T+L Reports: The New Après-Ski
Published: May 2009
By Janet O'Grady
It used to be that after an exhilarating day on the slopes, you'd slip out of your boots and slide over to the bar. But with spas popping up at nearly every resort from the Colorado Rockies to Vermont's Green Mountains, snow warriors are rewarding a hard day of moguls with massages instead of hot buttered rums. Herewith, nine slopeside spots to soothe your searing thighs.
Spa at Squaw Creek Picture windows frame the adjacent Sierra Nevadas, but in the darkened corners of the 10 treatment rooms, the goal is to escape the dry mountain air. Therapeutic rubs and skin-hydrating therapies dominate the spa menu, which, like most pampering escapes in California, takes its inspiration from Asia. During the Scentao body and face treatment, a blend of green tea, ginkgo, and ginger oils is slathered on the skin to promote cell rejuvenation. The Plaisir des Sens facial promises to balance misaligned chakras with lapis lazuli (said to increase mental clarity) and tigereye stones (believed to release toxins). Kinks in the chi can be further ironed out with a Tahoe Stone Massage, using both hot and cold rocks.
400 Squaw Creek Rd., Olympic Valley 800/327-3353 or 530/583-6300 www.squawcreek.com; treatments from $95
Bachelor Gulch Spa at the Ritz-Carlton The Ritz-Carlton is so discreet, it even has its own ski lift. In its equally accommodating 21,000-square-foot spa, treatments incorporate local ingredients—and attitude. The Champagne Powder Wrap (named for the resort's fluffy snow, not the bubbly) blends raw sugar, wild honey, milk, and herbs; a heated concoction of sweet almond, cinnamon, and nutmeg is scrubbed into the skin, then rinsed off with a Vichy shower during the Hot Toddy. Guests looking for exercise off the slopes can join a Polar Bear Aerobics class, held in an outdoor pool heated to a balmy 90 degrees.
0130 Daybreak Ridge, Avon 800/241-3333 or 970/748-6200; treatments from $90
Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa, Telluride When it came time to open a ski-resort outpost, the Golden Door—always the latest word in spa trends—pulled no punches. The Peak's spa facility lists on its menu Native American-inspired treatments alongside Golden Door classics . Guests wait for their appointments in the tearoom while sipping chamomile blends. From there, aestheticians pamper them with a Turquoise Wrap, using Hopi blue-corn meal and turquoise clay to exfoliate. Invigoration comes in the form of a shot of caffeine: coffee, an antioxidant as well as a stimulant for the skin, smooths rough patches in the Arabica Scrub. Need to let out some steam?Take part in daily Dream Drumming classes.
136 Country Club Dr., Mountain Village800/772-5482 or 970/728-2590; treatments from $120
Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City Think Nordic ski lodge, and you've nailed the design scheme: blond pinewood, dried wildflower wreaths, subtle earth tones. The Scandinavian homage doesn't end there (the lodge was named for a famous Norwegian skier, after all). The Mountain Spice Body Facial includes nutmeg and local herbs to slough off dead skin. In the Nordic Princess, the body is cosseted in Dead Sea salts and sugar, and steamed and pummeled. Don't worry, princes aren't forgotten. The four treatments on the Exclusively Male menu—like the Norseman Vichy (with a micro-dermabrasion scrub and sandalwood rub)—would subdue even Stein Eriksen himself.
7700 Stein Way, Park City; 800/453-1302 or 435/649-3700; www.steinlodge.com; treatments from $120
Avanyu Spa at the Equinox, Manchester Village If Avanyu had existed in the 1940's, Norman Rockwell certainly would have painted it (he lived one town over, after all). Couples waiting for the Equinox Essential—80 minutes of wraps and body and scalp massages incorporating red clover, the state flower—admire nature from earth-toned sofas in the relaxation room. Modern dads pass time beside a Vermont-quarried gneiss-stone fireplace before their Mountain Man Facials. The hotel itself, built in 1769, still attracts a handsome set of New England families, only now they're coming for the rural elegance and the skiing (Stratton and Bromley resorts are both less than 20 miles away). And when they tire of that, there's always the resort's falconry school, off-road driving courses, and the appropriately Rockwellian fly-fishing expeditions.
