12 of the Most Ridiculously Expensive Mountain-Town Activities
Oh, to have disposable income
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Can we afford these? Absolutely not. But we can gawk at them—and gawk we will.
In today’s episode of “Recession? What Recession?” we’ve compiled a host of sticker-shock splurges across North America’s best-loved mountain towns. Think Porsche rentals in Tahoe, private mountain rentals in Montana, or the most Instagrammable of vacation kick-offs: skydiving to camp in Moab.
Here are 12 of the most astonishingly expensive mountain-town activities for an absurd taste of what having a big budget will buy you.
Rent a Private Mountain for a Cool $15K
Don’t just ski on a mountain this winter, rent the mountain itself. For $15,000 per day, you can rent Showdown, a ski area in central Montana. That means two chairlifts all to yourself, plus full lodge access, rental equipment, ski lessons, a private mountain guide, and food and beverages. The rental allows for up to 50 guests, but it’s also available for as few as one—the ultimate ski splurge. (Showdown Montana booked up? Rent these ski resorts and mountains instead.)
For Just $10K, Skydive to Your Hotel
At Moab’s rustic-chic Sorrel River Ranch, guests can skydive to the red-rock-fringed property for a mere $10,000. This fee covers four nights (room rates start at $1,200 per night) as part of Sorrel’s Above & Beyond Adventure package. In addition to tandem skydives to the resort’s landing pad, Above & Beyond guests enjoy massages, fresh meals, a private guide, and a sunrise horseback tour. It’s like James Bond meets Westworld; in fact, the latter was actually filmed just outside Sorrel.
Eat a $2K Dinner
It’ll take $2,ooo to up your après ski to luxe levels with dinner in the Little Nell hotel’s famed Red Light Lounge. With The Little Nell’s laundry list of superlatives—it’s Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond ski-in, ski-out property—the Red Light Lounge price tag is hardly surprising. A private wine tasting in the red-hued cellar runs for $300 per head, while a private dinner requires $2,000 for up to four guests. Oh, and the total retail value of the entire wine cellar? Around $6 million, according to the Little Nell wine director, Christopher Dunaway.
$10K Will Buy You a Six-Day Stay at This High-End Wellness Retreat
When life calls for TLC, wellness-retreat brand Reset Telluride has the answer—if you’re willing and able to drop $10,000. Reset Telluride’s six-day retreats (four-day bookings start at $5,500 per person) blend wellness and adventure, with treks through the San Juan mountains, massages, nutritionist-planned meals, oxygen-enrichment experiences, and overnights at the posh Madeline Hotel & Residences. The price tag may sound steep, but it’s nothing compared to the travel industry’s $265,000-plus extreme life coaching trips.
Join an Elite Ski Club for a Casual $2.3 Million
If you share a tax bracket with Bill Gates and Ben Affleck, why not ski with them, too? Yellowstone Club, located outside Big Sky, is perhaps the country’s most prestigious and exclusive ski resort. This one’s quite the pocketbook drainer. It requires an initial fee of $300,000, plus an annual $37,500 commitment, and the purchase of a club property, with homes from $2 million to more than $25 million, according to Business Insider. The reward: nearly 3,000 acres of crowd-free slopes, a private 18-hole golf course, plus mind-boggling amenities, from heated driveways to $5,000 boot dryers.
Drop $8K on Your Next Road-Trip Ride
When a hatchback won’t cut it, book a Porsche, Lamborghini, Maserati, or Ferrari with Lalu Luxury Car Rental. The exotic-car-rental company has offices in Arizona, California, and Nevada, including Reno, just 45 minutes outside Lake Tahoe. With this kind of access—and $8,600 for a three-day Porsche rental—you’ll be the envy of all of Tahoe.
Helicopter and Spa for $22K
Last year, the upscale Fairmont Hotels and Resorts brand unveiled a handful of extravagant new packages that cost nearly as much as the average yearly U.S. mortgage spend. Take Wings Over Whistler, which starts at $22,000 (for four adults). The three-night spring package commences with a champagne toast, then continues with an exclusive helicopter tour above the Pemberton Ice Cap with two glacier landings, hydrotherapy immersions in the spa, a private concierge, and a multi-course snow-globe gastronomic experience, plus a $1,000 donation to nonprofit Protect our Winters. Guests also enjoy the brand’s ultimate splurge: overnights in the esteemed “gold” section of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. It’s like a hotel within a hotel, with exclusive concierges, check-in, lounges, and wings reserved specifically for high-paying guests.
Mingle with Celebs at This $1,800 Festival
Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic is not your average food festival. This summer weekend extravaganza draws the who’s who of the culinary world. Household names like Chrissy Teigen and Andrew Zimmern rub elbows with restaurateurs and home chefs who can shell out the $1,800 for admission. The ticket includes wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, and access to the Grand Tasting Pavilion. If your taste buds beg for life’s finer things—think gold-leaf eggs Benedict and Cristal for days—the 2023 event runs from June 16 to 18.
Hire Private Ski Lessons for $1,065
Forget lift lines or group classes. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s private lessons give adult skiers and snowboarders a chance to jump the line, and benefit from expert coaching, for around $1,065 per day. (The fee does not include the $180 lift ticket.) Lessons run from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M., or save a buck with half-day lessons for $820.
Book a $3,800 High-Hiking Tour
Luxury tourism company Butiq Escapes, based in British Columbia, has made a name for itself with highly customized mountain adventures, such as backcountry UFO hunting. Its latest endeavor—high hiking—pairs weed with remote B.C. beauty for a minimum of $3,800 per person. It’s the trip of a lifetime, with helicopter transit from Victoria to a mountaintop for imbibing and unwinding. For add-on fun, Butiq can hire a DJ or a yoga instructor. According to VICE, the tour was designed to provide a more sophisticated marijuana immersion. (And, yes, recreational cannabis is legal across Canada.)
Host a Private $10,000 Après Ski
Time to hang up your Cowboy Bar hat? Transition to the upper echelon of Jackson’s après-ski society with a roughly $10,000 private dinner party. Boutique hotel Caldera House gives its suite-renting guests the chance to host in-room dinner parties for eight people. The price requires $5,000 for the experience, food and beverage (dinner runs for $145 per person, plus drinks), and the roughly $3,000 per-night suite price. If money’s no object, elevate your hosting by renting out the entire Caldera House for yourself and up to 60 guests; it’s $30,000 to book in winter and $26,000 in the summer.
Splurge on a High-End Couples Massage, Starting at $860
Why shower after a hike when you can sip bubbles, in bubbles, with the Madeline Hotel spa’s 135-minute Mountain Love Journey for Couples session. The package treats you and your partner with exfoliation, an aromatic steam shower, a bubbles-and-bites mineral bath, and a therapeutic massage, all in one of the hotel’s exclusive suites. This one will set you back $860 (not counting tip), but hey, you can’t put a price on love.