at $600, delseypluggage. com

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With the one-touch handle system on the Victorinox Spectra 2.0 29, you can choose easily from three different handle positions. The 100 percent pure Bayer polycarbonate bag comes in four colors. Prices begin at $275, amazon.com


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AWESOME APPS THINKSTOCK

Download these helpful programs before heading downhill By Simon Hill

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RE YOU GEARING UP for the winter season and looking to hit the slopes in style? The best ski apps can help you find the best slopes, up-to-date weather reports and the hottest après-ski spots. Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, you’ll be able to hone your downhill skills with these smartphone apps.

All apps are free and available on both Google Play and iTunes except where noted.

SKI SCHOOL INTERMEDIATE Anyone who needs some coaching will benefit from this app. The lessons combine videos, photos and text to clearly explain how to develop your skiing skills. $4.49 on Google Play; $4.99 on iTunes.

SKITIPS1 This complete course for skiers from beginning to advanced intermediate combines audio and video to teach you the fundamentals. Work through the lessons or target specific ski skills. $4.99 on iTunes.

ONTHESNOW You’ll find snow reports for more than 2,000 top skiing locations around the world in this handy app. Get real-time, firsthand reports about the conditions from your fellow skiers.

VAPP What do you do when you want to snap that gorgeous vista — or your buddy face down in the snow — but you don’t want to take off your ski gloves? Use this voice-controlled app to get your shot. $1.03 on Google Play, 99 cents on iTunes.

SNOCRU Aiming to be your onestop ski app, SNOCRU combines global ski reports with tracking functionality, the ability to stay connected with friends on the slopes and advice on the après-ski party scene. Download at snocru. com.

EPICMIX The official app of 10 major resorts including Vail, Park City and Northstar allows you to get exclusive times on the lift lines, battle for a place on the online leaderboard and track your activity on the mountain.

TRACE SNOW If you want to track your day on the slopes, then this is the app to do it. Skiers and snowboarders can log and share their speed, airtime, distance covered, calories burned and more.

LIFTOPIA Buy discount tickets for lifts at all the most popular spots on this iOS app. You’ll also find exclusive special offers for discounted rentals, lessons and accommodations.

REI SNOW REPORT Access fresh snow reports, webcams and five-day forecasts for your favorite locations, and easily share them with your friends through social media.

SKI TRACKS Tap “record” and put your phone in your pocket and this app will plot your tracks and give you data about your speed, distances, and altitude. No data or phone service required. 99 cents. COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES


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COLORADO

SNOW HAVEN

If snow sports are what you’re seeking, look no further than Colorado. The Centennial State has hundreds of wintry activities from which adventurers can choose. From heli-skiing to ice climbing to dog sledding, there’s something to satisfy all snow lovers who enjoy a good, frigid adrenaline rush.

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COLORADO

ASPEN HIGHLANDS

ASPEN MOUNTAIN

BUTTERMILK

SNOWMASS

COURTESY OF ASPEN SKIING COMPANY; JORDAN CURET; CATHERINE AEPPEL; JEREMY SWANSON

FROSTY FOURSOME Aspen Snowmass: four mountains, one ski destination By Adrienne Jordan

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E ALL LOVE OPTIONS, and Aspen Snowmass doesn’t disappoint. The complex is comprised of four different, distinct mountain resorts, a total of 5,547 acres. One ski pass grants visitors access to the Colorado quartet: Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass. “We have a portfolio of more than 120 resorts worldwide, and Aspen Snowmass is always a top seller year after year,” says Michelle Otero, a mountain vacation specialist with Ski.com, a site that assists travelers with booking ski and snowboarding vacations. “I think a lot of its popularity has to do with the diversity offered via four mountains, each with a unique personality, more than 100 different bars and restaurants and big-city culture found in an authentic mountain town environment.” A point of pride this season for Aspen is being the

host of the 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in March, marking the first time the finals event has been held in the U.S. in nearly 20 years. Spectators can expect the usual competitions — downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom — plus the introduction of a nations team event. The free competitions take place on Snowmass Mountain. But if you’re just coming to ski for fun, here’s the low-down: Aspen Highlands is the quietest of the four mountains, appreciated by locals for its minimal crowds. Aspen Mountain is notoriously difficult, offering no beginner runs. Novices can head for Buttermilk, where more than one-third of the runs are ranked “easiest.” Snowmass, the largest of the four, boasts 4,406 feet of vertical rise, 94 ski trails over 150 miles and 23 lifts across 3,332 skiable acres of terrain. Don’t get lost. CO N T I N U E D


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ASPEN HIGHLANDS ▶ Awesome attractions Aspen Highlands is best known for the Highland Bowl, providing some of the most intense skiing in Colorado. Skiers and boarders hike about 30 to 45 minutes to the top, where they’ll find descents of more than 3,600 vertical feet and pitches as steep as 48 degrees. Locals love the longest run on Highlands, which tops 3.5 miles, and they can spend all day exploring the 1,040 acres of skiable terrain. ▶ One-of-a-kind offering Enjoy a 30-minute snowcat ride before dinner at the Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, which recently underwent a $1.1 million renovation. First, there’s the 5:30 p.m. rendezvous at the Aspen Highlands base area, where mugs of spiced Glühwein, a German/ Australian mulled red wine drink served warm or chilled during holidays, are available. The snowcat departs at 6 p.m., arriving approximately at 6:30 p.m. For the return trip, the snowcat departs the bistro at approximately 10 p.m. (earlier if requested for private functions) and arrives back at the base at approximately 10:30 p.m. The service is available to all Aspen Snowmass guests dining at Cloud Nine. Take in the views of iconic snowcapped peaks while dining on Colorado lamb sirloin, striped bass and other tasty entrees. It’s a popular locale, so it’s suggested that would-be diners make reservations. ▶ Mountain munchies Take off that helmet and socialize at Aspen Highlands’ mid-mountain Merry-Go-Round Restaurant. Sit by the fire and enjoy a hot bowl of soup, or grab a cocktail to warm your bones s you mix, mingle and enjoy the breathtaking views. ▶ Family-friendly activities Aspen Highlands is the favorite of locals who want to just strap on their skis and dive into

JEREMY SWANSON

the snow; skiing should keep families occupied. If you’re new to the sport, there are lessons available for all age groups. ▶ Inspiring accommodations The 4.5-star Ritz-Carlton Club is less than a mile from Aspen Highlands, and you might opt to use your skis, since it offers ski-in/ski-out access. After a long day on the slopes, guests can dine in the hotel’s Willow Creek Bistro, take a dip in the pool and then head to the spa. Wine tastings are available in the Members’ Lounge and the on-site restaurant offers three meals and après-ski specials. 730 E. Durant Ave.; 970920-2000; friasproperties. com/aspen-condo-rentals/ ritz-carlton-club aspensnowmass.com/ our-mountains/aspenhighlands

