I think skiing is romantic, braving the elements with your intended, gliding on glistening snow with your favorite guy (or gal), then warming your toes by a roaring fire together, sharing toddies and tales of your day’s adventure. But not everyone, specifically not all my gal pals, find skiing romantic. The words wind-chill, moguls, and maximum occupancy conjure cold, scary situations many would just as soon avoid.
Here are some downright dreamy destinations you can drive to. These are really romantic inns and lodges that are a cupid’s arrowshot from the slopes. Reserving a romantic rendezvous at any one of these scenic spots should have you looking like a hero from a harlequin novel, skiing this season’s deep snow pack with your smiling sweetheart.
Stowe is known as “The Ski Capital of the East,” for its seriously steep trails Liftline, Goat, Starr and National – coined the Front Four. I think this Vermont spot is also the romance resort of the East, for its softer side, snow-covered sidewalks in the Village in the shadows of the church steeple, outstanding eateries and abundant après ski pubs. This town has an alpine elegance that you just don’t find in most ski towns.
If you are looking for a five-diamond slopeside hotel with an indulgent spa – the Stowe Mountain Lodge is the place. Anchoring the Spruce Peak Village, this beautifully designed hotel is a skiers dream with tasteful interiors and slope views, a ski concierge and first tracks with no excuses.
Ski your way down Stowe’s gorgeously groomed Sunrise or Gondolier on Mt Mansfield by day, then lounge at the outdoor heated pool, the posh spa, or enjoy après ski in the Hourglass Bar in the Stowe Mountain lodge with a view of the slopes at Spruce Peak. And be sure to save energy for shopping and après ski in Stowe Village, Stowe is strewn with boutiques, chef-inspired restaurants, cozy pubs like The Whip at the Green Mountain Inn and even a few nightclubs including the legendary Rusty Nail and the Matterhorn.
There’s something magical about the Mad River Valley, covered bridges, cutesy Vermont shops and general stores, and rolling hills blanketed in sparkling snow. Add to the mix two ski mountains interconnected at Sugarbush – Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen, and you have yourself a winter winner. In fact the Slide Brook Express swiftly transports skiers between Sugarbush’s separate slopes, over hotly debated bear mating territory.
Stay slopeside at Sugarbush at The Clay Brook Inn. Or The Inn at Round Barn Farm is an idyllic bed and breakfast off mountain to stay for on your Waitsfield ski trip. Whether you plan to pop the questions or renew your vows – the 1910 Round Barn has served as a wedding locale for so many lovebirds. You may not make first chair at Sugarbush or Mad River Glen, because the three-course breakfasts for Inn guests is so good.
After ripping turns on Ripcord, or just enjoying the panoramic views on Jester, you may find yourself quitting before 4 to return to your fluffy robe, and the roaring fireplace.
Certain nights the Inn hosts moonlight snowshoe dinners, you and your friend can tromp through the forest to a four-course candlelit dinner in a remote cabin. Get this – your guide is Cooper the lovable black lab.
I fell (not on the slopes, fortunately) for the Castle Hill Resort & Spa in Vermont near Okemo. This gorgeous 1905 stone Castle was built for the wealthy Vermont Governor Fletcher (1912-1915) as his turn-of-the-century party palace.
Perhaps you have passed this remarkable mansion perched on the hillside along Route 103 in Cavendish Vermont, just 3-miles from Okemo Mountain Resort.
Inside, The Castle is richly decorated and perfectly preserved with a mahogany paneled library, private dining room and wine cellar. The Castle’s 10 upstairs suites feature lush canopy beds, deep wingback chairs, and rather splendid bathrooms (two have whirlpool tubs). From the oversized windows, you can see Okemo’s snow covered slopes. Or you can draw the velvet drapes, light the fireplace, climb into the posh four-poster bed, and catch first tracks on your next trip.
If you have a proposal in your pocket, the Castle would be prime for popping the question. Perhaps a candlelit dinner by the fire in the Castle’s elegant wood paneled dining room is your chance to spring a ring.
Lodging packages at the Castle Hill Resort and Spa include Champagne and Belgium chocolates in your room, skiing at Okemo, a four-course dinner and breakfast at the Castle, and use of the Aveda Spa facilities with outdoor heated pool and hot tub.
Another historical hamlet in Vermont, The Woodstock Inn is fantastic for skiers and sentimentalists alike – the resort owns both Suicide Six alpine ski area and expansive Nordic facilities, plus a Health Club.
History buffs will love the lore behind the country’s first ski lift, established on the slopes of Suicide Six in 1934. Ask around about the legend behind the name…you are likely to get six answers.
Here’s a romantic story. The same year that ski lift was powered up (by a Model T engine), Laurence S. Rockefeller married Mary Billings French – the matrimonial merger of two great families spawned a legacy of land preservation including Vermont’s only National Park in Woodstock.
Staying at the 142-room Woodstock Inn, you are treated to elegant country lodging, four star dining, and live jazz in the 1793 replica Tavern.
By day, you and your sweetie can carve the fun but not fearsome ski trails (despite how it sounds) at Suicide Six. Guests of the Rockefeller’s 1969 Inn can also cross-country ski around the resort Golf Course or snowshoe up Mt. Peg or Mt. Tom for panoramic views of Vermont, including several perfect places to propose.
The ski slopes of Killington are just 20 miles from Woodstock if you long for the East’s most extensive lift and trail network.
For amusing après ski, you can walk to Woodstock’s covered bridge, cutesy country stores and rather chic boutiques or just snuggle by the Inn’s mesmerizing 20-foot fireplace.
If your girl can rip on her board(s), a weekend at Sunday River is the ticket, and slopeside is the slot. Roll out of bed, into your boots and boards to ski eight interconnected mountains by day, carving the legendary steeps of White Heat and swerving along the scenic s-turns of Lollapalooza.
Go to the Foggy Goggle for some fun après ski then hit the hot tub in the outdoor heated pool. You’ll be rejuvenated and ready for dinner with a view of the groomers dancing on the slopes followed by fireworks and your own chance to dance. The River hosts a rocking concert series with live bands every Saturday night at the White Cap Fun Center.
Final tips for a great date on snow:
Buy her some hand & foot warmers. At $2 a pop at the ski shop – you will warm her up for “up to eight hours.”
Have chocolate in your pocket for the lift ride. Chics dig chocolate.
Pick ego-pleasing trails. You’ll look better, she’ll feel better. Only go for the bumps on Stein’s or the steeps of Outer Limits if you are both experienced and excited about the challenge…
Keep your fingers crossed for snow, and keep your schedule open in case you get “snowed in” with your sweetie in the mountains.