The Big EZ lives up to its name. Designed
to accommodate groups on retreat, this log lodge located a few ridges over from Montana's Big Sky Resort is no dinky cabin. From the enormous native beams that shape the rotunda-style entry to the spacious Great Room, this 13-room inn has a lofty feel. Still, it retains an intimate ambience. Overstuffed leather couches invite lounging before the river-rock fireplace, and regional artwork and collectibles add a sense of place. The rooms, most named after Western states, don't let their namesakes down, promising plenty of room to roam. Each is outfitted with creature comforts such as faux fur quilts, woolly bear footstools and piles of throw pillows, and is connected to the outside world via laptop computer and satellite television. The Lone Star, Montana, Wyoming and Utah rooms step up with stone fireplaces and offer a little extra space. Mealtimes are big here, too. Breakfast might be a pile of steak and potato hash topped with poached eggs, or stacks of blueberry pancakes drizzled with warm blueberry syrup. At dinner, the kitchen goes gourmet, with dishes such as roasted carrot-ginger soup, caribou loin with sun-dried fig demi-glace or a hunk of white chocolate Kahlua cheesecake. The only hard part of your Big EZ stay? Hobbling back to your room after that truly Montana-sized meal. $275-$1,500 per room, including breakfast; 7000 Beaver Creek Road, Big Sky, Mont.; 877-244-3299; bigezlodge.com.
Opening day through Dec. 23, 2004, excluding Thanksgiving
Two nights' lodging in a Deluxe King studio condo at Lakeland Village resort and a two-day lift ticket valid at either Sierra-at-Tahoe or Northstar-at-Tahoe
A wine welcome basket, continental breakfast daily and transportation to the resorts
$153 per person, double occupancy