By Randy Yagi
When one thinks of a classic mountain resort, the first few images that typically come to mind are snow-covered peaks, a cozy fireplace and scores of warmly dressed skiers hitting the slopes. But practically all of the best mountain resorts in America do not completely shut down after the ski season is over. Indeed, as the snow gives way to clearer and warmer weather, mountain resorts across the country dry off their welcome mats and pull the covers off swimming pools to attract what is oftentimes a completely different crowd of outdoor enthusiasts. Regardless of whether it’s hiking and biking or river rafting and kayaking, here is a look at five of America’s best all-season mountain resorts.
45 Village Square
Snowmass Village, CO 81615
As the best state in America for skiing, Colorado has absolutely no shortage of choices for an exceptional mountain resort experience. Although any of the nearly 30 world-class mountain destinations are worthy of merit and often overlooked, Aspen Snowmass is unsurpassed for year-round activities. Over the winter, the four distinct ski areas that comprise Aspen Snowmass are routinely listed among the world’s finest for both skiing and snowboarding, particularly the largest and most family-friendly – Snowmass. Yet it’s the impressive collection of summer activities all across this sprawling resort complex that makes it one of America’s favorites for all seasons, not to mention a renowned destination for gourmet dining and upscale shopping. As with any celebrated mountain resort, there are longtime favorite things to do like hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing. Additionally, visitors can enjoy outdoor music, particularly the crowd favorite Snowmass Summer of Free Music Series through September 9, mountain boarding for the kids, white water rafting, hot air balloon rides, scenic gondola and lift rides and the majestic Maroon Bells, described as one of North America’s most photographed mountain peaks, with mirrored images of the postcard-perfect mountains provided by the glistening waters of Maroon Lake. Additionally, many of the finest resort hotels in Aspen Snowmass offer luxurious spa treatments, swimming pools with poolside services and other amenities and activities. Among the finest are Little Nell, St. Regis Aspen, Hyatt Grand Aspen, Westin Snowmass and Viceroy Snowmass.
Deer Valley Resort
2250 Deer Valley Drive. S
Park City, UT 84060
Named best ski resort in the country for four consecutive years by the annual World Ski Awards, Deer Valley Resort is also distinguished by providing some of the world’s best mountain bike trails and some of the world’s most celebrated luxury resorts. Complimenting the world-class recreational pursuits that also includes hiking, horseback riding and fly-fishing, is the superb collection of upscale lodging that’s anchored by a trio of multi-award winning properties that are acclaimed for their own set of year-round activities and exceptional dining, amenities and services. Of these three, the Scandinavian-styled Stein Eriksen Lodge is noted for having Utah’s only Forbes Five-Star spa and is weeks away from unveiling its major expansion that will offer even more options to its already amazing host of amenities such as a pool lounge expansion and an entertainment center. Not to be outdone, Montage Deer Valley has been consistently ranked among the best resorts in the country by a host of leading travel sites and can claim the largest spa in Utah, in addition to a stellar wellness program and other attractive amenities and services like five outstanding restaurants, most notably the signature Apex restaurant, the Alpine Pool and recreational experiences like hiking, biking or even bowling on any of the four regulation sized bowling lanes. Rounding off the trio of five star hotels is the magnificent St. Regis Deer Valley, which features among other amenities, a split level Infinity pool, elevated cuisine at J&G Grill, developed by the illustrious chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and the only funicular at a resort in North America. Other amenities at this truly extravagant resort are a 24-hour butler service, the lavish Remède Spa and world class entertainment with the Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series, at the Deer Valley Resort Snow Park Amphitheater through September 3.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
3395 Cody Lane
Teton Village, WY 83025
A perennial favorite as the best ski resort in North America, Jackson Hole transforms into a veritable outdoor playground in the spring and summer, filled with wondrous activities and captivating scenery. Located in Teton Village and within the shadows of the mighty mountain range that bears its name, the Grand Tetons, this sensational mountain resort might be best known for its legendary and very challenging ski run known as Corbet’s Couloir and its familiar aerial tram which commands panoramic views of the countryside. However, Jackson Hole and Teton Village is a particularly appealing destination to visit this summer in that it lies directly in the path of the Great American Eclipse on August 21, with the Sweetwater Gondola available for sightseeing during this monumental event. Still, even more recreational activities are available all summer, such as mountain biking, horseback riding, climbing the Grand Teton, the ropes course at Grand Adventure Park and whitewater rafting trips along the Snake River Canyon not far away. An assemblage of exceptional lodging is available slope side and in Teton Village, with top choices like the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa and Hotel Terra Jackson Hole, all offering top tier services and amenities like soothing spa treatments, gorgeous swimming pools and spacious fitness centers with state-of-the-art equipment.
5001 Northstar Drive
Truckee, CA 96161
With convenient access to the slopes and the largest alpine lake in the country, Northstar California is not just one of America’s best all-season mountain resorts, it’s also one of the best in the entire North American continent. Just a short drive from the northern shores of Lake Tahoe, Northstar offers a number of seasonal or year-round activities, such as world-class skiing and snowboarding across more than 3,100 acres, a championship-caliber golf course with its stunning vistas, the largest lift-served mountain bike park in the Western U.S. and a 9,000 square foot roller rink that transforms into an enchanting skating rink in winter. But what really sets this extraordinary mountain resort apart from most others is its superior selection of lodging, particularly the luxury villas in the Village at Northstar and the Lake Tahoe region’s only AAA Five Diamond hotel, the fabulous Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. A few minutes drive from the Village at Northstar but connected via an inter-mountain gondola system, the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers a consistent level of high quality service, 170 lavishly appointed guestrooms and suites, luxury spa with a spacious fitness room and spa pool, a larger, outdoor pool with poolside cabanas, gourmet cuisine at the dazzling Manzanita Restaurant, with its Summer Winemaker Series through September 9, a High Sierra Golf Experience and the new Lake Club, a fabulous, ultra-modern lakeside venue designed by renowned local architect Clare Walton. Exclusive to select guests of the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, the Lake Club is a 15-20 minute drive from the main property and features two dining levels with sweeping lakefront views, exceptional amenities like gourmet dining and signature cocktails, an outdoor spa and direct access to the glistening waters of Lake Tahoe, with a private boat pier for water activities like luxury boat rentals, wakeboarding and sailing.
5021 Route 86
Wilmington, NY 12997
Also widely known as Olympic Mountain, Whiteface Mountain is located not far from the village of Lake Placid, the iconic setting for two of the only four Winter Olympics held in the U.S.. Rising high in the Adirondack Mountains, Whiteface Mountain is consistently regarded as one of the best ski resorts in the Northeast and has played a significant role in having Lake Placid named the best destination in the East for off-hill activities for an astounding 27 consecutive years by Ski Magazine. Contributing to this distinction are popular summertime activities like Yoga on the Mountain, guided hiking tours, the kid-friendly Whiteface Adventure Zone and miles of mountain biking trails that are ranked among the nation’s finest. Still, many other off-season activities can be enjoyed in historic Lake Placid, particularly at Olympic venues like the Olympic Sports Complex for the Bobsled Experience and the Olympic Jumping Complex for extreme downhill summer tubing. Additional year-round options like swimming, luxurious spa treatments, boating, golf and tennis may also be available at select resort hotels in and around the Lake Placid area, with High Peaks Resort, Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa and Whiteface Lodge among the most consistently best rated.
Related: Best Mountain Towns In The USA