ASPEN MOUNTAIN ▶ Awesome attractions The Aspen Art Museum, housed inside a contemporary building that resembles a large wicker box, isn’t filled with nostalgic treasures of days gone by. Instead, since its first incarnation in 1977 (then, the Aspen Center for Visual Arts), it focuses on “innovative” and “timely” artwork of the day, according to the website. 637 E. Hyman Ave.; 970-9258050; aspenartmuseum.org ▶ One-of-a-kind offering The après-ski activities at Aspen Mountain are almost as alluring as the slopes. The location has been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler, Thrillist.com and Travel + Leisure for knowing how to present guests with a great

time. For example, it’s the home of the roving Oasis, a mobile champagne bar that pops up unpredictably on a snowcat to quench skiers’ thirst. Look for the Oasis on weekends beginning in mid-February. ▶ Mountain munchies Element 47 serves hearty alpine cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Awarded a five-star rating by Forbes Travel Guide, the restaurant also offers ski-in/ ski-out accessibility. Order small but satisfying bites like oysters on the half shell at the bar and Colorado lamb meatballs in the main dining area. This is also an opportunity to try what the servers will tell you is the best Moscow mule in town. 675 E. Durant Ave.; 970-920-6330; thelittlenell.com/dining/ element-47

��� Family-friendly activities Aspen Powder Tours offers luxury snowcat rides taking you to prime, untracked stashes on the backside of Aspen Mountain. Fresh tracks are guaranteed and gourmet lunch in a cabin is included. ▶ Inspiring accommodations The Little Nell, a five-star, five-diamond hotel, offers ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain. The 27-year-old venue was recently revamped by award-winning designer Holly Hunt. The locale provides ski concierges to warm your boots or offer you a tasty pastry. 675 E. Durant Ave.; 855-920-4600; thelittlenell.com/the-hotel aspensnowmass.com/ our-mountains/aspenmountain


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COLORADO BUTTERMILK

or just looking for a refresher before sliding down the slopes, S3 Park’s 20 beginner- and intermediate-level features should accommodate you. S3 is home to the mountain’s Ski & Snowboard School. There are table-top jumps, jibs, flat rails and more. Don’t worry about embarassing yourself in front of highly experienced skiers; the park is tucked away from the lifts, so you can practice with some privacy.

▶ Awesome attractions Buttermilk has been host to the winter X Games since 2002, and will be through at least 2019. ESPN’s annual extreme sports competition will bring in the best superpipe specialists, slopestylers and snowmobile freestylers in late January. Spectators can see athletes ranging from promising teenage newcomers to Olympic medalists flipping their stuff. xgames.espn.com/ xgames/aspen

only on-mountain bakery in town.

▶ Inspiring accommodations Located at the base of the mountain, the Inn at Aspen is the only ski-in/ski-out hotel at Buttermilk. There’s a heated outdoor pool, fire pit, hot tub, steam room, health club and complimentary breakfast for guests, who can also dine at McKinney’s at the Inn on-site. 38750 Highway 82; 970-9251500; wyndhamvacationrentals. com/vacation-rentals/ colorado/aspen/aspen/resort/ inn-at-aspen

▶ Family-friendly activities Whether you’re new to skiing

aspensnowmass.com/ourmountains/buttermilk

▶ One-of-a-kind offering The Hideout Children’s Center offers the perfect introduction to the sport of skiing for kids ages 2½ to 4 with gentle training slopes, indoor playrooms and kids’ lunch facilities. ▶ Mountain munchies Cooking can be fun even on vacation, and Cliffhouse Restaurant adds creativity and international flair to the recipe with a make-your-own Mongolian meal wok station. Hike or ski up Buttermilk (you

SNOWMASS ▶ Awesome attractions The recent introduction of ski-in/ski-out spa treatments at the 7,000-square-foot Spa at Viceroy Snowmass are designed for infrequent athletes, to keep them going dawn to dusk. Sea salt baths plus warm hand and foot massages get weary skiers back on the slopes. Amenities include a heated saline pool, catering for apres-ski activities and pet accommodations. 130 Wood Rd.; 970-9238000; viceroyhotel sandresorts.com/en/ snowmass ▶ One-of-a-kind offering Thank the gods for snow each Friday night during

COURTESY OF ASPEN SKIING COMPANY

can’t get there by car) for complimentary hot chocolate around the Cowboy Cauldron. There’s also live music. For an alternative dining option, try Bumps

Snowmass’ weekly Ullr Nights celebration, honoring Ullr, the Norse god of snow. The late-night fun at Elk Camp includes a bonfire, ice-skating, tubing and more. ▶ Mountain munchies Similar to the Oasis Bar at Aspen Mountain, Snowmass’ snowcatpowered Sled Mobile Kitchen brings lunch straight to adventurers having too much fun to stop for a full meal. Find the daily location on Instagram at @mtndining. ▶ Family-friendly activities The tubing facilities at Elk Camp, which open in late December, feature four lanes of lift-served snow tubing perfect for an afternoon of downhill

at the base of Buttermilk. The Mediterranean-inspired locale offers made-to-order pastas and salads, fresh grill selections, house-made soups and the

sliding with the family. Off the slopes, Slopeside Lanes provides eight lanes of bowling fun plus pizzas baked in a woodfired oven. 105 Daly Lane; 970-429-8839; slopesidelanes.com ▶ Inspiring accommodations The Westin Snowmass Resort is located in the heart of Snowmass Village, within walking distance of shops and restaurants at the Snowmall Mall. There is a fitness center, upper pool and lower pool with two spacious hot tubs. 100 Elbert Lane; 970-9238200; westinsnowmass. com aspensnowmass. com/our-mountains/ snowmass AUBREE DALLAS


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COLORADO

HELI-LUJAH! Strap in for a wild ride as an intermediate skier tries heli-skiing for the first time By Allison Entrekin

ALL PHOTOS BY WARD ENTREKIN


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Pristine terrain awaits just a helicopter ride away.

Writer Allison Entrekin makes her way down the remote slope.

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HAVE A BEACON strapped around my torso. It looks like a Nintendo handset from the ’90s. I’m wearing a backpack containing a shovel and a folding rubber stick. I am in Silverton, a remote part of the southwest Colorado Mountains, 70 miles from Telluride. I’m about to try heli-skiing for the first time. It is friggin’ cold. It’s winter 2015. There has been a lot of snow here lately, I’m told. That means after the a helicopter leaves me to ski inside 22,000 acres of wilderness, it is possible the ground will begin to shake and an avalanche will roar down on top of me. If that happens, my beacon is supposed to send a signal to the four others in my heli-ski group (including our guide, Marc), alertCOLORADO ing them to where I’m buried. Everyone else has folding sticks too, which they’ll SILVERTON use to prod the ground until they hit something soft — my body. Then, they’ll grab their shovels and try to dig me out before I, you know, die. Let me back up and tell you that where I live, our only mountain is a granite monolith that rarely sees natural snow. I’m an intermediate skier. I rent all my equipment, wear hand-medown ski clothes and despise moguls. And yes, the folks here in Silverton assure me I can still heli-ski because they’ll take me to moderate terrain. Avalanche fears aside, I want to try this. In the U.S., heli-skiing is pretty rare: Only a handful

