Monday marks Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, when many parades, rallies, and events will take place to honor the civil rights activist. But if you're already itching for your next getaway, the three-day weekend is a great opportunity to head to the slopes. Since North America is packed with ski towns, a couple days of skiing or snowboarding is definitely doable. Here are eight destinations for a last-minute trip and corresponding hotels that have availability.
1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
A favorite family-friendly ski destination, Jackson Hole is notable for its snowcapped mountains, diverse wildlife, and prime access to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. It's also known for its steep terrain, with one of the highest vertical drops in North America. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has 133 trails, 13 ski lifts, and plenty of activities to keep travelers busy. A daily weather and snow report can be found online here.
Where to Stay: Hotel Terra Jackson Hole
The 132-room Hotel Terra is a trendy, eco-friendly ski lodge that offers a nice break from the often-standard mountain-lodge decor found in other area hotels. Perhaps most importantly, the hotel is just a short walk from the slopes and has on-site ski rentals and a ski valet.
2. Whistler, British Columbia
Considered one of the premier ski destinations in the world, Whistler is located about a 90-minute drive north of Vancouver. The city hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, though it's also known for excellent mountain biking in the summer. There are plenty of trails for beginner or expert skiers and most of the restaurants, bars, and hotels are located in the easily-navigable Whistler Village.
Where to Stay: Four Seasons Resort Whistler
The Four Seasons is one of the most luxurious, beautiful resorts in Whistler. The property features a heated outdoor pool; a top-notch spa; and large rooms and residences with gorgeous bathrooms, and of course, great mountain views. The location in Upper Village is a bit removed from the lively Whistler Village, but it's a short walk to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola lift up Whistler Blackcomb.
3. Taos, New Mexico
A 90-minute drive from Santa Fe, Taos is in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. There are four ski resorts in Taos, with dozens of opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. There's also ice skating and sleigh rides for the leisure-minded travelers. After a day on the slopes, visitors can explore the more than twenty sites on the National Register of Historic Places in Toas, including the Picuris Pueblo and Chapel of Santa Cruz.
Where to Stay: The Historic Taos Inn
The 44-room Historic Taos Inn is a comfy landmark with live entertainment at its popular pueblo bar, an authentic New Mexican restaurant with adobe fireplaces, lovely courtyards, and outdoor parking. Southwest furnishings are in rooms that also feature flat-screen TVs, kiva fireplaces, and viga ceilings. But the lively bar scene, while a major draw for some, can be noisy and bothersome to guests trying to rest.
4. Park City, Utah
Another Winter Olympic host city, Park City was once a mining town, before its revitalization into a ski area in the 1960s. There are three ski resorts in Park City, each with a distinct vibe: Park City Mountain is known for its lively, party scene; Deer Valley is posh and upscale; and The Canyons is laid-back and popular with families. While the fresh powder slopes are the main Winter draw, late January will also bring hordes of visitors for the Sundance Film Festival.
Where to Stay: The Silverado Lodge at Canyons Resort
Located at the base of the Canyons Mountain, Silverado Lodge is a budget-friendly option within the Canyons ski area. Spacious rooms range from studios to multi-bedroom units with full kitchens, washer/dryers, and flat-screen TVs. Notable elements include gas fireplaces, charming lodge decor, and big bathrooms.
5. Stowe, Vermont
Known as the "Ski Capital of the East," Stowe sees an average snowfall of over 20 feet. The Stowe Mountain Resort is located on Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, with a vertical drop of 2,360 feet; the ski resort has 13 lifts and 116 trails for all levels of skiers. Other family-friendly activities include snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating, and dogsledding.
Where to Stay: Green Mountain Inn
The 107-room upper-middle-range Green Mountain Inn has the charm and intimacy of a country inn with many four-pearl features, including free afternoon tea, a heated pool, and massage services. The hotel offers a wide selection of accommodations right on Stowe’s Main Street, from traditional hotel rooms to full townhouses. All exude a cozy, antique New England ambience and many have fireplaces and private hot tubs.
6. Breckenridge, Colorado
There are dozens of fantastic skiing options in Colorado and Breckenridge is high on the list. Located about a 2-hour drive from the Denver International Airport, the small town of under 5,000 will host upwards of 37,000 people during peak season. The city gets about 300 inches of snow each year and ski season begins mid-November; travelers head to the Breckenridge Ski Resort for its 34 lifts, 187 trails, and total ski terrain of 2,908 acres. A very walkable town, Main Street has more than 30 bars, restaurants, and pubs for après ski fun.
Where to Stay: Village at Breckenridge Resort
This mid-range property is, as the name suggests, a veritable village, with a ski school, seasonal childcare center, and a mix of 240 hotel rooms and condo rentals in five different buildings. It has an indoor/outdoor pool and outdoor Jacuzzis on a redwood deck with mountain views. Guests also get access to the amenities at One Ski Hill Place. The property's best feature, though, is its location just off of Main Street, across the plaza from the Quicksilver lift.
7. Mont Tremblant, Quebec
About equidistant from Montreal and Ottawa, Mont Tremblant is most well-known for its ski resort of the same name. While the resort is open year-round, most travelers head to the city in winter to ski; the resort has 96 trails, of which almost half are for advanced or expert skiers, and 14 total lifts. Other activities include a snowshoe journey that ends with a fondue meal, nighttime tubing, and ice climbing. Tragically, this is also the ski resort where actress Natasha Richardson sustained a head injury and later died. (Not sure if that's too morbid to include?)
Where to Stay: Le Sommet des Neiges
The 113-room, three-pearl Le Sommet des Neiges is a lovely all-suite complex in the Mont-Tremblant Pedestrian Village, within walking distance to all the mountainside ski village has to offer. Suites feature fully equipped kitchens, washers/dryers, and other home conveniences. While spacious enough and tastefully decorated and furnished, the suites aren’t luxurious by any means.
8. North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway, New Hampshire is most popular for mountain climbing and outlet shopping, but it's also a solid ski destination. Situated in the White Mountains, it's home to the family-friendly Cranmore Mountain Resort. Boasting 56 trails and 9 lifts, the resort offers options for both beginner and expert skiers. Once visitors have had their fill of skiing and snowboarding, they can head to the 10-lane tubing park, which is open to children and adults of all ages.
Where to Stay: Red jacket Mountain View Resort & Water Park
Visitors to New Hampshire's White Mountains who want to keep their children busy will enjoy the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, a three-pearl budget property. This sprawling resort is set up high on 25 acres overlooking the Moat Mountains and the Saco River Valley, so many of its 164 rooms have picturesque views. It has a pretty heated pool (for a fee), and there are more aquatic options at the adjacent Kahuna Laguna Water Park with its 175-gallon tipping bucket and four high-speed tubes.