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7 Lodges Where You Can Ski from the Porch

Bring your skis and a good book, and prepare to settle in

(Courtesy Snow Bowl)

Bring your skis and a good book, and prepare to settle in

A lot of ski-town hotels call themselves ski-in, ski-out—meaning you can put on your ski boots in the lobby and walk out the door to the lifts. But there’s a class of snowbound homes, hotels, and chalets that bring the practice to a whole new level: stationed deep in the mountains, often in remote locales that require ski touring or riding a snowcat, helicopter, or gondola to reach. The best part? You’ll have vast snow-covered peaks right out your door.


The Hideout Lodge

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(Courtesy Kirkwood)

Kirkwood, California

Now open through winter for the first time, the Hideout Lodge is a 5,000-square-foot log cabin deep in the snow-drenched Sierra, with access to 40 acres of unspoiled wilderness and only 12 miles south of the Kirkwood ski resort. To get there, you can either ski in two miles, hop a snowcat, or, starting this winter, book a private heli charter to pick you up in San Francisco, Reno, or Sacramento. (They’ll drop you right at the lodge.) After a day of backcountry touring, you’ll have access to an outdoor sauna, cedar hot tub, yoga classes, on-site saloon, and meals prepared by a house chef. Book one room or the whole lodge. Starting at $2,798 per person for an all-inclusive, four-night stay.

Sekka Onsen House

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(Courtesy Sekka)

Niseko, Japan

Set in the mountains above Niseko, Japan, the four-story Sekka Onsen House has its own onsen, or Japanese-style hot spring. Fitted with a gear-drying room, heated floors, Wi-Fi, and four spacious bedrooms, the house can sleep up to nine people and rents in its entirety. It’ll take you 30 minutes to drive down winding mountain roads to reach the main Niseko resorts, but there’s backcountry skiing out your door and an all-wheel-drive rental car is included with your stay. From $1,100 a night for the whole house. No single rooms available.

Whare Kea Chalet

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(Courtesy Whare Kea Lodge)

New Zealand

A 20-minute helicopter ride whisks you up Dragonfly Peak to the mountaintop Whare Kea Chalet, located at 5,700 feet on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park on New Zealand’s South Island. Harris Mountain Heli-Skiing leaves from the front steps and delivers you to snow-slathered slopes throughout the surrounding Southern Alps. The solar-powered chalet sleeps six guests, and a small staff prepares your meals. Huge windows offer views of Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring from the living room. From $1,400 per person.

The Hotel at Sugar Bowl

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(Courtesy Sugar Bowl)

Donner Pass, California

Sugar Bowl’s snowbound village and its charming base-lodge hotel are both accessed via a quaint gondola ride from the parking lot. Stay the night and have first dibs on the Disney Chair the next morning. At dusk, enjoy après drinks and burgers at the Belt Room Bar. The hotel also features an on-site sauna, yoga studio, and massage services. From $259 per night.

Mica Lodge

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(Courtesy Mica Lodge)

British Columbia, Canada

You’ll come to Mica Lodge for the heli-skiing, but you’ll stay for the middle-of-nowhere solitude and luxurious accommodations. The lodge, located 93 miles north of Revelstoke and accessed via helicopter, accommodates 20 guests in the main building and private chalet, with rooftop hot tubs, a ski shop and fitness center, massage room, and boot-drying station all within your grasp. By day, you’ll have access to more than 500 square miles of skiable terrain via helicopter. Call for pricing.

Hotel Kristberg

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(Courtesy Hotel Kristberg)

Lech, Austria

You can leave the Hotel Kristberg’s cozy lobby fireplace and be in the charming mountain village of Lech in just a few minutes, but the hotel’s snowy hilltop locale makes you feel like you’re far from the hustle. Best of all, you can ski out the door to the Arlberg’s 88 trams and lifts and nearly 200 miles of trails. The venue is owned and operated by Egon Zimmermann, an Olympic downhill gold medalist who trained as a chef in Paris. Your night’s stay includes a seven-course dinner and a breakfast spread hearty enough to feed the Austrian ski team. From $177.

Smith Cabin

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(Courtesy Smith Cabin)

Aspen, Colorado

Smith Cabin, on the backside of Aspen Mountain, is accessible in midwinter only via snowmobile, but you can be at Aspen Mountain’s Sundeck restaurant in 15 minutes from the seat of your sled. Rent the whole three-bedroom house and spend your days backcountry skiing right from the porch. Or hook up with Aspen Powder Tours for guided catskiing. At day’s end, retreat to the cabin for a wood-burning stove, chef’s kitchen, Wi-Fi, and views of the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Area. From $2,500 a night.

Filed To: Aspen / Yoga / New Zealand / Japan / California / Canada / Fitness / Austria / British Columbia / San Francisco
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

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(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

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(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.