Winter is coming! Time to pull out the snow gear and start planning for a season of snow. If you’re an East Coaster who prefers the fluffy stuff of the West, it’s also time to book some flights, since the nonstops to the Rockies can cost a small fortune. Sadly for Bostonians and the the DC crew, there aren’t many great directs to the ski resorts of Colorado, Utah and beyond, but you’re a short hop from NYC, so we’ve mapped out the trips that New Yorkers and their neighbors can take that get them nonstop from cityscape to mountain high. (Tip: if you don’t mind a drive, flying into Denver will give you a lot more options as well.)
Vail, Beaver Creek and Aspen
Airport: Eagle County Airport (EGE)
Stay: We have a full report coming through (we’re actually scouting Vail and Beaver Creek this week), but a few of the top picks are the Four Seasons, Arabelle and newly redone Cascade in Vail and the Park Hyatt, Osprey and Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek. You can see our favorite hotels as well as restaurants in the Aspen guide.
Getting there: Beaver Creek is around 30 minutes driving from Eagle Airport, and Vail is just a few minutes longer. Aspen is also reachable from Vail, but the drive is more like 90 minutes. That said, it’s a pretty one, so rent a car with AWD and head up the hill if you’re so inclined.
Tip: Both United and American Airlines fly nonstop routes. On the return, though, the American departure is early morning, before 9 am. If you’re staying in Aspen, that means a frightfully early wake-up call. It’s usually less expensive, but go with United if you’ll also be doing the longer drive.
Park City and Deer Valley
Airport: Salt Lake International Airport (SLC)
Stay: Our favorite five-star resorts in Deer Valley are the Montage and the St. Regis, while the Waldorf Astoria is a great pick for Park City. You’ll find condos throughout the area as well, and if you don’t mind being walking distance versus ski-in/ski-out, there are great bargains to be had.
Getting there: Both Park City and Deer Valley are around 45 minutes driving distance from the Salt Lake City airport, as are the other resorts (Alta, the Canyons, Sundance a little further).
Tip: Boarders, beware. Deer Valley is a ski-only mountain, so plan on Park City if you’re on one plank, not two. Also, Deer Valley limits the amount of lift tickets sold daily to prevent crowding, so pre-purchase your tickets to be guaranteed you can ski the days you want.
Airport: Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ)
Stay: Top picks in Telluride include the recently redone Madeline, the Peaks and Auberge Resort’s Element 52 residences.
Getting there: There’s no simple way to get to Telluride, but the easiest option is Montrose airport, a 1.5-hour drive from the town and mountain. Be prepared to drive through some weather; an SUV is recommended if driving yourself.
Tip: Telluride is really two towns—the main town and the mountain village. The two are connected by a gondola, but if you want to be steps to the classic restaurants and shops, stay in town, whereas if you want to walk out directly on the slopes, Mountain Village is your jam. The Peaks and the Madeline are in Mountain Village, Element 52 is in town.
Airport: Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)
Stay: Jackson’s best hotels hands down are the Four Seasons and Amangani, both of which have gorgeous rooms, great food and on-the-ball service. For those who want to spend a little less, check out the Hotel Terra, which offers condo-style suites that have murphy beds in the living room, perfect for a family of four. Both the Four Seasons and the Terra are in Teton Village, right at the base of the ski mountain, whereas Amangani sits on a mountain ridge about 20 minutes away.
Getting there: Flights arrive into the Jackson Hole airport, which is a 45-minute drive from the ski mountain.
Tip: If you love the Aman look but plan to ski a lot, don’t despair. The hotel has a private ski lounge right on the mountain where you can leave your gear, grab a hot cocoa or take a break when you need a breather.
Airport: Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO)
Stay: The Ritz-Carlton sits right on the snow at Northstar and is a great option for a family that wants reliability and easy slope access. PlumpJack Squaw Valley is a better choice for boutique hotel lovers.
Getting there: Lake Tahoe is around a 45-minute drive from Reno’s airport, but expect slower going when the weather is sour.
Tip: The return flight from Reno to JFK is a red-eye, so give yourself a buffer day on the return to catch up on some zzz’s.
Airport: Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN)
Stay: The Summit at Big Sky sits at the base of the mountain and has hotel rooms as well as condo-style suites. Lone Mountain, one of favorite dude ranches, is a short drive away and has individual cabins, many of which were recently redone. There are also plenty of condos and homes for rent in the area.
Getting there: Big Sky’s ski resort is a 1-hour drive from the Bozeman airport.
Tip: Yellowstone Club owns a private ski mountains, adjacent to Big Sky. You’ll need a friend who’s a member to get in, so if you’re friendly with, say, Justin Timberlake, get on the horn.
Airport: Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN)
Stay: Like Big Sky, the big brands haven’t yet arrived in Steamboat Springs, but there are plenty of comfortable and reasonably priced condos for those who don’t need a Four Seasons. The Steamboat Grand sits at the base of the mountain.
Getting there: Fly United nonstop from Newark to Hayden, otherwise known as the Yampa Valley. It’s a 30- to 40-minute drive from there to Steamboat.
Tip: United’s flights aren’t daily, so buy your flights before you book your stay.
Airport: Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Getting there: This is technically a nonstop flight, but the windy two-hour drive from Vancouver to Whistler will require some stamina. For comparison, you could make it from Denver to Vail in an equal amount of time with a shorter flight. But the Sea to Sky Highway is pretty spectacular, and you can always add a night in Vancouver if you need a break on the way back.
Tip: Two villages, two mountains, but it's really all one resort. Don't get caught up in being in Blackcomb versus Whistler Village. The two are just minutes apart, connected by a gondola and both have children's ski school.