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Santa's Resort Kakslauttanen, Finland

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, December 22 04:35 PM

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This Christmas, Santa isn't so much coming to town as inviting you to his town. At the newly minted Santa's Resort Kakslauttanen, close to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, guests are greeted by the big man himself and plied with hot beverages and gingerbread (served by elves, natch). Accommodations in this winter wonderland include 40 log cabins, a snow igloo, and--our personal favorite--20 glass igloos (another 33 are coming in 2012) specially designed for viewing the northern lights while you're snuggled up all toasty in bed.

If you can drag yourself away, there's also the chance to steam in the world's largest smoke sauna, hitch a ride on a reindeer-drawn sleigh, or kick back with eggnog in the Glass Kota, a traditional Lapland tepee. Lead the way, Donner and Blitzen.

Photo: Courtesy of Santa's Resort Kakslauttanen

Nira Alpina Design Hotel, Switzerland

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, December 12 12:59 PM

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When does a ski trip become a winter escape? At the newly opened, 70-room Nira Alpina in Silvaplana, Switzerland, it's the moment you arrive at the firelit lounge, sink into a comfy cowhide sofa--hot toddy in hand, of course--and watch the Alpenglow fade through panoramic windows.

Interiors are all restrained Swissness, full of natural materials such as spruce, suede, and granite. As the area's only ski-in/ski-out retreat, Nira Alpina provides powderhounds easy access to the 75 miles of pistes via a private glassed-in walkway to the Corvatsch cable car. And with private terraces and walls of windows, even lodge lizards can enjoy the great outdoors while waiting for their spa appointment.

Photo: Courtesy Design Hotels

Washington School House, Park City, Utah

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, December 08 12:53 PM

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This winter, Park City is going back to school. And we're not talking ski school. Class, let us introduce you to the new kid in town, the Washington School House hotel.

The 19th-century schoolhouse has graduated from the kid stuff to the big leagues just in time for Sundance next month, courtesy of an eight-month renovation. Reclaimed barn-wood floors, Swedish antiques, and roaring fireplaces add a rustic warmth to the modern snow-white palette and contemporary art collection in the 12 rooms. Ski to the back door of the hotel, where a valet takes care of your gear, leaving you free to cozy up by the fire or head to a heated pool tucked in a grove of trees beside the mountain. The school of hard knocks this is not.

Photo: Courtesy of Washington School House

Inn at Lost Creek, Telluride

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, November 30 12:40 PM

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Christmas has come early for ski bunnies: Heavy snowfall in Colorado has set the scene for a killer season. And two new packages at Telluride's Inn at Lost Creek can make it an affordable one. Sign up for the Pre-Season Ski Adventure and get four nights for the price of three, including transfers, breakfast, and two three-day lift passes, or nab the Altitude Adjuster, which is all that plus oxygen therapy and massages for two.

The homey-luxe inn has 32 suites (decked out with fireplaces, hot tubs, and steam showers), plus one of the most brag-worthy ski-in, ski-out positions in the San Juan Mountains. Oh, and did we mention the two rooftop hot tubs? Talk about taking it to the next level.

Pre-Season Ski Adventure from $1,809 (double occupancy), from December 1, 2011 through December 18, 2011; Altitude Adjuster from $2,301 (double occupancy), from December 1, 2011 through April 8, 2012

Photo: Courtesy of db2stock, Getty Images

Bighorn Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, September 26 10:37 AM

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We love skiing, but wasting valuable slope time in lift lines? Not so much. Happily, there's a new shortcut: the eight-suite chalet Bighorn Revelstoke, in British Columbia, where you can go from bed to helipad to glacial bowls in a matter of minutes.

The James Bond-worthy amenities don't stop there (and they don't come cheap, either--prices start at $64,976 for seven days' exclusive use for up to 16 guests). After dismissing your heli-pilot, you can survey tomorrow's terrain from your outdoor hot tub, have the chef sizzle up the teppanyaki grill, get a massage in your private spa, or play pool by the light of a roaring fire. But our favorite way to relax after powering through powder all day? Settle in for a movie night (The Spy Who Loved Me, natch) at the chalet's private cinema.

