Hitting the road for the holidays? The following destinations, from guest ranches to resorts, make for the perfect getaway
1. Encantado, Tesuque, New Mexico A member of luxe Auberge Resorts, this contemporary adobe-style resort just outside of Santa Fe features 65 low-slung casitas with wood-burning kivas, luxurious beds and bathtubs made for two. Spend your holiday indulging in the Mountain Spirit Purification treatment at the spa, followed by dinner at Terra. Check out the Southwest Santa Package, and ring in the New Year at Betty’s Bar. encantadoresort.com, 877-262-4666
2. C Lazy U, Granby, Colorado This historic guest ranch is a true winter wonderland. Forty rooms and suites with stylish Western décor are set in hillside lodges. For fun, there’s everything from skiing on private Baldy Mountain to sleigh rides to treatments at the Lazy U Spa. Holiday touches include decorated en-suite trees, Christmas carols and dinner, and a Western swing dance on New Year’s Eve. clazyu.com, 970-887-3344
3. Stein Eriksen Lodge, Deer Valley, Utah Named after the ski legend himself, the Stein beckons elegantly from its mid-mountain perch. Its 180 exquisite guest rooms and suites offer everything from downy comforters to gourmet kitchens, while Glitretind Restaurant, complete with a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, offers the ultimate holiday cheer. Start the New Year off right with the Great Salt Stone Therapy at the 20,000-square-foot Norwegian-style spa. steinlodge.com, 435-649-3700
4. Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson, Wyoming Set in a wildlife sanctuary high above the town of Jackson Hole, this mountain-elegant ranch with inn rooms and mountain villas offers creature comforts galore, from spa treatments at the Wilderness Adventure Spa—try the Call of the Wild Massage—to fine dining at the Granary. Book the three-night New Year’s Eve Package and catch the Jackson Hole fireworks from your perch above town. springcreekranch.com, 800-443-6139
5. Sonnenalp Resort, Vail, Colorado The heart of charming Vail Village is home to this historic resort, which caters to every whim with signature Bavarian hospitality and style. Its 115 luxury suites and 12 hotel rooms are both intimate and elegant. Classic Bavarian cuisine is on the fine-dining menu at Ludwigs, the fondue at Swiss Chalet is tops, and the Mountain Body Glow treatment at the spa lives up to its name. sonnenalp.com, 866-284-4411
6. Big EZ Lodge, Big Sky, Montana Situated in the mountains a few ridges over from Big Sky Resort, the Big EZ is the perfect holiday hideout. Within the grand timber lodge, 12 guest rooms are done up with native log beams, stone fireplaces, faux-fur quilts, wooly bear-shaped footstools and bathrooms with spa showers. At mealtime, the kitchen turns out everything from blueberry pancakes to pan-seared red deer. Soaks in the hillside pool are a must. bigezlodge.com, 877-244-3299
7. Resort at Squaw Creek, Lake Tahoe, California The base of world-class ski resort Squaw Valley USA is the setting for this dramatic ski-in/ski-out destination, which has recently undergone a $53-million renovation. Rooms and suites offer all the comforts of home (and then some), and perks include a heated pool, an ice rink and a full-service spa. Ristorante Montagna and the Gingerbread Village are home base for holiday cheer. squawcreek.com, 800-327-3353
8. Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley, Idaho Celebrating the holidays comes naturally at this historic family-friendly gem, where 148 rooms are done up with cheerful French Country furnishings. Festive activities include a 75th anniversary ice show, a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, carolers, fine dining at Gretchen’s restaurant and celebrations at the Duchin Lounge. sunvalleyresort.com, 800-786-8259
TOP TEN PICKS
1. Find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list at unique boutiques, shops and galleries in mountain towns from tiny Silverton, Colorado, to plush Sun Valley, Utah.
2. Watch Olympics contenders competing at the Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Alpine World Cup on Aspen Mountain, November 27-28 and The Audi Birds of Prey World Cup in Beaver Creek, December 3-5.
3. Catch a favorite holiday show at historic theaters, including A Christmas Carol at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah, the Sun Valley Classical Christmas Concert at the Sun Valley Opera House (208-622-2244) in Sun Valley, Idaho, and The Nutcracker at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado.
4. Check event calendars at ski areas around the West for Holiday Torchlight Parades, which traditionally take place on-mountain on Christmas Eve (in Squaw Valley, Sun Valley, Taos and Telluride) and New Year's Eve (in Breckenridge, Jackson, Steamboat and Vail). Some resorts may let you sign up to join in.
5. Grab a headlamp, snap on your skinny skis and head out for a nighttime ski at the Nordic Center at Robert Redford's Sundance Resort in Utah.
6. Ride the Keystone Gondola at Keystone, Colorado, to the top of North Peak for a Bavarian-style gourmet dinner at the Alpenglow Stube (fuzzy slippers and cocktails await to help you warm up).
7. Wrap up in a Canadian-goose-down parka and slip into the Belvedere Ice Room at the Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, BC, for a sampling of as many as 50 different vodkas. Vodka not your thing? Try the Champagne Lounge instead.
8. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride from the Ashcroft Ski Touring Center to lunch or dinner at the mountain-elegant Pine Creek Cookhouse (12 miles above Aspen, Colorado, in the Castle Creek Valley).
9. Join in the après-ski revelry at hotspots like Nest at the Viceroy Snowmass, The Chocolate Bar at Northstar at Tahoe and Dusty's in Whistler.
10. Make a New Year's resolution to spend more time in your favorite mountain town.