No pain, no gain. It's a tired old mantra, but valid.
Nowhere, however, does it say "suffer needlessly." Look to your favorite ski towns, where spas have become as important a staple as the après-ski bar. Maybe you're breaking in a new pair of boots, or your head is reeling from the altitude (or that final glass of cabernet at dinner). Whatever your ailment, here are seven ski-specific treatments to get you back on the hill by first chair.
BACHELOR GULCH SPA, RITZ-CARLTON
Beaver Creek, Colo.
Cold hands and feet
Boot and Glove Relief
If the best part of the day is taking off your boots, this treatment's for you: While your hands soak in a cast of peach paraffin, your feet are swabbed with a callus reducer to shed dry and dead skin. That's followed by a warm soak, a rub and a steamed-towel wrap.
$90 for 60 minutes
After your treatment, soak in a lazy-river jacuzzi that meanders through a rock grotto, then drift off in a space designed to resemble a candlelit cave.
THE SPA AT THE RIDGE
The Ache: Sunburn
The Remedy: Sunburn Facial
Sun reflecting off the snow can cause a painful, nasty burn. (Slather on sunscreen 20 minutes before you head out, then reapply at lunch.) If you do get red in the face, this will ease the sting: Using a cooling salve containing vitamins A, C, E and B5 and fatty acids, it reduces redness while healing sun-damaged tissue.
The Price: $55 for 45 minutes
The Perks: Unwind in one of the spa's eucalyptus steam baths before your treatment.
Contact 775-588-3553; ridgetahoeresort.com
CLIFF SPA AT THE CLIFF LODGE
The Ache: Bumps-induced back pain
The Remedy: Cliff Stone Massage Back's taken a pounding on Little Cloud's moguls? The signature hot and cold stone massage employs stones of different temperatures to knead out pesky knots around the base of your spine. Hot stones help stretch muscle tissue; cold stones provide pain relief. Easily the most welcome rocks on the hill.
The Price: $125 for 50 minutes
The Perks: Swim in the heated rooftop pool, then veg on a chaise with a view of Snowbird's steep face.
Contact: 801-933-2225; cliffspa.com
SPA AT THE ST. REGIS
The Ache: Sore quads
The Remedy: Arnica Muscle Therapy Massage with Heat Infusion
You know how you're going to feel the morning after your first ski day-as tight as your Lycra long johns. At the end of Day One, opt for the Arnica massage. A therapist applies the herbal lotion during a deep-tissue massage. Result: No aches on tomorrow's first run.
The Price: $80 for 50 minutes
The Perks: Wade in "The Confluence," a waterfall/hot mineral pool. There's also a free O2 bar if you're feeling whacked by the altitude.
Contact: 888-454-9005; stregisaspen.com
SPA AT THE FOUR SEASONS
Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The Ache: Dry, windburned skin
The Remedy: Shea Butter Skin Luster Body Scrub and Wrap
Shea butter, rich in Vitamin A, is a thirst-quencher for parched, flaky skin. The treatment begins with a body scrub to exfoliate peeling skin, followed by a shea-butter wrap to soften it. Choose from citrus, cucumber or rose shea butters.
The Price: $185 for 80 minutes
The Perks: Couples can book one of the two private spa suites-each with its own fireplace and deep-soaking tub-and take their treatments there.
Contact: 307-732-5062; fourseasons.com/jacksonhole
STOWEFLAKE MOUNTAIN RESORT AND SPA
The Ache: Travel stress
The Remedy: Moor Mud Back
Treatment Moor Mud, the only kkind you'll want to encounter this season, contains over 1,000 organic herbs, essential oils and vitamins, and is thought to ease muscle tension. Mud is applied to the back, followed by a full-body massage, which should help exorcise the tension demons for a while.
The Price: $105 for 50 minutes
The Perks: Sit under the cascading Bingham Falls hydrotherapy waterfall or soak in the Hungarian Mineral Pool to loosen up before your treatment.
Contact: 800-253-2232; stoweflake.com