Winter Wonderlands

Are you a steadfast snow bunny who can’t get enough of powdery precipitation? Or, maybe you prefer sipping hot cocoa by a lodge window to admire snow-capped landscapes cozily by a fire. We have rounded up the coldest ‘hot spots’ to visit this winter, and each location offers something for everyone. From cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating…to plenty of fun activities for folks who just want to play in the snow, or relax at the spa. Of course, each hot spot comes packed with magical atmosphere, culture and lively nightlife.

Lake Louise, Canada

Wintering in Banff, specifically Lake Louise, is a bucket list dream of many and reality of few. Located beneath a gorgeous skyline of iconic and jagged peaks, Lake Louise Inn draws visitors with a mountain modern yet rustic mystique. From this home base you can enjoy seasonal ice sculptures, ice skating on the lake, classic horse and sleigh rides, dog sled adventures or visit their superior outdoor spa surrounded by peaks of snow. If you have time, check out the Lake Louise Ski Resort which hosts the most beautiful scenic gondola rides.

Lake Tahoe, California

Ski resorts in Lake Tahoe are as common as micro-breweries in the Pacific Northwest. Encircling an almost 200 square mile lake known as the ‘Jewel of the Sierra’, the Lake Tahoe region is home to 15 ski resorts, endless backcountry terrain and even casinos on the east side of the lake (which are technically in Nevada!) During your visit, be sure to check out extreme tubing options and curling experiences, or hop on one of their daily scenic flights over the lake. Take your chances at a card table and end the day soaking in one of the area’s many healing hot springs.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Wander amongst the outstanding ambiance of this western mountain town nestled in the Grand Tetons. Jackson Hole truly has a wellspring of winter fun to offer. With over 10 ski resorts to choose from and a reputation as being the ‘gold standard’ ski destination in America, visitors will enjoy a number of snow-based activities. From winter wildlife tours and snowmobiling to sleigh rides with reindeer! Visitors can also choose to pursue an afternoon of culture at local galleries, or explore cowboy alpine coasteering at Snow King. Don’t forget to click and capture some unforgettable photos as you glide up and over mountain tops on the tram and gondola rides. 

Hoodoo Ski Area, Sisters, Oregon

Although the word ‘resort’ might be an overstatement for this mom-and-pop ski hill, what this spot may lack in flash, it more than makes up for in unique experiences. Not only do they host ski bikes (that’s right, a custom welded bike for downhill groomers), they also have featured night ski sessions under the moonlight, and are known for throwing one of the best New Year’s parties every year. Just a stone’s throw away, Black Butte Ranch, Suttle Lake Lodge and Camp Sherman all offer scenic accommodation and more down-home charm.

Leavenworth Washington

Willkommin to Washington’s Bavarian village…journey to the heart of the North Cascades and find Leavenworth nestled between peaks in central Washington. Bask in their exquisite winter lights display called ‘Christmas Town’ or explore the Nutcracker Museum and find old-world gifts for loved ones. Chase the best powder and fun while Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or sledding on and around Leavenworth Ski Hill. Don’t forget to check out the idyllic ‘Icicle River Trail’ which traces the famed Wenatchee River.

About the Author

KM Collins
Hailing from the Oregon Territory, K.M. Collins is a geologist-gone-writer. Five generations deep in PNW hydrology, her Grandmothers were daughters of the White Salmon, Clackamas, and Willamette Rivers. Though rowing is her favorite whitewater pastime, she doesn’t discriminate when it comes to paddle sports. Roller skating, snowboarding, and shuttling by bike rank among her favorite land-based activities.

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