click into their skis. I rise and do the same. Marc says we’re going to take the slope in increments, skiing one at a time to a designated spot and waiting for the whole group to get there before moving on. He points to a clearing 1,000 yards down and tells the first member of our party to head there first. He doesn’t hesitate. Off he goes, snow up to his calves, literally plowing a trail and making it look easy. When he reaches the clearing, he lets out a little whoop that echoes up to our group. Show-off. The next person in our group of companies offer it. Plus, in goes, with equal success. Then Silverton, it’s only $179 to it’s my turn. “I’m taking my “I’m proud of add a heli-ski drop to your lift time,” I inform Marc before myself. I saw ticket. I’m going. I push off. And I do. I weave The helicopter is louder than across the open expanse of mountains most I’d imagined. The rotor blades snow in wide curves, uneasy never see and look like huge plastic knives with maneuvering in such deep spinning above my head as I powder. The tips of my skis are skied terrain few crawl inside. After the door pointed way too far inward, a ever have.” closes, the chopper begins to nasty habit of mine when I’m levitate. I look out the window nervous. I start to slow down, at the normal Silverton slopes and then I begin to sink. In with normal lifts carrying seconds, I face-plant. normal skiers. For a moment, I wish I were one of Thankfully, my skis haven’t come off, and I’m them. able to slide down the mountain on my rear until But now we’re off, and there’s no turning back. I have enough momentum to stand and keep Over the peaks we go, past snowy mountain going. I’m matted with snow, but I’m relieved. faces that gleam in the morning sun. There are I got my big fall out of the way. Now I can just no people or roads or signs of intelligent life to be enjoy the rest of my experience. I make it to the seen. Our pilot and Marc talk into their headsets: clearing, where I dust myself off and look back They’re deciding where we should land. After up at the slope. I have to laugh at the humongous a few minutes, they settle on a peak covered in letter “S” that I carved into the snow (plus the fresh powder. It doesn’t have a single track on it. full-body imprint). The helicopter rests on the peak and Marc We continue on with our journey, one by one, opens the door. I duck beneath the still-spinning with me always taking it a bit slower and wider blades and do as instructed: Get on my knees. than the rest. Still, when it’s time for our heliMarc hands me my skis and poles, and I curl up copter to pick us up, I’m proud of myself. I saw on top of them so they aren’t blown away. I stay mountains most never see and skied terrain few that way until the helicopter ascends back into ever have. I didn’t let my lack of skiing expertise the air and flies out of sight. keep me from checking this off my bucket list. Suddenly, it’s very quiet. I hover there, eyes And, best of all: I didn’t have to activate my closed, until I hear the rest of the group stand and beacon.


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COLORADO Ice climbing in Estes Park

COLORADO …SANS SKIS

SIMON FRYER

From snowshoeing and sleigh rides to hot springs and hikes, there’s more to the state than slopes

By Matt Alderton

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H, COOL. DO YOU ski?” That’s what people in my adoptive city of Chicago invariably ask me when they find out I’m from Colorado. In response, I sheepishly confess that the last time I was on skis was in the first grade, when my parents left my cousin and me at ski school during a family vacation to Steamboat Springs. I don’t know whether it was the feeling of abandonment or the lack of

feeling in my toes, but I spent the day in tears and haven’t worn a pair of skis since. “Is that why you moved?” people sometimes jest, pointing out the treason I’ve committed against my Rocky Mountain heritage. “Did they kick you out?” Luxury travel consultant Lindsey Epperly can relate to my embarrassment. She and her parents visited Colorado from Georgia for the first time in 2011, excited to try their hands at skiing. CO N T I N U E D


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COLORADO

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“There’s tons to do for people who don’t want to ski, but still want to enjoy that snowy, wintry mountain environment.”

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— Carly Holbrook, Colorado Tourism Office spokeswoman

“My mom loves seeing snow, so we decided to plan a snow trip to see if we could ski — which apparently is a lot harder than it looks,” says Epperly, owner of Atlanta-based Epperly Travel. “We were horrible and spent the whole time falling down. Clearly, we were not meant to ski. So we decided to try some other activities, like snowmobiling.” The Epperlys — who now take annual “we-don’t-ski” trips to popular destinations like Vail and Aspen — subsequently discovered what I’ve known since childhood: There’s a lot more to do on a winter trip to Colorado than ski. “One of the big misnomers about Colorado is that the whole state is (skiing),” says Colorado Tourism Office spokeswoman Carly Holbrook. “There’s tons to do for people who don’t want to ski, but still want to enjoy that snowy, wintry mountain environment.” Instead of skiing, try snowshoeing, suggests adventure travel blogger Brad Nierenberg of Denver, whose sister snowshoes during family trips to Vail while he skis and snowboards. “It’s a great workout and a lot of fun,” says Nierenberg, who suggests visiting Vail Mountain’s Nature Discovery Center (walkingmountains.org), which offers free snowshoeing tours of the surrounding forest. Winter trips start up in December. For serene instead of sporty, stop along the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop (colorado.com/hotspringsloop), a 720-mile loop comprising 19 hot springs. Instead of going down a mountain, try a winter sport designed to scale up one: ice climbing. You can try it at the Ouray Ice Park (ourayicepark.com) in Ouray. The season begins in mid- to late December. Finally, there’s always shopping. There are more than 200 shops on historic Main Street in Breckenridge, where there’s also a brand-new 1-acre Arts District (breckcreate.org) featuring galleries, studios, workshops and theaters — plus art classes in everything from textiles and ceramics to metalwork and painting — for those who’d rather exercise mind than body. Skis? You don’t need them.

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THINKSTOCK; MATTHEW INDEN (NO. 2, 3, 4)

TRAVERSE SNOW-CAPPED MOUNTAINS BY:

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FAT BIKE: At Snow Mountain Ranch located just outside Winter Park, rent winterized bicycles with fat tires, chunky handlebars and deep treads. Explore more than 6 miles of groomed trails exclusively tailored for fat bikes. 888-613-9622; snowmountainranch. org

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DOG SLED: Krabloonik Restaurant and Dog Sledding near Snowmass Village offers morning, afternoon and twilight dog sled rides with a guide and eight to 10 Alaskan huskies. At $315 per adult and $195 per child ages 3 to 9, excursions include an hourlong wilderness ride with a stop for warm drinks and soup around the campfire. 970-923-3953; krabloonik.com

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HORSEBACK: Winter horseback riding is a staple at The Home Ranch, a luxury dude ranch about 20 miles north of Steamboat Springs. Help feed the horses in the morning, then ride them down snow trails in the afternoon. 970-205-9049; homeranch.com

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INNER TUBE: The Frisco Adventure Park in Frisco offers lift service to the top of its tubing hill, which has six 1,200-foot tubing lanes of varying terrain downhill that one can cruise in an inner tube. The cost is $25 for the first hour — $30 from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3 — plus $10 per additional tubing hour. 970-6682558, townoffrisco. com

