It's the most wonderful time of the year. Ski season. Yes, Christmas too, which is really just a time-off opportunity so one can hit the slopes. With the resorts open and the snow starting to accumulate, here's the 411 on who's got the biggest base and most runs open, from Aspen to Zermatt, not to mention where to rest those ski legs for the night.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
The most snowfall in Canada belongs to the twin peaks of Whistler Blackcomb. They've accrued 140 cm so far, with 77 of 200 runs and 18 of 37 lifts open. That makes 4,400 of their astounding 8,171 acres accessible. Visit whistlerblackcomb.com for the latest.
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is ideally-situated to give ski-in/ski-out access to Blackcomb, which for regulars is the most popular of the two peaks. There's a ski valet to take care of all the equipment, while Eucalyptus steam rooms, hot tubs and a heated lap pool with underwater music take care of tired muscles.
At the start of this week, Telluride clocked a 81 cm base, with 31 of 147 runs and 9 of 18 lifts open for business. There isn't much snow in the forecast at this point, but there's plenty of sun, which makes for a gorgeous groomer day. Off the slopes, they're having A Holiday Movie Marathon on Saturday, December 19th. Visit tellurideskiresort.com for the latest.
Madeline Hotel and Residences provide the perfect Telluride landing pad--and it's pet-friendly to boot (they even have pet-specific itineraries). Their residences are a real home-away-from-home, with gourmet kitchens and large dining tables to host friends and family.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
This year marks the resort's 50th year and December 19th is the official celebration day, which includes a big fireworks display. The current numbers at the 2,500 acre resort are a 73 cm base, 20 of 140 runs open and 3 of 13 lifts operating. Visit jacksonhole.com for the latest.
Scope out the fresh snowfall from the comfort of the rooftop hot tub at the slopeside Teton Mountain Lodge. Rustic and woodsy, it's a quintessential ski lodge, but bolstered by all the right extras, including an Indonesian and Thai-inspired spa.
Of its two hills, Snowmass has, fittingly, more snow mass, currently sitting at 69 cm, with 30 of 89 runs and 8 of 17 lifts open, accessing 807 of its 3366 acres. Aspen isn't far behind though with 53 cm, and nearly all of its runs, lifts and terrain open. Visit aspensnowmass.com for the latest.
Viceroy Snowmass checks all the boxes: ski-in/ski-out access, mountain-modern décor, top-notch spa and cool après options. Opt for a one bedroom, which includes a double-sided gas fireplace and a full kitchen for enjoying homemade meals.
Park City, Utah
Park City has two resorts to choose from, there's Park City Mountain and Deer Valley. There's just an eight-minute drive between them, so either can be a homebase while both are explored.
Park City Mountain
Park City is the bigger mountain, but it's off to a slow start with only 427 of its 7,300 acres open. The base is 45 cm with 23 of 314 runs and 16 of 40 lifts in operation. Visit parkcitymountain.com for the latest.
If the snow conditions aren't ideal, the Waldorf Astoria Park City fills the void with rooms with views, fireplaces and wide-screen TVs. Then there's the heated pool and hot tub, and off-the-hook après. The Powder Champagne Ice Lounge is set to open soon, with its 14-foot bar made of carved ice serving, what else, ice cold Champagne.
Deer Valley has managed to score a bit more snow, sitting at 51 cm at the moment, with 23 of 101 trails and 15 of 21 lifts up and running. Visit deervalley.com for the latest.
Home to the J&G Grill, après at the St. Regis Deer Valley Resort routinely lands on the city's "best of" lists. The property is right alongside the Deer Hollow run, providing ski-in/ski-out access. Among its many other charms is a split-level infinity pool and 900 label-strong wine list.
At the foot of the iconic Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, Zermatt is one of the snowiest mountains in Europe at the moment, with 135 cm and a third of its terrain accessible by 27 of 52 lifts. Visit zermatt.ch for the latest.
The fact that the Jacuzzi has a jaw-dropping view of the Matterhorn is reason enough to check-in to The Omnia, but they didn't stop there. The design is striking, an American mountain lodge imbued with European modernism. No two rooms are the same, expect for private balconies, every one gets one.
The gateway to 4 Vallées, Verbier is the place for off-piste and moguls. The mountain has accumulated 78 cm and a little less than half of its 177 km of trails available via 21 of 39 lifts. Visit verbier.ch for the latest.
Sir Richard Branson's The Lodge is perched above the town, on the mountain, with killer views and ski-in/ski-out access. There are only nine suites, so it feels extra boutique, and guests don't have to fight for a spot in the steam room, spa or backyard ice rink.
A part of Les Trois Vallées, one ski pass connects you to all three areas with 335 runs totaling 600 kilometers. Currently, Courchevel has 78 cm, with 20 of 95 runs open and 15 of 58 lifts in operation. Keep an eye out for Pippa Middleton; it's her favorite mountain. Visit courchevel.com for the latest.
The exterior makes it look Old World, but inside the Grandes Alpes Private Hotel & Spa is très cool, the work of interior designer Jean Marc Mouchet. There's also a sushi restaurant, Valmont Spa and hair salon within, bringing cosmopolitan pleasures slopeside.
A fixture on the World Cup with its Hahnenkamm Race every January, Kitzbühel currently has 45 cm with 24 of 99 runs and 20 of 58 lifts going. Visit kitzbuehel.com for the latest.
The über traditional Hotel Tennerhof provides an authentic Austrian experience, and a five-star one. To access the mountain, there's a complimentary shuttle bus that stops at any lift station. Après in the Finnish sauna or heated indoor pool, and end the evening with a long dinner at their renowned Kupferstube restaurant.