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Jan 2014  |  By Andrea Guthmann  |  Comments

5 Destinations for a Last-Minute Ski Getaway

The Polar Vortex may be gone, but we are still in the thick of winter. Why complain about the weather when you can enjoy it?

Take advantage of the cold and snow by making tracks for a ski resort. Here’s a look at a few favorites, near and far, to fit every budget. 

Close to Home

Chestnut Mountain

Overlooking the Mississippi River near Galena, Chestnut Mountain is about a three-hour drive from the North Shore. Along with beautiful views of the Mississippi, the town of Galena, with its charming B&B’s, unique boutiques and historic buildings, makes for a fun weekend getaway.

Where to Stay: Chestnut’s 120-room ski-in/ski-out lodge features an indoor pool, sauna and whirlpool, and its Steinhaus and Alpine restaurants are old-school favorites. 

Photo courtesy of Chestnut Mountain

Grand Geneva Resort 

Even closer to home is the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wis., with its Moose Mountain water park. “Our resort is great for families because the Snow Sports area has terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, yet is small enough that families can easily get together to meet for lunch or dinner,” says Snow Sports area director Hans Hauschild. “Additionally, the Snow Sports school is very kid-friendly and has instructors that have specialized training for teaching children. Our Snow Sports school can accommodate children from age 4 and up in our teaching programs.”

A great time to visit is during the annual Winterfest, which hosts the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition. This year it’s being held January 29-February 8.

Where to Stay: The 335-room Grand Geneva Resort boasts a luxury spa and two award-winning restaurants.

Midwest Favorites

Want to avoid the added expense and hassle of airline travel? Make tracks for one of these Midwestern ski resorts. 

Boyne Mountain & Boyne Highlands

Located 335 miles from Chicago, Northern Michigan’s Boyne Mountain, in Boyne Falls, and the nearby Boyne Highlands, are the state’s largest ski resorts. They offer the Lower Peninsula’s highest vertical skiing and snowboarding with 55 trails and 435 ski-able acres, plus four terrain parks and a half pipe. Lift tickets are interchangeable between Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands.

The resorts offer learn-to-ski and snowboard programs for kids as young as 3 years old. Besides downhill and cross-country skiing, families can go zip lining, snowshoeing, ice skating, dog sledding and riding in horse-drawn wagons and sleighs. Boyne Mountain has also become a favorite with families because it boasts Michigan’s largest indoor water park, Avalanche Bay

Photo courtesy of Boyne Mountain Resort

Where to Stay: Resembling an English country estate, the ski-in/ski-out Main Lodge at Boyne Highlands features two restaurants and lounges. You can swim year round in the outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi.

Kids will dive into the fun at Mountain Grand Lodge at Boyne Mountain, with its mega water park, Avalanche Bay. Parents will appreciate the luxurious accommodations.

Rocky Mountain Highs 

Life in the Midwest has a lot to offer, but mountains aren't part of it. Luckily, plenty of direct flights to Colorado mean a world-class ski trip is only a few hours away. 

Beaver Creek 

With a wide variety of trails, plenty of fine dining and spectacular hotels, Beaver Creek in Avon, Colo. has become a favorite for those seeking an upscale adventure. Another sweet treat is the warm chocolate-chip cookies awaiting skiers as they leave the slopes in the afternoon. This posh powder is only two hours from Denver, so it’s doable for a long weekend. 

Photo courtesy of Beaver Creek Mountain

Where to Stay: Pines Lodge—this ski-in/ski-out lodge is a great choice for laid-back luxury. Many rooms have balconies overlooking the ski area. Enjoy an apres-ski hot toddy and drink in the breathtaking views from the hotel’s Grouse Mountain Grill.  

Happy Trails 

Steamboat Springs 

Want a true Western adventure in the Rocky Mountains? Pack your ski gear and head for Steamboat Springs, Colo. Known as a cowboy ski town, you’ll find plenty of Stetsons, but you’ll also find haute cuisine and hot apres-ski bars. 

Head out to Steamboat for some cold play during the annual Steamboat Spring Winter Carnival, February 5-9. Watch ski jumping, cross-country obstacle racing, the Dog Dash and a variety of events that embrace the town’s western heritage. 

Photo: Larry Pierce/Steamboat

Where to Stay: Why not embrace your inner cowboy or cowgirl and stay at one of the many luxury dude ranches near Steamboat Springs? Consider Vista Verde Ranch, 45 minutes outside the slopes of Steamboat Springs, Colo. Think a dude ranch is about franks-n-beans? Think again! Here you’ll find cowboy culture, with plenty of comfort and style. When not on the slopes, enjoy daily horseback rides through the surrounding forest, culinary classes and wine tastings. 

If these ski resorts sound cool to you, hitting the slopes might be just the cure for cabin fever!

Top photo: Larry Pierce/Steamboat

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