The weather outside turns frightful, but winter sport lovers couldn’t be more elated. Winter is not only a good time for a variety of activities that have been bundled up and heavily anticipated throughout spring, summer and fall, but it also is a fine time to travel. You can avoid the crowds of summer and hideaway in your own winter wonderland. If you are searching for some of the best locales to take your snowshoes, don’t pass up these four hot spots for cool winter escapes across the U.S.
When you can’t make it to the Bavarian Alps, the next best thing just might be Leavenworth, Washington. Nestled into the Washington Cascades, Leavenworth embraces the steins and lederhosen to have a decidedly Bavarian feel. It also makes for one of the best spots in the country to head to during the winter months. Run by the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club, the Leavenworth Ski Hill sits right in town. The area boasts rope tows, a terrain park, tubing and downhill skiing. In addition to the Leavenworth Ski Hill, the area hosts two first class ski areas within 40 miles of town. Mission Ridge boasts legendary tree skiing while Stevens Pass Mountain Resort caters to all skiing ability levels with 37 major runs. Snoqualmie Pass is also within 90 miles of Leavenworth.
If you need to rest those aching bones after a day of skiing, tubing or snowshoeing, Pine River Ranch supplies the isolation of being in a winter wonderland but also the convenience of sitting close to town. The bed and breakfast resides just 20 minutes from Stevens Pass Ski Resort and the town of Leavenworth. Guests can hole up in one of the six Pacific Northwest inspired suites complete with private Jacuzzi spas and river rock fireplaces. Stays at Pine River Ranch frequently lead to guests wanting to host their event on site. The property can accommodate weddings, business retreats and other events.
Saratoga, Wyoming might not be on every traveler’s radar for a winter hot spot, but if you enjoy soaking in some hot springs after a long day of skiing and snowmobiling, this community is right up your alley. Surrounded by several mountains including Elk Mountain, Snowy Range Mountains and the Sierra Madre Mountains, Saratoga is naturally gifted when it comes to its winter pursuits. The town sits right within reach of the Medicine Bow National Forest, known for holding over 245 miles of snowmobiling trails. The Snowy Range Mountains were rated as one of the best snowmobiling trail areas in the West by SnoWest Magazine. In addition to snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing are possible throughout the Sierra Madre Mountains at Brush Creek Ski Trail and Bottle Creek Ski Trail.
From snowmobiling to snowshoeing, when you need luxury after fighting the elements all day, Brush Creek Ranch answers. Located on 15,000 scenic acres of land, the ranch claims a 38,000 square foot lodge, cabin suites and residences. Brush Creek Ranch in the Platte River Valley also offers luxury camping opportunities and its legendary Trailhead Spa with a sauna, steam room and outdoor Jacuzzi.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs bubbles with not just hot springs but also winter sport enthusiasts. Once the snow hits the mountains of Colorado, Steamboat Springs rejoices. The premier ski and snowboarding destination balances the identity of being a ski village with a certain Western authenticity. At an elevation of 6,695 feet, Steamboat Springs is easy to reach from Denver by plane or car, sitting just west of the Continental Divide and Rabbit Ears Pass. In addition to being a skier’s dream, Steamboat Springs also lends snowmobiling, night skiing and other winter activities.
While you’re in the area, you can rest, relax and keep busy at the nearby Home Ranch. The Colorado dude ranch rests just 18 miles north of Steamboat Springs. When winter snowfalls blanket everything within view, Home Ranch comes alive with winter musings such as cross country skiing, sleigh rides, skate skiing, tubing and even winter horseback riding. Even if you aren’t the winter sports fan, you can always cozy up with a good book by the fire at the main lodge. If you want to reach Steamboat Ski Resort, you can take advantage of the luxury ranch’s complimentary shuttle to and from the base.
After a White Christmas viewing, you might be dreaming of a snowy winter wonderland in Vermont, just like the one Bing Crosby crooned over in the film. Chester, Vermont provides that location, where the snow falls across a decidedly Victorian town in the winter months. Located in Okemo Valley Region in south-central Vermont, Chester keeps thing quaint and cute with art galleries, shops, cafes and Victorian architecture. For winter sports fans, Chester makes for a good base for exploring several ski areas including Okemo, Mount Snow and Killington. Cross-country skiing, winter sports, sleigh and wagon rides are also possible in and around Chester.
When you are seeking that classic inn experience nearby, you can head to the Williams River House at Fox Chair Mountain Farm. While embraced as a great spot for elopements, weddings and other events, the site is also an award winning inn and guesthouse with a few cozy suites. The Williams River House yields 1780 roots across 46 acres of south central Vermont. Guests can not only reach those Chester ski resorts but also snowshoe, tube or even go sledding in the area.
What’s your favorite winter hot spot on our list?
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