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Ski Resort Life's Best Après-Ski Spots

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Where: The Penthouse at the Sky Lodge, Park City, Utah

What’ll Snow You: Tickling the ivories on the baby grand piano in the 338-square-foot living room

Cool conditions: There have already been star sightings (drummer Larry Mullen of U2, Dennis Hopper) at Park City’s hip new hotel. No wonder they’re calling it the Chateau Marmont at 7,000 feet. With only 33 rooms, and situated a mere 100 yards from Park City Mountain Resort’s 3,300 acres, the Sky Lodge’s size and location ensure a worthy apres crowd. After a drink at Bar Bohemea (local hangout recently moved on-site) corral your newfound entourage and float up the glass elevator to the Penthouse, a 2,700-square-foot, three-bedroom window on the Wasatch Mountains. Inside, you might screen Sundance films in the expansive theater den, or invite a new friend to lounge about on the massive Anichini-covered beds. Outside, you’re barbecuing steaks, toasting each other in one of two hot tubs, and peering down at Main Street from the 2,800-square-foot wraparound patio (radiant-heated, so bare footsies won’t get cold). Snowball fight, anyone?

The Cold Cash: From $3,000 per night

The Sky Lodge
Tel: 888 876 2525 (toll-free)

Tel: 435 658 2500


Where: The Great Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek, Colorado

What’ll Snow You: The fireplace is a full three stories tall.

Cool Conditions: Imagine the things the elk head mounted on this massive fieldstone fireplace in the Ritz-Carlton has seen: All those flushed skiers and snowboarders, fresh from carving down Beaver Creek’s corduroy runs and powder-field bowls, peeling off clothes and sinking into overstuffed leather couches. Waiters bearing trays of Bachelor Coffees made with Baileys, Grand Marnier, and Kahl¿a. Plates of buffalo quesadillas, smoked-salmon clubs, and chocolate s’mores tarts. Best of all, the fireplace burns wood (pine, usually), with a great aroma; it reaches toward the roof of the lodge, and there are dozens of sofas and chairs all around it, perfect for pushing back into the pillows and watching a Warren Miller film. Trust us: Spend a few hours in front of the crackling fire, and you’ll start to envy the elk.

The Cold Cash: Bachelor Coffee, $8; rooms from $725 per night

The Great Room at the Ritz-Carlton
Tel: 970 748 6200


Where: Hotel Alyeska, Girdwood, Alaska

What’ll Snow You: Watching the Northern Lights in your pajamas and wondering if it was all a dream in the morning

Cool Conditions: True, Alyeska’s 1,000 skiable acres and 631 annual inches of snow mean skiers and riders will want as many z’s as possible at night. But this is Alaska, one of the planet’s prime viewing spots for the aurora borealis in winter. And the solar storms that cause the Northern Lights are at their most frequent and intense around midnight. When visitors check in to the Hotel Alyeska, located 40 miles south of Anchorage on the Turnagain Arm, they can request a special wake-up call when the light show appears. As some of the best views are ten minutes away, staff will shuttle guests to an even more remote corner of the Chugach Mountains. Back in their rooms, skiers can sink into pillow-top mattresses, one benefit of the hotel’s recent multimillion-dollar renovation. And because daylight hours are shorter in winter, lifts don’t start cranking until 10:30 am- plenty of time to sleep in.

The Cold Cash: Rooms from $179 per night

Hotel Alyeska
Tel: 800 880 3880 (toll-free)

Tel: 907 754 2111


Where: Virgin Touch Spa, The Lodge, Verbier, Switzerland

What’ll Snow You: Sweet relief provided by Sir Richard Branson’s own massage therapist

Cool Conditions: Know that blissful feeling that comes from taking off your ski boots? Now multiply it by, oh, a billionaire. At Virgin Group chief Branson’s brand-new nine-bedroom chalet in Verbier, up to 18 adults and six kids can score not only their own indoor pool, ice rink, and full staff but also exclusive access to the Lodge’s Virgin Touch Spa. For the Boot Heaven treatment, Hannah Lightbown, a London-trained beauty and massage therapist specializing in stone work, soothes cramped calves and fatigued feet with 30 minutes of warm-basalt-stone massage. She also stretches those cranky muscles that are most used when skiing¿the ones that you never even knew you had till they began aching after a long day on the hill. (Tomorrow, you’ll be thanking both Lightbown and Branson for helping to restore your mountain mojo.) Fifteen percent of the proceeds from this particular service go toward medical workers in sub-Saharan Africa, further enhancing that apr¿s-ski euphoria.

