I’m currently bemoaning the fact that I won’t get a chance to ski this winter for the first time in six seasons—I know, woe is me; life’s so hard—but I guess that’s what happens when you start two businesses, buy a house and plan to go back to work on a ship for two months, during which you will be teaching a writing workshop and need to prepare your curriculum. This coupled with extreme jealously that all my ski industry pals were together in Tahoe at Snowcial this past weekend having fun without me, and you get a wishful-thinking post on where I’d go skiing if I were still in school and had the luxury of a Spring Break.
For Size and Affordability: Heavenly Ski Resort, California
I have a friend whose boyfriend makes a living on the online casino circuit, but he also comes to South Lake frequently to play the tables there. Along Stateline, which technically is in Nevada, you can work your magic at the slot machines after a long day on the slopes (and maybe even catch a Hammer show in the later hours). Me, I prefer to spend every waking hour at 9,000 feet testing Heavenly’s 97 runs (and parachuting down when I’m too tired to ski), but those who dig cheaper accommodation and a nightlife scene tend to gravitate to the South Shore for the high-rise hotels and party atmosphere (something I actually just detailed for Playboy, of all publications). Just try and avoid the weekend crowds if you can, as Heavenly in particular can get quite congested.
For a Slice of Luxury: Vail, Colorado
The one thing Heavenly doesn’t have that I crave is the true ski resort experience. When I want this, I go to Colorado instead. We had an absolute blast at Four Seasons Vail last year with the ski-in, ski-out, valet service—an extreme luxury when you’re as clumsy carrying around skis and boots as I am—and there are so many highly-acclaimed restaurants on Vail Mountain that you won’t go hungry when it’s time to refuel.
To Get Away from the Crowds: Mammoth Mountain, California
Because it’s more difficult to reach—though you can take a quick-and-easy direct flight from San Jose or Los Angeles—Mammoth Mountain is generally one of the less crowded resorts in California, and it still offers top-notch skiing, too. Plus, there are plenty of other snow-fueled activities on tap, like visiting the peak via snowcat, snowshoeing under a full moon or testing your skill on a snowmobile.
For East Coast Getaways: Killington, Vermont
The tough thing about being back in the South is that we have ZERO decent ski options within a day’s drive from us. We could opt for Snowshoe but it’s too far to go by car for a long weekend, and flight options to West Virginia aren’t abundant. (And don’t even try to tell me North Carolina has skiing; I’ve been there and done that and wouldn’t agree with you.) When I was living in New York, my friends and I rented a cabin in Vermont. Killington was icy but the slopes weren’t bad—if you can’t make it out West, it’s a decent option.
For the Family: Northstar, California
I went to ski school at Northstar when I was but seven years old and remember it ever-so-fondly. When we were back there with our Epic pass a couple seasons ago, I was happy to see the ski school is still up and running and quite popular among family travelers. Plus, Truckee is a convenient drive from Reno (around an hour) and much more diverse in its offerings than some of the other Tahoe resorts, which tend to sway more toward the serious skier or the partier.
For the All-Around Experience: Keystone Ski Resort, Colorado
When I think about my favorite ski resorts, I keep coming back to Keystone. It has a nice mix of trails—blues and blacks, for skiers or boarders—it has a charming village, it has nice accommodation and it has great on-mountain offerings. Plus, it’s just so darn pretty and not too terribly far from Denver, the hub into which you would fly.
And with that, I think I might cry if I have to think anymore about how badly I want to be out on the slopes right now—particularly, as it’s been crazy cold here in the South these past two months, and if I have to endure an actual winter, I might as well enjoy myself, you know? Plus, I’ve really been itching to test the water—er, snow—at the resorts in Utah, New Mexico and Montana, all states I’ve visited but have yet to ski.