Mountain dining “experiences” are a dime-a-dozen at ski resorts and in mountain towns everywhere. To be honest, many are overpriced and serve up mediocre cuisine. If you’re going to shell out the cash—often upwards of $150-$200 per diner—you want to at least know that you’re paying for more than a pleasant sleigh or gondola ride through twinkling lights.
These five dinner options are the real deal: Great ambience complemented by an amazing meal, and occasionally even a ski back down on fresh-groomed slopes afterwards.
Pine Creek Cookhouse, Ashcroft, Colo.
Ski tour, Nordic ski, snowshoe, or take a sleigh ride in to this historic cabin in the ghost town of Ashcroft, 30 minutes outside of Aspen. The 1.5-mile trip to the Pine Creek Cookhouse departs from the Ashcroft Adventure Center and wends along the facility’s 35 kilometers of groomed trails. The Cookhouse, which also offers lunch, serves a prix-fixe four-course dinner with entrees such as peppercorn-crusted buffalo tenderloin and sautéed ruby rainbow trout, but the amazing apple crisp alone is worth the trek to get there. Reservations here.
Eagle’s Eye, Kicking Horse, B.C.
Put this one on your list for next winter. The food, the views, and the overall ambience at this summit restaurant are tops. Ride the Golden Eagle Express gondola to 7,700 feet, where your table at Eagle’s Eye will afford you views of the Selkirk and Purcell ranges. The extensive menu from chef Christel Grenier features vegan and vegetarian options in addition to dishes using the freshest AAA Alberta beef tenderloin. The floor-to-ceiling windows and massive stone fireplace round out the experience. Reservations here.
Allyn’s Lodge, Sugarbush, Vt.
Catch a ride in the snowcat, or skin, hike, or snowshoe up to Allyn’s Lodge for its remote fireside dining experience. For those working for their dinner, the two-mile adventure is guided and takes a couple hours, so come prepared. Also, come hungry. The five-course dinner from the kitchen of chef Jim Dinan features local and regional ingredients, kicks off with fondue and champagne, and wraps with a rich dessert. Allyn’s, a rustic warming hut by day, morphs into a cozy spot for the fireside dinners, anchored by a gigantic two-sided hearth and plenty of candles. If you opt to ski down, you’ll lay first tracks on a freshly groomed run to the base. Reservations here.
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Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Mont.
Lone Mountain Ranch sits in an idyllic spot between Big Sky Resort and Yellowstone, with all the views you would imagine taking in from such a location. The ranch’s sleigh ride dinners treat people to a prime rib meal bracketed by a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the woods to and from a cozy-rustic cabin. Huddle under wool blankets and settle into the three-mile sleigh ride to the lantern-lit cabin, where the portions are big and the cowboys just might treat you to ballads they wrote themselves. Reservations here.
Alpino Vino, Telluride, Colo.
Guests endure a steep and bumpy snowcat ride to this on-mountain cabin for one of the best meals in Telluride, and each lurch and rumble is well worth it. Ogle beautiful San Juan views on the patio with a flute of champagne before settling into your table at the small but cozy cabin and enjoying a delicious wine-paired meal from Italian-born chef Nicola Peccedis. Originally built as a private home on a historic mining claim, Alpino Vino’s hand-hewn wood beams, stone floors, and wood-burning fireplace transport diners straight to the rustic huts of the Dolomites, and the authentic Italian cuisine certainly helps that cause. Reservations here.
More From the 2021 Editors’ Choice Trip to Telluride
Telluride: A Town Above
Our Favorite Places to Eat in Telluride: Mining and Dining
Best Lodging Options in Telluride: It Takes a Village
Go Heliskiing: Telluride Helitrax
Backcountry Skiing: Alta Lakes Observatory