There's nothing quite like a romantic ski getaway -- and celebrating Valentine's Day with a mini vacation to the slopes is a must for any ski enthusiast couple. Although February 14th falls in the middle of the week in 2017, ski resorts across North America are still gearing up for a big day -- and entire week -- for this mid-season holiday excuse for powder dates and chocolate hearts. Candlelit dinners, cosy sleigh rides, and couples massages at luxury spas await at these top ski resorts. But first, a look at the check list for the perfect Valentine's ski getaway:
What You'll Need:
A great ski resort. Great doesn't mean huge, but it does mean a ski resort with modern infrastructure, developed base village or town for après and shopping, as well as (of course) excellent skiing and snow quality.
Luxury lodging. If there's ever a time to go luxury, it's for Valentine's Day. We love the ski resorts on this list because they have an array of lodging options, from mainstream luxury hotels to gorgeous boutique inns. Stay slopeside for easy access to resort offerings, or a downtown hideaway for shopping and nightlife.
Restaurant reservations. Fine dining restaurants often offer pre-fixe menus for Valentine's Day evening, but if you're celebrating the weekend before, be sure to book a normal reservation at least one week in advance. It's the middle of peak ski season, so the best places book up fast. If you find you've waited too late, not to worry: as the hotel concierge for lesser-known local haunts, or opt for walk-in seats at one of the high-end restaurant bars.
Childcare. Bringing along the kids can be a great way to celebrate the love holiday as a whole family, but note that you may want a night off to get a nice dinner and cruise around town. Be sure to find a babysitting service if you're not bringing your own sitter along; major resorts have reputable services.
Spa time. What's a romantic getaway without a couples' massage between slope time and après? We recommend staying at a hotel with on-site spa: indulging in a little R+R is a must, and ski resorts boast excellent spa services (including – on occasion – roof-top hot tubs with panoramic mountain views).
Be it East or West, these top ski resorts deliver for the ultimate mini ski getaway this Valentine's Day. Whether you're getting away for the weekend before or extending throughout the week, here are the top resorts to jet to this February:
We love Park City for its accessibility (only 35 minutes drive from Salt Lake City) and its vibrancy. While the town's roots lie in a 1800's mining boom, a world-class ski resort has grown up and around it, blending elegantly old Utah culture with modern ski resort infrastructure and amenities. Park City has become a place to see and be seen, especially on peak winter weekends -- those seeking a social scene will delight in bustling restaurants, shops and bars. The skiing is endless since PCMR merged with The Canyons, boasting nearly 3,237 ha skiable terrain. Go skiing, get social, enjoy amazing eats and drinks: welcome to Valentine's at Park City.
Best For: lively downtown and foodie scene; the young and young-at-heart
When You Go:
Stay…at downtown Main & Sky, which is steps away from the Town Lift and boasts modern rooms with an urban flair.
Ski…the groomers under King Con Express first thing in the morning for picture perfect corduroy with no crowds.
Fine Dining…Book a table at Chimayo, which boasts elegant Southwestern fare and a cosy, intimate dining room.
Après...Take a trip over to Deer Valley for finely crafted cocktails and a roaring stone fireplace at the Troll Hallen Lounge.
Shop...for stylish western ware for both of you at Burns Cowboy Shop on historic Main Street.
Spa…Enjoy Ofuro soaking tubs and specialty spa menu at Sugati Spa, on-site at Main & Sky
Off the Slopes…consider a romantic horseback riding tour through the stunning Heber Valley, located just outside Park City.
Whistler continues to reign as North America's favourite overall ski destination, and when you head there for your special Valentine's getaway, expect nothing less than superb lodging deals, fantastic snow quality, and hotels and restaurants pulling out all the stops to make your vacation as unique and romantic as possible. We've listed below that Whistler is ideal for adventurous couples because of the extensive outdoor offerings, but note that Whistler is perfect for just about everyone. Seriously: everyone. Unless you're seeking an old-fashioned mom-and-pop ski hill with T-bars and ghost town motels, Whistler is the place for a fabulous Valentine's ski getaway.
Best For: outdoor adventure couples; understated luxury
When You Go:
Stay…at the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Center, which boasts spacious suites with mountain views and slopeside ski valet.
Ski…up high on Harmony Ridge for gorgeous views, and the glades below for secret powder stashes.
Fine Dining…Split elk tartare and a bottle of Spanish red wine at Alta Bistro, which features sustainably sourced plates and a hip, romantic dining room.