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ICE SPIKES: Runners should head to Estes Park, where the Estes Park Running Club hosts a weekly 5K fun run from The Stanley Hotel. Or pick up ice spikes and go running on the lower trails of Rocky Mountain National Park, suggests Terry Chiplin, founder of high-altitude athletic-training company Active at Altitude. facebook.com/ estesparkrunningclub; nps.gov/romo


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UTAH

BIGGER AND BETTER PARK CITY

UTAH

PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT


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EAT. PLAY. SKI. ▶ Awesome attractions At the Utah Olympic Park (utaholympic legacy.org), try extreme tubing, where you can ride an inner tube down the two very steep sites of the Nordic ski jump competitions in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Or embark on an excursion with Park City Yoga Adventures (parkcityyoga adventures.com/ paddleboard-yoga) to the 10,000-year-old Homestead Crater and practice yoga on paddle boards. Try the High West Saloon in Old Town Park City (highwest.com), a ski-in distillery serving whiskey flights and cocktails such as the popular Old Fashioned, made with the distillery’s own Rendezvous Rye.

PARK CITY TRAVEL

Take another ‘peak’ at Park City, the country’s largest ski resort By Lisa Davis

PARK CITY

The town of Park City has had its share of fame. In 2002, it was one of the sites used for the Winter Olympics, and since 1985, it has hosted the annual Sundance Film Festival that attracts Hollywood superstars such as Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Now this historic mountain village, located 30 minutes from Salt Lake City, has even more bragging rights: It’s home to the largest ski resort in U.S. history. So how did the town of Park City come to earn this accolade once held by Montana’s Big Sky Resort? The tribute is a reality because of Vail Resorts Inc., which purchased the Park City Mountain Resort and combined it with the neighboring Canyons ski mountain, plus trails that once separated

the two resorts. The merged ski mountain is now simply called Park City (parkcitymountain.com/mountain/about.aspx) and caters to both skiers and snowboarders, offering 7,300 acres of skiable terrain, more than 300 trails, 14 bowls and 41 chairlifts. “From steep tree skiing to groomed cruisers, the amazing views and the varying terrain make Park City fun for the whole family,” says Margo Van Ness, Park City’s senior manager of communications. “And with (more than) 10 on-mountain dining options and a world-class ski (and snowboarding) school, it’s easy to spend your entire vacation at Park City and have a new adventure each day.” CO N T I N U E D

Best run for beginners: Homerun

Best run for intermediates: Lookout Ridge

Best runs for advanced skiers: Thrasher, Devil’s Friend, East Face, Red Pine Bowl and Red Pine Chutes

▶ One-of-a-kind offering The Spring Grüv celebration, held March 25 to April 9 (parkcity mountain.com/events), includes the Pond Skimming Contest, where contestants in costume attempt to cross a 100-foot pond on skis or a snowboard. ▶ Mountain munchies Two of the newest additions to Park City’s downtown dining scene are Tupelo (tupeloparkcity.com), which serves roasted trout with a horseradish crème fraîche, collard greens with roasted tofu and hot sauce and peanut butter chocolate cheesecake; and Old Town Cellars (oldtowncellars.com), a private-label winery that offers wine tastings. Buy their wines in person or online. Other dining recommendations include Grappa for

Italian (grappa restaurant.com); Davana’s Pizza (davanzas. com), where skiers also rave about the buffalo chicken sandwich; Squatter’s Roadhouse Grill (squatters.com/ park-city/location. aspx) for breakfast fare such as breakfast burritos and pancakes; and El Chubasco (elchubasco mexicangrill.com), where the salsa bar is stocked with more than 15 fresh salsa varieties. ▶ Family-friendly activities At the Park City Museum (parkcity history.org), children can take part in a Park City History Detectives game which guides them through the museum’s exhibits. Escape Room Park City (escaperoompark city.com), lets visitors “locked” in a room solve puzzles to “escape.” Call first before bringing children, however; they may be assigned a game master to help them through the difficult parts. ▶ Inspiring accommodations Downtown Park City has a gem: the Washington School House (washington schoolhouse.com). The 12-room boutique hotel — built in 1889 as an actual schoolhouse with a limestone facade — features a private art collection, outdoor fire lit inside a steel torch from the 2002 Olympics, held near Park City, and a heated outdoor pool and patio. The hotel has also added another residence across the street called Apartment 528, a former commercial building turned into a cozy, loft-like place to stay.


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UTAH EAT. PLAY. SKI. ▶ Awesome attractions Watch some of the world’s best freestyle skiers compete in the moguls and aerials competition at a 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup event Feb. 1 - 4. They’ll be flying high in this free event from the same runs used during the 2002 Winter Games. fis-ski.com/ freestyle-skiing/moguls-aerials ▶ One-of-a-kind offering Paying homage to Park City’s Olympics heritage, Deer Valley offers several specialty ski programs where skiers can learn techniques from former Olympians and can evaluate their skiing with video analysis. Advanced reservations are requires. deervalley.com/ whattodo/skischool/ specialtyclinics

ERIC SCHRAMM/PARK CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

DEER VALLEY RESORT Another local mountain, Deer Valley, is one of the few remaining U.S. resorts where trails are reserved for skiers. No snowboarders are allowed. This mountain might not be as big as Park City but Deer Valley (deer valley.com) distinguishes itself by consistently being rated No. 1 in customer service by SKI magazine. Skiers are pampered with valet greeters tasked with On average, carrying their skis and poles to the base approximately of the mountain. Deer Valley also has a complimentary day and night ski storage, 300 inches of located next to the chairlifts. snow fall on “We limit our daily lift ticket sales to ensure the best possible experience on the Deer Valley mountain,” says Emily Summers, senior resort per ski communications manager of Deer Valley Resorts. “Think little to no lift lines, being season. able to find a seat during prime lunch rush and staff available to assist with gear, and finding the best ski run for your ability.” Paying homage to the town of Park City’s Olympics history, Deer Valley offers several specialty ski programs where skiers can learn techniques from former Olympians and can evaluate their skiing with video analysis. For more advanced skiers, there is the Steeps & Stashes program that takes guests to Deer Valley’s lesser-known off-trail terrain.

