Lose the Moose Head

Five boutique ski hotels that take the "lodge" out of winter lodging

COLD LOUNGIN': Unwinding in the lobby of Aspen's Sky Hotel     Photo: Jeff Lipsky

Aspen's Sky Hotel

COLD LOUNGIN': Unwinding in the lobby of Aspen's Sky Hotel

The Bottom Line

Guidelines to make the most of winter: » No matter how good it looks, skip the chili at lunch. » Unpopular position to take this winter: Bode Miller can still be the best skier in the world. » Let 'em go: torchlight parades, the word après, snow kayaking. » If you get caught ducking a rope, say, "Well, back home in Texas..." » Mess with glassy-eyed shredders by letting them eavesdrop as you describe fictitious runs: "Yeah, dude, we skied Paddywhack over to Barn Door and dropped into Stooges. Sick!" » Ski under the lift only if you're good.

Sky Hotel Aspen, Colorado
The Mad Hatter meets Mies van der Rohe—only with ski-in/ski-out access to Hollywood's favorite ski hill, Ajax Mountain. The art deco rooms offer splashes of sass like faux-fur throws and, for an extra $200, Kama Sutra Weekender Kits, complete with massage oils and edible honey dust. The white leather couches in the lobby and model-quality bartenders and clientele at 39 Degrees Lounge, on the first floor, make this the hippest place in town to unwind from that last run. Doubles from $229; 800-882-2582, theskyhotel.com

The Block Hotel Big Bear Lake, California
Following on the success of their mod, snowboard-centric Block Hotel, in Tahoe, pro boarder Marc Frank Montoya and Las Vegas hotelier Liko Smith have taken their formula to SoCal's Bear Mountain. Don't come looking for peace and quiet. But do expect snowboard action shots on the walls, flashy graffiti, iPod hookups, and free PBR upon arrival. No-frills rooms are available for shoestring travelers, and there's a fully stocked wax room where you can dial in your board before you hit the slopes. Doubles from $149; 909-866-6570, blockatbigbear.com

Silver Queen Hotel Park City, Utah
Whatever your mood, the Silver Queen has a room theme to match it. The Whimsical Suite comes with a copper fireplace, purple sofa, and jetted tub; the Urban has black granite, mosaic tile, and silver linens; and the Asian is clad in bold red and black. Feeling sultry? Bask in your own steam shower or the 24-hour rooftop hot tub. Want to get out? It's just a two-minute walk to the town lift, and Park City's private clubs and shops are only steps away. Doubles from $329; 800-447-6423, silverqueenhotel.com

Amangani Resort Jackson, Wyoming
East meets Wild West at Jackson's pinnacle of luxury. Set atop East Gros Ventre Butte, with views of the Grand Teton, the Amangani's entry has 35-foot windows overlooking the Snake River Range to the south. Rooms ooze floor-to-ceiling Zen simplicity, with flowers, redwood, and sandstone, and all come with a fireplace and a balcony overlooking the infinity pool. Recoup from a hard day on the slopes with a Louis L'Amour novel in the stocked library or a buffalo steak at the five-star Grill at Amangani. Doubles from $750; 800-477-9180, amangani.com

Adara Hotel Whistler, British Columbia
The Adara is diehard modern, with campy nods to classic lodge style, like orange resin antlers and etched mirrors. Accommodations range from standard rooms to loft suites with private balconies, and all come with molded-plastic furniture, iPod docks, nature-sound machines, electric fireplaces, and rain showers. The house bar serves complimentary wine and cheese each night, a perfect warm-up for an evening in the pedestrian district of Whistler Village, right out the front door. Doubles from $229; 866-502-3272, adarahotel.com

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