The Cold Cash: Boot Heaven treatment, $64; from $70,400 per week, including meals and drinks; accommodates up to 18 adults and six children

The Lodge
Tel: 44 208 600 0430


Where: Game Creek Chalet, Vail, Colorado

What’ll Snow You: The bubbly views from 10,500 feet

Cool Conditions: Vail’s private Game Creek Chalet is perched in the trees of Game Creek Bowl, so skiers can end their day yodeling on high instead of battling the bottlenecks down below. While others are still caught in the base-area brouhaha, Game Creek guests can be soaking in the six-person hot tub on the deck and reveling in the views of the White River Forest and the entire Vail Valley. You can even choose your first run of the next day from the tub, by peering onto Lost Boy and Dealer’s Choice, two ideal warm-ups. But first, there is the evening, and the chalet, all to yourself. A personal chef in the kitchen is preparing hors d’oeuvres, popping Veuve Clicquot, and marinating the venison loin; otherwise, your only companions are the clouds in the sunset-golden sky and the special person (or people) semi-naked next to you.

The Cold Cash: From $4,500 per night; includes breakfast, lift tickets, half-day private ski instruction, and dinner; accommodates up to four

Game Creek Chalet
Tel: 877 528 7625 (toll-free)

Tel: 970 476 5011


Where: The Chalet at Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont

What’ll Snow You: The aroma from the fireplace, matched only by the perfumes from the award-winning kitchen

Cool Conditions: Oh, the varied delights at Twin Farms, the luxury resort in the Green Mountains that even has its own ski hill, complete with six runs and a 700-foot vertical drop. But the biggest treat at this 300-acre estate is a night at the Chalet, one of the inn’s ten freestanding cottages. At 3,000 square feet, it’s both expansive and cozy, with exposed birch rafters, interior design by Architectural Digest darling Thad Hayes, and a floor-to-ceiling fieldstone fireplace. The staff stocks the 15-by-6-foot fireplace with aromatic dry maple and oak and will light ‘er up for you if you failed to earn that particular badge in the Scouts. For those in need of more warmth, you can treat your skiing party to the entire Twin Farms property, where the fireplace-to-room ratio is better than two-to-one, for $38,000 a night.

The Cold Cash: From $2,850 per night, including meals, beverages, ski gear, and access to the private hill

Twin Farms
Tel: 800 894 6327


Where: Le Chamois, Squaw Valley, California

What’ll Snow You: The California sunshine

Cool Conditions: It’s that magical, mid-afternoon time below the six mountain peaks of Squaw Valley, when the sun heats up “the Chammy” and everyone who’s survived the steeps, bowls, and 177 trails slides in for the perfect patio party. Skiing glitterati and Olympians Daron Rahlves, Jonny Moseley, and Julia Mancuso are regulars at this bar, which dates from 1969 and is almost always thumping with music, ski boots, and the ideal apres-ski fare of 16-inch pepperoni pizzas, gooey jalape¿o poppers, and wings by the dozen. For a guaranteed good time, go in March or April and order Fat Tire, the only microbrew on tap outside. But then again, the Chammy is always celebrating something: Halloween with a costume party, their customers with roast pig (thanks!) and a DJ, New Year’s Eve with disco. Or just afternoon on a powder day with a few pints of Fat Tire ale.

The Cold Cash: Pizza from $8.95; pints of Fat Tire Amber Ale, $4

La Chamois
Tel: 530 583 4505


Where: 39 Degrees Lounge at the Sky Hotel, Aspen, Colorado

What’ll Snow You: The 104-degree water temperature; the only thing steamier is the scene itself

Cool Conditions: We no longer have to imagine what lies beneath the long underwear. The very steamy hot tub just outside the Sky Hotel’s bar, 39 Degrees , is open to both guests and drinkers. And you’ll also find both bump-bashers and snow bunnies stripping down to their Escada and Prada bikinis and trunks to frolic around the bar, the heated pool, and the ten-person hot tub, with its mosaic of blue ceramic tiles. (But c’mon, you can always squeeze a few more people in there.) Model-esque schussers sip four-ounce M¿nage-¿-Trois martinis made with Stoli Vanil, Van Gogh Double Espresso vodka, Baileys, and Kahl¿a. There’s even a waterfall to complete the fantasy. Consider it the winter version of a sexy pool party.

The Cold Cash: Martini, $12; rooms from $199 per night

39 Degrees Lounge
Tel: 800 882 2582 (toll-free)

Tel: 970 925 6760


Where: Wildflower Restaurant at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

What’ll Snow You:The three-month prep time of the cedar-planked wild B.C. salmon

Cool Conditions: After slaying some of Whistler Blackcomb’s 8,171 acres, who wants so-so sandwiches and soggy fries? At the grand Fairmont, executive chef Vincent Stufano uses locally grown and organic ingredients to create cuisine as world-class as the surrounding terrain. But there’s one dish that’s so out-there …well, you have to experience it. Better order early, though. Stufano starts preparing the aged maple glaze for his cedar-planked salmon when the rest of the world is still celebrating Labor Day. The season-long process involves 200-liter oak barrels, whiskey, maple syrup, even more whiskey, and four daily stirrings. After the chef immerses a choice filet of wild salmon in the concoction, he bakes it on cedar. The result tastes like the sea swept up to meet the forest, just like British Columbia itself. A bottle of the B.C. Blasted Church Pinot Noir, B.C. Dungeness crab cakes, and the lemon tart round out the meal. What a sweet mix.

