Whether you consider yourself an on-mountain thrill-seeker or an après-ski enthusiast, these six vacations around the world offer you ways to embrace the snow this winter. Use these insider tips to take on the best of the runs in three mountain destinations in North America, dine at the best Michelin-starred restaurants in Megève, and explore the unique winter wonderlands of the Swiss Alps and Santa Fe.
With nearly half of its 195 manicured trails gently winding between pine forests or down unhurried bowls, Vail has scenic runs for skiers of all skill levels. While less challenging descents are available for those looking for a gentle back-country experience, advanced skiers must tackle Vail’s infamous Back Bowls, or test their mettle on Vail’s longest run, the 4-mile-long (6.5-kilometre) Riva Ridge. Just take care at its steepest section, a particularly tricky area known as the “Tourist Trap.”
Right at the base of Vail Mountain, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail is perfectly located to experience the best of the Colorado Rockies.
PERFECT FOR FAMILIES
Families should consider signing up for one of the many offerings at Vail’s ski and snowboard school. Opt for a Family Private Experience, during which you can each improve your skills and explore Vail together with the help of an expert instructor. Afterwards, take a family sleigh ride up Beaver Creek Mountain for a memorable dinner in a cozy log cabin.
FOR A SWEET APRÈS-SKI
In Vail, your après-ski is incomplete without a taste of The Remedy Bar’s famous Haut Chocolat. Arriving at your table in a traditional French hot chocolate pot, this high-level beverage is made with Valrhona chocolate and steamed milk – churned tableside – and poured into a cup topped with a dark chocolate lattice and homemade marshmallow.
Ski as a family in Vail
With 90% of its 133 named trails designated expert, advanced or intermediate, Jackson Hole demands respect from the world’s best skiers. Framed by the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort combines 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) of ski terrain. From Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, at the base of the slopes in Teton Village, skiers look up to Rendezvous and Après Vous mountains.
Book a back-country guide from the Base Camp Ski Concierge to explore some of Jackson’s legendary terrain, like Cheyenne Bowl, Granite Canyon and Corbet’s Couloir.
Taryn Shackleton, Chef Concierge at the Resort, suggests capping a day on the slopes with a romantic après cocktail in Ascent Lounge or an evening of stargazing in Grand Teton National Park. “Visitors find themselves marvelling at the night sky in Jackson Hole,” she says, “and our Resort boasts a staff astronomer, who offers private viewing sessions combined with a sunset dinner.”
Revel in stars and snow in Jackson Hole
Set in the heart of Whistler, home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler places some of Canada’s best back-country runs in your backyard. In addition to Whistler Blackcomb’s snowy playground, consisting of 200 ski trails, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers, you’ll find an engaging, family-friendly town to explore.
AN AFTERNOON OFF THE SLOPES
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, within walking distance of the Resort, is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of local First Nations with interactive exhibitions, live demonstrations, guided forest walks and a craft area.
FOR THE KIDS
Kids are in their element here, with three outdoor hot tubs, a heated outdoor pool, daily s’mores by the firepit and happy meetings with resident Resort dog Maola.
A family-friendly winter in Whistler
Set on the shores of Lac Léman and ringed by snow-capped mountains, Geneva is your portal to the Alps. For awe-inspiring views of the surrounding glaciers and ragged peaks, visit the iconic resort of Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. It’s just a one-hour drive from Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva. Ski the 20-kilometre-long (12.5-mile) Vallée Blanche – the world’s longest off-piste trail – in France before celebrating back in Switzerland at Il Lago restaurant with Italian cuisine and Swiss wines.
Ride a cable car to the precipitous top of Aiguille du Midi on Mont Blanc for grand views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, or experience the best of Lake Geneva by hopping on a boat for the hour-long Geneva Tour cruise, offered every Sunday during the winter season.
Have the Hotel arrange for a helicopter tour, taking you from Geneva to explore all around Mont Blanc’s peak before dropping you off on Trient Glacier to toast your time together with a glass of champagne.
Toast your time together in Geneva
Boasting an annual average of 300 inches (7.6 metres) of snow and 300 days of sunshine, the snow-capped mountains of New Mexico are home to nine ski resorts and some of the most scenic winter vistas in North America.
Just 20 minutes from family-friendly Ski Santa Fe, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe is a great base from which to explore the area. “Santa Fe is the ideal destination for a snowy getaway,” says Hans Loehr, adventure architect at the Resort’s Adventure Center. “From skiing to snowshoeing and sledding to snow walking, the city is a winter wonderland for all travellers. We curate tours for guests depending on their experience level and needs.”
Tip: For a seamless experience, be sure to stop by the Resort’s Ski Concierge at check-in to make sure the whole family has everything you’ll need for your stay, including perfectly fitted skis and boots.
The Chipmunk Corner ski school at Ski Santa Fe offers lessons for kids ages 4 to 10, so you can hit the slopes while your children learn how to ski on kids-only trails. For something you can all do together, the Resort can arrange for a snowshoeing tour of the forest trails in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. These snow-covered paths will enchant everyone with their winter beauty.
Explore the winter terrain in Santa Fe
In 1920, Noémie de Rothschild, wife of Baron Maurice de Rothschild, fell in love with the traditional chalets, gentle slopes and brilliant Alpine sunshine of Megève. It’s here she decided to open her own ski resort, creating a ski lift, an airfield and an 18-hole golf course to attract celebrities and discerning travellers of her day. This tradition of elegance continues at both Four Seasons Hotel Megève and Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, Megève, A Four Seasons Hotel.
By the entrance of Four Seasons Hotel Megève, the La Cry ski lift provides direct access to the area’s famous Les Mandarines piste, making this the only ski-in, ski-out hotel in Megève. Aside from the slopes, Megève is just as famous for both its mountain scenery and its village charm. Put on your snowshoes and venture out on a hike at sunset accompanied by a professional mountain guide, or view the fresh snow through the beautiful pine tree forest from aboard the first electric snowmobiles in France, available exclusively at Four Seasons.
Take the family for a horse-drawn carriage ride along the village’s cobblestone streets, passing through the central square and various local boutiques. Available to guests at both Four Seasons properties, the Kids Club offers an enchanting setting for children ages 3 to 11. What with building snowmen, dog-sled rides, Japanese culinary delights and cocooning wellness treatments, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities designed to delight the youngest guests.
Couples simply must enjoy a romantic meal at the Michelin-starred La Dame de Pic – Le 1920 at Four Seasons Hotel Megève. But for something even more exceptional, book the Suite Idéal, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, set above the mountain restaurant L’Idéal 1850 and featuring unparalleled views of Mont Blanc. Once you’ve settled in, savour a delicious Savoyard dinner highlighting local cheeses, followed by stargazing on the suite’s majestic terrace to close out a magical winter’s night. The next day, relish a tailored breakfast while admiring the sunrise over Mont Blanc before being the first to hit the ski slopes.
Winter like a Rothschild in Megève
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