From Austrian cuisine to Swiss chalets to dramatic pistes, the Land of Liberty harbors the most charmingly beautiful European-inspired ski towns, and one glance at them will fill you with awe and joy. Europe is home to the charming Alps region, Monaco, spanning France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany.
If you are a travel junkie, there is a 110% perfect chance that at least five of these places are on your wish list, because who wouldn’t want to bask in the gorgeousness of snowy peaks, dip their toes in hot springs, enjoy endless fondue, all the while devouring après cocktails? However, for some of us visiting these places can be a tad bit difficult with work, school, and tons of other responsibilities.
However, if you are a U.S. citizen, then you enjoy all these aspects of Europe and more as the United States is home to beautiful ski towns that have a distinctly European past and aesthetic. Don’t know what towns they are and where they are located? Fret not, just read this article on America’s 5 charmingly best European-inspired ski towns, to plan your trip to European-inspired American towns.
Best European-Inspired Ski Towns
European-Inspired Ski Towns, How Did They Come to Be?
These Alps-inspired ski hubs came to be when in the 1930s, ski developers in the United States turned to a small group of Austrians and Germans, who were feeling Hitler and the Nazis, and deployed them to run the first-ever ski schools in America. They have been taught the art of skiing by the father of modern skiing aka Hannes Schneider, at a famous ski school in St. Anton in Austria. These pupils of Hannes Schneider helped transform the American mountain towns into top-notch, world-class ski resorts by incorporating elements of their home countries when designing the restaurants, hotels, and attractions.
Therefore, if you can’t make it to the Alps region this winter, enjoy the European magic within the United States by traveling to America’s 5 charmingly best European-inspired ski towns mentioned below, make this winter a magical one. America’s 5 Charmingly Best European-Inspired Ski TownsFrom Stowe, Vermont to Leavenworth, Washington, if you look hard enough you will be able to find a little piece of Europe nestled amongst the Ski towns of America.
America’s 5 Charmingly Best European-Inspired Ski Towns
1. Leavenworth, Washington – Very European, Very Festive among America’s 5 Charmingly Best European-Inspired Ski Towns
If vacationing inside a life-sized snow globe is on your agenda, then a visit to Whittington’s European-inspired ski town, Leavenworth, this winter is the best idea. Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style village, that lies a two-hour drive away from Seattle and can be found nestled in a narrow valley of the Cascade Mountains. Among America’s European-inspired ski towns, Leavenworth is the one that appears to be very festive, dominated by German A-line architecture that boasts tiny windows and wooden balconies. Every year, Seattleites will decamp for Oktoberfest here, although the forest winter wonderland scene is appealing all year round.
This town has the honor of being home to America’s earliest private ski clubs, which harbor a long legacy of competitive jumping. If you are an avid skier, chances are that you know what the Epic Pass is. the Epic Pass is like a cost-effective way to ski. The holder of the pass has access to more than 80 ski resorts in the United States and the town of Leavenworth is one of them. So, when in Leavenworth strap on your gear and go skiing. You can also head to the nearby Stevens Pass, which is also included in the Epic Pass.
By venturing further afield you will come across world-class runs like Mount Hood Meadows, Crystal Mountains, or Mission Ridge, where Austrian Otto Land, one of Schneider’s pupils, founded a ski school as well as made some of the first ski films the classics, Sun Valley Serenade, and Ski Flight. Being one of the most festive among America’s 5 charmingly best European-inspired ski towns, from Thanksgiving until February, you will find the town of Leavenworth decked in thousands of strings of lights with hosts of carolers, and holiday events dotting the ski town. If you are visiting the ski town during the festive season with your children, don’t forget to check out the nearby Reindeer farm.
Where to Stay in Leavenworth Ski Town?
You will find many accommodation options both inside and outside of Leavenworth. If you are the outdoorsy kind, there are many camping sites where you can sleep under the stars. If camping is not up tour alle, then you can book a room at one of the many hotels that the ski resort harbors.
