Culture / Travel

From Telluride to Quebec City, 13 Thrilling Winter Experiences for the Adventurous Texas Traveler

Mountain Yurt Dinners, Helicopter Ice Cave Excursions, Dog Sledding, and More

BY // 12.02.21

With Thanksgiving celebrations complete, it’s time for Texans to officially usher in the winter season. Although snow may not be guaranteed in a Texas forecast, we’ve rounded up adventures sure to make winter months glisten with heaps and bounds of snow. From fetching a yurt dinner while ascending a mountain to arriving at an ice cave via helicopter, these 13 winter destinations offer bucket-list-worthy activities that can only be checked off when you add snow.

Ice Caves Heli Adventure – 31
Descending into snow and ice caves in bucket list-worthy in Vancouver (Courtesy of Shangri-La Vancouver)

Ice Cave Heli Adventure

Vancouver, Canada  

An urban sanctuary nestled between the mountains and the sea, adventure travelers can embark on their coolest journey yet with Shangri-La Vancouver’s new exclusive Ice Caves Heli Adventure. Discover the wonders of British Columbia’s ice caves in pure style and luxury with this incredible package, in partnership with Head-Line Mountain Holidays. Guests are whisked away in a private helicopter to Whistler’s Ice Caves, where a personal guide will lead you through the labyrinth of aqua blue chambers, and then a five-course lunch is served inside the caves. 


Yurt Dinner

Park City, Utah

Park City boasts the ultimate vertical getaway that includes climbing to new heights for dinner. All Viking Yurt Dinner guests are transported 1,800 vertical feet up the side of the mountain by a snow-cat-pulled sleigh with the best nighttime views in Park City. The ride takes 23 minutes up the mountain, followed by dinner in the yurt that sparkles with the soft glow of lights amidst a powdery snow backdrop.


Ice Fishing with a Custom Dinner

Midway, Utah

Guests are joined by an expert ice fishing guide for a day of adventure. The guide takes their fresh, same-day catch to The Lakehouse at Deer Creek for a custom dinner by a renowned chef that uses their fresh catch from that day. 


Dog Sledding_WBI Auberge Resorts Collection
Dog sledding through backcountry in Maine. (Courtesy of White Barn Inn, Auberge Resort Collection)

Woodland Dog Sledding

Kennebunk, Maine

Experience the joy of gliding over snow-covered trails through Maine’s beautiful backcountry, being pulled by a pack of sled dogs. As part of White Barn Inn, Auberge Resort Collection’s winter programming, guests will meet a furry racing crew, learn the basics of sledding, and take a spin through the forest. Try the 2-hour Introductory Journey which includes a packed lunch or embrace the adventure in a Full Day Expedition and enjoy a bonfire picnic at the shore of a frozen lake. For every dog sledding excursion booked, White Barn Inn will donate supplies to Kennebunk’s Animal Welfare Society. 


Snowmobile to Ice Fishing

Tamarack, Idaho

Tamarack Resort offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Idaho, but the resort, which overlooks Lake Cascade, is full of other winter activities like Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and fat tire mountain biking. Guided ice fishing is one of its newest and most unique winter offerings, which includes an exhilarating snowmobile ride on the frozen Lake Cascade, fishing equipment, bait, refreshments, and expert instruction. 


A City-Wide Snowball Fight

Washington, D.C.

From its small beginnings in 2009, the city’s resident-organized snowball fight has snowballed (pun intended) into a massive community event. It takes place at iconic city landmarks such as the Dupont Circle fountain and the monuments on the National Mall. Follow the Washington, D.C. Snowball Fight Association’s Facebook page to see when the next all-city snowball fight will happen. And visitors to the city can warm up afterward at the luxury hotel, Dupont Circle, as it just redesigned its 1,980-square-foot Penthouse Suite last year, complete with a heated year-round terrace with a fire pit and projector screen for al fresco movie night amidst snowy nights.


