When you think about the perfect winter vacation what does it involve? For us, it’s deep powder, a lively après bar, a solid crew, and of course, a cozy mountain hot tub. Whether perched slopeside, tucked away in a secret alcove or on a private balcony tub, we all have our coveted spots. 

In our book, a ski trip is simply incomplete without the post-après-ski bliss that comes with soaking in a hot tub. These hot-water sanctuaries, strategically placed with a backdrop of towering peaks and alpine vistas, offer more than just warmth and muscle relief. They offer the perfect way to unwind after a day on the slopes, swap stories and maybe even make new friends. We chatted with Ski.com’s Mountain Travel Expert, Kai Nilson, who shared his favorite mountain hot tubs with us.


Kai Nilson was born in the Rocky Mountains and was predisposed to a deep love for the mountains. His passion for skiing was sparked at a young age, and by age 14, he was already planning his first ski vacation for the family! Little did he know this would eventually lead to a career of crafting ski trips for others. 

His mountain journey eventually led him to Park City, Utah where he became a ski instructor. Eventually, he found his way back to trip planning, allowing the perfect leeway to share his excitement and love of the mountains with others. Crafting winter getaways is Kai’s dream job and he has been with Ski.com since 2005. With a warm smile and a vast knowledge of different ski areas and properties, Kai embodies the spirit and warmth of mountain towns. Whether he is recommending the perfect run or setting folks up in their dream ski-in ski-out suite, Kai’s passion is infectious. For him, each snow destination is the perfect canvas for building lasting memories with family or friends. 


Photo Credit: Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

Kai beams as he talks about The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, “I can’t believe there aren’t more snowball fights between bathers and skiers at this slopeside hot tub. The three steaming tubs almost tease those waiting to load the Bachelor Gulch Express Lift saying ‘kick off your boots, come on in!’”

And of course, the Ritz doesn’t just stop at an exceptional hot tub and a prime location; it extends its commitment to luxury through its spa. Kai tells us a bit about the spa, “They have a really special indoor grotto room. The small, warm pool has three waterfalls that you can stand under to massage your neck and shoulders. It’s a really nice experience after a day of hitting the slopes and sure to warm you up!” All the rooms at this ski-in ski-out property are expertly decorated with luxury and comfort in mind. “At the Ritz, guests are able to retreat into a world of peace after a day on the slopes, adding a touch of indulgence to your mountain getaway,” said Kai. 


In the realm of upscale travel, the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah stands as the epitome of top-tier luxury, synonymous with unrivaled service and distinguished by its iconic name. Kai tells us about his love for the Waldorf, “From the moment you set foot in their front doors (of any Waldorf Astoria), you are greeted with sophistication, warm ambiance and generous and welcoming staff. What sets the Waldorf Astoria apart from other properties in the area is the sense of exclusivity and seclusion it offers.” Kai continues “Unlike some properties where skiers pass by the pool and hot tub area, the atmosphere at the Waldorf is more akin to a private oasis. The hot tub area and pool plaza create the perfect haven for guests to unwind, surrounded by snow and the silence of the mountain.” While we know some people revel in an open layout for a hot tub, others relish exclusivity and seclusion. If your ideal hot tub is the latter, this property in Park City is perfect for you. 

The property takes luxury to new heights with thoughtful amenities. The on-site dining is also exemplary, reflecting the Waldorf Astoria’s commitment to providing a world-class experience. “Powder Restaurant is one of my favorites in Park City and it is on the property. Be sure to have your Mountain Travel Expert book a table in advance though,” said Kai.


If you have been to Telluride, you know that it is filled with staggering mountain peaks, cozy bars and restaurants, cute boutiques and beautifully crafted hotels and homes. And the Mountain Lodge Telluride is a true standout in the area. The star of the show is the property’s pool deck which boasts panoramic views with a heated pool and two large hot tubs overlooking the San Sophia Mountain Range. The on-site restaurant and bar, The View, is located just inside the doors and is the perfect ambiance for après. “The View, adjacent to the pool deck, is the ideal spot to unwind, chat with locals, talk shop and revel in the views after an incredible day on the mountain.” It has a traditional western lodge vibe with floor-to-ceiling windows, unbeatable views and delicious food and drinks.

 “When it comes to catering to big groups with diverse preferences, Mountain Lodge Telluride emerges as my personal top pick for an unparalleled mountain retreat,” Kai continued. What really sets this property apart from others in the area is the incredible views. Kai explains in more detail, “The lodge is perched about four blocks above the village, offering an unforgettable panorama of the mountains. Unlike some properties, your views are not obscured by neighboring buildings, allowing you to just exist in blissful nature.” And with that amazing view, you get a hot tub and the gondola right out the backdoor.


Photo Credit: Teton Mountain Lodge

Teton Mountain Lodge is nestled in the heart of Jackson Hole and stands as a testament to true mountain living and décor. The property seamlessly blends the rugged beauty of the Tetons with an elevated sleek design; think of wood beams, historical art work featuring locals skiers and photographers and cozy nooks spread throughout. Kai told us “The lodge’s classic mountain decor is reminiscent of a time when ski resorts in the West exuded a distinctive mountain charm that’s becoming increasingly rare as more properties continue to shift to a modern aesthetic. For those who appreciate the timeless appeal of mountain aesthetics, this space will become an instant favorite.” And the hot tub? The Teton Mountain Lodge has an amazing 16-person rooftop hot tub offering views of the resort’s slopes, ensuring panoramic views no matter where you are sitting. Our favorite part? Using the mountain backdrop to retrace your day and point out exactly where Jimmy caught air, or Julie pirouetted into the save of the day, all from the comfort of the bubbling warm water. Better yet, watch storms roll in over Après Vous and Rendezvous and plot your ‘first tram’ attack for the morning. 

Teton Mountain Lodge is equally known for The Spur, its in-house bar and restaurant. Appreciated by locals and travelers alike, The Spur recently underwent a makeover though their signature drinks and snacks remain.  Kai let us a few of his favorites that are not to be missed; fried brussels sprouts, tom kha calamari and the 307 fries. 


Your ski vacation is not complete without a hot tub time machine to instill core ski trip memories for years to come.  Ready to start planning a mountain getaway of your own? Ski.com’s 60+ Mountain Travel Experts have traveled across Ski Country scouting out the best hot tubs at dream destinations – contact Kai or any Mountain Travel Expert to get started.