By Eileen Ogintz

Tribune Content Agency

The gently falling snow, the hot tub and hot toddies, a couples massage … the kids!

Certainly heading to snowy climes can inspire romance. “It’s cold and you want to be close to someone you love,” offers Cameron Stewart. She and her husband, in fact, eloped and got married at the top of Breckenridge Mountain four years ago.

Deer Valley Resort offers courses of dripping raclette cheese and more

Deer Valley Resort offers courses of dripping raclette cheese and more


Jess and Todd Brown certainly agree. The couple had their first date skiing, their first kiss in a hot tub at Breckinridge, got engaged and ultimately married in the historic Colorado mountain town.

Now, the parents of three joke that the only way they can manage “alone time” on the mountain is because their two older kids are in ski school and the youngest is with grandma.

Rachel and Dave Velek have done one better. The parents of three from Northern California bought a time share in Beaver Creek, Colorado, as a commitment to spending time together enjoying a sport they have long loved. They ski all the time with their kids in Lake Tahoe, they explain, so the kids didn’t mind in the least that mom and dad were going off on their own holiday. The key: Book a time that isn’t a school vacation so the resorts will be less crowded with families.

Some hotels in snowy climes, like Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming and the European-style Sonnenalp, a fixture in Vail, Colorado, for 40 years, are having special Valentine’s Day dinners.

But certainly it isn’t necessary to be in the mountains Valentine’s Day weekend for romance. Any time will do and at any age, suggests Russell Watt, 66, visiting Breckenridge from Australia with his longtime partner, Loyola Mason, 56. “Don’t watch the news and focus on each other!” he suggests smiling.

“You know it’s true love when he (or she) gives you first tracks on a powder day and hoots and hollers for you and with you the whole way down,” says Amy Kemp, the married mother of a 6 year old, who runs her own business in Breckenridge. “And, I have to say — there’s nothing more attractive than a guy who can ski bumps, steeps and groomers with style — and who encourages you to “go for it” too (no matter your ability level or comfort level).”

Whatever level skier you are, opt for a much slower, two-seat chair lift up the mountain, Kemp adds. “Time slows down. The stresses of work, parenting and life seem to melt away and it’s just the two of us, frozen in time, soaking in the stunning mountain views and acting like a couple of kids again.”

Barb Lavoie isn’t even a big fan of downhill skiing, as is her husband. But he encouraged her to try backcountry ski touring and now enjoying the mountains in winter, as well as in other seasons, has “helped us to transition to being empty-nesters,” she said.

My husband and I sheepishly clinked glasses in our bathrobes as we enjoyed a complimentary glass of Prosecco after a couples’ massage at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, a short Gondola ride to Beaver Creek Resort where we had happily spent the day skiing without our kids complaining that we were “too slow!” We had to admit it was really nice not to have to rush to meet the kids — yes, even though they are grown — or figure out what we needed to feed everyone. It was nice to let someone else wait on us at the resort’s modern Mexican Maya restaurant as we indulged in guacamole made tableside and Margaritas (the resort has more than 100 kinds of Tequila).

Dinner at Beanos Cabin, Beaver Creek Ski Resort

Dinner at Beanos Cabin, Beaver Creek Ski Resort


If you’ve left the kids behind — or at the condo with grandma — do something you wouldn’t enjoy with them, perhaps a nighttime snowshoe and wine-tasting at Beaver Creek Resort; a sleigh-ride multi-course gourmet dinner like at Beaver Creek’s Beano’s Cabin or the Fireside Dining experience at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, which includes a sleigh ride that can be taken in between the courses of dripping raclette cheese, stews, roasted leg of lamb and chocolate fondues — all prepared at individual fireplace mantles and all you can eat — a bargain at $75 per person.

Make your own wine and even design its label at the White Mountain Winery in North Conway, New Hampshire.

Present your honey with a thoughtful gift to be used on or off the slopes — a fire-engine red, ultralight down sweater for him or red fleece-lined moccasins for her from LL Bean or a new pair of the ACE EC goggles that adjust to different light conditions just by pressing a button from Spy.

For the Apres Ski lover, a set of Whiski Poles ski pole flasks (think a hollow pole).

The cute Discover tights or tops with reflective logos from Obermeyer are designed not only to be worn as a base layer for winter sports but also for running, hiking or just lounging. The new Capilene Air base layers from Patagonia are also guaranteed to please, not only lightweight and warm but also quick drying and odor resistant.

If your significant other always gets “hangry,” they will love you forever if you stash a wholesome snack in your pocket, like organic fruit chewies that won’t freeze or crispy filled waffle cookies from Honey Stinger. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a piece of artisan heart-shaped chocolate presented on the chair lift.

Nor can you go wrong heading to the mountains when you haven’t yet met that special someone. Take it from Rosana Faessler. She met her husband, Johannes, when she was a guest more than 30 years ago at the Sonnenalp in Vail, the hotel that his family owned.

They married just a few months after they met and now are the fourth generation to run the hotel, along with the fifth generation — their son and daughter-in-law. It was, the family says, love at first sight.