Best runs for beginners: Ontario and Success

Best runs for intermediates: Hawkeye, Big Stick and Birdseye

Best runs for advanced skiers: Stein’s Way, Empire Bowl and Centennial Trees

▶ Mountain munchies Deer Valley die-hards love Royal Street Café, known for its turkey chili, and Fireside Dining at the Empire Canyon Lodge, where the Swiss raclette cheese fondue turns patrons into repeat customers. Tip: For a quintessential mountain experience, make a reservation to take a sleigh ride to Fireside Dining. deervalley.com/ dining/wheretoeat ▶ Family-friendly activities Explore the alpine foothills of the Wasatch Mountains near Park City. The Deer Valley-operated Summit Meadows Adventures offers guided snowmobile tours (for all ages and abilities) on 7,000 acres of private land. Children 8 and younger ride free when accompanied by an adult. deervalley.com/whattodo/ winter/snowmobiling ▶ Inspiring accommodations Ski-in and ski-out of the five-star Stein Eriksen Lodge, named after the late Olympic alpine ski gold medalist Stein Eriksen, who was also the long-time director of skiing at Deer Valley and a beloved member of the skiing community. Known for its customer service, the lodge-style hotel has on-duty ski valets to carry your gear and a 23,000-square-foot spa. The four-star Glitretind Restaurant is onsite. steinlodge.com


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MONTANA

BIG FUN IN BIG SKY Where to eat, sleep and play when you’re resting your skis By Matt Alderton

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ANY RESORTS BOAST FAMILY! FRIENDLY environments, complete with kiddie slopes for novice skiers, special activities for children and discounts for those visitors whose ages are represented by a single digit. However, for Robert DeLena, what the Big Sky Resort in Montana had to offer was more significant than the simple thrill and exhilaration of spending family time on the slopes enjoying the snow and crisp air. CO N T I N U E D

MICHEL TALLICHET


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MONTANA EAT. PLAY. SKI. ▶ Awesome attractions Big Sky Resort calls itself the “basecamp” to Yellowstone National Park (nps.gov/yell), the west entrance to which is located just 43 miles — an hour’s drive — from Big Sky, according to Christine Baker, the resort’s mountain sports manager. Yellowstone boasts its own impressive wildlife, but Baker recommends the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center (grizzlydiscoveryctr. org), a park specializing in bears and wolves. You also can tour the park via snowcoach — a heated vehicle with snow tracks instead of wheels. Xanterra Parks & Resorts (yellowstonenational parklodges.com) offers interpretive tours starting at $51.50.

MICHEL TALLICHET

To DeLena, skiing isn’t just a sport. Because it’s beloved by his 15-year-old son, Ryan, it’s a savior. “Ryan is on the autism spectrum,” says DeLena, 47, of Sudbury, Mass. “He was a difficult child to parent — especially when he was young. He was constantly in motion and never stopped running, climbing or jumping off things. I tried to find activities to keep him from destroying the house, but any sport or activity that involved winning, losing or keeping score would cause him to unravel emotionally if he struggled.” In 2008, the family tried skiing, in line with the advice of experts who say individual sports are often a better fit for autistic children, many of whom struggle with communication and social aspects associated with team play. Not only did Ryan enjoy it, he excelled at it. Now an accomplished extreme skier, he spends winters traversing the country’s slopes with his father. Among their favorite destinations: Big Sky, with its 11,166-foot-high Lone Peak centerpiece from which visitors can descend, more than 20

lifts and a tram that carries bold adventurers to the top of the mountain. “If you told me I had to pick one place to ski for the rest of my life, I would pick Big Sky,” exclaims DeLena, who says its expansive terrain and modest crowd sizes make Big Sky Resort a skier’s paradise. “There is no other place that combines unlimited challenging terrain, great accommodations, food and scenery, and that is filled with down-to-earth people.” When the older DeLena is not supervising his teenage adventurer, he finds time to relax. He prefers not to venture too far, but visits the two bars located in his hotel: Peaks or Carabiner. “Both are usually pretty relaxing at night. Both will show sports on TV ... and Carabiner will occasionally have live music,” says DeLena. Although the DeLena guys spend most of their time on Lone Peak, Big Sky’s principal mountain, the 5,800-acre resort has a lot more to offer than alpine attractions, including golf, whitewater rafting, archery and more.

▶ One-of-a-kind offering For something uniquely local, check out skijoring — a competitive sport where cowboycum-skiers are pulled by racehorses through obstacle courses, suggests Alex Mansfield, marketing manager at Visit Big Sky, the resort’s destination marketing organization. Originally a form of transportation in Scandinavia, modern skijoring is synonymous with Montana, where the World Skijoring Championships have been held in Whitefish since 2009. Big Sky’s 320 Guest Ranch (320ranch.com) hosts skijoring races each February; you can watch for free or sign up to participate. ▶ Mountain munchies Montana is known for its meat, including grassfed beef, bison, elk and venison. Robert DeLena gets his at Everett’s 8800 (bigskyresort.

com/everetts8800), a high-altitude restaurant atop Andesite Mountain, accessible by ski lift. Those who don’t eat red meat, he says, should try the locally sourced river trout at The Cabin Bar & Grill (cabinbar andgrill.com). Mansfield, meanwhile, says no trip to Big Sky is complete without visiting The Montana Dinner Yurt (skimba.com/home. html); the backcountry experience includes a 15-minute snowcat ride and a steak dinner inside a candlelit yurt. ▶ Family-friendly activities Baker says adventurers of all ages will enjoy Big Sky Resort’s Adventure Zipline Tour (bigsky resort.com/thingsto-do/activities/ zipline-tours), offering four lines, including a twin zipline for racing. Families with teens can partake in two-hour snowshoe or a Yaktrax tours, she adds, while Mansfield suggests a date night for mom and dad at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center (warrenmillerpac.org). ▶ Inspiring accommodations Because of its convenient, lift-side location and choice amenities, including an outdoor pool and several onsite restaurants, DeLena stays at the Summit Hotel (bigskyresort. com/plan-a-trip/ lodging-in-big-skymontana/summit-atbig-sky). For an offsite condo, Baker suggests the Powder Ridge Cabins (bigskyresort.com/ plan-a-trip/lodgingin-big-sky-montana/ powder-ridge-cabins), which sport large kitchens, cozy fireplaces and private outdoor hot tubs.


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The illuminated village at night CHRIS KAMMAN


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WYOMING Grand Teton National Park

THINKSTOCK

THE WHOLE PACKAGE In Jackson Hole, both cowboys and caviar have their place

By Allison Entrekin

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HERE IS A MOOSE in the middle of the road. He’s standing there looking at me, chewing a vine that dangles from his mouth. With each munch, the vine bobs up and down. I brake before I hit him and he looks away, bored. There aren’t any

other cars in sight on this two-lane stretch of highway. I sigh, pull over and park. I’m only a few miles from my destination: Jackson Hole, Wyo. It’s the middle of February, and the Teton Range lining the horizon is shaded violet and midnight blue. Down the valley to my left, there’s the National Elk Refuge, home to between 5,000 and 7,000 of the luckiest creatures

ever to wear antlers. They wander the land like it’s the Garden of Eden, unaware that not every member in their species has it so good. I look back at the moose, and just when I wonder whether I should honk my horn, he saunters off the road, still chewing his CO N T I N U E D


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WYOMING Snowboarding at Jackson Hole