The Sleeping Lady Resort is a beautiful accommodation that is home to clean green and cozy cabins. Apart from cabins, visitors will also find in the resort a hot pool, a cool pool, a puppet theater, a play barn with ping pong, a Kingfisher Restaurant, the Grotto Bar as well as an art walk on property. Sleeping Lady Resort is a stunningly amazing place, one that offers a perfect retreat for couples, groups, singles, travel writers, and families alike. If you wish to stay in Sleeping Lady Resort during your visit to Leavenworth, make sure to book well in advance because as mentioned before this ski town is a popular destination, and accommodations tend to book out quickly.
LOGE Camps Leavenworth
In Leavenworth, you will find LOGE camps in two locations. One is by the Wenatchee River, where you will find beautiful cabins lining the river, surrounded by ample space for barbequing and chilling under the vast sky. The other location is in downtown Leavenworth where the LOGE is located on 9th street and lies just a feet away from the attractions of downtown.
The LOGE is the kind of place that harbors fun at its center and sustainability in its mind. The camps here are an amazing concept they were made not only to offer shelter but also to inspire visitors to Live Outside Go Explore. The cabins and rooms at the LOGE come equipped with hardy outdoor gear that you can use to explore the great outdoors.
Linderhoff Inn Downtown Leavenworth
When you drive into Leavenworth you will be met with a vast collection of Bavarian-themed hotels and resorts. If you continue driving towards downtown, you will find the Linderhoff Inn, which is the sister property to the more renowned Enzian Inn next door. Linderhoff is a cozy, quiet, and simple establishment, one that is free of all the bells and whistles, but still offers a great experience. The rooms at Linderhoff are neither fancy nor luxurious, they are however clean and comfortable.
The hotel harbors a balcony stretching its length, where furniture a kept, allowing guests to relax and bask in the views of the surrounding area. The accommodation also harbors an onsite heated outdoor pool that is great especially if you are visiting the ski town in spring and fall. However, the real bonus of staying at the inn is its delicious homemade complimentary breakfast that consists of eggs, breakfast meats, and many kinds of breakfast cakes as well as pastries.
Where to Eat in Leavenworth?
In Leavenworth, the most famous and frequented restaurant is the München Haus. The restaurant serves enormous German bratwursts, potato salad, handmade pretzels with beer cheese, and much more. The bratwursts also come with dozens of homemade sauces and all the sauerkraut that you can eat. The food at München Haus is terrific, to say the least, and the environment is just buzzing with energy and joy.
South is a Latin American restaurant that can be found in Leavenworth and the nearby Wenatchee. The restaurant serves famous Mexican foods like burritos, tacos, and enchiladas. However, the real food star in the South is its South American-inspired dishes that will make your taste buds sing songs of joy. Here at the South, you can fill your belly with Peruvian tacos that come with flavorful seasonings, a spicy shrimp burrito and fired shishito peppers. You will also find at the South a full bar that serves margaritas, local wine, Mexican beer, and much more.
Crêpe Café Sisters
Crêpe Café Sisters is a famous shop in the ski town, known for its sweet and savory crepes that are made fresh to order. When ordering you can choose from a plethora of savory toppings like Cajun-style andouille sausage and smoked ham or sweet toppings like Nutella, blueberries, and raspberries. The café also gives its visitors a chance to make their own crepe if they want something that is not on the menu.
What to Expect when Visiting Leavenworth?
Leavenworth is a very popular destination, with many people from Seattle and Spokane, frequenting the place religiously. Despite the time, month, or reason, expect the weekends in Leavenworth to be jam-packed with visitors. However, even with the weekend influx you will find that there is plenty of space or roam and check out the town.
2. North Conway, New Hampshire – Resonate with Old World Charm among America’s 5 Charmingly Best European-Inspired Ski Towns
Among the best European-inspired ski towns in America, North Conway resonates with an unmatchable old-world charm. The mountains of the ski town, North Conway were once the place that Schneider called home. In the year 1930, straight from anti-Nazi house arrest, the legendary founder of the popular three-step Arlberg teaching technique, Hannes Schneider arrived at North Conway. Schneider was able to land on American soil due to the efforts of an influential financer, who pulled some strings to have Schneider released from Germany and come run his ski school at what’s now Cranmore Mountain Resort.
