Åre, Sweden

Photo: David Castor (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: David Castor (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It’s your last ski trip of the year. Most likely. So you’re taking advantage of the packed powder and the bright sunshine. You started the day on the easy Duved slopes, where the covered chairlift protected you from the chilly morning wind. You moved on to the gladed trails at Tegefjäll and stopped for a warm drink and pizza at Restaurant Tegetornet. Then you spent the afternoon on the steeper slopes of Åre By, near the half-pipe and the freestyle park. You might even return for night skiing later tonight. But first, you’re going to relax at your hotel.

Lucky for you, you can ski right into your hotel. The Copperhill Mountain Lodge sits atop Förberget Mountain. As you ski toward the design hotel, you start to see the stone-and-wood building through the droopy pine trees. A ski platter lift, two excited huskies (the hotel is dog friendly), and large sculptures are outside. Two glowing women are near the helipad, while a lonely bronze girl stands near the entrance. You go directly to the ski room, where you stash your skis and put your boots in a heated holder. They’ll be warm and toasty when you go back out tonight.

The Copperhill Mountain Lodge, which was designed by an American architect, is gorgeous. The massive lobby is filled with metal, North Swedish pine beams, and huge stone fireplaces. Your frozen extremities won’t take long to warm up here. Every window has a view, whether it’s of Åreskutan mountain, Åresjön lake, or the snow-covered forest. While your warmly colored room—with its heated bathroom floor, thick bathrobes, and even thicker comforter—is ready for you to relax. 

Photo: Copperhill Mountain Lodge
Photo: Copperhill Mountain Lodge

This perfect setting is in central Sweden near the Norwegian border. The Vikings and the Sami people lived in the foothills of these mountains more than 1,000 years ago, before the area became known for its copper mines in the 18th century. Then Scandinavian nobility started vacationing here in the 19th century. Today Åre is considered Northern Europe’s best and largest ski area.

Change out of your ski clothes and go down to the spa. Stare at the panoramic view from the indoor pool or jump into the outdoor hot tub while you wait for your appointment. The treatment rooms look like kators (traditional Sami dwellings). Yours is filled with soft music, flickering candles, and reindeer skins when you enter for your massage. Plus, the mountain juniper massage oil might be your new-favorite scent.

Follow your massage with a cocktail at the Fireside lounge. Between the soft armchair and the smell of bourbon-marinated ribs, you’re tempted to stay put for dinner, even though you already have a reservation for a three-course dinner at Niesti. Either way, you’re excited to return to the slopes after an early meal. You have to take advantage of the last runs of the season.

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