Winter Vacation Ideas: Go With the Snow
No matter what the weather is like at home, experience the magic of winter with exciting activities at Four Seasons destinations around the world.
Wintry weather hits the reset button, for nature and for us. The sight of snow blanketing the landscape wipes our mental slate clean and lets us imagine how we’ll fill it again. White expanses calm our cluttered minds and inspire feelings of peace and stillness. That’s what makes snow-covered places special. Visiting wintry destinations lets us marvel at nature’s beauty while bonding with family and challenging ourselves with new adventures. No matter what season it is back home, Four Seasons can help you experience the full glory of winter.
It’s soothing to watch snowflakes through the windowpane, but winter reserves its true majesty for those willing to venture out into it. Join Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva on a private helicopter tour around snow-blanketed Mont Blanc, the Alps’ crowning peak at 4,810 metres (15,781 feet). “You’ll feel tiny,” promises Assistant Chef Concierge Benjamin Gartner. “And you’ll see a great overview of the Alps, a huge chain of white mountains that seems to go on forever.” Guests sometimes park on the peak’s shoulder, where a winter wonderland—from the Alps to Lake Geneva—unfolds at their feet.
Geneva’s lake is indeed a beauty in winter. When la bise noire blows, residents turn up their collars and marvel at the ice sculptures created by this humid wind. On calm days, anglers like to try their hand at fishing on the lake. In winter, it sees one-tenth of its usual boat traffic and fish stay closer to the surface, meaning it’s the ideal time to catch perch and other fish, which Four Seasons chefs can clean and transform into delectable dishes.
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At Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, guests watch wildlife with cameras in hand. Led by biologist/photographer and Wildlife Excursion Manager Tenley Thompson, you’ll spot elk, wolves, bighorn sheep and moose. At the National Elk Refuge, the winter home of 11,000 elk, visitors in horse-drawn sleighs glide within 6 metres (20 feet) of the herds. After a day with wildlife, follow Resort Astronomer Ryan Hennessy back outside to stargaze. His telescope offers an awe-inspiring perspective on winter’s silent nights.
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Every child loves to hide out in a “fort.” Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole caters to kids’ cocooning instincts with a full-size igloo built just for them. Children can’t resist burrowing inside to hang out on chairs made of snow. When it’s time for a snack, they emerge into the igloo’s yard, where a fire pit surrounded by log benches creates the perfect setting for roasting marshmallows and stacking up s’mores.
Kids of all ages enjoy strapping on snowshoes and striding into the mountain wilderness around Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail or Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler. A snowshoe adventure keeps everyone active and encourages up-close exploration. Another unforgettable way to get outside and play? Both resorts also take families on dogsledding tours. Courtesy of an energetic team of well-cared-for huskies, you’ll be lulled by the sled’s gentle rocking while you soak in the surrounding silence. Whistler tours explore the pristine Soo Valley, and Vail excursions follow private trails through aspen and pine trees. The dogs find their bliss, too: Going for a daily run is exactly what these athletic pups crave.
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Whether your group includes children or just youthful spirits, you can join in one of the most-loved childhood games with a snowball fight organised by Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St Petersburg. Demonstrating that you can improve on a classic, special snowball-making equipment is provided, and an official judge is on hand to declare a winner.
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Traditional winter sports reign at Four Seasons in Vail, Whistler, Jackson Hole, St Petersburg and Geneva, all located at or near major ski resorts. But each destination is continually working to add more memorable ways to savour the slopes in Four Seasons style.
At Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler, skiers and boarders refuel with gourmet slopeside meals, delivered to any on-mountain location they choose. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail lures adventurers with back-country skiing and snowboarding at Vail Pass: Hike to open bowls, low-angle glades and steeps that receive 400 inches of annual snowfall. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler eases the commute with helicopter rides to a back-country base camp equipped with snowmobiles, snowbikes, skis and snowboards. Need more speed? Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St Petersburg sets up skiers and boarders with snowkites. Don’t forget that prime ski opportunities exist beyond the best-known resort areas; Four Seasons Resort Marrakech can arrange a day at the ski resort of Oukeïmeden, elevation 2,650 metres (8,694 feet), just an hour away.
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Skiing and snowboarding certainly aren’t winter’s only athletic thrills. Olympic ice skating coach and trainer Alexander Zhulin has an exclusive arrangement with Four Seasons Hotel Moscow, allowing guests to watch him work with Russia’s best ice dancers. If you’re inspired, he also can help you perfect your own pirouettes.
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Discover these wintry delights in other Four Seasons destinations:
- Raising a Glass at Icebar London
Everything here—tables, bar, even your cocktail glass—is made of crystal-clear ice imported from the frozen Torne River in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.
- Chilling Out at IceFest, Toronto
The picks, chisels and chainsaws come out as carvers compete for a people’s choice award at the Bloor-Yorkville IceFest.
- Taking the Plunge in Maryland
Less than an hour from Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, join the thousands dipping into the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay at the annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge.
- Gliding Around Qianhai Lake, Beijing
Chair sleds, ice bikes, bumper cars and tiny rickshaws (in addition to ice skaters) criss-cross this Beijing lake from late December until late January.
- Savouring the Celebrations, Boston
Harvard Square’s month-long Winter Carnival begins with the Boston Celtic Music Fest, January 13—15, and continues with a chili cook-off, a chocolate festival and more.