Winter is coming, and one of the best places to hunker down and enjoy the snow, chilly air and cold-weather sports is an upscale mountain town. Whether you like to hit the slopes for skiing or lounge on them in a horse-drawn sleigh, there’s plenty to do when it’s freezing.
Add the relaxation of a roaring outdoor fire, endless glasses of rich red wine and comforting food to keep you padded and happy, and you’re talking cold-weather vacation perfection.
Here are four amazing places to keep you cozy all winter long.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
With a bona fide Western-style town square, Jackson Hole is a Wyoming hot spot that provides snow, mountains and rugged adventure. Hop on a snowmobile and zoom across the traffic-free winter terrain of Yellowstone National Park, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, have a team of Alaskan huskies pull your family on a sled or hike a snowy mountain for some exclusive backcountry skiing.
Don’t forget to cap off a memorable day on the slopes by warming up at the nearby Granite Hot Springs.
When you’re done exploring the rugged terrain, make your way back to the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole for rustic-chic surroundings at the base of the mountain and all the necessary creature comforts.
Another booking option is the historic Four-Star The Wort Hotel, which imparts a sophisticated vibe in a more down-to-earth and classic way near the town square.
No matter where you stay, for dinner you’ll want to embrace your Old West locale by ordering a dry-aged steak and plate of smashed potatoes with béarnaise sauce from the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse.
After you’ve had your fill, grab a craft cocktail at The Rose and get ready to head back out into the snow.
It’s not every day you get to visit a car-free town, but Zermatt has always been this way. And, just as you can expect a certain type of peace from the lack of motors, you can also count on snow to be gracing the area, which is located at the base of the country’s famous Matterhorn mountain. To say this is a beautiful destination is an understatement — not only does the town showcase the majesty of winter, but it’s also home to some fantastic restaurants and luxury accommodations.
Rest your head at Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, a venue that has served the area since 1879 and features a horse-drawn carriage in lieu of a house car, ski concierge services and three elegant restaurants.
Or book a room more than 10,000 feet above sea level at 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat and enjoy the bragging rights of saying you stayed in one of Europe’s highest hotels.
Dine on top of the world surrounded by 29 stunning peaks at the sky-high property’s Vis-à-Vis restaurant, which serves regional favorites with a focus on local ingredients.
When you’re not eating, wander the village and peruse art galleries, take a ride on a high-elevation cable car or bask in the numerous ski slopes.
For decades, this swanky ski town has combined luxury with the laid-back mountain living that celebrities and locals love. Aspen is refined and high end, yet comfortable enough that no one will bat an eye if you show up to dinner in Uggs and a snug tunic.
Après ski can be had at Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain right next to the Silver Queen Gondola; it’s the place to go for a plate of truffle fries and flavorful French onion soup.
If you’re not too full after all of that, grab dinner and drinks at Jimmy’s, an American bar and restaurant with fantastic food, satisfying cocktails and a wine list that reads like a romance novel.
From there, amble to one of the area’s superb mountain stays, such as Four-Star The St. Regis Aspen Resort or Five-Star The Little Nell. Active types will appreciate the ski-in, ski-out aspects of both hotels, which also have hot tubs outside so you can soak while the snow falls.
Another choice for both eating and sleeping is the historic Four-Star Hotel Jerome, which has operated in some respects since the early 20th century and features charmingly eclectic décor and the all-day dining of Prospect.
St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
Spend your winter in Austria in one of the most picturesque Alpine ski villages in the world. A small town with fewer than 2,500 residents, St. Anton am Arlberg gives off a more exclusive vibe than some of the larger winter resorts you might consider for a vacation.
Skiers will love the history behind the place, a town roughly six hours from Vienna that is credited with helping to invent the sport. Stop by the Museum St. Anton am Arlberg for an in-depth lesson in local lore.
It’s no surprise that après ski is also popular here. For a taste of mountain fare, check out Krazy Kanguruh, a happening party spot that serves steaks, comforting rosti, wiener schnitzel and burgers.
Book a stay at Hotel Anton, a family-run, ski-in, ski-out property that provides a great perch for a day on the slopes. If you’re traveling with a large group, or just want a lot of space, the it also offers a four-bedroom private loft complete with a kitchen, terrace, steam and sauna facilities and a Jacuzzi.
During your stay, make sure to check out the hotel’s restaurant and elegant bar before, after or between your winter adventures.