– February 2011

The Five Most Romantic Ski Lodges in the West by Rebecca Bredholt

If your normal choice of venue for ski trips is sharing a vacation rental or condo, but you would like to try something more romantic this year, check out one of these lodges for a new wintry experience.

Compiling lists like these is not easy, though. Even getting men and women to agree on a romantic skiing vacation can be futile. Based on a combination of personal experience, research and user reviews, here’s my best recommendation for couples planning a snow covered escape.

Rustic Romance: When it comes to rustic equaling authentic, New Mexico’s Bavarian Lodge cannot be beat. Named one of Travel + Leisure magazine’s most romantic getaways in 2010, this Taos Valley venue features hand carved Swiss moldings and waitresses wearing lederhosen. Their King Ludwig Suite, named after the Bavarian king, has its own balcony with unobstructed views of Kachina Bowl. The best part is the marble covered bathroom with a large Jacuzzi soaking tub – perfect for relaxing after a day on the slopes. Some of the smaller rooms’ décor may border on Disney-esque, but the German food has many visitors coming back for more.

Modern Romance: Aspen already has a lot going for it. Not only is it in the top 10 most romantic cities on TripAdvisor, but it’s also home to The Little Nell, which most couples rank as the second most romantic spot. This five-star hotel offers the only ski in/ski out amenity in the area and is ranked on Condé Nast Traveler’s esteemed Gold List as one of the nation’s top ski resorts. But back to the romance, this 92 room resort makes every couple feel special by offering services like unpacking your luggage and sprinkling the room in rose petals while lighting scented candles. Va-va-voom! You can also get an in-room massage for two or enjoy the heated outdoor pool. If you do happen to venture out, some of the nation’s best slopes await!

Luxurious Romance: If you think surrounding yourself with a cadre of international guests in a $16.5 million dollar exclusive resort in the Grand Teton National Park is romantic, then look no further. Where else can you find a 35-meter pool in the mountains? Located a short, free shuttle drive to the Jackson Hole slopes is this once-in-a-lifetime resort. The panoramic views from 7,000 feet are pretty nice from any angle at this seven acre property – including the one from the private soaking tub in your room. Most of the suites are around 600 to 700 square feet, have woven cow hide chairs and a large window seat. The web site doesn’t mention any packages because at this level of luxury, if you ask for something, they will get it for you – including dog sledding and a sleigh ride to what might be the best dinner of your life. (I saw this massive structure being built when I was there in 2004. It really looks like a celebrity escape.)

Intimate Romance: What might be the best kept secret in Steamboat Springs, Colorado is now out of the bag! Vista Verde Ranch is a small, hidden all-inclusive resort with a gorgeous lobby and outstanding user reviews. The best part? An equestrian program even non-horse people would love. Seriously. They had me at horseback riding in the snow! (full moon and star lit sky optional.) “We have more honeymooners and romantic getaways booked this winter than ever before,” says Stephanie Wilson, who represents the Ranch. Maybe it’s their candle light dinners or the fact that you can have your own private hot tub, or it could be the personalized attention each of their 40 guest rooms receives. Either way, there are only positive things to say about Vista Verde Ranch.

Historic Romance: A child of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies during the Great Depression, Timberline Lodge is a piece of history perched 6,000 feet up in a remote region of Oregon’s Mount Hood. Their new deal for you includes Valentine’s dinner specials and a Wine Maker’s Dinner, a six-course culinary adventure with pairings. Timberline is the state’s only ski in/ski out resort, but before you go, ask about having champagne and truffles placed in your room an additional charge. Just keep in mind that users have noted how sound travels from room to room, but the views here are some of the most spectacular in the West.

Since romance is so personalized, if I’ve left off a resort you think should have been included, let me know.