There is nothing wrong with babies or children (okay, there are a couple things). They can be a ton of fun. But you know what isn’t fun? Paying a lot of money for a vacation only to spend it with a backing track of shrieking youths. Who wants children zooming past them on the trails or splashing them in the hot tub when they’re trying to make eye contact with the hottie across the way? Most reasonable parents will agree that there are times and places where it’s cool to let the kids practice their cannonballs and times where it’s not. With that in mind, there are definitely resorts and vacations where everyone would have more fun if the parents left the kids with Grandma for the weekend. Especially when it comes to fall and winter travel. Look, there are so many family holidays ahead (with plenty of children afoot) that it’s nice to take refuge at a ski resort where you can have a couple drinks and kick back (without worrying that your antics are going to keep the kids up in the room next door).
What follows is a list of some ski resorts that are sure to delight people looking for tight runs and some good booze. These destinations are perfect places to engage in the thrill of winter sports before hitting the closest city and finding a party. They work for couples, groups of friends, and solo travelers. No matter what the configuration is — you will end up meeting fellow winter sports lovers with whom you can swap stories. And you won’t have to do it next to anyone in a dirty diaper. We hope.
Mt. Bachelor: Bend, Oregon
The sixth largest resort in North America, Mt. Bachelor offers more than 4,300-acres of terrain that can be reached via lift, over 100 runs to explore, and the highest skiable elevation in either Oregon or Washington. People love it because the powder is light and dry and the entire area is a delight for visitors. Seriously, who isn’t looking to visit the city with the highest number of breweries per capita and 30 feet of snowfall annually? There is a reason Conde Nast Traveler has named it one of the top 50 ski resorts in North America for over a decade.
If you are going to do Bend, you should download the Bend Ale Trail app and hit as many breweries as you can. But if you can only squeeze in one brewery après ski, make if the Bend Brewing Company. Locals talk about their Ching Ching like it is brewed using water from the Fountain of Youth. Be sure to hit Avid Cider as well. The ciders are amazing; we are big fans of their apricot and pineapple. Plus, kids aren’t allowed here, so you don’t have to deal with the occasional disturbances that come with cider wasted parents letting their children run amok.
Mammoth Mountain: Mammoth Lakes, California
Looking to hit the slopes with Los Angeles movers and shakers? Then Mammoth Mountain is your best bet. When Hollywood types feel the need to get their ski on, they make the six-hour drive (or the considerably shorter flight) to this small city on the east side of the Sierra Nevadas. With eight unbound terrain parks to delight skiers and snowboarders, it’s catnip to the top professional in winter sports. Just ask Sean White.
When you aren’t on the slopes, you may think that you want a cup of rich, delicious cocoa. You are wrong. What you really need is a Navy Grog at Lakanuki Tiki Bar. A tropical paradise at 8,000-feet is an awesome way to start a party. And if you have to have a hot drink, they are happy to make a hot toddy or hot buttered rum. If Tiki bars aren’t your thing (though they SHOULD BE), hit up the Clocktower Cellar Pub at the Alpenhof Lodge It’s the perfect place to feel like a local and enjoy a good strong pour.
Park City Mountain Resort: Park City, Utah
People often fail to give Utah the credit it deserves, and Park City is a great example of just how fun The Beehive State can get. People call this city “in Utah but not of Utah.” The US Ski Team and Sundance Film Festival call this place home for a reason. With 7,300 acres, 348 trails, and a 10,026-foot summit, there is plenty of room to show off your snowboarding skills to all. Plus, only eight percent of the Park City Mountain Resort runs are for beginners. It’s an ideal destination for people who want to connect with adults who know what they’re doing. Hit the slopes and pretend you are in the 2002 Winter Olympics, (which were held here). And if you hit it up in late January/early February, you can spot all the Hollywood stars who arrive for Sundance.
So, the big Utah bummer is that they only let bars serve 1.5 ounces of alcohol per drink, so you may have to shell out a fair amount to get good and soused. If that’s your goal, you need to hit up the only ski-in distillery in the world and the first in Utah since the 1870s. The High West Distillery & Saloon is an awesome gastro-distillery with alpine-inspired western fare served alongside the original still. If you want to enjoy stiff drinks until the wee hours, Downstairs should be on your itinerary. It’s an underground-club-speakeasy where you are just as likely to hook up as you are to enjoy a famous DJ spinning.
Breckenridge Ski Resort: Breckenridge, Colorado
Picking your favorite Colorado ski resort is like picking a favorite child. And though we freaking love Vail and Aspen, Breck (yes, we call it Breck because we have that kind of relationship) is definitely the best for people looking to ski and party without breaking the bank or getting held up by a bunch of families. With 2908-acres of skiable terrain and 187 trails, visitors have no problem shredding all day. But as the gondolas service 46,800 people an hour, things can get crowded. That’s when it is time to go full après ski.
So, before we get into places where you can grab a drink, we gotta remind you that recreational weed is legal in Colorado. If that’s not your scene, hit up The Gold Pan Saloon, known for having the oldest liquor license west of the Mississippi. It’s perfect for getting a little history and a lot buzzed. If you are down to dance, then Cecilia’s is for you. It has the largest dance floor in the city, as well as three unique bar areas and a walk-in humidor. It’s legit. Plus it has a dance pole just begging you to get your groove on.
Hunter Mountain Ski Resort: Hunter, New York
For people looking to ski the best slopes in the world, Hunter Mountain Ski Resort isn’t a must-ski destination. However, there is so much hard partying to be had here that it more than makes up for the average terrain. And as Hunter Mountain is the closest big mountain to NYC, it has a lot of appeal for New Yorkers looking to enjoy winter sports with a mere two-hour drive. Further, they just expanded the total skiable terrain by 33 percent with an addition of 80 acres. Now, there are 320 acres and 67 trails to explore.
A trip to Hunter Mountain absolutely must include a stop at Slopes Nightclub, which attracts DJs from the Hamptons and Jersey Shore — talk about two different communities. Billing itself as “New York’s Infamous Winter Party Destination,” Slopes is considered one of the best bars in the state. With one DJ per floor that seems like a reasonable assertion. Plus, they are open until 4 am, which people who want to rage will appreciate. To get that Alpine feeling, hit up Jägerberg Beer Hall & Alpine Tavern for a beer and some German-Austrian food. Although, with the mixologist they have on staff, it might be a time to try a signature cocktail.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Teton Village, Wyoming
Located in the heart of the Rockies and a short jaunt from Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boasts absolutely epic ski mountains and some of the most breathtaking views on Earth. This is a top destination for people who know their winter sports and know them well because only ten percent of the runs are for beginners (which means a lot fewer families, or at least, just the ones with snowboarding phenoms). And really if a kid can make it down the biggest vertical rise in the country (4,139ft), maybe they can hang too. If you want to really maximize the fun, go for the close of the season. On April 1, everyone celebrates the end of the season with Gaper Day, which means hitting the slopes in the weirdest thrift store finds they can manage.