Later on, Schneider’s son Herbert, who was the co-founder of the Professional Ski Instructors of America organization, acquired the Cranmore. And in the year 2017, Schneider’s grandson succeeded in opening the Schneider Hot Hotel Garni in At, Anton, bringing the family story full cycle.
Today, visitors can feel the legend of a Schneider throughout the Cranmore experience. All the way from the New England Ski Museum to the oldest ski ship in the United States the area is brimming with rich World War II-era European ski history. North Conway is also home to a dozen of ski resorts, where every year in winter, ski lovers gather to pay their respects to Schneider and hit the slopes.
Where to Stay in North Conway Ski Town?
Being one of the best European-inspired ski towns, North Conway harbors a wealth of accommodations that suit the tastes of needs of different kinds of visitors.
North Conway Grand Hotel
North Conway Grand Hotel is situated near Settlers Green (a retail hub) and boasts magnificent views of the beautiful mountains. The hotel harbors 200 rooms and suites that are outfitted with New England-inspired décor, marble baths, and custom furniture. The amenities that come with staying at the North Conway Grand Hotel are endless and include heater indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, a sun deck, a fitness center as well as the Mountainside Restaurant and Tavern.
Cranmore Inn is the kind of place that offers a plethora of lodgings, from king and queen guest rooms to suites and deluxe rooms, as well as apartments with kitchens. The accommodation is located a short walk from the North Conway Village and features a play area, patio, hot tub, a large backyard, fire pit, pool, and a spacious parlor with a fireplace. Therefore, if you are looking for something cozy and sweet Cranmore Inn is the way to go.
Eastern Slope Inn Resort
Right on the main drag in North Conway Village lies a magnificent 40-acre resort, the Eastern Slope Inn Resort. This resort offers its guests a video selection of 250 rooms, suites, and townhouses with most of them coming with gas fireplaces and in-room spa tubs. Apart from the perks the Eastern Slope Inn Resort also wows its guests with an indoor heated pool, tennis court, hot tubs, a playground, walking trails, and a fitness center.
The White Mountain Hotel & Resort
The White Mountain Hotel & Resort is a family-friendly not to mention pet-friendly accommodation that comes with spa services, a heated pool, on-site dining, pet-friendly rooms, and a fitness center. At the accommodation you will find, 80 standard, deluxe, superior rooms and spacious suites, with many of them harboring beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
Where to Eat in North Conway?
The Local Grocer / Table + Tonic
The Local Grocer in North Conway is a place where you can find everything like groceries, snacks, dinner, lunch, and breakfast. The place encompasses a bakery, deli, café, smoothie bar, and a full-service market. Lying next to the Local Grocer is the restaurant Table + Tonic which uses local and organic ingredients from its own farm to make scrumptious dishes. When you are there make sure to try one of the cocktails they serve. These cocktails are concocted with house-made syrups, fruits, herbs, and nut-infused shrubs.
Frontside Coffee Roasters
Frontside Coffee Roasters is a chill downtown café that offers stunning views of the Moat Mountains for your eyes to feats on, along with scrumptious food to satiate your hungry stomach. There you can get a breakfast sandwich or a tasty bagel and enjoy it with impeccably brewed coffee or rich express. Frontside Coffee Roasters roasts its own coffee in order to ensure top-notch flavor.
Barley & Salt
Once you are done shopping at Settlers Green make your way to Barley & Salt for a fortifying meal with 30 ever-changing craft beers on tap. On the menu of Barley & Salt, you will find small-plate street food, salads, wings, tacos, and an array of entrees that include seafood. Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Co.
Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Co. is located in one of North Conway’s most historic buildings and is a 174-brew pub and restaurant that is famous among locals and tourists alike. Even though Moat Mountains beer can be found in a plethora of places around North Conway, the Smoke House is hands down the best place for enjoying it along with classic American food like sandwiches, nachos, pizzas, burgers, meat, and seafood entrées.
What to Expect when Visiting North Conway?
North Conway is a famous 4-season vacation wonderland that harbors a unique character and landscape. Famous for its historic buildings, bookshops, quaint antique shops, big-name outlet stores, bakeries, and outdoor recreation, the place is a popular tourist destination. Therefore, when visiting North Conway, make sure to book accommodation in advance as they tend to sell out quickly.
3. Stowe, Vermont – Alps-Inspired among America’s 5 Charmingly Best European-Inspired Ski Towns
Spread in the shadow of the highest peak in Vermont, 4,395-foot Mount Mansfield, Stowe, Vermont is one of the best European-inspired ski Towns in America, that is immensely popular among skiers. Early Austrian influences in Stowe aka the ski capital of the east date all the way back to 1936. That is the time around which a student of Schneider’s, Austrian engineer Sepp Ruschp arrived in Stowe Vermont in order to direct the ski school at Mount Mansfield which is now the Stowe Mountain Resort.
By the 1950s, skiers and climbers from all over the world started frequenting the Trapp Family Lodge which is still owned and operated by the descendants of Maria and Baron Georg von Trapp, the couple in the Sound of Music. Over the years, apart from the lodge, the family also added the country’s first cross-country ski center, the Von Trapp Brewing Bierhall Restaurant, and a Kaffeehaus to their collection.
Where to Stay in Stowe Ski Town?
Stowe, Vermont is renowned for housing some of New England’s most storied and stunning hideaways that offer everything from cozy bed and breakfast accommodations to chic lodges.
Trapp Family Lodge
There is no better way to stay in the ski town of Stowe than the Trapp Family Lodge. It is the town’s most celebrated accommodation that comes under the ownership of the von Trapp family. The lodge rests on a 2,500-acre property that is a literal playground for the lovers of outdoors, harboring more than 60 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. On-site visitors can grab a beer and a bite at the formal dining room and the trail-accessible Bierhall restaurant that serves lunch and dinner along with Austrian and German-style beers that are crafted at the resort, von Trapp Brewery.
Tälta Mountain Lodge
Visitors wanting to spend the vacation basking in Stowe’s outdoors should make their way to Tälta Mountain Lodge. The lodge that is situated beside the West Branch Little River, offers a plethora of options from standard king rooms to bunk beds that are perfect for groups. The place is great for outdoor lovers, hauling gear with them as the lodge houses bike storage, boot drying rooms, and ski lockers. Moreover, there is also an indoor pool and sauna on-site, where you can relax after a thrilling day on the slopes.
Stone Hill Inn
For those wanting to have a classic taste of Stowe, Stone Hill Inn is the idyllic getaway. The accommodation effortlessly combines outdoor adventures with plenty of pampering, offering its visitors an unforgettable experience. This quaint bed and breakfast features rooms that come equipped with fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs. It also harbors convenient storage for gears such as skis and bikes along with wooded trails onsite to snowshoe or hike.
Where to Eat in Stowe?
Idletyme Brewing Company
For drinks and dinner in Stowe, head on to the that pours robust ales, lagers, and stouts and servers with its elevated pub fare like specialty burgers, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and hearty salads. The brews at the Idletyme Brewing Company include the classic Idletyme, the easy-sipping Bohemia Pilsner, the crisp American-style double IPA, and the robust Oatmeal stout that is flavored with notes of chocolate and coffee.
Craft beer connoisseurs will have a field day when they Doc Ponds. Doc Ponds is a homey eater that servers locally inspired New American plates along with the ever-evolving rotation of beers on tap.
Cliff House Restaurant
If you are desiring a more unique dining experience, then a visit to the Cliff House Restaurant Is a must. Perched at 3,635 feet, the Cliff House Restaurant can be found nestled into the flanks of Mount Mansfield. The registrant treats its visitors to an alpine dining experience and specializes in American cuisine that is made with regionally sourced ingredients. It also serves its guests local microbrews, along with craft cocktails and wine.
