While some people might feel inclined to escape to warmer temperatures during the winter months, embracing the season’s snowy beauty can make for a cozy—or adventurous—getaway. For those interested in taking a cold-weather trip, the mountainous West has many special towns that are the perfect spots to ski, shop, explore, or simply indulge in some après action. Here, The Scout Guide editors in six areas across the mountain west share why their cities should be at the top of your list of ideal winter destinations.
PARK CITY, UTAH
Photography by Gabriella Santos Photography.
A wintertime trip to Park City, Utah, offers dreamy skiing conditions and plenty of cozy spots to lounge by the fire. “Park City is a year-round playground for outdoor enthusiasts,” says Suzanne Harper Dildy, editor of The Scout Guide Park City. “Our world-famous powder brings thousands of visitors to our little ski town each year.” With three world-class ski mountains in the area—Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain, and The Canyons at Park City Mountain—there is no shortage of slopes. And while Deer Valley is a ski-only mountain, Dildy says snowboarders flock to Park City Mountain and The Canyons. In case you need a little breather from your ski boots (or prefer to stay off the mountains altogether), you’re in luck: Park City boasts a number of attractions beyond the slopes, including excellent dining, carefully curated boutiques, unique art galleries, and more.
To plan your Park City winter getaway and for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Park City, Utah, follow The Scout Guide Park City on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Park City website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Park City.
Bogus Basin. Photography by Chad Case.
If the excitement of the outdoors is calling, you should definitely consider making the capital city of Idaho your next winter vacation destination. Just 16 miles up the mountain from Boise, visitors will find Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area where you can enjoy alpine runs for both day and night skiing, in addition to groomed Nordic trails, snowshoe trails, and a tubing hill. Plus, there are opportunities to enjoy abundant natural hot springs and ice skating at the Indian Creek Ice Ribbon. If you’re seeking a more metropolitan vibe, Boise has much to offer as well. According to Allie Mann, editor of The Scout Guide Boise & The Treasure Valley, the people who make this area their home are the biggest draw. “Boise, and the surrounding Treasure Valley, is part big city, part wild west. You’re just as likely to pass someone on a bicycle or in a car as you are a horse or tractor,” she says, adding, “Our pioneer spirit shows in the success of our many local business owners, artisans, and entrepreneurs.”
To plan your Boise and Treasure Valley winter getaway, check out the Treasure Valley Mountain Guide, The Boise Shopping Guide, The Treasure Valley Dining Guide, The Treasure Valley Lodging Guide, and The Boise and Treasure Valley Cheat Sheet, and for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Boise & the Treasure Valley, follow The Scout Guide Boise & The Treasure Valley on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Boise & The Treasure Valley website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Boise.
JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING
Photography by iStock.
From the moment you step through the antler arches, you know you’re in for a quintessential American west experience in Jackson Hole, the gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. As The Scout Guide Jackson Hole editor and owner Jill King explains, when the snow starts to fall, it’s the place for anyone who loves alpine getaways, heart-pounding downhill thrills, and backcountry adventures on- and off-piste. It’s guaranteed to be cold (the average winter temperature is 21 degrees), snowy (the valley averages 459 inches every year), and always picturesque. In addition to three world-class ski resorts, you’ll find snowshoeing, cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, ice skating, sledding, snowmobiling, and dogsledding. There are plenty of cozy fireside après-ski drinks-and-dining options, too—all of it bathed in the twinkling white lights of Jackson Hole’s signature quaint downtown.
To plan your Jackson Hole winter getaway, check out the Jackson Hole Winter Travel Guide, and for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Jackson Hole, follow The Scout Guide Jackson Hole on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Jackson Hole website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Jackson Hole.
Photography by Brooke Casillas Photography.
Arguably, Aspen’s biggest allure are the seasons, with each one offering something different and lovely in its own right, but there’s no question that winter shines like no other in the beloved mountain destination. “Aspen truly is a storybook setting in the winter, especially when the flakes fall,” Amy Groom and Erin Forsey, co-editors of The Scout Guide Aspen, say. “And the best part? You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy all that Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley have to offer.” However, with four mountains, there’s plenty of terrain to cover if you do like to take turns by day. Off slopes, there’s wonderful culture, shopping, and dining to take in, making it a perfect destination whether you’re on a trip with friends, a romantic getaway, or hitting the slopes with the whole family.
To plan your Aspen winter getaway, check out the Aspen Winter Guide, Aspen Mountain Guide, and Aspen Cheat Sheet, and for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Aspen, follow Amy and Erin and The Scout Guide Aspen on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Aspen website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Aspen.
Big Sky. Photography by Melanie Maganias of Nashan Photographers.
A stunning Rocky Mountain City, Bozeman is a magical outdoorsman’s paradise and a ski town with Bridger Bowl just 20 minutes from town and the Big Sky Resort with more than 5,800 skiable acres and 36 lifts just 45 minutes away. The Scout Guide Bozeman editor Jill King notes there are plentiful cabin rentals to book for a cozy stay in the winter, and in addition to hitting the slopes, adventurer-seekers can enjoy cross-country skiing, winter hiking, ice fishing, and ice skating while those seeking more leisurely pursuits will enjoy plentiful nearby hot springs at Bozeman Hot Springs, Norris Hot Springs, and Chico Hot Springs. Last but not least, close to town, there are a bevy of shopping experiences and wonderful culinary explorations to be had.
To plan your Bozeman winter getaway, check out the Bozeman Winter Travel Guide, and for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Bozeman, follow The Scout Guide Bozeman on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Bozeman website.
Flatirons. Photography by iStock.
With the Rocky Mountains in its backyard, 20,000 acres of parks, and 12 ski resorts within two hours of downtown, Denver is ideally located for unforgettable winter outdoor adventures. And if adrenaline-pumping activities aren’t your speed, the Mile High City is thoroughly cosmopolitan, with a thriving arts and culture scene—in fact, there are seven different arts districts across the city. But year round, the glorious weather is often the biggest draw. “You can’t beat the 300 days of sunshine in Denver,” says Leigh Gordon, editor of The Scout Guide Denver. “Even in the winter, it may be cold, but at least the sun is shining.”
To plan your Denver winter getaway, check out The Denver Shopping Guide, The Denver Dining Guide, and The Denver Lodging Guide, and for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Denver, follow Leigh and The Scout Guide Denver on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Denver website to browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Denver.