When people picture a luxury vacation, Utah isn’t always the first place that comes to mind. The truth is, however, a ski trip to Utah can allow you to be active in the outdoors as well as enjoy world-class dining, superior accommodations and pampering spa treatments. For those who want one of the country’s best luxury powder experiences, here are some suggestions.
Pure mountain luxury
For travelers looking to spend most of their time on the slopes, Alta is a must. Located less than an hour from Salt Lake City, the romantic mountain town is perched at the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon, surrounded by high Alpine meadows, lakes, rocky tundra and unworldly granite cliffs carved by glaciers. What’s truly unique about the Alta ski area is it’s one of only three mountains in the country that offers skiing but no snowboarding, allowing for softer, more high-quality snow. Moreover, it was one of the first ski areas in the country and many of the sport’s techniques were developed here.
In terms of accommodation, there are five base lodges as well as home rentals. For true rustic luxury, stay at Alta’s Rustler Lodge. Built in the 1960s, you’ll see antique furnishings blended with modern amenities. Grab a cocktail and take in mountain views in the Eagle’s Nest Lounge, take a dip while immersed in natural beauty in their outdoor heated pool or awaken your muscles with a morning stretch class or some time in the Eucalytpus Steam Room. After enjoying the property’s ski-in, ski-out access that takes you straight to the Alta Ski Lift Base, rejuvenate at the lodge’s spa. We recommend a soothing and gentle Swedish Massage, moisturizing organic facial or rich coconut cream firming treatment. A homemade buffet breakfast and a fine dining dinner experience created by Chef Ed McCall is included in the room rate.
Luxury tip: Ask for a room with a balcony and view. You can sip some wine or enjoy a gourmet snack while watching talented skiers take on challenging slopes. It’s some of the best free entertainment you can get.
Decadent ski culture
Park City is a mecca for skiing. Here, nestled within the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, you’ll find Canyons Resort, the largest ski resort in Utah with over 4,000 skiable acres and over 3,000 feet of vertical. Moreover, no matter what level you ski at you’ll enjoy yourself, as each lift takes you to a mountain with multiple level options for getting down. If you’re not a fan of chilly ski lifts, the resort offers the Orange Bubble Express, North America’s only heated and covered chair lift. Along with taking lessons from one of the staff guides, luxury ski travelers may also opt to take a private lesson with Olympic athletes like Kaylin Richardson and Graham Watanabe through the “Ultimate Mountain Experience”.
What makes this ski location really special is you don’t have to be a skier to enjoy it. The Canyons Resort Village is home to retail shops, accommodation, world-class restaurants and indulgent spas. Enjoy artisanal dishes showcasing locally-sourced ingredients within 200 miles of Park City at The Farm, upscale kosher dining at Bistro at Canyons and regional cuisine an apres ski menu with a view at Lookout Cabin. For a drink, Red Tail Grill boasts 14 kinds of fresh-fruit margaritas,Drafts offers 50 international beers and an extensive wine list and Escala Provisions Company and Marketplace is one of Utah’s best venues for a handcrafted cocktail. After you’ve satiated your palate, sunbathe in front of the mountain at the “Ski Beach.”
For a truly decadent stay in the Canyons Resort Village, opt for the Waldorf Astoria Park City. With guestrooms featuring custom furnishings, fireplaces and soft chocolate brown accents and suites offering state-of-the-art kitchens and unmatched views of the mountains and slopes, you’ll be immersed in luxury at all times. For something “cool” sip some bubbly at their Powder Champagne Ice Lounge, a 14-foot-bar made entirely of ice with ice chairs and sculptures. When it’s time to warm up, head to Powder for an apres ski dinner and drinks or a gourmet hot chocolate prepared tableside using a traditional Mexican hand-carved whisk and rich Valrhona chocolate. At dinnertime, their fine-dining Slopes restaurant serves gourmet dishes using locally-sourced ingredients like Manti Elk Carpaccio served with quail egg and Parmesan and Pine Seared Chicken with leeks and mountain mushrooms. To really indulge, opt for their Warm Butterscotch Pudding, which you make yourself by topping chunks of pound cake with butterscotch, salted caramel and toasted pistachio cream.
Luxury tip: One of the most luxurious spas in the world is located in the Waldorf Astoria Park City, the Golden Door Spa. In fact, this brand was created by wellness visionary Deborah Szekely and is touted as the country’s first luxury destination spa brand. The 16,000-square-foot facility offers an on-site naturopathic physician, full-service hair and nail salon, a fitness center, life coaching, meditation and 15 treatment rooms for massages, facials and treatments. We recommend a “4-Handed Massage,” “Seasonal Organic Facial” or a “Japan Ritual,” which exfoliates the skin with a gingergrass bamboo scrub, softens with cherry rice blossoms and massages with wild lime and plum blossoms. Afterward, hangout in the steam room or hot tub.
Because the owner of Deer Valley, the Stern Family, worked and owned 5-star hotels before buying and opening the resort, it’s no surprise the main focus is on luxury service. Each year, the resort is constantly rated as a top ski destination thanks to its luxury amenities, some of which include ski valets to carry guests’ ski gear, complimentary overnight ski check services and the handing out of tissues on the line for the lift. Skiers at Deer Valley will also appreciate uniformed employees referring to them as “guests” instead of customers, giving the ski resort a more VIP feel. This mountain also doesn’t allow snowboards, allowing for the highest quality of snow for skiers.
At Deer Valley, you can enjoy upscale dining morning, noon and night at restaurants. We recommend having a meal at Fireside Dining, which features multi-course European Alp cuisine served from stone fireplaces. Moreover, EBS Lounge offers beer, wine and cocktails along with apres ski snacks. And for when you want to explore the town, Park City’s Main Street is only a 15 minute walk or three minute drive from Snow Park, Deer Valley Resort’s base.
For a truly luxurious stay, book a room at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City’s only 5-star, 5-Diamond rated hotel and lodge. The property features 68 suites and 112 guestrooms in a European design as well as bold wood furniture, enormous fireplaces and over-sized closets. Take a dip in the hot tub or whirlpool, taking a private ski lesson with an onsite professional or sample upscale regional cuisine in their Glitretind or Troll Hallen restaurants. Guests also have the option to ski in and out of Deer Valley Resort’s Silver Lake mid-mountain village and rent gear right in the hotel. For extra luxury opt for a suite with a hot tub right on your own private balcony where you can watch skiers bombing down the slopes.
Luxury tip: After spending time on the slopes, their onsite spa is the perfect way to soothe sore muscles and unwind with customized treatments based on indigenous ingredients. Opt for an “Aspen Oasis”, which begins with a lavender and tangerine scrub and ends with a Vichy shower and massage with heated aromatic lotion, or the “Nordic Detox” for the elimination of toxins from the body through a warming body wrap.