5 Great Wintery Trips That Even Non-Skiers Will Love

There’s a great big world of new experiences right in our North American backyard (and you don’t even have to like skiing to enjoy them).

A few skiers on snowy mountainside

Jackson Hole is a place that shines in the winter.

Photo by Taylor Glenn

From Whistler’s lesser-known neighbor and lodges for every type of traveler to a spa that’s worth staying in for, there’s a winter escape for everyone—whether or not you ski.

1. Explore Squamish, Whistler’s next-door neighbor

The booming enclave of Squamish is close to the action but feels a world away.

Whistler dominates the ski scene of British Columbia, and for good reason. But ask the locals where they hang out when they’re not on the slopes, and they’ll tell you about the town of Squamish.

It sits on the edge of Howe Sound Fjord, 36 miles south of—and downhill from—Whistler Village. Mild daytime temperatures hover around 40 degrees, perfect for hiking the surrounding Squamish Valley or rafting the Squamish River, which flows lazily this time of year. You might even spot bald eagles in the trees that line its banks. The Sea to Sky Gondola leaves from just south of town and carries passengers up into the mountains, where a network of snowshoe trails awaits.

Settle into hearty après-adventure meals—gumbo with locally sourced chicken and house-made andouille sausage, for instance—at Copper Coil Grill, where chef Wes Levesque puts a Pacific Northwest spin on Cajun-style food. Then top off your day down the street at Howe Sound Brewing. The spicy bite of ginger in the Father John’s Winters Ale will warm you up for the trip back up to Whistler. —Sarah Purkrabek

2. See Jackson Hole for more than its powder


Persephone, serving mochas made with TCHO chocolate and drip coffee brewed from Intelligentsia beans, is the place in town for your morning cup. Don’t miss the perfectly flaky croissants on your before-the-slopes checklist.


Instead of the cheesy magnets and made-in-China souvenirs you tend to find in ski-town shops, Made sells gemstone drop earrings and hand-sewn leather footballs with soul.


In Trio, take a seat at the bar to watch the chefs—one a grad of the Culinary Institute of America—slide pizzas made with goat cheese and wild mushrooms into the wood-fired oven. In 2018, Jackson Drug reopened and now sells burgers made with beef from Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch as well as house-made ice cream in typical diner fashion.

There’s more than American fare here, too: Order shareable dishes like robata-grilled meat and vegetable skewers, and sashimi from the raw bar at Japanese concept Suda Izakaya.


Dornan’s Spur Bar is nothing complicated: a friendly, small-town watering hole where you can enjoy beer while staring out huge windows at the mountains you just conquered.


For some privacy, head to the eight-suite Caldera House, a hotel conveniently located near the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort tram in Teton Village. If you want to stay closer to town, Hotel Jackson offers 55 spacious rooms with cozy details—including gas fireplaces and large bathtubs—that aim to give a luxurious twist on the traditional West.

–Andrew Richdale and Chloe Arrojado

Read more: How to Discover the Side of Jackson Hole Few Visitors See

Park City, Utah, USA Downtown Skyline Aerial

There’s plenty to do on and off the slopes in Park City.

Photo by Kevin Ruck/Shutterstock

3. Go to Park City. Reserve a day for this spa.

After you’ve spent the day skiing some of Deer Valley’s legendary black diamonds, spend a day not doing that, as I did on a trip to Montage’s spa—a 35,000-square-foot labyrinth full of saunas, hot tubs, and serene nooks with views of snow-capped peaks. I booked one of its facials.

My treatment specialist slathered my face with cleansers and plant stem cell–fortified moisturizers, sloughed away dead skin, and applied toners that . . . honestly, I’m not sure what those did, but whatever it was, it worked. After an hour in the chair, my skin felt noticeably tighter, more hydrated, and ready to face the harsh elements all over again. —Sarah Purkrabek

4. Try a new lodge

There are fresh options for any taste.

Coachman Hotel

South Lake Tahoe, California

  • Book now: Coachman Hotel
  • Go for: minimalist design; easy on the wallet; party scene

A former Ace Hotel creative designed the Coachman’s 42 slick rooms and bar. It’s situated blocks from the lifts (and the casinos, if that’s your thing). Get some shut-eye, then enjoy the stellar shopping, spas, and après scene in this winter getaway destination.

506 On the River Inn

Woodstock, Vermont

You book this 45-room resort for the quintessential small-town New England setting and the kitchen’s delightfully simple food, made with ingredients from Vermont farmland.

Madeline Telluride

Telluride, Colorado

  • Book now: Madeline Telluride
  • Go for: family-friendly atmosphere; cushy elegance; ski-in, ski-out

The 2021-renovated Madeline Telluride has on-the-slopes ski valets, a movie lounge for the kids, and a restaurant with epic views of the San Juan Mountains. New renovations to the 96-room establishment include a new après-ski bar and lounge called the Timber Room and a refreshed lobby with plenty of wood detailing. —Andrew Richdale and Chloe Arrojado

5. Cuddle up to this film (then plan a trip to the French Alps)

In the beginning of the startlingly gorgeous film Force Majeure, an avalanche comes tumbling toward a restaurant at the French ski resort Les Arcs. A frightened man bolts from his table to safety. Two problems: He left his wife and two kids behind; and the whole thing was a false alarm, just a fierce hiccup of snow. The aftermath of this blunder is a sophisticated, honest, and hilarious deconstruction of modern gender roles that will also make you book a ski vacation. —Andrew Richdale

This article was originally published in 2016; it was updated on December 7, 2022, with current information and contributed reporting from Chloe Arrojado.

Chloe Arrojado is the associate editor of destinations at AFAR. She’s a big fan of cafés, dancing, and asking people on the street for restaurant recommendations.
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