Thanks to its mountainous terrain, the US is home to some of the best ski resorts on earth. In fact, 37 out of 50 states boast operating ski areas and there are thought to be in excess of 470 ski resorts across the country, spanning California to Maine.
With all that choice, it can be tricky deciding where to head to on your next winter sports getaway and even harder to decide on a hotel. To help, Elite Traveler has shortlisted its favorite luxury hideaways located in some of the best US ski resorts, offering everything from that all-important ski-in/ ski-out access to bespoke experiences with Olympic skiers.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, California
A lush hiker’s paradise during the summer months, in the winter Lake Tahoe transforms into a powder lover’s dream with up to 500 inches of snow annually. This special corner of the Sierra Nevada was the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics. But that doesn’t mean you need to be a pro to hit the slopes here, with plenty of runs for beginners.
The LEED-certified Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a luxurious ski-in/ ski-out hotel perched mid-mountain within the Northstar California resort.
Family-friendly Northstar boasts 3,000 acres of skiable terrain and the Ritz-Carlton’s dedicated mountain concierge will be on hand to advise which of the resort’s 100 trails are right for you, as well as the most scenic and untouched.
There are an abundance of après-ski activities to keep both kids and parents busy, from snowmobile adventures bound for the dazzling lakeshore and gourmet fireside s’mores to al fresco glasses of Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial accompanied by a raw bar of delectable delights, such as chilled shrimp cocktail and oysters.
The upscale alpine-inspired hotel offers a range of rooms and suites to choose from but the Four-Bedroom Slopeside Penthouse, which features two-master-bedrooms, is the ideal home away from home for all the family.
The Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado
No list of the best ski resort hotels in the US would be complete without The Little Nell. Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond hotel is renowned for its generous hospitality and unrivaled access to one of America’s most famous mountain towns.
Guests only need to travel as far as the hotel’s back door before they are met with some of the best skiing the world has to offer. The sole ski-in/ ski-out hotel at the base of the awe-inspiring Ajax Peak, Little Nell’s expert ski concierge will there with everything from freshly-warmed boots and equipment storage to arranging adventures, lessons and tours.
Comfortable in its own skin, The Little Nell doesn’t feel the need to imitate your typical Alpine lodge, preferring to create its own brand of hip and artsy “Aspen Modern” with original artworks adorning its neutral-hued walls. Despite its contemporary aesthetic, the property still feels cozy and intimate and all 92 of its rooms and suites feature fireplaces.
Opt for the 2,500-sq-ft Paepcke Suite which is powered by The Little Nell’s 5,000-watt solar panel system and takes in the base of the mountain and the famed Silver Queen Gondola from its balcony.
Away from the slopes, the ultimate après ski can be enjoyed on Ajax Tavern’s mountainside patio, while the best of locally-sourced Colorado cuisine can be sampled in Element 47. An expert guided tour of the hotel’s renowned subterranean wine cellar is a must for oenophiles.
The Lodge at Vail, Vail, Colorado
The Lodge at Vail is another legendary US ski resort hotel that we simply couldn’t leave off our list of the best.
Having opened in the early 60s, the quintessential Alpine-inspired inn was the town’s first hotel and still maintains iconic status. In part, this is down to the fact the hotel is perched just 590 ft from Vail’s Mountain Gondola One in the heart of well-heeled Vail village. This means you’re in prime position for making the most of one of the country’s largest ski resorts and all 5,300 acres of its skiable terrain.
Of all the property’s rooms and residences, Chalet #10 is the ultimate skier’s utopia. Offering over 5,000 sq ft of space and six en-suite bedrooms, families and friends can enjoy the luxuries of one of Vail’s only ski-in/ ski-out properties together. Elevated mountain-style decor can be found throughout and the floor-to-ceiling views of Gondola One and the Gore Mountain Range are second to none.
Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah
Utah is home to some of the best ski resorts in the US and Deer Valley is one of them. An upscale mountainside haven renowned for its perfectly groomed snow, award-winning ski school and exclusive hotels, it features over 2,026 acres, 100+ trails and 21 lifts and also played host to the Winter Olympics in 2002.
Montage Deer Valley was Utah’s first LEED-certified resort when it opened in 2010 and as well as excelling in the green stakes, it scores high on the luxury scale. The hotel has a rustic yet elegant feel — wood beams, a neutral color palette, roaring fireplaces and snow-capped mountain views set the tone for a wonderful winter getaway.
As well as offering ski-in/ ski-out access to some of the best terrain in US and exhilarating snow sport adventures in collaboration with Adventure IO, Montage Deer Valley will also appeal to those who like to take things at a slower pace. The 35,000 sq ft Spa Montage is an alpine-inspired oasis of relaxation and renewal complete with redwood saunas, a wellness center and an array of indulgent therapies.
Guests have their pick of 230 rooms suites and private residences but Elite Traveler recommends the Four-bedroom Summit View Penthouse Residence which features not one, but three terraces to take in the Christmas-card-worthy landscapes that encircle the hotel.
Waldorf Astoria Park City, Park City, Utah
A couple of peaks over from Deer Valley you’ll find The Canyons. This winter wonderland was its own separate entity until the 2015-2016 ski season when an enormous $50 million investment and an interconnected gondola linked it to Park City Mountain Resort. It is now part of the US’s largest ski resort, boasting over 7,300 acres, 300+ trails and 38 lifts.
With a string of awards to its name, Waldorf Astoria Park City is on the edge of Canyons Village and is regularly recognized as one of the best ski resort hotels in the US. The Frostwood Gondola is mere steps from the hotel’s front door and whizzes guests over to the base of Park City Resort (the gateway to the resort’s prized 7,300 acres.) Nothing is too much trouble for the hotel’s ski butlers who are on hand to ensure your equipment is in tip-top condition and with you whenever you need it.
Away from the slopes, this sumptuous property boasts an award-winning spa and one of the best outdoor heated alpine pools in Park City Mountain Resort, while the seasonal locally sourced fare at the onsite Powder Restaurant is first class.
There is a host of tastefully-decorated one- to four-bedroom suites to choose from featuring gourmet granite kitchens, oversized soaker tubs, fireplaces and astounding views.
Caldera House, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The powder-lined peaks of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offer world-class skiing and snowboarding for all abilities making it one of the most coveted ski resorts in the US. It is also one of the most remote, and the resort’s laid-back, un-crowded vibe means there’s usually more than enough fresh snow (or “cowboy powder”) to go around.
The most exclusive of all the luxury hotels in this irresistibly picturesque corner of Wyoming is Caldera House. Located in Teton Village just steps from the tram, the intimate boutique hotel is a 21st-century re-interpretation of a 70s ski lodge and consists of just eight impeccably-designed two- and four-bedroom suites. Each as beautiful as the next, you can expect a fully equipped chef’s kitchen, dining area, living room and outdoor space with mountain views.
Thanks to the limited guest numbers, every activity at Caldera House can be customized, whether it be dog sledding, snowmobile adventures or elk sleigh rides for the kids with National Elk Refuge. This is also true for the hotel’s ski and snowboard offering, with five-star tuning, heliskiing and one-of-a-kind experiences — like hitting the slopes Olympic skier Bode Miller— all made possible by the hotel’s dedicated team.