Best Lay

Historic Lodges

POWDER ROAD: Flahr and Leskinen get rock-star treatment at Sun Valley Lodge.     Photo: Andrew Southam

These days, a luxury arms race rages among high-end resorts. (Slumber under our duvets of goose down hand-plucked by virginal Swiss maidens! Marinate in our pomegranate facials!) But these elegant lodges have something money can't buy: a place in skiing history.

Sun Valley Lodge Sun Valley, Idaho
Built in 1936, Sun Valley Lodge was the first destination ski resort in America. But don't get the impression this is just a place to dress up in ski woolens, smoke Lucky Strikes, and have a sepia-tone weekend. The lodge's 148 rooms were remodeled last season. Rent room 206 and tip a tumbler to Hemingway—that's where Papa finished For Whom the Bell Tolls. Midwinter doubles from $189; 800-786-8259, www.sunvalley.com

Sonnenalp Resort Vail, Colorado
Fourth-generation Bavarian hotelier Johannes Faessler has achieved gemütlichkeit-in-the-Rockies at the Sonnenalp, his 88-suite, alpen-swank resort. Watch for 40 more rooms to come this December. Midwinter doubles from $675; 866-284-4411, www.sonnenalp.com

Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley, Utah
Its Norwegian-inspired architecture makes this the handsomest of ski-country digs, but it's the service that keeps fans returning. At the end of the day, thoughtful valets unbuckle your boots, toss them onto a warmer, stash your skis, and hand you a cup of cocoa. Midwinter doubles from $700; 800-453-1302, www.steinlodge.com

Mount Washington Hotel Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
This 200-room 1902 Spanish Renaissance structure was rescued from demolition in the eighties. Good thing. It's at the foot of the Presidential Range, with 60 miles of groomed nordic skiing out back and Bretton Woods just across the street. Midwinter doubles from $280; 800-314-1752, www.mtwashington.com

Post Hotel Lake Louise, Alberta
How many hotels can boast a 29,000-bottle wine cellar, with some bottles dating to 1942, the year the lodge opened? The 97-room Post is also a five-minute shuttle ride from Lake Louise's 4,200 skiable acres. Midwinter doubles from US$215; 800-661-1586, www.posthotel.com

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