Swiss Fondue by Heinz
Swiss Fondue by chef Heinz Remmel very effortlessly replicates the cozy atmosphere of an alpine chalet, featuring red checked tablecloths and six pine tables. The menu at the restaurant is as authentic Swiss as it can get consisting of appetizes like raclette (melted cheese that is served over potatoes with onions and corniches) and bunderfteisch, a charcuterie plate of aged beef that comes in thin slices. On the other hand, the main course consists of fondue that is made with authentic Swiss cheeses or broths and is served with meat and fish along with a variety of sauces. The desert is of course chocolate fondue.
What to Expect When Visiting Stowe?
Stowe is the birthplace of alpine skiing in Vermont and is frequented by skiers from all around the world. The place is buzzing with energy year-round, with tourists flocking to the place to enjoy the outdoor excursions that Stowe offers. So, when visiting Stowe, don’t think you are going to be welcomed by a small quiet town.
4. Sun Valley, Idaho – Deeply Austrian among America’s 5 Charmingly Best European-Inspired Ski Towns
Among America’s 5 charmingly best European-inspired ski towns, the ski town that has the deepest Austrian roots is Sun Valley in Idaho. In the year 1935, Austrian ski resort developer Count Felix Schaffgotsch was commissioned by the Union Pacific Railroad to find a piece of skiable land where the sun shines all day and the harsh winter winds don’t penetrate, and where the powder is dry. Upon hearing this request, the one place harboring all of these characters that came to Felix Schaffgotsch’s mind was Sun Valley. Sun Valley in the olden days was a mining town lying on the northwest edge of the Rockies.
Schaffgotsch claimed that Sun Valley was the most delightful place in the United States, one that harbored more amazing features for a winter sports center than any place else. In fact, he even roughly claimed that neither Sutra nor Switzerland could hold a candle to the delightfulness of Sun Valley. And so, Sun Valley became one of America’s first destination ski resorts that is also home to the country’s first chairlift which was opened to the public in the year 1936.
For generations, Sun Valley and the neighboring town of Ketchum have been the favorite vacation destination of many celebrities and hosted the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Cooper, and Ernest Hemingway, who finished his acclaimed novel For Whom the Bell Tolls in suite number 206 of the Sun Valley lodge.
Where to Stay in Sun Valley Ski Town?
Sun Valley Lodge
When in Sun Valley, one of America’s best European-inspired ski towns, the best place that you can stay is the Sun Valley Lodge It was opened to the public in 1936 and played a huge role in making Sun Valley the most coveted destination that it is today. With its unique X-shaped layout, beautifully luxurious decor, and hearted outdoor swimming pools, which were a novelty during that time, the lodge helped solidify Sun Valley’s reputation as one of the most glamorous destinations in America.
Today the lodge is lined with black and white photographs of the acclaimed personalities that stayed there. The sophisticated spa, which houses 108 rooms, harbors a 20,000-square-foot spa that is a great place to relax the achingly sore muscles after spending a day going down the slopes.
Limelight Hotel Ketchum
After nearly two decades in the year 2016, Sun Valley got a new hotel, the Limelight Hotel Ketchum. The Limelight Hotel Ketchum features 99 upscale, modern rooms and suites along with 14 multi-bedroom condos. When it opened its doors to the public, the hotel garnered immense fame and became an ideal home base for exploring Sun Valley, due to its stylish mountain-inspired décor, views of Bald Mounting, massive windows that let in natural light, and living room-style restaurant and bar.
Hotel Ketchum is the newest addition to the hotel scene in Sun Valley. It’s a modern, boutique hotel that lies on Main Street within walking distance of Ketchum. The Hotel Ketcham features beautifully designed community spaces that include a bar called The Hangout, a year-round outdoor heated wining pool, a hot hub, and a fitness center and is also home to several events like live music and pop-up shops.
