THAT SOUND YOU HEAR as you sit at your desk counting the days until the weekend? That’s the sound of the ski slopes calling your name — and there’s no time like the present to try a new venue. These three destinations offer lots to do on and off the mountains, and a reason to answer when winter fun calls.
> WHERE: Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa, Dubois, Wyoming The Draw: This winter hideaway (pictured above) is set in the Rocky Mountains and surrounded by nearly two million acres of snow. The Stay: You know you’re in a secluded spot when the final five miles to your door require a dog sled, snowmobile or track vehicle. Rustic cabins and five-star service combine for a fantastic experience. The Perks: When you’re not skiing, try snowmobiling, ice fishing or snowshoeing, or sign up for a wildlife excursion. And don’t miss the chance to spend time in the spacious on-site Rocky Mountain Spa. www.brookslake.com
> WHERE: Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Montana The Draw: Nordic skiing and celebrity-spotting. Voted as one of USA Today’s top 10 best Nordic skiing destinations, it’s the perfect alternative for those looking to try a new resort. The Stay: The historic, 101-year-old ranch offers a choice of cabins or private home rentals depending on the size of your group. The gorgeous log cabins and excellent service mean you’ll quickly see why it earned a National Geographic “Unique Lodges of the World” designation. The Perks: Prefer a downhill experience? You’re 10 minutes from Big Sky Resort. You’re also close to Yellowstone National Park. www.lonemountainranch.com
> WHERE: Niseko Village, Hokkaido, Japan The Draw: Some of the world’s best skiing on champagne powder snow, and a taste of authentic Japanese culture. The Stay: A selection of townhouses and a brand new Ritz-Carlton Reserve (the first in Japan) offer a wide choice of luxury accommodation options. The Perks: Hokkaido is close to destinations that offer guests a glimpse into the traditional Japanese culture. Pop over to the port city of Otaru for sake distilleries and antiques, or to Nikka’s Yoichi Distillery for a sip of their rare malt whisky. http://ytlhotels.com