The Cold Cash: Dinner, $210 for two, including tax and tip; rooms from $429 per night

Wildflower Restaurant
Tel: 604 938 2033


Where: The Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville, Utah

What’ll Snow You: The first whiff of the Star Burger when it’s slid in front of you.

Cool Conditions: You’ve burned a bus load of calories today at nearby Snowbasin Ski Resort, site of the 2002 Olympic downhill events. So you deserve the Star Burger, a calorie bomb comprised of two beef patties topped with knockwurst, cheese, onions, special seasoning, mustard, ketchup, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes. It comes on a sesame-seed bun. Don’t ask how many ounces it is¿owners John and Heidi Posnien have never weighed one. And don’t ask for it any other way. Shooting Star, whose jukebox still works, whose ceiling is papered with dollar bills, and whose animal heads peer down on patrons while they’re savoring the Star Burger, has been open since 1879 and hasn’t suffered any fools since. “We are not a restaurant,” the menu scoffs. “Please, no special orders.” And try to ignore the fact that on said menu, the Star Burger is listed just below cigarettes.

The Cold Cash: Star Burger, $5.95, including chips

Shooting Star Saloon

Tel: 801 745 2002


Where: The Beach, Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

What’ll Snow You: The actual distance to a real, oceanfront beach

Cool Conditions: Of all the wacky springtime traditions at ski resorts — pond skims, dummy races, Jimmy Buffet mania — none is more fun or more storied than tailgating in the parking lot, or Beach, of Arapahoe Basin, 68 miles west of Denver. If you’re smart, you’ve arrived early in order to snag one of the prime slope-side parking spots (or better yet, called to reserve). Then head up the mountain, and maybe even take your turn on Pallavicini, the signature steep that swallows skiers on its 45-degree pitch while everyone watches from the chairlift. Then it’s back to the auto and the Beach — with luck, you’ve remembered the grill, the portable beach chairs, the Frisbee, the camera, and enough beverages and meat products to last all night. Because you won’t be remembering much of anything tomorrow.

The Cold Cash: $100 a day for one of the six best spots, which fit two cars apiece

Arapahoe Basin
Tel: 888 272 7246 (toll-free)

Tel: 970 468 0718


Where: Stagecoach Bar, Wilson, Wyoming

What’ll Snow You: The off-the-wall antics — barflies once paid $300 to see a patron stuff himself into the popcorn machine

Cool Conditions: Who doesn’t love a good dive bar, especially after a day of falling down the mountain? And this just might be the king of dive bars. The Stagecoach band, which plays western and bluegrass on Sunday evenings (and has been doing so since 1969), is alone worth the eight-mile drive from Jackson Hole. Then again, so is Thursday’s raunchy Disco Night. So is any day of the week, when the wood-paneled walls see yet another grab bag of locals, ski stars, and CEOs rub leather-, Gore-Tex-, and Carhartt-clad elbows together over whiskey and pitchers of cheap beer. Oh, and rumor has it that ranch hands used to ride their horses into the Stagecoach, so it’s OK to leave your ski boots on.

The Cold Cash: Pitcher of Pabst Blue Ribbon, $9

Stagecoach Bar
Tel: 307 733 4407


Where: Chalet Casa Nova, Deer Valley Resort, Park City, Utah

What’ll Snow You: The oxygen bar in the family room (near the wine cellar, full-size billiards table, and 60-inch HDTV with Xbox), to help handle the 9,000-foot altitude

Cool Conditions: Foot for foot, acre for acre, it’s hard to beat Utah’s Deer Valley if you’re a skier looking for room to swing your poles. Lift-ticket sales are limited, and snowboarders are prohibited — allowing maximum carving room. So it only makes sense that the fortunate few can now also spend nights in the 13,000-square-foot Chalet Casa Nova. Debuting this season, the on-mountain mansion, located in the prestigious Deer Crest community, sleeps 14 guests in seven bedrooms. While we’re counting, Casa Nova has 11 marble and granite bathrooms, ten fireplaces, ten terraces looking onto the Jordanelle Reservoir and Uinta Mountains, 13 flat-screens (the largest is 133 inches, located in a screening room that seats 15), four bars, one wood-burning pizza oven, and one full spa. The ski-in, ski-out chalet includes a butler, chef, and ski guide. If that’s not enough space for you (we mentioned it was 13,000 square feet, right?), there’s a spot in India called the Taj Mahal, but, alas, not much snow.

The Cold Cash: From $59,500 per week, including most meals; accommodates 14 adults or up to 25 adults and children

Chalet Casa Nova
Tel: 800 978 5002

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