If you're more interested in the après ski than the ski, or even just looking to heat up your next trip with some exciting new experiences, then you've come to the right place. These top U.S. skiing destinations also feature a multitude of other winter activities to participate in. Get creative with your upcoming vacation to the snow and plan some world-class fishing, hunting, or hiking, in addition to (or even instead of) skiing and snowboarding. We've got the line up of some of the best places to eat and drink around the slopes as well as some solid ideas for entertainment during your downtime. Head ice climbing with a few of your more coordinated friends or spot some lynx with your family. Regardless of who you're with and what they're into, there's something for everyone on these "ski" trips.
New York City’s dynamic dining duo, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, invade Aspen this winter with a snowy, more casual outpost of their Michelin three-star restaurant, Eleven Madison Park. Humm looked to his Swiss roots for the menu at EMP Winter House, which will temporarily touch down at Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort through April 6. Expect haute versions of alpine classics like fondue, schnitzel, and the ultimate cold-weather noodle dish, spaetzle—with the option to dine in stylish yurts. As with the pop-up’s previous incarnation, EMP Summer House in the Hamptons, an American Express card is required for reservations and will be the only card payment accepted.
Sun Valley, Idaho
In the 1990s, musicians like B. B. King and Leon Russell stopped in the sleepy town of Hailey, Idaho, just to appear at Bruce Willis’s nightclub, the Mint. After being shuttered for a decade, the storied venue reopened in October with plans to draw big music acts as well as indie bands. A downstairs restaurant and bar offers comfort food like pastrami-cured short ribs and a signature burger made from a blend of three cuts of Idaho beef. On bluebird days, an open-air patio serves cocktails (all named after songs, like the Eagles’ Already Gone, a mix of gin, ginger beer, and grapefruit juice) from a ’66 Bambi Airstream.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Hard-core skiers won’t need to take off their skis for a bite this season thanks to trailside service from Taco Beast. The snowcat turned food truck will roam the slopes of Steamboat serving breakfast burritos, tacos al pastor, and Mexican beers. And after a seven-month renovation, the base area of Steamboat Ski Area also has a lively new hangout, Timber & Torch. Named for the resort’s legendary tree runs and Olympic heritage, the indoor-outdoor restaurant boasts a massive heated patio, two bars pouring creative cocktails like beet cosmos, and an outdoor barbecue where chefs grill burgers to order.
Spend time in the Rockies in winter and you’re bound to have a few casual wildlife encounters, but at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, the resort will try to help you track the majestic, seldom spotted Canadian lynx. The program, in partnership with the Walking Mountains Science Center of Vail, takes guests via snowshoe into the high-country wilderness in search of the bobcat’s scats, tracks, and furs. Rooms from $329.
Telluride used to be known as the wild child of Colorado ski resorts, a resort to get both great terrain and the hangover of a lifetime. The novelist Antonya Nelson, a resident, once wrote that “there were a lot of bars in Telluride, more bars than churches, yet, like churches, different ones for different sorts: the old hippie bar, the new hippie bar, the cowboy bar, the Republican bar, the pool players’ bar, the sports fanatic bar . . .”
Over the years the town, which sits at almost 9000 feet, has broadened significantly beyond skiing and partying and now attracts ultramarathoners, snow bikers, and, thanks to the area’s large number of frozen waterfalls in colder months, ice climbers. This winter the Hotel Telluride, a chalet-style 59-room luxury boutique, is partnering with local outfitter San Juan Outdoor Adventures to offer a guided ice-climbing experience.
The ice-climbing experience, called “Two Picks and a Prayer,” includes a three-night stay in a Signature room, daily breakfast for two, a guided ice-climbing experience and—perhaps most importantly after a day hanging from a 365-foot-tall Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado's tallest free-falling waterfall—servings of eiswein, a type of sweet wine produced from frozen grape, or a hot toddy by a roaring fire, as well as two 60-minute massages.
A former mining town, Telluride sits among the highest concentration of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks in the Rocky Mountains, which once made it difficult to reach (though well worth the long and at times knuckle-whitening drive). The town is now more easily accessible thanks to new, direct flights from Denver on Boutique Air. “Two Picks and a Prayer” is available until April 7, 2019, subject to weather conditions. Package from $1,739.
Hunting and Fishing
The new executive chef of the St. Regis Aspen, Laurent Pillard, is inviting guests to join him on snowy backcountry treks for bird-hunting and trout-fishing expeditions. A veteran of multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, Pillard will provide guides and a team of dogs for the hunting trip, then prepare either a trout dinner or a meal of quail, pheasant, or partridge. Rooms from $1,149.