Though it's technically spring, snow-lovers can still indulge in the last bits of winter with a tradition many enjoy every year- spring skiing. From the popular tourist destination of Vail to the crisp peaks of Zermatt, Switzerland, there are places all around the globe where snow lovers can hit the slopes in style through March and April to catch the last few powder days. Many of the top destinations are home to luxury resorts that offer everything from world-renowned spas to five star restaurants.
Whether you want to venture down the slopes or simply relax by the fire, these five great ski destinations will make it easy to transition from winter to spring.
Banff/Lake Louise, Alberta
Located in the heart of Canada's Banff National Park, Lake Louise ranks as one of the most scenic mountain destinations in North America. With 4200 skiable acres, Lake Louise is one of the largest ski areas on the continent and its unique layout allows families and everyone from the nervous beginner to the adventurous expert to hit the slopes. It has three different ski areas, Mount Norquay/Mystic Ridge, Sunshine Village, and Lake Louise that are roughly 31 miles apart, but make for excellent day excursions. Lake Louise is also home to one of the world's most preeminent ski resorts, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. After spending an adventurous day outdoors, enjoy a memorable dining experience in one of their eight outstanding settings that include a casual deli and an intimate wine bar. You are sure to find something that will please your palette. For visitors who guests who favor personalized service and unique attention to detail, the resort offers the luxurious Fairmont Gold floor that features an exclusive lounge with private check-in and a dedicated concierge.
Although neighboring Gstaad is one of the world's top resorts with its three five-star hotels, most still rank Zermatt as Switzerland's top resort destination for its peaceful tranquility and car-free environment. Stunning and picturesque, Zermatt is home to the world's second biggest lift-served vertical drop and receives huge snowfalls thanks to its altitude. Luxury-seeking travelers need look no further than the acclaimed Riffelalp Resort to have a top experience in one of the world's most beautiful destinations. The resort takes a bit of a journey to get to, as it lies 7,290 ft. above sea at the heart of the Gornergrat skiing and hiking district, but its breathtaking views are well worth the trek. The suites all offer steam bath showers and Jacuzzi tubs and food lovers will delight in their six unique dining experiences that feature choices for even the most particular of palettes. Relax in their world-class spa St. Trop Alp, after a chilly day outdoors. It includes Europe's highest outdoor pool, as well as an indoor pool with whirlpool, massage showers, steam baths, and a number of different sauna experiences.
Vail markets itself as "America's favorite resort" and it certainly is host to enough five-star accommodations to be worthy of the title. As the largest single ski area in the United States, Vail offers roughly 5,300 acres of skiable terrain and the fastest high-speed detachable quads on one mountain. For those who are looking for more than a simple ski vacation, the town of Vail also offers numerous art galleries, museums, and an array of other outdoor sports including ice skating and ballooning. For great luxury accommodations after a long day on the mountain, head to the Lion Square Lodge for first-class service and incomparable amenities. Visitors can choose from single rooms or luxury condominiums with up to five bedrooms, but for the ultimate travel experience, book one of the tower residences, which feature private elevator access, Southern sun and spectacular unobstructed views of Vail Mountain. Whip up your own meal in their state-of-the-art kitchens or head to the Mezzaluna Restaurant for an array of options including Mediterranean-Italian dishes and fresh from the oven pizza.
For those looking for the quintessential small town New England charm, the resort town of Stowe is postcard-perfect. Stowe is made up of two ski areas, Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, the latter of which backs onto Smugglers' Notch's terrain and makes it one of a handful of American resorts that have a lift-link to another resort. Over 45 unique stores that carry everything from jewelry to hand-crafted furniture and 60 restaurants compete for your attention along the Stowe Mountain Road, and a number of museums and art galleries provide another source of great entertainment. After a long day on the slopes, head back to the luxurious accommodations of the Stowe Mountain Lodge, which boasts lavishly decorated rental cabins and plush suites, as well as a wide range of activities including access to the Stowe Mountain Golf Club and a 21,000 square-foot spa facility that includes a full-service fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzis, a relaxation lounge, and 18 private treatment rooms. Food lovers will enjoy the resort's signature restaurant, Solstice, which offers Vermont artisan-inspired cuisine in an elegant and relaxed setting.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Over the past decade, Whistler has consistently been voted "Best North American Ski Resort" by North Americans and for good reason. Located in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and just two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler is Canada's premier, year-round destination and features two majestic mountains and 200 marked trails for snowboarders and skiers alike. More than 200 shops and 90 restaurants will entertain you even off the slopes and for the adventurous, Whistler offers one of the most renowned mountain bike parks in the world. The Summit Lodge and Spa is just steps away from both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain and provides boutique hotel amenities and accommodations to the masses. Their Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa provides treatment based on the use of sophisticated, traditional Royal methods in combination with selected organic ingredients and will provide the perfect moments of relaxation and tranquility.