Historic Rte. 7A, Manchester Village 888/367-7625; www.equinox.rockresorts.com; treatments from $95
Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa at Stowe This nook of Vermont is a land of red barns, covered bridges, and—surprise—two world-class ski spas, each with its own herbalist and homegrown treatments. Massage junkies entering the new 50,000-square-foot Stoweflake spa are encouraged to unwind in the cavelike hydrotherapy waterfall, then dry off in the glass-enclosed aerie that frames the Green Mountains. Vermont is brought inside with the Maple Sugar Body Polish, a scrub done with local Grade A maple syrup and honey, and apricot kernels. The massage that follows uses Vermont Body Butter, which melts into the skin as it moisturizes. Romantics, take note: The couples' suites come with private soaking tubs and fireplaces.
1746 Mountain Rd., Stowe; 800/253-2232 or 802/253-7355; www.stoweflake.com treatments from $55
Topnotch at Stowe Resort & Spa At Topnotch spa, located on a wooded hillside just down the road from the base of Mount Mansfield, expect a classic New England lodge aesthetic, complete with fireplaces, overstuffed chairs, and 20 massage and facial rooms with preppy green-plaid blankets. The signature treatment, the Vermont Wildflower, is equally homey: locally grown rose, lavender, geranium, and spearmint are mixed by an herbalist, then generously rubbed into aching muscles during a wrap and massage. Unlike chilling out at Stowe's other spa, Stoweflake, coming here is a family affair. In an effort to introduce young schussers to the joys of pampering, the teen package ($265), for guests 14 years and older, includes a facial, a scrub using maple sugar from nearby farms, a citrus Swedish massage, and lunch (burgers and fries allowed).
4000 Mountain Rd., Stowe; 800/451-8686 or 802/253-8585; www.topnotchresort.com; treatments from $45
Amangani, Jackson Hole While the vistas of the Tetons are expansive, Amangani's spa is small and intimate, even lairlike. A sign at its entrance reads PLEASE SPEAK SOFTLY. RELAXATION AND REJUVENATION ARE IN PROGRESS. Candles warm the mood in the three redwood treatment rooms; wraps, performed in the steam room, bring the heat up a few more degrees. As with Bikram yoga, scrubs and rubs—such as the seaweed wrap or the Aromarine Mud Body Mask—are intensified when administered in gentle heat. Besides making guests feel good, the temperature aids in detoxification. If that doesn't do the trick, the brisk mountain air rolling out of nearby Yellowstone should.
1535 Northeast Butte Rd., Jackson 877/734-7333 or 307/734-7333; www.amanresorts.com; treatments from $140
Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole The Four Seasons built its first ski resort a few pole pushes from the lifts; every aspect of the spa at the Western-chic hotel also aims to make life easy on guests. Dark-wood treatment rooms are illuminated with wall sconces made to look like Native American drums. Products incorporate Wyoming herbs such as hawthorn and mallow. Staying warm is a priority: upon arrival, each spa-goer is given a warmed neck pillow infused with lavender and chamomile; massage tables are heated; and facials and wraps are finished off with steaming peppermint-steeped towels. Worn-out riders can sign up for a Willow Wisp Body Wrap, which is based on a Native American antidote for aches and pains. Or they can relax with the Four Seasons in One, a four-pronged approach to pampering, beginning with a cool scrub (for winter) and ending with a clove conditioning scalp treatment that's as mellow as an autumn day.
7680 Granite Loop Rd., Teton Village 800/295-5281 or 307/732-5000 www.fourseasons.com/jacksonhole; treatments from $65
JANET O'GRADY is the editor-in-chief of Aspen Magazine