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Thinking about taking a winter vacation at one of North America's ski resorts? These are among the most romantic ones for couples in the United States and Canada.
Here's what makes a ski resort ideal for a couple: Great skiing, naturally; romantic settings and activities for adults, of course; and a nearby town for nights out and days to explore.
The following ski resorts will meet those needs and offer much more, including scenic beauty, fine food, terrific accommodations (working fireplace is a plus), non-ski pursuits, engaging local attractions, shops that display winter's best (and warmest) gear, and nightlife.
All of these ski resorts offer ski equipment rentals and ski lessons for beginners. But if all you want to do is sit by a fire with a warm drink and watch it snow from your romantic aerie, these places fill the bill as well.
Killington Ski Resort (Killington, Vermont)
Killington in central Vermont is the state's largest ski resort and enjoys one of the longest ski seasons in the Eastern United States. In addition to having six separate base lodges, there's a variety of activities including the all-natural terrain park, whose features include a 500-foot-long Superpipe with 18-foot walls. Killington is also reputed to have Vermont's best nightlife during the snowy season.
Where to Stay: Half an hour northwest of Killington, Mountain Top Inn & Resort rents both rooms and cabins, so why not splurge and book a spacious, private, adults-only cabin? With a king-sized bed and wood-burning fireplace, you'll be inside a winter wonderland.
Mont Tremblant Ski Resort (Quebec, Canada)
Mont Tremblant resort is a small and charming ski village that surrounds the slopes. Its restaurants and shops are walkable, and you can warm up beside strategically located fire pits.
Where to Stay: The best full-service hotel in town, Fairmont Mont Tremblant features a spa, health club with whirlpools and swimming pools, and it's steps away from the pedestrian village and ski area. A ski valet, ski rental shop, and ticket counter enable couples to get on the slopes sooner.
Whiteface Ski Resort (Lake Placid, New York)
This former Olympic Village has morphed into the Olympic Sports Complex. Here, couples can experience facilities used by world-class athletes in this activities-rich resort town, including the Olympic Cross Country ski trails. In the Complex, you can even hug your honey tight as you hurtle down the bobsled run, where winter athletes strived for the gold.
Where to Stay: Oh, the bathtubs for two at the luxurious Mirror Lake Inn! Not all the accommodations have them, so ask for one of the sensuous Colonial House Luxury Suites, which also have an unobstructed view of the Lake. You can warm up with side-by-side massages in the spa or quaff a local craft beer in The Cottage. And be sure to dine at least once at The View, where the cuisine is as exceptional as the vista.
Park City Mountain Resort (Park City, Utah)
Utah's towering Wasatch Mountains are home to one of the largest ski resorts in the United States, and Park City's dynamic downtown area offers a great selection of restaurants, boutiques, and bars for après-ski. Crowded during the annual Sundance Film Festival, which stretches from the end of January to the start of February, it's calmer the rest of the winter.
Where to Stay: There's a wealth of exceptional resorts here, many with amenities that offer the ultimate in luxury such as the services of ski butlers at the Waldorf Astoria Park City. At Robert Redford's Sundance, don't expect the actor to turn up as your ski instructor. Yet Sundance Resort is infused with his spirit and eco-conscious sensibility.
Heavenly Ski Resort (Lake Tahoe, Nevada)
Picnic at 9,000 feet, soak in natural hot springs, go snowmobiling, hot-air ballooning, kayaking, take a romantic sleigh ride, and so much more here on the Nevada-California border. Skiers appreciate the wide-open terrain among its 4,630 skiable acres, views of the azure lake as they make their way downhill, and the dazzling night-time entertainment that awaits.
Where to Stay: Although Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino stands lakeside with its own beach, the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to and around Incline Village. Plus there's a heated outdoor whirlpool just for adults and you can dine fireside at Lone Eagle Grille.
Taos Ski Valley (Taos, New Mexico)
Uncrowded slopes at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains in the legendary Sangre de Cristo range, Taos Ski Valley is a confluence of the Southwest's Spanish Colonial, European, and Native American cultures. Ski to your heart's content here, or explore the vastness on snowmobiles. The area's active artists' community also makes Taos and nearby Santa Fe (an hour-and-a-half drive south) appealing destinations for couples.
Where to Stay: The one-of-a-kind, eco-chic El Monte Sagrado has a lush indoor spa, complete with its own waterfall and a saltwater pool that helps tense muscles relax. Stay warm in private beside the kiva-style fireplace in your room or suite.
Vail Ski Resort (Vail, Colorado)
At the base of Vail Mountain, Vail is among the favorite ski resorts for couples in the U.S. because it's a something-for-everyone kind of place wrapped in cashmere and topped with snowflakes. There's an average annual snowfall of 354 inches across its 5,289 acres. While the majority of its terrain (53 percent) is for advanced and expert skiers, its professional ski school can get beginners on the slopes and upgrade others' performance.
Where to Stay: Vail has many wonderful hotels, and among the very best for couples is the Arrabelle at Vail Square. Perfect for romantics, the rooms are decorated in the clean, elegant Biedermeier style and have a gas fireplace in the corner. Keeping things cozy and regal, beds feature a floor-to-ceiling draped canopy.
Windham Mountain (Windham, New York)
New Yorkers make the trip up north to ski Windham Mountain, which is less frenetic that nearby Hunter Mountain and offers 285 skiable acres with 97 percent snowmaking.
Where to Stay: Although there's lodging in town, it's worth the drive to stay at the Roxbury Motel, about a half-hour's drive from Windham. A fantasyland for adults, there are themed rooms all differently designed. If you're considering getting engaged on your ski trip, request a night in the motel's Golightly-a-Go-Go room, done in Tiffany blue.
Aspen Snowmass encompasses four mountains, and with 3,339 acres of skiable terrain, you won't have to ski the same run twice. Couples who like their ski vacations with a side of new adventure can try out the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, which takes you on a mile-long journey that winds through woods and glades. It's especially romantic on Friday nights under the stars.
Where to Stay: In-room fireplaces and decks at The Little Nell that face the mountain may make you want to linger. But since accommodations are ski-out, ski-in and steps away from the Aspen Mountain gondola, you may find the bracing outdoors irresistible. The hotel conveniently has a ski concierge who stores skis overnight and warms boots before you put them on.
Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia, Canada)
The ski resort Vancouverites visit most (it's about an hour-and-a-half drive away), Whistler Blackcomb boasts the most terrain and one of the most advanced lift systems in the world. It covers 8,171 acres across two huge mountains with more than 200 marked trails.
Where to Stay: There are several first-class resorts in Whistler. Among them are the Four Seasons and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. But if you're the kind of couple who values funky over fancy, consider the Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel Whistler, a five-minute walk from downtown. It's next to Whistler Village Market and operates a complimentary ski shuttle. If you like to hang out and meet new people after a day on the mountain, the heated pool, hot tub, and sauna are ideal gathering spots. And nights by the fire pit are fun and romantic.