Instead of trying to escape the cold, why not capitalize on the splendor of the season? The U.S. is packed with snowy spots that deliver tons of outdoor thrills, from skiing and flightseeing to ice fishing and tubing. So, bundle up and book your trip (though, perhaps, not in that order).
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek promises high-altitude escapades. Whether it’s your first foray into alpine activities or shredding is second nature, the widely varied terrain is sure to impress. For newbies, there are bunny hills and gentle mounds. On the flip side, pros can tackle moguls, steep chutes, and cliffs. Need to thaw out? Warm and toasty accommodations await at The Osprey, A RockResort, which is conveniently located feet from the chairlift.
Mt. Hood, Oregon
If outdoor recreation is a top priority, pack your parka and poles for Mt. Hood. White stuff perpetually blankets the summit, though winter brings prime conditions. Besides skiing, you’ll find fantastic snowshoeing, sledding, and mushing. Of course, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Night owls of all ages can join in on the after-dark excitement of cosmic tubing parties with LED lights, laser shows, and music.
Majestic mountains and glistening fields aren’t the only reason Stowe habitually lands on our cold-weather shortlist. This powdery paradise offers plenty of opportunities for adventure—skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, sleigh rides, mushing, and ice climbing. Want to stay in the heart of the action? Reserve a room at The Lodge at Spruce Peak for instant access to the alfresco skating rink, indoor climbing wall, shops, and restaurants.
Lake Placid, New York
As temperatures drop and heaps of fresh powder pile up, this Adirondacks village transforms into an epic winter playground. Not surprisingly, snow sports are a big deal. Prefer frozen pursuits? Opt for speed skating, hockey, or ice fishing. Of course, you can’t talk about Lake Placid without mentioning the 1932 and 1980 Olympics. Peep memorabilia and don’t miss the chance to ride a real bobsled at Mount Van Hoevenberg.
Park City, Utah
Park City is renowned for its spellbinding scenery, legendary runs, and training facilities. When you’re not scissoring down groomed trails, consider taking a snowboarding lesson or try bobsledding on the actual Olympic track. This winter wonderland also boasts a lively après scene and superb food. (Good news, since you’ll need to refuel post black diamond piste.) Posh resorts like the Waldorf Astoria Park City add to the allure.
For some folks, adrenaline is an aphrodisiac. Do you fall into that category? Look no further than Girdwood. Frosty flightseeing, glacier trekking expeditions with backcountry-trained guides, and fat-tire biking (yes, even when it’s freezing) draws adventure junkies. Ready to give your weary legs a rest? Make a pit stop at Girdwood Brewing Co. for a well-deserved break that includes craft beer and sweeping vistas. When the wilderness calls, refill your growler and go.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Everyone from Clark Gable to Justin Timberlake has traversed the slopes of Sun Valley since it first opened in 1936. (Back then the price for a lift ticket was just 25 cents.) But there’s more to see and do than just hunting for famous faces. Head out early for a sunrise hike up Bald Mountain to bask in the alpenglow, followed by an afternoon of full-throttle ripping, and cap off your day with heli-skiing.