Skiing is so passé. Okay, not really, but why just go down the normal black diamond when you can take a helicopter to a special site to ski? Or how about taking a fat-tired bike out in the snow? With all the unusual and fascinating things happening on (or near) the ski slopes, resorts and venues have quite the interesting winter in store for guests.
Try Helitrax’s heli-skiing
Never before has the Vail Valley seen this sort of marriage between a helicopter and a pair of skies. Guests of the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa can book a private helicopter with Telluride Helitrax to take them from Beaver Creek, over the San Juan Mountain Range, to Telluride so they can spend time on secluded slopes. Book the four-day Ultimate Heli-Ski Experience that includes this adventure, as well as luxury accommodations, a therapeutic massage for each guest and a private dinner at 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill’s chef’s table. The deal also includes HD camera goggles by Zeal, so you can capture each amazing moment of powder, air and fun.
Go fat-tire biking
What, you’ve never heard of fat-tire biking in the snow? Neither had we until The Hotel Telluride started offering a Bike & Brew package that included a Telluride Bootdoctors tour on a bike with five-inch-thick tires. The vacation deal also comes with a three-night stay at the hotel, daily breakfast and a chef’s dinner. Oh, and did we mention that two of the stops on the bike tour were to Telluride Distilling Company and Telluride Brewing Company, the town’s award-winning brewery?
See nature and art from a sleigh
A great way to get out in the snow while staying snug can be found with Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole’s special wildlife art and sleigh rides. Each eight-hour adventure travels from the Five-Star property into Grand Teton National Park to see the National Museum of Wildlife Art and then the National Elk Refuge. The museum has the country’s largest public collection of Carl Rungius’ works. After seeing the art, you get a gourmet lunch before being whisked away to the reserve. Over 7,000 elk reside in this area. Being on the sleigh, you get to see some of them up close. Another bonus: while cruising around in the powdery paradise, you’re given hot drinks and snacks.
Bask in a ski-in, ski-out spa treatment
After a long day going up and down Colorado’s Snowmass mountain, what could be better than recovering in a spa? Now you can get that much-needed relief the second you leave the slopes. At Viceroy Snowmass’ spa, you will find a host of Ute Indian-inspired treatments and holistic services aimed to help the avid skier get back on the mountain as quickly as possible. This means you can kick off your boots and get a 30-minute sweet birch and sea salt soak followed by a circulation-inducing foot rub. Or trying reinvigorating your extremities with a hydrating salve and massage perfect for parched skin. Once you’re refreshed, pop the boots back on and head down the mountain a few more times.
Experience a nighttime ride around the mountainside
The best part about a ski slope adventure at Idaho’s Sun Valley resort is that you don’t have to actually get in the snow or on skies to have fun. When you ride the Beast, you’re afforded an up-close-and-personal look at the imposing metal contraption that keeps the slopes of Bald and Dollar mountains in pristine condition. Each weekend two guests from the property are able to book a ride on one of the two massive machines. Get off at The Roundhouse, an awesome restaurant on Baldy, or stay on board for the whole stretch. If you choose the latter, the driver will share tales of groomers past and explain what it’s like to ride the mountain every night.
Take a snowcat tour
See the slopes on the back of a fast-moving snowcat during a unique tour offered at Montana’s Five-Star The Ranch at Rock Creek. These truck-sized machines with special traction to help them move through unforgiving terrain are packed with families or small groups for an afternoon of natural sightseeing or a wintry picnic. In addition to snacks and drinks, the vehicles come equipped with snowshoes and cross-country skies, too, in case that urge to explore on two feet hits you.