7 of the coolest snow adventures at North American ski resorts

Winter Park Sunset Night Ski, Colorado.

There’s snow holidays and then there’s snow holidays filled with adventure. Sure, you can ski and snowboard all day long and après all night long, but add any of these seven adventures to your list for some serious boasting rights.

From heli fondue to night skiing, horse riding, snow mobiling to cat skiing, there’s plenty to make your mates green with envy.

Try any of these on for size.

Ski 6 resorts in a day in Utah

Photo supplied. Chris Pearson/Ski Utah.

What’s better than skiing one resort in a day? Six! Ski Utah Interconnect Adventure Tour links up to six resorts in the Wasatch Mountains, outside Salt Lake City, on a one-day tour. Experience Deer Valley, Park City, Solitude, Brighton, Alta and Snowbird, using only resort lifts and your own legs to transfer from one to the next.

The tour is open to advanced skiers (sorry, snowboarders) over the age of 15 and in good physical condition. Expect to ski around 40 kilometres and descend close to 5000 vertical metres in a day, with some hiking, uphill traversing and side-stepping required on varying terrain and snow conditions.

Group sizes are limited to eight skiers (minimum two), plus guides, on open tours or as many as 12 for group bookings. Tours operate seven days a week.

Sunset silhouette skiing/riding at Winter Park, Colorado

Skiing after dark can add an extra dimension and at the Rocky Mountains resort of Winter Park, in Colorado, night skiing comes with a difference – you light them up yourself.

Winter Park’s Sunset Night Ski and Ride experience takes place after the lifts have closed, when guests are given the chance to enjoy uncrowded runs for two hours using head torches to light the way.

Heli fondue at Panorama, Canada

The Summit Hut, Panorama Canada.

If you had to name one comfort dish that pairs perfectly with a trip to the snow, what would it be? Fondue, right? What if you could jump in a helicopter for a 12-minute scenic flight to a remote European-style mountain hut so you could share the traditional Swiss cheese melt at a table, in front of a crackling fire, with friends?

Resuming this January, RK Heliski has joined hands with the Summit Hut restaurant on Panorama Mountain Resort, British Columbia, to offer an unforgettable dining experience at 2500 metres. Bring family and friends or make it a romantic occasion.

Prices for the helicopter component start from CAD$1200 + GST for up to 10 people, with fondue priced from CAD$60 per person.

Alpino Vino after dark in Telluride, Colorado

At 3650 metres, Telluride’s Alpino Vino ranks as North America’s highest on-mountain restaurant. By day, the stunning views across the Wilson Range from its outdoor terrace are as spectacular as any mountaintop restaurant on Earth.

But the wow factor doesn’t stop there. By night, diners arriving by custom-built snow coaches can settle into a superb four-course Northern Italian meal accompanied by world-class wines while a wood-burning fire warms you to your core.

Snowmobile at Mammoth, California

There’s more to winter resorts than just schussing downhill. Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures gives visitors the chance to get away from the ski slopes on an exhilarating, scenic trip into California’s Eastern Sierra Ranges.

Jump aboard single or double snowmobiles on one-hour tours that climb to Minaret Vista for panoramic views of the Minarets, Mammoth Mountain and the Ritter Range, or three-hour Explorer Snowmobile Tours delving deeper into backcountry terrain.

Giddy up in Steamboat, Colorado

Photo supplied. Steamboat.

Steamboat Springs has a reputation as a Wild West cowboy town. One century-old Western-wear store there reportedly sells 6000 cowboy hats a year, and cowboys race on skies in a downhill ‘stampede’ each January.

During February, a street parade includes children on skis being towed down the main street behind horseback riders wearing chaps and spurs. Visitors to Steamboat can get in on the action by signing up for a horseback riding tour through the Elk Valley. Tours take place year-round.

But nothing – and I mean, nothing – beats riding a hardy steed through fields of virgin snow, where the horses’ rhythmic gait allows you to retreat into your own headspace, far from the ski crowds.

Single cat ski laps at Powder Mountain, Utah

How does a ticket-to-ride that takes you to the top of otherwise tough-to-get-to ridgelines with fresh powder sound? Pretty darn good, I say.

Powder Mountain (often abbreviated to Pow Mow), in Utah, offers visitors the chance to jump inside a snowcat from the resort to three single-ride cat areas that collectively boast more than 1300 skiable acres. These are areas that are inaccessible by lifts, and it’s far more affordable than heliskiing. Sounds like ‘Powadise’ if you ask me.

This article was originally published in our 70 page e-mag dedicated to the northern hemisphere skiing and boarding. Download your FREE copy here.
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Mark Daffey learned to ski on the slopes of Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Scotland, South Korea and Dubai, where he lived for four years. Now happily living back in his hometown, Melbourne, these days he visits more mainstream resorts whenever the opportunity arises, though a part of him still yearns to test the slopes in places considered off the beaten piste.