5 Best Ski Towns for Solo Travelers — With Cozy Lodges and Excellent Aprés-ski Scenes

Contrary to popular belief, ski trips are ideal for solo travelers, too. Here's where to go in the U.S. and Europe.

Matterhorn and Zermatt, Switzerland

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At first glance, it may not seem like the ski vacation is designed to accommodate the solo traveler, what with all those eight-bedroom ski chalets for rent on Airbnb and Vrbo and families crowding around outdoor fire pits in between runs. But the fact is, ski trips are incredibly conducive and welcoming toward individual travelers — there’s a reason for the singles line at the chairlift, after all. Some destinations are better than others, though, and our picks get top marks for everything from ease of getting around (both on the mountain and in town), suitable accommodations, and a solid aprés-ski scene that’s as receptive to the single traveler bellied up at the bar as the gaggle of bachelorettes seated at the communal table.

Aspen, Colorado

Street in Aspen, Colorado, in winter

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This Aspen, Colorado, mainstay continues to appeal to visitors from all over the world, thanks to its downtown charm, complete with art galleries, fine food and drink (Clark’s Oyster Bar and French Alpine Bistro are two such standouts), local boutiques, and cannabis shops. With a stay in the heart of the action at the always hip W Aspen — Brooklyn’s hottest bar, Ponyboy, is taking over the cocktail bar all winter — you can skip the rental car and splurge on some new cowboy boots instead.

While Aspen Mountain, or the “town mountain,” will keep both beginner and advanced skiers and riders occupied, a free shuttle stops at Snowmass and Aspen Highlands for more powder-crushing adventures (the latter is not for newbies). If you’re looking to brush up on your skills and meet other travelers, consider a group ski lesson. Full-day lessons or clinics max out at five people, and surely one group member will know where to relax after the last run. For live music, hit up Belly Up Aspen, an institution that brings big names to the stage

Stowe, Vermont

Looking across a field towards Stowe, Vermont

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If any ski town in the U.S. is reminiscent of Europe, it’s this one in northern Vermont. Stowe is bursting with wine bars, breweries, cafes, and boutiques and is perfectly positioned to charm the individual wanderer. The skiing is not too shabby, either: Mount Mansfield is Vermont’s highest peak, and recent mountain upgrades include a new high-speed, six-person lift so you can track more downhill runs and spend less time on line (though fast-moving singles lines mean solo travelers are already at an advantage when it comes to maximizing mountain time). 

Plan your trip around the annual Winter Rendezvous, Stowe’s LGBTQ+ pride celebration for nearly 40 years running, and make new friends at one of the many associated activities and events, like the pool party at the Trapp Family Lodge. Speaking of lodges, Talta Lodge, a recent addition to the hotel scene, is a cozy respite for the individual traveler looking for style and substance that won’t break the bank. 

South Lake Tahoe, California

Heavenly ski resort Gondola, South Lake Tahoe

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Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe is the ultimate playground for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Tahoe’s largest and tallest mountain is here, but somehow, in spite of this grandeur, the town manages to be low-key and accessible to a variety of travelers. It’s about a one-hour shuttle ride from Reno’s airport, and, once settled in town, you can take advantage of the gondola service for dining, shopping, and aprés-ski action. Solo travelers may want to check out the 21-room Desolation Hotel, which bills itself as a micro resort.

The casino scene is fairly prominent here, too, and what better place to start up a conversation with strangers than at a low-stakes blackjack table? Whiskey Dick’s Saloon is the place for live music minus the families, but first, reward your sporting efforts with pub fare at Gunbarrel Tavern or linguine fra diavolo at the cozy Cafe Fiore. Get caffeinated the next day at Driftwood Cafe, and see how much of Heavenly’s 4,800 skiable acres you can conquer before lunchtime.

Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Charlevoix, Quebec

Aerial view of gondola at Club Med Quebec

Courtesy of Club Med

What’s old is new again, and this certainly rings true for Club Med, which has been moving into the ski scene in a big way. The gorgeous Club Med Quebec Charlevoix opened its doors just in time for the 2021 season and is as welcoming to individual travelers as it is to families. The all-inclusive format means all you need to do is show up; included in a stay at this Quebec mountain resort is a lift ticket, ski rentals, lessons (great for linking up with other solo travelers), and food and beverage.  

There’s much more to do here than just ski, though — Club Med guests can choose an astounding 25 activities to add to their itinerary. From yoga and trapeze classes to group dog sled excursions, it’s impossible to feel even the slightest twinge of loneliness here. For aprés-ski craft cocktails, head to Bar Le Chalet and make a point to enjoy at least one supplementary dinner at Le Chalet — after 9 p.m., it’s an adults-only experience.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Scenic view of snowcapped mountains against sky, Zermatt, Switzerland

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Who says solo travelers shouldn’t splurge on an epic European ski vacation? Vehicle-free Zermatt, easily reached by train from Zurich or Geneva, is about as idyllic as ski villages come. Since this is Switzerland, expect fine chocolates, pastries, and the quintessential fondue to fuel your epic runs. A lunch reservation for a party of one at Michelin-starred Chez Vrony serves a dual purpose: midday ski break and the best Matterhorn viewing on the mountain.

After the lifts close, the car-free town entices with live music (check out Schmuggler Höhle, which also doubles as a pizzeria, and Papperla Pub, where the glühwein flows). This being Europe, the breakfast buffet is likely to impress no matter which hotel you choose, but stylish travelers know Schweizerhof Zermatt checks all the overnight boxes.

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