We know, we know, winter is still a little ways off. But if you want to have an epic 2018-2019 season, the time to plan it out is now. With that in mind, we’ve checked in with all the big ski associations to get the scoop on cool mountain stuff going on across the country (plus a brief sojourn to Canada).
Without further ado, here are 10 resorts with on- and off-slope action that has us stoked. So read up, take notes and started plotting unforgettable adventures today…
Editor’s note: What to bring to these mountains? Stay tuned for our ultimate gear guide, coming tomorrow!
Mount Snow: On the Rise
Having spent $30 million last season on its West Lake Water Project, Mount Snow now has the most powerful snowmaking system in the East. That means the mountain can recover quickly from the unpredictable weather changes to provide a better overall snow experience for its visitors. It also gives Mount Snow the ability to lengthen its season, a season that this year opened its gates on October 27 (this past weekend!), the earliest opening day in the mountain’s 64-year history. The resort will also be unveiling its shiny new 42,000-square foot Carinthia Base Lodge in the coming months. This $22 million venture is five times the size of the one it replaces and houses everything you could ask for in a lodge, including a sit-down restaurant, two bars, retail and more. Did we mention two bars?
Deer Valley: Foodie’s Paradise
When it comes to terrain, Deer Valley has a little something to whet everyone’s appetite. From cruisers to steep chutes, you really can’t go wrong. However, what really separates this resort from the pack is its on-mountain dining. Looking to grab and go in the morning? The Deer Valley Grocery Cafe has everything that you need including tasty coffee, delicious breakfast burritos and a variety of pastries. Sit down for lunch mid-mountain at The Royal Street Cafe with a Dungeness Crab Tower and an award-winning Blueberry Mojito. When you’ve gotten your fill of fresh pow, enjoy a traditional après-ski experience at Edgar’s famous for its Turkey Chili Nachos and Last Chance Mules. Finish your foodie frenzy off at Fireside Dining. Riding up on a horse-drawn sled then walking into a view of raclette melting on plates in front of one the many stone fireplaces cooking your dinner and you’ll glad you made some room with those last few laps on the hill.
Jackson Hole: An Icon Settles Down and Has a Family
Each year Jackson Hole’s steep Teton peaks garner some of the deepest snowpack in the country. Snow so deep that it can only be topped by what is often described as the sickest terrain in the country, highlighted by the famed Corbett’s Couloir. But as gnarly as it is, Jackson’s rep is becoming more family friendly with the mountain’s new Solitude Station. A quick two-minute ride up the gondola to the Sweetwater mid-station and families will be greeted by an expansive 12,000 square foot lodge devoted solely to them. The new home base of the Mountain Sports School also includes dining and will allow everyone to take lessons, grab some grub and hang out together all winter long. For hard-shredding dads, these changes represent a welcome complement to Jackson’s truly unrivaled terrain.
Sugarbush: Where the Old Meets the New
As it turns 60 this year, Sugarbush is celebrating by revisiting its historic past. Highlights include a music series where each month they focus on a different decade. Can’t wait to see those neon onesies and straight skis come out for the ’80s weekend. Sugarbush is also bringing back classic events. Sloshwicking, a race of some sort that has competitors donning one ski, one snowshoe and, for whatever reason, a broom, and the Waiter Slalom where servers from all different restaurants compete in a footrace slalom with a tray of drinks will certainly be memorable spectacles. Of course, these escapades only add to the good old Sugarbush allure, complete with some of the best views in all of Vermont as well as some of the East’s gnarliest slopes.
Steamboat: Something for Everyone
A true throwback to the northwest Colorado cowboy town it began as, Steamboat Springs is filled with charming places to wander, shop and eat. And the Steamboat, the mountain, itself offers a little something for everyone as well. Copious amounts of powder, semi-steep slopes and gorgeous glades make for some of the best lift-accessible tree skiing in country. And with all the calories you and your friends or family will be burning, you’ll be stoked to come across the mountain’s brand-new Taco Beast. This roaming snowcat offers a variety of Mexican street tacos, street corn and beers, ultimately redefining what it means to dine slopeside. Simply follow @steamboatdining and #tacobeaststeamboat on Instagram and you’ll know exactly where to find the ultimate taco truck when your stomachs start rumbling.