ERIC SEYMOUR/JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT


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vine. I drive on, and half an hour later, I pull Teton Village into Jackson Hole’s Teton Village. Situated at the base of the slopes, it’s a series of palatial lodges trimmed with twinkling white lights. Valet attendants run to and fro, fetching keys and cars. Minutes ago, I was in the company of a moose. Now, I’m in the company of the moneyed. The grand dame here is the Four Seasons Resort, a five-star, five-diamond accommodation. It’s a place where the staff members don’t just warm your ski boots overnight, they also put them on your feet in the morning, clicking every last stubborn buckle into place. After a day of skiing, you can soak in the hot-springs-style whirlpools, and when you’re ready to dry off, a staff “snow bunny” will fetch you a towel from the warming closet. It isn’t just the Four Seasons that’s highend here. Jackson Hole is home to more than 25 impressive galleries displaying and selling works by some of the world’s top artists; works by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Jeremy Houghton are Tram to all here. And if you’re in Rendezvous JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT; JACKSON HOLE CITY OF COMMERCE the mood for fine dining, Mountain there are plenty of options, including the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse, where an 18-ounce bone-in THE NAME GAME rib-eye doesn’t cost Visitors often ask, “What’s the $1 million — but it will set difference between Jackson Hole you back a cool $69. And and the town of Jackson?” Answer: that’s before you add a $13 Jackson Hole is a large valley with side of lobster mac and six towns that include Jackson and cheese. Teton Village. It’s a strange dichotomy, being in the heart of this remote, untamed region, yet having access to the extravagances of a metroand snowboarders wearing the right gear, politan city. When the Four holding the right equipment, bearing the Seasons opened in Jackson right nonchalant expressions. Hole in 2003, it was the first Me? I’ve got a twitchy smile because I luxury hotel in the area (and the company’s Yet even as it evolved, Jackson Hole can’t believe I’m doing this. first mountain resort), and more than a few managed to hang on to its identity as a When the tram’s doors open, the sky people scratched their heads. Back then, Wild West kind of place with wild skiing is an eerie red and the wind whistles. I there were five people per square mile to match. The ski resort can get as much as have to duck my head to see, focusing on here, the slopes catered to extreme skiers 400 inches of snow annually, and Jackson my boots as I exit the platform and plod, and the nearby national parks didn’t necesHole’s Rendezvous Mountain has some step by deliberate step, toward the snow. sarily draw a Four Seasons crowd. Not to of the country’s most legendary terrain. By the time I click into my skis, everyone mention, only a tiny airport connected The drop spans more than 4,000 vertical from my tram has already taken off. The Jackson Hole with the outside world. So feet, some of it treacherously steep. The visibility is about six feet; beyond that, it’s who was going to make the trip? Turns most harrowing slope is Corbet’s Couloir, just a dizzying blur of white. I tip my skis out, plenty of people — and it transformed a cliff-start chute some call the scariest in over the edge of the bowl and begin to Jackson Hole. America. Heck, even getting to the top of descend in wide, slow zigzags. My heart The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Rendezvous is a feat: The nine-minute ride knocks against my chest, and I feel myself owned by a local family, began expanding is too windy for a chairlift, so you have to sweating in spite of the cold. its beginner and intermediate terrain. take an enclosed aerial tram. In this moment, all that exists are me White-tablecloth restaurants began to And I want to ride that tram to and this mountain. It was here before open their doors. In 2006, the town’s Rendezvous Mountain. Not because Jackson Hole became the destination du annual Grand Teton Music Festival nabbed I’m an adrenaline junkie, or even an jour, and it will remain even as the town acclaimed maestro Donald Runnicles above-average skier — just because I want below comes of age. All who carve their to serve as music director, upping the to experience what makes Jackson Hole way down its slopes, be they celebrities or pedigree of its performers. Matthew alluring to snow bums and stockbrokers seasonal staff, have to summon the same McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and Jim alike. But I’m starting to question my inner strength to face its challenges. Carrey turned up on the slopes. sanity: The tram is packed with skiers And right now, it’s my turn.

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EAT. PLAY. SKI. ▶ Awesome attraction Corbet’s Couloir was named after Barry Corbet, the mountaineer who saw the Jackson Hole mountain range in 1960 and famously declared, “Someday, someone will ski that.” Shaped like an inverted funnel, it’s considered a slope that will test even the most experienced skier’s mettle. First skied in 1967 by Lonnie Ball, it’s been a draw for those who have something to prove. If you aren’t ready to try it yourself, an aerial tram travels over the ridge, offering a spectacular view. jacksonhole.com/corbetscouloir.html ▶ One-of-a-kind-offering Fans of shows such as Tiny House Nation will likely appreciate Jackson Hole’s cozy Rock Springs Yurt. For $500 per night, a yurtmeister guide leads up to eight adventurers on a 2.5-mile hike, 1,400 vertical feet into the forest. That’s where travelers will find the tentlike structure with gear, breakfast and dinner provided. Games, a propane cooking stove and a glass-front Franklin stove for warmth are included. jacksonhole.com/yurt. html ▶ Mountain munchies Rendezvous Bistro, Jackson Hole’s original fine-dining restaurant, specializes in French-American bistro cuisine; entrée prices are between $16 and $33. The menu features myriad flavors from orechiette with housemade Italian sausage, broccoli rabe and chiles to Idaho trout. 380 S. U.S. Highway 89; 307-739-1100; rendezvousbistro.net ▶ Family-friendly activities The National Museum of Wildlife Art boasts more than 5,000 catalogued items representing wildlife from around the world. The works of Ansel Adams and Pablo Picasso have been displayed there. Exhibits span the eras between 2500 B.C. and the present. There’s also a sculpture trail and interactive children’s gallery. 2820 Rungius Rd., Jackson; 307-733-5771; wildlifeart.org ▶ Inspiring accommodations The new 58-room Hotel Jackson is a boutique property offering free transportation to nearby businesses and Teton Village, car detailing upon request and gas fireplaces in each room. The on-site FIGS restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. 120 N. Glenwood St.; 307-733-2200; hoteljackson.com


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IDAHO

CARVE THROUGH HISTORY SUN VALLEY

IDAHO

Idaho’s Sun Valley mixes vintage with new By Adrienne Jordan

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ISTORY AND HOLLYWOOD HAVE given Idaho’s Sun Valley — the first destination ski resort in the United States — a special flavor, one that’s tasty for skiers and snow fanatics of all stripes. But the legendary ski resort and its hometown are working to keep the experience modern as well. First, take a trip via the past. The world’s first chair lifts — created by James Curran in 1936 under the direction of W. Averell Harriman, the chairman

of the Union Pacific Railroad who developed Sun Valley — were installed at the top of Sun Valley’s mountains. That innovation expanded to fill the ski area. A dozen chair lifts along Bald Mountain alone cover more than 3,400 vertical feet and more than 2,100 acres of varied terrain. The lifts on “Baldy” can move more than 23,000 skiers and riders per hour up the mountain to its 100 runs. With Dollar Mountain, that’s an average of 3,000 actual skiers

per day. The smaller Dollar Mountain — with a 628-foot vertical drop, 22 runs and 76 rails — is home to Sun Valley’s 22-foot superpipe and family cross course. The mountain itself is the perfect introduction to downhill sports with many new features, including an easy-to-navigate Accelerator moving carpet that takes you uphill. To keep the kids occupied, send CO N T I N U E D