Après...at Sidecut Bar inside the Four Seasons; leather couches and elegant fireplace complement creative cocktails and occasional live music.
Shop...for imported cashmere sweaters and other winter cosies at Mount Cashmere Inc in Whistler Village.
Spa…Take a dip in the heated saltwater pool before booking a couples massage at the Whistler Day Spa.
Off The Slopes…Take an afternoon snowshoe hike through old growth forest to Alexander Falls, a stunning wilderness area with cascading waterfall.
Our favourite time of year at Stowe is Christmas; our next favourite, Valentine's Day. The sincerity of this New England mainstay has lasted through the decades of infrastructure development and population growth, and today Stowe finds itself at the forefront of the destination ski vacation in Vermont. With quaint country inns, gorgeously remodelled spas, and a family-friendly atmosphere to boot, Stowe is our top pick for those who will celebrate V-day with the entire family. Plenty of kid-friendly activities abound, so you can opt to spend most your time together or steal away for a delectable dinner out.
Best For: Valentine's getaway with kids; New England locals
When You Go:
Stay…at the Stowe Mountain Lodge for ski-in/ski-out access and on-site activities for the kids.
Ski…take a few laps on Spruce Peak early morning for empty slopes and mellow cruisers.
Fine Dining…Steal away for a romantic dinner at Picnic Social, a farm-to-table gem just off the beaten path of Mountain Road.
Après...local style at The Matterhorn with local beers on draught and pool tables and video games to entertain the kids.
Shop...at Chalet Life for European Alps inspired home décor and gorgeous antique goods.
Spa…at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, which is offering customised couples treatments for V-day and also boasts a full Kids Spa menu.
Off the Slopes…cozy up with your love or your family in a horse-drawn sleigh ride – the premier way to see the Green Mountain countryside.
Jackson Hole has grown into a world-class ski destination over the past few decades, and when you stroll the streets around the town square with its glittering antler arches after a day on the most challenging in-bounds terrain in North America, you'll know why. Wild yet elegant, soulful yet refined, Jackson beckons all sorts of ski vacationers to its seductively laid-back valley. Valentine's Day finds the whole community in the mood for love, whether its lift attendants donning V-day flair or swanky hotels decking out lobbies with extra candles and twinkle lights. Cosy up to roaring fireplaces, indulge in luxury spa treatments and get wild with a night on the town.
Best For: the destination romantic getaway; refined Wild West culture
When You Go:
Stay…at the Snake River Lodge & Spa for spacious rooms and ski-in/ski-out access at the base of the resort.
Ski…at least one run off the famous Aerial Tram, or at least take a ride if your skills aren't advanced – the views on a clear day are breathtaking.
Fine Dining…Ask for a table by the window at Trio, which boasts a delectable pre-fixe Valentine's menu and American bistro fare.
Après...at the Spur with spicy jalapeño margaritas and a fun-loving local crowd
Spa…kick back with organic body treatments and wraps at the 17,000 square foot Snake River Lodge & Spa.
Off the Slopes…Take a drive up to The Granary at sunset for drinks overlooking a panoramic view of the Teton Range.
Telluride is a luxury ski vacationer's dream. In Mountain Village at the base of the resort, you'll find high-end resort spas, delectable dining, and a small array of boutique shops, while downtown Telluride (a free gondola ride away) boasts a historic Main Street, Victorian charm, and small town Colorado feel. It's traditionally a popular spot for Valentine's Day dates; we recommend pairing powder turns with mountaintop après drinks, followed by an elegant dinner at one of the favourite downtown bistros. If you have the flexibility, turn your weekend into a week: you'll need it for extra spa time and a trip to the hot springs.
Best For: classic Colorado luxury; understated romance
When You Go:
Stay…Book the Alpine Vista room at The Peaks Resort & Spa; enjoy world-class spa and dining, as well as slopeside access in the heart of Mountain Village.
Ski…stay skier's right of the Plunge Lift for some of those famous Telluride tree runs; skier's left offers intermediates more mellow options.
Fine Dining…Don't miss a special dinner at La Marmotte, which serves up fine French fare inside a rustic 19th century building downtown.
Après...Sip an old fashioned at Allred's, which offers unparalleled views of the mountainscape and a gorgeous alpine sunset.
Shop...for contemporary mountain town ware at Telluride Trappings & Toggery, which has been outfitting residents since 1972.
Spa…Relax at The Peaks with specialty treatments like the Basalt hot stone massage or customised body peel and wrap.
Off the Slopes…Enjoy Telluride charm with a classic ice skating date at one of the downtown rinks.