Where to Eat in Sun Valley?
Pioneer first opened its doors in the 1950s and has been feeding tourists and visitors alike ever since. It is the go-to place for anyone who desires a simple meal consisting of steak and potatoes. Ever since its opening Pioneer’s menu has not changed and its walls, lined with relics of the West, still tell stories of the past. Here at Pioneer, you can enjoy a nice cocktail with free chips and salsa as you wait for your table. When eating at this restaurant make sure to get the prime rib and Jim Spud you will not be disappointed.
Michel’s Christiania is a fine-dining French restaurant that serves some of the best shoestring pommes frites this side of the Atlantic. There are two types of expenses that you can enjoy at Michel’s Christiania. The first one is to grab a seat at the bar and enjoy your meal as you gaze at the photo of U.S. Olympic skiers who were personally coached by the owner of the restaurant. The second is to make a reservation for fine dining and enjoy mussels and escargot in luxury. Michel’s Christiania is a restaurant that was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, in fact, he was a regular there.
5. Vail, Colorado – Most Stunning Beuatiful among America’s 5 Charmingly Best European-Inspired Ski Towns
You can get a taste of the Alps all the while basking in traditional Australian charm by visiting Vail in Colorado, which happens to be one of the best European-inspired Ski towns in America. When one steps on the 5,317 acres of Vail Ski Resort, it becomes impossible to overlook the impact that Pepi Gramshammer, an Austrian Olympic skier had on the area.
Pepi Gramshammer left Austria in 1960 to teach skiing at Sun Valley, however, he was lured to Vial due to its charm and remained there, at the heart of the community until his demise in 2019. At Veil resides authentic Austrian hospitality one that welcomes tourists and ski lovers from all around the world, surrounding them in its warm embrace amidst the cold mountains.
Where to Stay in Vail Ski Town?
Gravity Haus Vail
Gravity Haus Vail is situated in the center of Vail Village, just a short walk from Gondola One and the Ford Amphitheater, offering its guests a complete retreat. With 22 luxurious rooms, a fitness center, a spa, and a restaurant Gravity Haus Vail is one of the best places to stay in Vial.
Lodge at Vail
Lodge at Vial can be found at the base of Vail Mountain nestled in the heart of Vial Village. It’s a AAA award-winning hotel that effortlessly combines old-world charm with world-class services and exceptional dining, it harbors an alpine inn with superb amenities, and impeccable service, offering its guests a one-of-a-kind experience.
Lodge at Lionshead
You can find Lodge at Lionshead on the scenic Gore Creek surrounded by mountains, aspens, and pines. This lodge resides in a unique location that offers a combination of quiet seclusion with utmost convivence. The condominiums housed by the lodge range from studio and studio lofts to one, two, there, and four-bedroom, penthouse units. All of these accommodation options are immaculately kept, spacious, and served by expletory staff.
Where to Eat in Vial?
One of the best restaurants that the ski town of Vail harbors is the Slope sRoom. Slope Room is an alpine bistro that is focused on the connection with the Rocky Mountains, ranchers, and farmers. For its kitchen come creative dishes that are created using locally sourced ingredients. If dining in comfort and sophistication is on our agenda, a visit to the Slope Room is a must.
Root & Flower
Root & Flower is about as hip as it gets in the ski town of Vial. You can find this restaurant on Bridge Street as you walk towards the base of Vail Mountain. The atmosphere at Root & Flower is a combination of cozy, comfy, and lively. Here you will find an extensive glass list with seasonal menus.
When in the ski town of Vail, visit the Drunken Goat if you covet, a causal lunch, Happy Hour, or a recalled dinner. The restaurant resonates with a fun, lively scene and is located across Highway 6 from the Riverwalk Theater. There from its great list, you can order a bottle of wine, cheese and meat spread, tacos, oysters, salads, and pine nut ricotta bruschetta.
The Perfect 2023, Wellness Getaway in Oahu, Hawaii