KELLEY FITZPATRICK


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IDAHO

Sunrise over Bald Mountain

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Rd.; Valley 1 Sun 6-8259; 78 800- valley. sun com

them down adventure trails (available at both mountains) configured just for shorter legs with jumps, bumps and hairpin turns. The new rage in Sun Valley is fat biking: riding a bike with super-fat tires on the snow. Hop on one of these bikes and follow the groomed Nordic trails at Sun Valley Nordic Center or Bigwood Golf Club (bigwoodsportspark.com), both perfect for hard-core athletes, beginners and families. Off the slopes, developments continue to keep Sun Valley a fresh destination. The

COURTESY OF SUN VALLEY RESORT

pet-friendly Limelight Hotel (limelighthotel. com) is a modern accommodation featuring 105 guest rooms. The Sun Valley Nordic Festival (nordictownusa.com), which begins Feb. 2, features three days of activities, races, clinics and fun events culminating in the world-famous Boulder Mountain Tour (bouldermountaintour.com), a cross-country ski race that’s part of the 16-marathon American Ski Marathon Series. And capture that Hollywood spirit next year at the Sun Valley Film Festival March 15-19 (sunvalleyfilmfestival.org). The CO N T I N U E D

KEVIN SYMS


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IDAHO EAT. PLAY. SKI. ▶ Awesome attractions The Spa at Sun Valley offers 15 treatment rooms, a selection of wellness treatments, including acupuncture, and a beauty salon with six manipedi stations. There is also a two-story reception area, a 2,300-square-foot fitness center that includes a yoga room, a year-round heated outdoor pool and hot tub. 1 Sun Valley Rd.; 208-6222160; sunvalley.com/the-spa ▶ One-of-a-kind offering There’s no previous experience necessary to paraglide with the help of Fly Sun Valley. Tandem flights are offered with professional, certified paragliding instructors from the top of Bald Mountain. 160 W. 4th St., Ketchum; 208-726-3332; flysunvalley.com

Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink PHOTOS BY KEVIN SYMS

6-year-old festival is a showcase for my favorite. It’s housed in a historic independent movies and a place to 1885 Ketchum home,” she says. “It network with industry insiders. lives and breathes the history of this As the sun sets, take a sleigh ride place with old Western movie posters to Trail Creek from films that Cabin on the were shot here.” resort’s grounds for Rusch recom“(Ketchum Grill) dinner, a romantic mends Ketchum enclave in a rustic, Grill’s juicy burgers. lives and breathes early-Western “The Grill has the the history of this atmosphere. Trail best $10 grass-fed Creek Cabin serves beef burgers place with old up Rocky Mountain with homemade elk, northwest condiments you can Western movie steelhead and bison get anywhere in posters from films short ribs dishes Sun Valley.” inside the circa There’s also The that were shot 1937 mountainGrill at Knob Hill, a here.” style log cabin, hot spot for dining which sits along and socializing — Rebecca Rusch, Sun Valley resident Trail Creek with in Sun Valley. Its sweeping views of private Fireplace Bald Mountain. Room is suitable Visitors can also for large parties, follow the dining advice of Sun Valley boasting a communal table made of resident Rebecca Rusch, a world-class reclaimed wood, and access to an mountain biker with titles in whiteoutdoor patio. Specialties include water rafting, adventure racing and Idaho rainbow trout, roasted natural more. “Ketchum Grill has always been chicken and pizza.

▶ Mountain munchies Enoteca, from the Italian for “wine library,” is located in the historic Lane Mercantile Building. The restaurant features a diverse menu with ingredients such as housemade prosciutto and salami as well as grape-and-gorgonzola wood-fired pizzas. 300 N. Main St., Ketchum; 208-928-6280; ketchum-enoteca.com ▶ Family-friendly activities The Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink, offers some of the most impressive views of the valley, is open for skating year round. Guests can watch Olympic and world-class skaters, as well as take a lesson with them and score an autograph. 1 Sun Valley Rd.; 208-6222194; sunvalley.com/thingsto-do/ice-skating ▶ Inspiring accommodations The Sun Valley Lodge, where Ernest Hemingway wrote his classic For Whom the Bell Tolls, just unveiled a major renovation that includes upgraded and refurbished guest rooms with enlarged bathroom featuring large showers, baths and vanity areas. 1 Sun Valley Rd.; 800-786-8259; sunvalley. com/lodging


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CANADA

STAR BRIGHT A hiker enjoys a spectacular view of the clear sky over Crowfoot Mountain in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Designated as protected land in the late 1800s, Banff, one of five national parks in the Canadian Rockies, has the distinction of being the country’s first.

PAUL ZIZKA PHOTOGRAPHY


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CANADA

SNOW TRIO

The Big 3 of Banff National Park offer imposing terrain and incomparable scenery

By Tina Lassen

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EW MOUNTAINS CAN UPSTAGE the Canadian Rockies, where the Continental Divide slices like a saw blade along the Alberta/British Columbia border. Canada recognized early that this place was special, and protected more than 2,500 square miles in the province of Alberta as its first national park in 1885. Within the vast Banff National Park (pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/ index.aspx), you’ll find the historic town of Banff plus three ski areas rich in alpine splendor.

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SUNSHINE VILLAGE

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Sunshine Village boasts the best snow in the Canadian Rockies. It hedged its bets with a lofty location: Arriving at the resort begins with a 13-minute gondola ride to the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, a perch of 7,200 feet. From there, a network of chairlifts climbs another 1,000 feet or more. Snow falls deep and dry up here, for a ski season that reliably stretches well into May. The pyramid-shaped peak of Mount Assiniboine, nicknamed “the Matterhorn of North America,” dominates a dramatic horizon that’s

all national parkland as far as the eye can see. With a vertical rise of 3,514 feet, skiing and riding can be as dramatic as you like. Above-treeline slopes on Lookout Mountain let you glide down ridges and make the most of the views. Steeper pitches, including double black runs, descend from Goat’s Eye Mountain, then flow into glades and friendly cruisers down below. Two off-piste areas bookend Goat’s Eye, with nononsense cliffs and couloirs that require expertise, a companion and avalanche gear to enter. 877-542-2633; skibanff.com PAUL ZIZKA PHOTOGRAPHY

MT. NORQUAY

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KELLY MACDONALD

Mt. Norquay Ski Resort draws a loyal cadre of locals who tackle its terrain park and monster moguls with impressive grace. Less than 5 miles from downtown Banff, Norquay packs a lot into just 190 acres of terrain, including nicely groomed beginner slopes, long cruising runs that take advantage of its 1,650 feet of vertical and a tubing hill for the kids. It offers the area’s only night skiing on weekends in January and February. For those who don’t wish to don skis or strap on snowboards, the North American Chair climbs to 7,000 feet for a postcard view of Mount Rundle and the broad Bow Valley. Visitors can take in the scenery and warm up with a hot drink and some cherry-and-chili duck wings in the Cliffhouse Bistro. For skiers, a two-hour lift ticket option makes it easy (and relatively inexpensive, in American dollars) to sneak in some turns. Just know that it will leave you pining for more. 403-762-4421; winter. banffnorquay.com


