Winter’s Best of the Mountains List

As the conclusion to our mountain sojourn, we wanted to give you a best-of listing based on our own personal experience. Of course, that means my experience since I’m writing this article. Just to shake things up a bit Diana has agreed to disagree in the comments, so I encourage you to see the comments for more insights.

Best Skiing

Let me start by saying that just about any ski hill is fun with fresh snow. That said, it was not a great year for snow. Decent freshies were only found at Heavenly Valley, Breckenridge, and Vail. Since the Nevada side of Heavenly is considered my home resort, I know it very well and I can usually find some untouched stashes of snow a few days after the most recent storm.

I missed most of the good freshies at Breck tending to Diana post-op but I was still able to grab some. But I was only able to get one day of fresh tracks at Vail, in part due to the need for reservations during a popular week.

It should be no surprise that I’m going with Vail as the best skiing. The terrain there is unbeatable, it just seems to go on forever. Add fresh powder and you’ve got a winner every time.

Best Lodging

There were 3 strong contenders here: Marriott’s Mountainside (Park City), Grand Lodge at Peak 7 (Breck), and Westin Riverfront (Beaver Creek). They all had nice, large rooms, were adjacent to a lift, and had open, socially distanced hot tubs with decent availability (a key feature to workout those knotted muscles apres ski).

I’ll give the nod to Peak 7 this year, mostly because I liked the terrain available nearby. I can say that the nightly social and other entertainment available prior to Covid at Mountainside would push it over the mark in the future.

Best Views

There were some strong contenders here: Heavenly, Snowbasin, and Telluride come to mind. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Heavenly provides great views of Lake Tahoe and beautiful Carson Valley lights at night.

Snowbasin has rugged mountains, a sweeping panorama and a view into the Great Salt Lake.

Telluride will take the honor this year. The stunning panorama, gorgeous peaks and cliffs, alpenglow, and night views from the free gondola take the cake. It’s worth a detour regardless of your interest in skiing.

Best Food

Without picking a winner, I will name our top 3: Ember in Breck, Zino in Edwards (near Beaver Creek), and Sidework in Telluride. They all featured skilled preparation, an inviting environment, and really good food.

Ember served us a wonderful prix fixe. We had boar tenderloin, scallops, black cod, and dessert named Zen. Just a wonderful night overall and the watchful eye of Henry William Foxtail III.

Zino had a warm vibe to it. Its Italian fare was not overly complicated. The food was simple and fresh with clean flavors. A bit understated in some ways, Zino just felt comfortable.

Sidework Speakeasy Lounge had a hip vibe. Their fabulous, well-conceived food showed attention to detail and great flavor pairings. We look forward to going there again when we return another year.

Which of these places appeal the most to you?

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  1. I wanted to add a few things to what Mike said. First, I didn’t ski after Park City so I can’t really comment on the best skiing but I will attest that it was dumping in Frisco while I was moving from one pain pill to the next and Mike missed all of those freshies. About the lodging, I definitely think the Westin Riverfront was our best lodging. The room was really big with a beautiful patio and it was well appointed. I will also attest that I had the best most expensive massage I have ever had at the spa at the Westin. That might have colored my opinion a bit. It was really tough to pick the best restaurants, overall I think Breckenridge had more great food than any of the other towns but eating out this year was a challenge.

  2. All that food looks wonderful! Haven’t been out to a sit down restaurant in a long time, and it’s been over a year for an indoor sit down meal. How did you feel with indoor dining?

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