By Adam Stanley
*Editor’s note: Some of the listed courses/areas may currently be experiencing restrictions.
Winter is still holding on in many places around the world, but with the arrival of spring many towns that are known for their world-class skiing will slowly start to transition into being golf destinations once again.
Mountains have something magical about them. The unique rock facings. The way their look changes with the sun bouncing off them in the morning or late afternoon. And the fact that my ball usually flies much further while playing mountain golf doesn’t hurt, either.
In some locations, depending on the time of the season, you can even ski and golf in the same day. (And you thought a 36-hole day was tiring!)
Here’s five of the best places where the slopes can refer to both a run down a mountain and the contours on a green.
Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The remote town in Wyoming has become a hotbed for celebrities, but it has long retained its quaint charm. It’s tough to get to, but the rewards are worth it upon arriving to the area well-known for its proximity to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons and its abundance of outdoor activities, golf, and outstanding skiing chief among them. Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club is private but will allow outside play and is quite picturesque. Teton Pines Country Club is semi-private and is the spot to go if you’re looking for a chance to see wildlife like moose, caribou, deer, and bears.
Banff is a quaint town about 45 minutes outside of Calgary, Alberta and just one of many spots in the Canadian Rockies that are idyllic for both golf and skiing. The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course has long been ranked as one of the country’s top five layouts and the Stanley Thompson masterpiece, built in 1928, boasts breathtaking views of the Bow River and the mountains. The par-three 4th, dubbed the Devil’s Cauldron, is considered among the finest short holes in the world. If you can’t get enough with just 18 holes, they also have a nine-hole course called Tunnel Mountain.
Whistler, in British Columbia, has plenty of pedigree as the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Jack Nicklaus’s lakeside course Nicklaus North, a past host to Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, is one of the finest courses in the area. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler has an epic Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout carved out of the slopes of the Coast Mountain range in B.C. and has an elevation change of more than 400 feet while meandering through creeks, ponds, and Canadian forestry.
Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.
Of course, there is plenty of good golf out west in both California and Nevada, but there are some fine ski resort options, too. Lake Tahoe, on the states’ shared border, offers the best of both worlds. The area has a moderate climate with regular snowfall around the winter months, but dry and warm summers. Squaw Valley, notable as the 1960 Winter Olympics host, and Northstar, featuring Lake Tahoe’s “Best Value Golf Course,” are two of more than 10 amazing ski resorts in the area.
Golf in the region is highlighted by Edgewood Golf Course—the annual host of the American Century Championship, one of the biggest celebrity golf tournaments in the world—which has long been rated as one of the top courses in the state. Edgewood is among dozens of courses around Lake Tahoe on both the Nevada and California sides that are playable for all skill levels and price ranges.
It may be a small state, but Vermont is big on outdoor activities. Spruce Peak in northern Vermont has easy access to skiing and golf, including stay-and-play rates at The Mountain Course (ranked No. 1 in Vermont by Golf Advisor) as well as public rates at nearby Stowe Country Club. The same can be said for Okemo Mountain Resort in the southern region, where players can enjoy panoramic views at both Okemo Valley Golf Club and Tater Hill Golf Club.
Also, in southern Vermont, The Golf Club at Equinox is a scenic 1927 Walter Travis design with stay-and-play options that has received high accolades, including designations in the “Top 75 courses in the U.S.” by Golf Digest and “Top 3 Golf Courses in Vermont” by Golfweek. At just 6,423 yards it’s highly playable but enjoyably deceptive.
An hour north you can play Killington Resort’s golf course, a Geoffrey Cornish design that has a 2,000-foot elevation with signature vistas and snowmelt streams. For golfers who also love to snowboard, consider renting one of their GolfBoards to shred your way around the 6,186-yard par 72 layout.
Evian-les-Bains is home to the Evian Resort Golf Club, the longtime host of The Evian Championship, a major championship on the LPGA Tour, and driving distance from the Swiss Alps and some of the best skiing on earth. Just 15 minutes from the resort you can ski while overlooking Lake Geneva at Thollon-les-Mémises and Bernex, and the largest ski area in Europe with 12 resorts and 300 runs, Les Portes du Soleil, is a mere 40 minutes away. Also within a 40-minute drive from the Evian Resort—on both the France side of the border and Switzerland itself—there are at least 10 world-class golf courses including three in the Haut-Jura Regional Park.