Breaking the Ice

by Becca Hensley

As a salute to frolicking in the snow with children, cuddling before a roaring fire with the one you love, and the fact that every tiny snowflake is unique (just like you), we highlight winter spa adventures worthy of your scarf-enwrapped pursuits.

Sundance Resort and Spa, Sundance, Utah

Nestled into the Wasatch Mountains, an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, Sundance Mountain Resort remains as sustainable and unspoiled now as it was when Robert Redford purchased it five decades ago. His plan was to blend history with a nature- based, upscale artist’s colony—a vibe still present today.

Encompassing 450 skiable acres with varied terrain, the retreat emits a pleasing nostalgia with its rustic buildings, countrified cabins and suites and nook-abundant expanses. Elevated simplicity reigns in favor of gratuitous luxury throughout the hideaway.


In winter, guests bundle up to immerse in freezing fun—skiing, snowboarding or zip-lining across the snow banks. Adrenaline junkies find their fix at the challenging terrain park, while everyone can relax at The Spa. Try one of the seasonal body treatments, which feature essences of spruce, pine and cedar or cinnamon, clove and sweet orange.

Topnotch Resort, Stowe, Vermont

Live the jingle-bell image from a holiday card when you clip-clop through Stowe, the “Ski Capital of the East,” on a horse-drawn sleigh, snuggled beneath warm blankets. Those exhilarating days spent on skis or snowboards end quietly around a firepit at Topnotch Resort, a characteristic ski lodge, which also offers other wintery activities such as snowshoe romps and tours across the crusty white landscape on fat tire bikes.

To relax at day’s end, huddle in the Topnotch Spa, a 35,000-square-foot oasis, with heated indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and 30 tranquil treatment rooms. Try the Total Hops Massage, an ode to the region’s hop-growing industry, which provides the ideal apres ski experience—a soothing massage, executed with house-made herb and hops-infused oils to reduce inflammation, and served with a local, draft beer.

Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, Avon, Colorado

Ice skating, sleigh ride dinners, snowmobiling and the best ski concierges in Vail Valley define Rocky Mountain winters at this recently refreshed resort. Anchoring the base of Beaver Creek Mountain, the destination invites skiers to slow their S-turns to

a halt at peaceful Spa Anjali. Translated from the Sanskrit, Anjali means “divine offering,” an apt name for the 27,000-square-foot sanctum of serenity. Incorporating modalities and philosophies from the Rockies, Alps and Himalayas, the spa proffers a range of treatments. Fight jet lag and high-altitude malaise with Anjali’s restorative Travel Recovery Massage. It invigorates with a custom blend of geranium-, rosemary- and peppermint-infused oils

and deep tissue massage, effectively boosted with a Theragun Percussive tool—a device known to relieve muscle pain.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

In winter months, Banff, Canada’s first national park, brings to mind the North Pole, thanks to its snow-capped peaks, mounds of white snow and ice-sheathed lake. Its Queen of the Realm, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, rises from the water’s shores, further conjuring snow-frosted storybook delights. Like a Loire Valley castle, it has turrets and crenelations, with regal interiors ideal for resting after a day spent skiing, ice skating, building snow people or dog sledding. Thaw out in The Spa, where the Soothing Lavender Dreams body treatment lends a relaxing hand (or two). Featuring exfoliation and effleurage, (plus attention to the scalp and feet) the ritual calms with healing lavender.

The Lake House on Canandaigua, Canandaigua, New York

Snow-covered vineyards and orchards turn the Finger Lakes region of New York into a spiky white carpet in winter. Prone to something called Lake Effect Snow, which brings heavier, wetter flakes, the glacial locale begs for puffy jackets and ear muffs in season.

But don’t let the low temperatures stop your fun. Check into The Lake House, a design-centric retreat, complete with 124 rooms, a timber frame events barn, a signature restaurant, a heated outdoor pool and its coup de gras—a destination spa, which brings new meaning to lake life in the winter. After slipping and sliding along the waterside paths or cross-country skiing the surrounding terrain, yield to well-being at streamlined Willowbrook Spa. Equipped with outdoor sauna pods with windows that frame the water, the spa has a plethora of reset-minded treatments. To hibernate as soundly as lake country wildlife, try the Deep Sleep bodywork ritual, which can be enhanced with add-ons, such as Dry Brushing or Amethyst Biomat.

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