The Colder, the Better

Illustration by Nick Higgins

Snowmass, Colorado
Home to a new $1 billion ski village, yet still less expensive than Vail.
Geared mostly to families, Snowmass used to be that well-meaning but ultimately boring ski mountain your parents might have taken you to when you were 10; cheap, yes, but in need of a makeover. Last season, it finally got one: a smartly designed $1 billion village with restaurants serving fancier ski fare like ground-bison meat loaf at Sneaky’s Tavern ( Snowmass’s prices are still cheap ($184 for a three-day lift ticket, compared with $236 at Vail), and the terrain’s as massive as ever, with 3,182 acres of sometimes gut-wrenching steeps like Garrett Gulch and Powderhorn. Stay at the Viceroy Snowmass (from $150;; opening November 26): The ski-in-ski-out lodgings come with a ski valet and an 87-foot glass bar for après-ski drinks.

• 8 a.m. first tracks with advance reservation (970-923-0560) on Wednesday or Friday Free
• Any three courses from the fancy seasonal menu at Six89 in Carbondale $26.89
• The Chipotle Dog (a Nathan’s hot dog with peppers, onions, and pepperjack cheese) at the Sweet Life $7.95

Lanesville, New York
The quintessential quick, cheap getaway—a weekend at a Catskills B&B—is now hip as well.
The two-year-old Breathe Inn is a Catskills B&B, albeit one that’s closer in spirit to a luxury boutique hotel than a moldy old Victorian (from $150; 845-688-7516 or Run by Camella Aitcheson and her chef-husband Marlon, the 1866 house is on nineteen acres in Lanesville, near Woodstock. The seven rooms are done with John Robshaw bedding, Malin+Goetz bath products, and original art by A-list friends like Banksy and Ryan McGinness. Hike to Kaaterskill Falls, a two-tier cascade near Palenville, or book a massage ($80) at the River Rock Health Spa. For dinner, drive east to Cucina for pastas and a good selection of wines ( or west for microbrews and rainbow trout at Peekamoose (

• Minnetonka beaded moccasins from the Nest Egg in Phoenicia $36
• Half-day pass and rentals at Mountain Trails Cross Country Ski Center $30
• Lift ticket plus ski or snowboard rental and lesson at Hunter Mountain $79

Jay Peak, Vermont
The Northeast Kingdom offers more snow (and tree skiing!) for significantly less cash.
Jay Peak may not be as big or stylish as its in-state rivals Stowe and Killington, but for starters, it’s cheaper; if you buy a seasonal “passport” for $25, you pony up just $49 a day to ski at Jay Peak (compared with $84 daily at Stowe). Then there’s the challenging tree glades and annual surplus of powder (355 inches on average, versus Killington’s 250). Through December 24, you can get a night at the slope-side Hotel Jay, a lift ticket, breakfast, and dinner for only $99 per person ( Though not quite as dirt cheap, the 57-room, Adirondack-style Tram Haus Lodge, opening February 1, is still a bargain (ski-and-stay deals from $153; and has creature comforts like a bakery, bar, and fitness center. After last runs, the hard-core, tree-dodging, duct-tape-on-the-pants crowd can be found digging into steaks and Long Trail Ales at the Belfry (802-326-4400) in nearby Montgomery.

• Poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy) at Trout RiverTraders $5.50
• Day of cross-country skiing on 40 miles of groomed trails at Hazen’s Notch $12
• Bottle of Fleur de Lys at Le Cep D’Argent vineyard in nearby Magog $12.36

Krvavec, Slovenia
A more affordable Swiss Alps, just ten minutes from Ljubljana’s airport.
Postage-stamp-size Slovenia may not match Switzerland and Austria in the size or glamour of its resorts, but its mountains are comparatively empty, its nightlife is more exotic, and everything you do here costs a fraction of those other places. You can cover much of the 21 miles of alpine slopes at the Krvavec Ski Center (lift tickets $42; within a few days. Leave at least one night open to go moonlight tobogganing through the forest in nearby Kranjska Gora ($23; arrange trips through Julijana Tourism Agency; Spend another night on an ice bed at Igloo Village Krvavec (from $133 per person;, a frozen village made up of seven guest igloos and an ice-hut restaurant. If all that sounds too chilly, the exceedingly warm sixteenth-century Pri Lenart Hotel (from $120; reopened earlier this year after extensive renovations.

• Four-day, six-resort Julian Alps ski pass $170
• Half-day of downhill snow-biking (a bike frame with skis instead of wheels) with Koren Sports $43
• Night of snowshoeing, fondue, and drinks at the Ice Bar in the Igloo Village Krvavec $67

Kootenays, Canada
British Columbia’s cheaper ski region actually outsnows Whistler.
With Vancouver hosting the Winter Olympics in February, a lot of eyes are about to be trained on Whistler Blackcomb’s vaunted party scene and shiny new peak-to-peak gondola. But here’s a secret: About 300 miles to the east is a range that gets more snow, attracts fewer visitors, and costs less to ski—about $15 less per lift ticket per day. The Kootenays are Canada’s answer to Utah: less sexy, more snow, with an average of 43 feet falling annually (compared with Whistler’s 33.5 feet). The three-year-old Revelstoke Mountain Resort (lift ticket $70; has a mile-high peak and the longest vertical lifts (5,620 feet) in North America. Stay at the just-opened ski-in-lift-out Nelsen Lodge (from $179 per person, including lift ticket), which has modern kitchens in all 59 mountain-view suites. The après-ski party, complete with twenty-ounce “pints” of local Mt. Begbie Brewing beers ($5.30) and pizza ($15.50), is at the Village Idiot Bar & Grill (250-837-6240) in Revelstoke.

The Ice Bar in Krvavec, SloveniaPhoto: Courtesy of Igloo Village

• Saturday-night disco tubing at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort near Golden $14.50
• Forty-minute massage at Halcyon Hot Springs $66
• Access to the cross-country ski trails at Mt. MacPherson $5.80

Bergen, Norway
The design-obsessed port city lures fjord-explorers with its big discounts.
Norway rarely leaps to mind as a budget-vacation option, but a two-year-long tourism slump has created some once-in-a-lifetime deals. You can now, for instance, bunk down at the mod Citybox hotel in the petite, artistic city of Bergen for an unheard-of $70 a night ( Or watch the northern lights from an on-deck Jacuzzi during a seven-day Arctic Circle cruise, priced 35 to 45 percent less than last year ($1,200 per person, airfare from U.K. included; Back in Bergen, shop the hip, store-lined Skostredet ( and preview the next “It” chair at the Vibrant Norwegian Furniture Design expo (through January 31; Tip back a few Ringnes beers at the low-key actors’ hangout, the Logen Bar ( and cap the night with a plate of $5 fish-cake smørrebrøds (open sandwiches) at Pingvinen (47-55-960-840).

• Sunday-night choral and acoustic concerts at the twelfth-century Church of the Cross free
• A night at the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz, dinner included $124
• Winter-only, all-you-can-eat soup buffet at Fløien Folkerestaurant $14

The Colder, the Better