Photo: Courtesy of Bighorn Revelstoke

The Sebastian, Vail, Colorado

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, February 17 04:32 PM

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The Sebastian (formerly the Vail Plaza Hotel & Club) is perfectly placed if you're all about the après-ski rather than the slopes. The hotel, which sits at the gateway to Vail Village, reopened in January 2011 with 107 plush rooms, a spa, and valets for everything (so you can avoid schlepping a single piece of gear). In the restaurant, Block 16, chef Sergio Howland marries Maine lobster with braised veal cheeks, but you might be more interested to hear that the hotel bar has one of the largest Scotch collections in the Colorado Rockies.

And while you're there--

Eat here:
Atwater on Gore Creek
Chef Adam Votaw's clubby dining room overlooking a slope-side stream specializes in savory meat and seafood crowd-pleasers, such as soy-glazed beef short ribs and mustard-crusted diver scallops. Leave room for dessert: Pastry chef Felicia Jablonksi adds a scoop of house-made fig ice cream to the sticky toffee pudding and pairs coconut sorbet with the flourless chocolate cake.

Play here:
Adventure Ridge
If riding a bike over the snow and through the treesat night, with only a headlamp illuminating the path aheadis your kind of thing, then head straight for Adventure Ridge. This adrenaline junkie's dream at the top of Vail Mountain is actually pretty child-friendly, too, with a long, multilane tubing hill, trampolines with bungee harnesses, and pint-size snowmobiles for kids ages 6 to 12.

Momentum Adventure's Extreme Tours

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, January 04 12:30 PM

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If you're going to hurl yourself out of a helicopter, we can't think of a better sidekick than former James Bond film stuntman John Falkiner. This Aussie adventurer is one of a cast of intrepid outdoorsmen (British commandos, counterterrorism specialists--exactly the kind of people you want around when the chips are down) who lead the way on Momentum Adventure's bespoke extreme sports tours.

The company arranges itineraries based on your fitness level and interests, be it heli-skiing in the Rockies, ascending unconquered mountains in Antarctica (pictured), or dogsledding at the South Pole. And because these are the self-styled "Savile Row" of tailor-made trips, you can wash down a day of adrenaline with a dry martini. Shaken, not stirred, of course.

Photo: Courtesy of Momentum Adventure

EpicQuest Heli-Ski Photography Package, Alaska

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, December 10 11:48 AM

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Half the fun of heli-skiing is the bragging rights. So why not take it to the next level and combine a heli-ski trip with a squad of professional outdoors photographers who'll capture your adrenaline-fueled adventures and teach you the tricks of their trade?

Starting in March 2011, EpicQuest's heli-ski and photography package will bring together outdoors/ski photographer Scott Markewitz, Powder magazine photo editor David Reddick, and up to eight guests on a seven-day excursion to Alaska's Chugach Mountains. The pros will teach you how to shoot on the slopes and atop remote peaks as well as from a helicopter, but it's not all about looking through a lens--you'll be swooshing through fresh powder on the steeps, too.

Finally, your après-ski tales of derring-do can be backed up with photographic evidence.

Photo: EpicQuest/Scott Markewitz

Canyons Resort, Park City, Utah

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, November 18 12:35 PM

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Subzero conditions may not faze you when you're powering down a mogul run, but a long, frigid ride on a chairlift can bum out even the hardiest of skiers. That's why we're drawn to a new lift at Utah's Canyons, which is adding warmth to all the right places.

The state-of-the-art lift, the first of its kind in North America, will be up and running when ski season starts on November 26 and is part of the first phase of an overall multi-million dollar investment being made at the resort. In addition to having heat in the seat, each chair is enclosed in an orange pod to block wind and glare--much like your ski goggles. It takes just nine minutes to reach the top of the mountain.

We suspect the only problem will be getting people off the lift and onto the slopes.

Photo: Courtesy of Canyons

Chalet Chloe, Saas-Fee, Switzerland

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, November 09 10:25 AM

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Stay at this funky new chalet in the Swiss Alps and you might not even bother putting on your snow boots.

Opening this coming season in the village of Saas-Fee (near the Hannig lift station, if you do decide to venture out), Chalet Chloe is a three-floor property with four double bedrooms and a bunk room for kids. This place has the wood paneling and kick-ass views we love about traditional Swiss chalets, but it's the cool lighting, rotating fireplace, and buttery leather sofas that will make it impossible to extract yourself, especially after a couple of mugs of Glühwein. The huge sundeck and sauna don't hurt, either.

Suddenly the great outdoors doesn't seem so great.

Photo: Joe Condron

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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