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CANADA

LAKE LOUISE SKI RESORT

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The Top of the World chairlift isn’t even the highest one at Lake Louise. (The Grizzly Express Gondola is the highest there with an altitude of 2,414 feet.) But you’ll forgive the hyperbole when you coast off the chair onto an exposed ridge, face-to-face with a jigsaw of jagged peaks. Skiers could opt to just gaze at the wondrous landscape, but 4,200 acres of terrain await, from cruising runs that slice through the trees to a string of big, open

bowls on the backside of the ridge. It’s a ski area big and burly enough to warrant a stop on the World Cup circuit every November (the next event begins Nov. 23). After racking up an absurd amount of vertical feet — as much as 3,250 feet — guests can refuel with bison ribs and fondue at the mid-mountain Whitehorn Bistro inside the Whitehorn Lodge, or kick back in front of a crackling fire at the vaulted log Lodge of Ten Peaks. 1 Whitehorn Rd.; 877956-8473; skilouise. com

EAT. PLAY. SKI. ▶ Awesome attraction The Alpine Helicopters will whisk you up among the summits for an unparalleled view of glacier-clad peaks. The 30-minute Assiniboine Glacier Tour skims over ridges and past the ice-crusted pyramid peak of Mount Assiniboine. 91 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore; 403-678-4802; alpinehelicopter.com

JAKE DYSON

▶ One-of-a-kind offering When Banff’s wealth of natural hot springs was discovered in the 19th century, it prompted the establishment of Canada’s first national park and began a long tradition of tourism. The Banff Upper Hot Springs bathhouse opened in 1932 with a sulfur-water swimming pool, plunge baths, steam rooms, tubs and showers. It was renovated and reopened in 1996 and now includes a restaurant, new spa and gift shop. 1 Mountain Ave.; 403-762-1515; hotsprings.ca ▶ Mountain munchies Three Ravens Restaurant & Wine Bar is consistently one of the top-rated restaurants in Banff. This mountainside dining experience highlights elk, bison, scallops and awe-inspiring views. Sally Borden Building, 4th floor, 107 Tunnel Mountain Dr.; 403-762-6300; banffcentre.ca/threeravens-restaurant-wine-bar ▶ Family-friendly activity The Glacier Skywalk is a stunning glassfloored walkway that lets you look 918 feet straight down into the Sunwapta Valley. It lies midway along the Icefields Parkway, a scenic drive linking the Banff and Jasper national parks. Be sure to check winter driving conditions before you depart. 866-606-6700; glacierskywalk.ca ▶ Inspiring accommodations Built in the late 1800s, Fairmont Banff Springs was the first of several extravagant hotels the Canadian Pacific Railway built to generate business for its new transcontinental railroad. At the venue’s Willow Stream Spa, guests can take a dip in a mineral pool — complete with a waterfall. 405 Spray Ave.; 866-540-4406; fairmont. com/banff-springs. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise lies 40 miles west of Banff Springs. It perches on the edge of the lake like a white fairytale castle, unabashedly grand, a perfect fit for Banff’s mountain majesty. 111 Lake Louise Dr.; 866-540-4413; fairmont.com/ lake-louise

PAUL ZIZKA PHOTOGRAPHY


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SCENIC SERENITY The best resorts to get your stretch on By Alison Lewis

Resort yoga classes are a popular trend for winter 2016. It’s a great way for skiers to clear their minds and loosen their muscles after hours on the slopes. Consider these spots for getting your namaste on:

TELLURIDE, COLO. “In Colorado, my favorite spot to chill out and practice yoga is Telluride Yoga Center,” says lifestyle expert and Telluride resident Marla Meridith. “The instructors are top-notch, and you can opt in for many varieties of yoga to suit your abilities and interest. The best part of TYC is the epic mountain views that beckon you as you strike a pose. You can almost reach out and touch them.” ▶ tellurideyoga.com AVON, COLO. For the ultimate stretching of sore muscles, head to Studio Anjali at the Westin Riverfront’s athletic club for aerial yoga. In their AIReal yoga classes, you’ll be suspended a few feet above the ground supported by silk hammocks; the practice lengthens muscles and releases tension. For those who are sore from a day on the slopes, try the Yoga for Stiff People class. ▶ spaanjali.com CON T I N U E D JOANIE SCHWARZ; THINKSTOCK


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION WASHINGTON SCHOOL HOUSE, PARK CITY, UTAH The Washington School House offers yoga like you’ve never done it before: on a stand-up paddleboard deep inside a 10,000-year-old crater at The Homestead. The instructor demonstrates poses from the dock, while you float and bend on a paddleboard as you bob on the 90-degree natural therapeutic pool. Try a nighttime class — it’s pure heaven. ▶ washingtonschoolhouse.com

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BRECKENRIDGE, COLO. If you’re skiing in Breckenridge, head to Meta Yoga, which hosts as many as 10 classes per day. The après-ski class is a wonderful way to wind down after a long day on the mountain. “Après yoga is great not only for athletes, but for all people looking to improve balance, flexibility, focus and joy,” says marketing manager Emily Steingart. Don’t miss the happy hour class — a time to focus on intentions and balance yin and yang on and off the mat. Enjoy free pre-ski yoga classes on Saturday mornings and après-ski classes in the afternoon. ▶ metayogastudios.com

BRITT JOHNSON

ASPEN, COLO. Head for the top of Aspen Mountain for a yoga class run by the Aspen Shakti Shala, or stay in town and stretch out like a local at their home base. Filled with old barn-wood walls and Moroccan lanterns, it’s a soothing and welcoming space. “Everyone — yogis, non-yogis, skiers, athletes, winter die-hards, Aspen (après-skiers) — is welcome here,” says co-owner Jayne Gottlieb. With more than 40 classes offered per week, from power Vinyasa flow to après-ski stretch, there’s truly something for everyone. ▶ aspenshakti.com

AARON SNOW

WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA “Yoga goes a long way toward conditioning and stretching weekend warriors’ weary muscles from skiing,” says Michelle Leroux, director of public relations for Fairmont Chateau Whistler. The hotel, located at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain, offers in-house yoga classes twice daily for registered guests, held in a sunlit room with mountain views. Start your day with the Open and Invigorate morning class to warm up large muscle groups used for skiing and snowboarding. “Morning yoga is an excellent warmup and a fun way to begin your day before heading up the mountain,” says Leroux. The afternoon class, Restore and Renew, provides long relaxing stretches as a therapeutic cooldown to aid in muscle recovery and prevention of stiffness. ▶ fairmont.com/whistler

KEYSTONE, COLO. The Keystone resort offers a host of daily yoga classes, including a lateafternoon special perfect for guests who want to enjoy some après-ski yoga. That class is designed to stretch out tired muscles and relax you for a perfect night’s sleep. Classes are held at Studio K in Lakeside Village, on the grounds of the resort. ▶ keystoneresort.com/activities/ studiok.aspx

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