USA Today’s new Travel Ski Experience section brings us a list of what they deem to be the “Top 10 Best Guy Ski Resort Trips“.
“The prerequisites for a memorable guys’ (or girls’) trip are minimal, consisting of only three things: good friends, time and a destination. But why stop there when you can also have kicking bars, jovial crowds, maybe a blackjack table or roulette wheel, and killer skiing? Here are our picks for the top ten guys’ trip winter resort destinations.” – USA Today
Top 10 Best Guy Ski Resort Trips
10. Taos, N.M.
For a guy’s escape with a real tinge of culture and history, coupled with a legit mountain, Taos hits on all cylinders. The Taos Pueblo is the oldest continuously-occupied community in the country, with Native American residences dating back over 1,000 years. In town, the margaritas and Southwest fare are the best among U.S. ski towns. The mountain features precipitous slopes, crowned by the 12,481-foot Kachina Peak, a stunning high-alpine realm of hike-to terrain.
9. Hunter Mountain, N.Y.
For a mid-sized mountain — 240 acres, ten lifts and a 1,600-foot vertical drop — Hunter packs an outsized punch, with three distinct mountains and a terrain park – oh, and one of the most thumping party scenes on the East Coast. The après vibe in the Main Bar can feel like Manhattan-club-meets-frat-party, especially on live music nights, and from there a couple dozen dining and partying options can keep things going late into the evening.
8. Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Jackson can handle every tier of guy trip. Bonding over single malt and cigars while deciding which company to buy next? Hit the Four Seasons. Bar-hopping in cowboy venues, rocking to live music and road testing pick-up lines? Stay in Jackson, 15 minutes from the mountain. Looking under the ’97 Subaru floor mat for beer money? The venerable Hostel is calling. Oh, and don’t forget to ski 4,200 of the most brag-worthy vertical feet in the country.
7. Vail, Colo.
For those seeking a self-propelled scene that never runs low on energy, Vail serves up variety and an always-lively crowd. Check the après vibe at Garfinkel’s, the live music at Red Lion or Shakedown, or see how your NCAA bracket is holding up at the Sandbar Sports Grill. The pedestrian mall in the village and the efficient bus service means nobody has to volunteer to be designated driver. And the largest skiable acreage in the country means every dude can find his perfect run.
6. Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
Of the many (many!) things Canadians have mastered, partying is near the top, and Whistler is Exhibit A as proof. The restaurant and bar options in the Intrawest village at the base run the gamut, from acoustic picking taverns for après ski to thumping late-night discos. On the mountain, the one-upmanship knows no bounds, and might just culminate in a day in the chopper courtesy of Whistler Heli-Skiing.
5. Killington, Vt.
The beast of the East brings it in a host of testosterone categories, from challenging terrain on 73 miles of trails across 1,509 acres (and a 3,050-foot vertical drop) to one of the more memorable après options around: the Motor Room Bar, in the original drive terminal of Killington’s very first four-passenger lift (access by pre-arranged snowcat). It’s all here: steakhouses, pizza, fine dining, quaint taverns and rugged bars.
4. St. Anton, Austria
Often what makes a guys’ trip are the characters you meet along the way. How about dudes in felt Tyrolean hats tap-dancing on the bar? It happens in St. Anton, as do DJs spinning until 6 a.m. (!) at the Kandahar, an activity that may not be compatible with the 8:30 a.m. lift opening — but when in Rome…. The vast terrain is famed for catering to experts but also harbors more forgiving runs, as well as a renowned slope-side gym for those who feel compelled to do their penance.
3. Silverton, Colo.
Seeking a no-frills trip where the bonding really will center on the skiing? Silverton is the place. One double lift delivers skiers, riders and your guide to a ridge, and from there it’s a hike out – ranging from a short burst to a 45-minute slog – to the best steep and deep. The “lodge” is a giant heated tent, the bathrooms are outhouses, and the scene in the picturesque former mining town wraps up early, as bleary-eyed and noodle-legged skiers seek rest for the next day’s adventure.
2. Park City, Utah
While Utah may never be known for unhinged hedonism, Park City has just about everything a group of guys might conjure up for a trip: a lift ascending the mountain from the center of town, wide range of lodgings, the Wastach Brew Pub, the ski-in/out High West Distillery and Saloon, a huge variety of in-bounds terrain and near-endless hike-to options, especially when you factor in neighboring Deer Valley, The Canyons and the six other resorts within an hour’s drive.
1. Heavenly Valley, Calif.
Pine-studded slopes square in the path of the Pacific storm track rise above the glistening Lake Tahoe, which is ringed by full-service Nevada casinos. Time it right and you could combine spring skiing, NCAA March Madness and the U.S. Freestyle National Championships, which come to Heavenly March 28-30, 2014. Those events should pair nicely with all that skiing and gambling.