Sheridan Travel & Tourism
Skijoring returns to Sheridan, Wyoming this year. (Courtesy of Sheridan Travel & Tourism)

Skijoring at Sheridan’s WYO Winter Rodeo

Sheridan, Wyoming

Heard of skijoring? Neither had we, but we went down a snowy rabbit hole once we learned of it. The unofficial winter sport of Wyoming, skijoring combines two of Wyoming’s favorite pastimes: skiing and horseback riding. There are two participants — one rides the horse as quickly as possible while the other straps on skis and holds on to a modified water ski rope for dear life as the horse pulls them. In more exciting, contemporary versions of the sport, skiers, and riders must navigate through slalom gates and over jumps as big as seven feet high. That’s what you’ll see in skijoring competitions across the state including Sheridan’s WYO Winter Rodeo, which returns in February 2022.


Ice Skating

Chicago, Illinois

Although this may not be the most thrill-seeking winter pastime, it is one of the most time-honored traditions of the season. The Peninsula Chicago offers an outdoor Sky Rink where skaters can enjoy an open-air snowfall when weather permits. Winter in Chicago holds a high likelihood of snow, of course, and rumor has it that many proposals occur on the rink, with its postcard-worthy views. Skaters can warm up with hot chocolate and Glu wine in a festive fashion.


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The Quebec City greenhouses are an ideal place for hot chocolate, day or night. (Courtesy of Auberge Saint-Antoine)

Dining Under the Stars

Quebec City, Canada

Auberge Saint-Antoine serves as the ideal home base when as powdered snow blankets the cobblestone streets and the city lights up with festive cheer. With romantic snowscapes and rich history at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quebec City is a sought-after destination to enjoy a wide range of beloved family activities such as snowshoeing, dog sledding, scenic snowmobiling excursions, ice canoeing, and a variety of nearby downhill and cross country skiing and snowboarding.

But the hotel’s most sought-after, one-of-a-kind winter experience? Dining under the stars in its new heated mini-greenhouses. The hotel can even set up a romantic candlelit dinner in a cozy, private greenhouse pod. Enjoy an unforgettable experience under a starry night sky with views of the St. Lawrence River, Chateaux Frontenac, and Vieux Quebec, 


Alphorn Music

Telluride, Colorado

Switzerland and Telluride have plenty in common, so Texans needn’t travel overseas to experience Alphorn magic. Listen to the sound of Alphorn Music at the Madeline Hotel & Residences amidst soaring mountain peaks, rugged natural beauty, and of course, stellar skiing. Every day at 3:30 pm, a custom-made Bernatone Alphorn is blown to signal the start of après celebrations. Traditionally used as a source of communication between neighbors and at festivals, the instrument makes a deeply resonant sound. This unforgettable beacon will guide you to the best Après in Mountain Village.


Nighttime Snowshoeing

Beaver Creek, Colorado

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch hosts Sunset Snowshoe adventures (occurring select afternoons), that are guided by the resort naturalists. The tours take place from the outdoor terrace of the luxurious ski-in and ski-out destination at the base of Bachelor Gulch, which is part of Beaver Creek mountain. The late afternoon adventure is the perfect timing to catch the sunset and Alpenglow views of the Vail Valley from the mountain and you can be back in time for an outdoor drink at Fireside Bar.


Winter Escape
Hotel Jerome offers the ultimate snowcat experience for evening views. (Courtesy of Hotel Jerome)

Snowcat Ride to Dinner

Aspen, Colorado

Half the fun of Hotel Jerome’s unique dining experience is just getting there. Texans flocking to Aspen enjoy a mug of warm Glühwein while being tucked under a thick blanket in an open-air snowcat as it transports guests to a cozy cabin high in the Rocky Mountains for an unmatched culinary experience.


A Winter Train Ride

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway operates year-round, and they even have a specialized snowplow to remove snow from the tracks so the trains (and guests) can reach the stunning summit of Pikes Peak, a scene so striking it inspired the songAmerica the Beautiful”. Expect snow at this height, and bundle up — although the trains are heated, guests are heading up to 14,115 feet. But at the top, the new visitor’s center is an excellent place to warm up. Don’t miss out on their delicious hot donuts before the stunning train ride back down. It’s a Polar Express-inspired adventure the entire family can enjoy.

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