virtuoso global October 2019 Four Reasons We’re Heading to the Mountains This Winter

Four Reasons We’re Heading to the Mountains This Winter

At the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, guests enjoy après-ski cocktails with a view of Blackcomb Mountain.  
At the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, guests enjoy après-ski cocktails with a view of Blackcomb Mountain.  
These cold-weather experiences at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts make the countdown to the first snowfall more exciting than ever.
It seems like just yesterday we bid summer adieu and packed away the swimsuits and sandals, but the best way to soften the burn of fading beach memories is to look forward to a fresh-snow, open-sky, ruddy-cheeked adventure (and blissful spa moments, too). From Colorado and Wyoming to British Columbia and New Mexico, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is gearing up for winter with thoughtfully designed moments, from outdoor snow sports to cozy indoor pampering. Below, four reasons we’re setting our sights on mountain destinations for the coming season.

1. The Ski Concierge, Your New BFF.  

There are better things to do on a ski vacation than wrangling gear. Enter the ski concierge team at the 131-room Four Seasons Resort Vail in Colorado. Located at a designated three-story building at the base of Gondola One, this squad of masterful local experts are skiers’ best friends.
 
Whether travelers ship gear to the resort or opt for on-site rentals, ski concierges orchestrate everything – and make next-day damp ski boots a thing of the past. Hotel guests arrive to find their equipment waxed, custom-fit, and ready to go in Swiss-made Gladek Technik lockers equipped with air-drying technology. Also available: hot cocoa, tea, muffins, and tips on the best runs of the day.
 
Ski concierges can arrange private or group lessons on a curated selection of some of the 2,530 trails, from bunny slopes to adrenaline-pumping double black diamonds. More advanced athletes can rent backcountry-touring gear and enlist a guide to venture on an off-the-beaten-path excursion around Summit County, including Arapahoe Basin and the Tenmile Range.
In the Colorado Rockies, the longest ski run on Vail Mountain runs four miles long. 
In the Colorado Rockies, the longest ski run on Vail Mountain runs four miles long. 
Go a step further by signing up to ski with an Olympic gold medalist and rise early – really early, before the lifts open to the public – to glean pro tips and make first tracks on backcountry trails. Skiers and snowboarders with a hankering for untouched powder can also opt for daylong heli-skiing experiences. Travel round-trip to Telluride via helicopter from the regional airport in Eagle and enjoy an exhilarating adventure.
 
When the day is over and skiers have dumped their gear, Virtuoso travel advisor Limor Decter recommends the Four Seasons Vail’s famous hot chocolate. “Known as ‘haute chocolate,’ pure melted Valrhona is poured over a homemade marshmallow and lattice chocolate ring on the rim of the mug. Stirring the homemade marshmallow and chocolate shavings intensifies the flavor as you sip.”
The piping hot “haute chocolate” is churned tableside — chocolate shavings and fresh whipped cream are optional. 
The piping hot “haute chocolate” is churned tableside — chocolate shavings and fresh whipped cream are optional. 

2. The Dining Options Have Majorly Ramped Up.  

For winter travelers in Wyoming, the 158-room Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole makes fueling skiers a priority. Situated slope-side with ski-in, ski-out access, restaurants such as the newly renovated Westbank Grill steak house ensure guests are never far from a hot beverage, locally sourced dish, or warming cocktail.
At the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, the Teton Mountain Rainge is within reach – literally.
At the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, the Teton Mountain Rainge is within reach – literally.
Westbank Grill incorporates rustic accents inspired by the surrounding natural landscape of the magnificent Teton Range. Just beyond the massive west-facing windows, a panorama of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort unfolds, including its two iconic gondolas: Bridger and Sweetwater. Throughout the day, skiers can stash their footwear in the boot room, don cozy slippers, refresh with warm towels, and savor breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a view.
 
Guests can sample elk and bison from South Dakota, and add a side of white cheddar truffle mac and cheese or golden potato puree with caramelized onion and crispy shallot: ultimate cold-weather fare. For a modern take on a nostalgic favorite, executive pastry chef Rhonda Ashton fashions an ingenious DIY s’mores dessert of house-made marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate served with a personalized heat source so diners can fashion their own treats tableside. In mid-January, Westbank Grill introduces après-ski fondue and raclette on the heated outdoor terrace from 3 to 5 pm.
 
For a more spirited refuel, head to Handle Bar. This Michael Mina collaboration in an American pub setting is the spot to sip barrel-aged cocktails made with Wyoming Whiskey.
At Handle Bar, guests can order a torching ceremony of pine, cinnamon, or marshmallow to enhance their chosen whiskey. 
At Handle Bar, guests can order a torching ceremony of pine, cinnamon, or marshmallow to enhance their chosen whiskey. 

3. Après-Ski Tastes Even Better in Private.  

The 273-room Four Seasons Resort Whistler, nestled in the Coast Mountains at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, caters to guests with seclusion and privacy on the agenda. The rooms’ newly renovated aesthetic blends urban mid-century design with elevated winter chalet style. The bespoke furnishings harmoniously meld rustic and refined characteristics, with plush textile wall coverings; warm, raw-edged coffee tables; iron-framed leather chairs; ashwood credenzas; and modern marble fireplaces. The views vary and include alpine and forest vistas as well as the resort’s patio. Many have furnished balconies.
At the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, skiers can soothe tired muscles in three spring-style outdoor whirlpools. 
At the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, skiers can soothe tired muscles in three spring-style outdoor whirlpools. 
For an après-ski interlude away from the end-of-day flurry, the new room amenities include Canadian-sourced gin and tonic fixings. Decorated Vancouver mixologist Lauren Mote curated the selection, which includes a custom-made Four Seasons Whistler gin produced in partnership with Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery, Bittered Sling Lillooet Bitters from British Columbia, and sparkling Fever-Tree tonic.
 
Those who manage to pull themselves away from the balcony views and gin and tonics will want to venture out to the hotel’s Vintage Patio Camper Bar. Virtuoso travel advisor Jill Hamilton reports, “You’ll want to put on your warm boots and try après by the fire with winetastings and ingredients to make s’mores!”
The retro camper was built in Vancouver in 1965.
The retro camper was built in Vancouver in 1965.

4. Cold-Weather Spa-Going at Its Finest

With the Sangre de Cristo mountains in view, skiing is always a wintertime option at the 65-room Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, but in-the-know travelers come for rugged beauty and rejuvenation. This New Mexico property has mastered spa life, with a philosophy that encompasses a fresh, holistic approach to wellness. The Mountain Spirit Purification treatment, for instance, begins with a smudging ceremony, followed by an adobe clay mask and full-body massages incorporating local juniper, sage, and hot stones. To keep things seasonal, guests can opt for a Saint Nicks Winter Facial with a pore-refining berry mask or a Champagne Facial featuring Champagne oil and powerful antioxidants derived from grapes, designated to exfoliate and diminish age spots. But why choose? Go ahead and try them both.
In certain suites, guests can schedule in-room full-body massages. 
In certain suites, guests can schedule in-room full-body massages. 
“What I love the most is their invitation for you to set an intention before your treatment,” Virtuoso travel advisor Jessica Ourisman says of the hotel’s spa experiences. “It is such a simple thing that can really elevate the meditative element of a spa treatment, but it is the easiest thing to forget when we’re caught up in a busy life. I appreciate the subtle reminder to pause and make the most of my relaxation time.”
 
To diversify the spa routine and take in the fresh winter air, sign up for skiing and snowshoeing activities at the hotel’s Adventure Center. Or consider “snow-ga,” outdoor yoga sessions – where, yes, mittens are provided.

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