For those who love hitting the slopes, a ski getaway is always romantic. For those not naturally as enamored with the winter chill and downhill adrenaline, welcoming lodging, rewarding après ski, and relaxing alternatives to simply schussing are also key parts of creating a romantic atmosphere slopeside.
Here are 10 fabulous places in the East for ski couples, whether you are a “first-tracks to last-chair” pair, the “pamper-me-please” spa go’ers, or the “we’re just here for the après ski” set.
The Mad River Valley will have you madly in love if you aren’t already. Skiing Sugarbush, you have two mountains — Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen — each with its own vibe and beautiful Vermont views. You’d be pressed to find a more panoramic summit than Mt. Ellen eyeing Lake Champlain and Camel’s Hump. If black diamonds are a girl’s best friend, ski Castlerock and Stein’s at Lincoln, FIS and Hammerhead at Mt. Ellen, or cruise the silky Blues of Spring Fling and Rim Run respectively.
Stay a snowball’s toss to the lifts in the classic Vermont red barn Clay Brook hotel, and be sure to request a fireplace suite. You will love the decadent outdoor pool and hot tubs when snowflakes are falling, followed by après ski at Castlerock Pub or Timbers. For an adventurous evening, take a snowcat up the mountain for a candlelight dinner at Allyn’s Lodge and ski down to the light of the moon (or take the cat back).
Staying off mountain at Sugarbush in Warren at the Pitcher Inn, where each suite has a theme, is perfectly romantic. Ask for the Ski Room or the Mountain Room — both ooze alpine charm. Enjoy the steam shower and jetted tubs after skiing Sugarbush’s Jester. Visit the classic Warren Store across the street to meet some locals, before après ski at Tracks — the Inn’s cozy tavern. Savor a beautiful breakfast before the slopes beckon just minutes away.
Jackson, New Hampshire
Jackson is just adorable, from the “Honeymoon Bridge” built in 1876 to the cross-country skiers gliding across snowy fields. You have four alpine ski areas — Attitash, Black, Cranmore, and Wildcat — all less than 20 minutes from the Eagle Mountain House, which sits high on the hill above charming Jackson. This hotel harkens back to 1893, so forego the free WiFi and reconnect the old fashioned way. I can’t think of a more scenic, romantic ski trail than 2.5-mile Polecat from Wildcat’s 4,062-foot spectacular summit. Après ski in Jackson, The Shovel Handle, Wildcat Tavern and Shannon Door all rock with lively music and affable locals.
I find Stowe uber romantic, from the church steeple in the postcard village to the centerpiece ice rink at Stowe Mountain’s luxe Spruce Peak Village. Saunter down Sunrise if the formidable Front Four are too steep, then cruise the lovely Perry Merrill, riding the heart-red Gondola. Definitely do lunch at the summit Cliff House — fondue with a view. Staying at the park-itecture style Stowe Mountain Lodge is posh, with a prime slopeside location, ski valet, and a gorgeous outdoor pool and hot tubs. Après ski, skate figure 8’s hand in hand or warm to a couple’s massage at the Spa.
Stowe’s Field Guide
If alpine skiing is a mere amenity, save a buck by staying on Stowe’s Mountain Road, where you can walk the Rec Path in the snow, shop Stowe’s unique boutiques and après ski at The Matterhorn. Stay at the Field Guide — a Lark Hotel with whimsical mod décor. Enjoy the outdoor hot tub, then peruse Stowe’s many menus on the iPad provided in your room by the gas fireplace. A picnic basket is delivered to your suite for breakfast in bed — first chair at Stowe is optional after all.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
If you are an intermediate or beginner skier or boarder, there’s no better place than Bretton Woods. Mellow manicured slopes with splendid scenery of Mt. Washington is your winter playground. In the evening, retire to your grand white castle: the Omni Mount Washington Resort Hotel. Après ski, toast to the alpenglow over cocktails or be kneaded in the Presidential Spa. Later, dance the night away in the Prohibition-era Cave — so Gatsby if he was a skier.
Sunday River, Maine
Sunday River is a sure bet if you and your sweetie like to ski hard, party hearty and sleep mountain-side. The Grand Summit Hotel has a central locale and cozy Camp restaurant, huge outdoor spa and pool, and ski valet steps from the slopes. Ski to the Peak Lodge for Chef Harding’s Maine cheese and charcuterie board at the new Mountain Room between laps on the gondola. After carving The River’s buttery white cord with your BFF, head to the Foggy Goggle for après ski bands and folks dancing in ski boots.
This Maine seaside town is surprisingly festive and romantic in winter. February 4-12 is Winterfest with Toboggan Championships, ice carvings and snow sculptures, and fireworks over the waterfront. Just three miles from the harbor town you will find the humble happy community-run Camden Snow Bowl, where you can actually see the Atlantic from the Penobscot Trail. Stay at the romantic Inns of Blackberry Commons in a fireplace suite with a soaking tub.
Over the Border
Quebec City is trés romantique. It’s like being in France without the airfare — and just a six-hour drive from Boston. Stay at Fairmont Châteaux Frontenac in the heart of the historic city with your amour. Skiing is just a half hour away at Mont Sainte Anne, and an hour to Le Massif — consider taking the train from Quebec City to the ski slopes of Le Massif. Both these Canadian ski resorts have tons of terrain, and spectacular views of the St Lawrence Seaway from their trails. Adrenaline lovers, try the Luge at Le Massif — and hold on tight.
The ski village of Tremblant imitates the Alps, 90-minutes north of Montreal. If you and your ski buddy are game, the après ski at this vibrant Quebec ski resort rivals the best in Austria and France. Tremblant is worth the trip for the joie de vivre attitude of this alpine village, with skiing off all four sides of this snowy Laurentian ski resort. The U.S. Canadian exchange rates are sweet right now too.