Tremblant: It Takes a Village
Situated in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains, the Canadian oasis of Tremblant has plenty to trumpet this season, including a new high-speed quad chairlift, new glades and improvements to the main chalet at the summit. But perhaps its most appealing quality is the many-splendored Euro-style pedestrian village at its base. Fully accessible to skiers and riders thanks to an open-air gondola and a ski trail winding through it, Tremblant’s village offers a full three miles of sights, lodging, shopping and dining, including a whopping 36 coffee shops, restaurants and bars. Many offer the mouth-watering French and French-Canadian cuisine for which the region is famous. For our loonies and toonies, it’s all about Smoke’s Poutinerie Tremblant, which serves up more than 20 varieties of that distinctly Canadian delicacy.
Stratton: All About Après
It may boast southern Vermont’s highest peak, but what really stands out about Stratton is its status as an après-skier’s delight. Along with staples like Grizzly’s and the quirky Green Door Pub, there are some great new additions this season. Stratton now offers snowcat dinners at the mid-mountain lodge, pairing meals made with locally sourced ingredients and some of Vermont’s finest brews and spirits. And housed in a repurposed shipping container located near the gondola, the new Stratton Basecamp will be pouring plenty of Vermont craft beer to accompany the delicious Polish street food it serves. Meanwhile, open-air seating upstairs giving patrons the opportunity to enjoy on-mountain music, which has recently become another claim to fame. Hosting Winter Wondergrass, a grassroots music festival that also has stops at heavyweights like Steamboat and Squaw, will cement Stratton’s place as the music venue of Vermont. Bonus: The Vermont Open is no longer simply a snowboarding competition but a weekend-long festival that will once again include a major headliner to be announced in December.
Vail and Beaver Creek: Salute the Troops
Looking for an unforgettable experience on the slopes packed with entertainment, history, action and whiskey? Sign up for the 10th Mountain Ski Experience at Colorado’s Westin Riverfront, led by the legendary Chris Anthony, whom you may know from 28 (28!) Warren Miller shred flicks. Taking place January 18-21, the weekend features a screening of Anthony’s new doc, Climb to Glory: Legacy of the 10th Mountain Ski Troopers, skiing with Anthony and learning all about this one-of-a-kind military division at three different slopes, including the incomparable Vail and Beaver Creek, and a private whiskey dinner featuring 10th Mountain Division Whiskey & Spirit Company beverages. You’ll also get to bask in the luxury of the Westin Riverfront, which offers direct access to Beaver Creek as well as a refreshing outdoor pool with three infinity hot tubs, the body-renewing Spa Anjali and the Athletic Club at The Westin, with more than 60 group exercise classes weekly. If you want to come out of this winter with both a new respect for skiing soldiers and plenty of stoke, sign on for this incredible adventure today.
Heavenly: Gates of Glory
One of the jewels of Lake Tahoe, and one of the biggest resorts in North America, Heavenly has much to recommend it, including loads of awesome après, dining, nightlife and gambling options—and a unique combo of snowfall and bluebird days. But one thing we’ll always love about this Nevada/California hotspot is its willingness to open up the backcountry for those who crave the kind of deep pow stashes you can only score off-piste. With three backcountry gates and two massive canyons, Mott and Killebrew, Heavenly offers no shortage of double-black chutes, exhilarating glades and pulse-pounding steeps. Ask the locals about Snakepit, a narrow chute with a 38-degree pitch and just enough room to turn. Still pow-hungry? Make the 10-minute hike to the top of Milky Way Bowl and you’ll likely behold a few hundred vertical feet of pristine champagne powder. By the time you drop into a Steins beer garden Adirondack chair at days’s end, you’ll appreciate just how accurately this mountain is named.