Sexy winter is different from sexy summer. If beach escapades are scant clothing and watching the tide come in, winter retreats are snuggly blankets and watching the snow fall. Whether it's just the two of you, or a gaggle of ski bums and bunnies worthy of an Abercrombie ad, the right mix of nature, crackling fires and hot tubs can turn the most blustery day very, very sultry.
1. The lodge: , Tetonia, Idaho
Perfect for you and: Your mogul mate
Isolation index: 6 out of 10. Teton Ridge Ranch is close to places you've heard of — namely, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. But since the 4,000-acre property is more than an hour from Jackson, Wyo., and 7 miles off the main road, expect a cascade of pure silence.
Cold comfort: This is the kind of place you'd expect billionaires such as Ted Turner to visit (or, more likely, own). True-blue Western, with lots of pine and stone fireplaces and big windows looking out on the jagged Tetons, the five-bedroom ranch sits on a pristine swath of land.
During the day, the two of you can slip into the Targhee National Forest by sleigh, snowshoes or cross-country skis — the ranch will provide you with a first-rate guide. Back in your private suite, warm your frosty footsies by the wood-burning stove, then take a communal dip in the Jacuzzi.
The aphrodisiac: The candle-lit dining room for dinner, which has two large, roaring fireplaces. Your stay is all-inclusive, and all that outdoor (or perhaps indoor) activity will have you attacking spinach soufflé and huckleberry French toast at breakfast and elk tenderloin by night.
Teton Ridge Ranch
Tel: 800-926-3579 (toll-free)
Doubles from $645, including meals, alcohol and activities.
2. The lodge: Annupuri Lodge, Hokkaido, Japan
Perfect for you and: Your novelty-loving friends
Isolation index: 5 out of 10. Distance is a matter of perspective. While the northern island of Hokkaido, 500 miles from Tokyo, is awfully far from America, it's the closest prime ski spot to Australia, which ensures a steady stream of sexy Aussies.
Cold comfort: So, you and the boys have poached powder from Portillo to Park City and run out of bragging rights? You’ll be an original in Hokkaido, where the snow blows in from Siberia, the Japanese have perfected night skiing and Aussies fly in by the planeload.
Niseko Mountain gets more snow than Aspen, and the powder is light and dry. Stay at Annupuri Lodge, with nine minimalist Asian-style rooms in black and natural woods, its own bar (the fortuitously named Lucky Fingers) and a hot spring bathhouse. It's also less than a minute’s walk to the main gondola.
The aphrodisiac: The steaming open-air volcanic pools, called onsen, set among high snowbanks. Local shredders and surf-toned Australians invariably end up here after the perfect snowy days, drinking beer and making new friends. Added bonus: Your accent will be different than everybody else’s.
Doubles from $176
3. The lodge: , Mount Hood, Ore.
Perfect for you and: The nature-loving boy or girl
Isolation index: 8 out of 10. These three backwoods cabins are strung among the Douglas firs and the banks of the White River, not far from Mount Hood, and can only be reached by snowshoes or cross-country skis. Still, the trail is just an hour's drive from Portland — ideal for when it's time for a hot shower and comfort food such as braised pork shanks at local favorite Sel Gris.
Cold comfort: Forget faux rustic or “glamping”: The Cascade Huts are the real deal. Comfy but small, the cabins offer light from lanterns, warmth from a propane heater and sustenance from food you prepare yourself in the kitchen. They’re 2 to 4 miles from the trailhead, ensuring that the only intrusion into your sweet, shared solitude will be the wind whispering through the trees. It's a perfect excuse to zip your sleeping bags together.
The aphrodisiac: The natural beauty of snow-covered rivers, old-growth forests and views of Mount Hood from 4,000 feet.
Huts from $300 per night for two
4. The lodge: , Zermatt, Switzerland
Perfect for you and: That European prince or princess
Isolation index: 6 out of 10. You say you’re tired of the go-go bustle of St. Barths and the same old air-kissing crowd in Mustique? How about a new high-flying crowd in the rarefied mountain air of the fabled village of Zermatt, reachable only by rail or helicopter, where locals get about by sleigh? From there, it's a 20-minute railway ride to the venerable Riffelalp lodge.
Cold comfort: Built in 1884, the Riffelalp has always attracted highfalutin Europeans. Its status faltered after a major fire in the 1960s, but recent renovations have restored the gloss, with 72 rooms and suites outfitted with beautiful blond wood, expansive sofas and balconies with stupendous vistas.
From this perch 7,300 feet high in the Gorner Grat ski area, thrill seekers can schuss across the Italian border to Cervinia or heli-ski the high passes. Those less snow-inclined can take a steam bath, spa treatment, or hit the on-site bowling alley. Either way, you and your gorgeous (and well-born) companion will be living the high life.
The aphrodisiac: Europe's highest outdoor pool, with lots of massage jets and views to the majesty of the Matterhorn. And yes, it's heated to 95 F year-round.
Doubles from $615
5. The lodge: , Park City, Utah
Perfect for you and: Your new love and his or her friends
Isolation index: 2 out of 10. Sure, it would be fine to stay in Park City, but you want to be the first to bomb down the mountain in the morning and the first to get bombed at night. And while the skiing doesn’t get much better than at Deer Valley Resort, mid-mountain’s Silver Lake area is a zoo (lots of tourists and crowded parking lots). The best bet? These new ski-in, ski-out homes next to the Empire Pass — they’re ensconced in the trees but have direct access to the express Silver Strike lift.
Cold comfort: You’ll be met by a personal concierge who takes care of everything from in-room boot fittings to stocking the kitchen's Sub-Zero fridge with Veuve Clicquot. Aspiring snow bunnies and sun-bleached ski bums can mix it up while jamming to the Bang & Olufsen sound system, or head outside to the private grotto and fire pit.
And of course there's always the hot tub. Each house has a gas fireplace in the living room and master bedroom, and an interior long on distressed wood and copper — meant to evoke the days when silver-mining tycoons partied in their own mountain manses.
The aphrodisiac: The steam shower at the end of a thigh-busting day. Whom you bring in with you — and how many — is a private matter.
Silver StrikeTel: 800-541-9378
Two-bedroom suites from $1,000
6. The lodge: , Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Perfect for you and: Your leading love
Isolation index: 5 out of 10. While there is a main lodge, you’ll want to stay at one of the surrounding back-to-basics cabins, some built in the 1930s, that sit on the shores of Twin Lakes. The property is several miles outside the town of Mammoth Lakes, and a perfect escape from all the demands of L.A. life. It's easy enough to drive to the lodge itself in winter, yet the cabins get charmingly snowbound, so management will transport your luggage via toboggan.
Cold comfort: Dreaming of you, your lover and a log cabin — far away from e-mail? The 34 old-school cabins, spread among the woods and the lapping lake waters, have plug-in telephones (remember those?) but no Internet access. All have porches and fireplaces (wood or propane) — a good thing, as the area can get 10 feet of snow per year.
The aphrodisiac: Stargazing as you walk to the lodge’s Lakefront restaurant, which serves French-inflected cuisine: imported cheeses, Provençal vegetable Wellington, and a mixed game plate of quail and elk. There are even midnight cross-country skiing sessions for those really looking for the cover of night.
Tamarack Lodge and Resort
Tel: 800-626-6684 (toll-free)
Doubles from $119
7. The lodge: , Whistler, Canada
Perfect for you and: Your id
Isolation index: 1 out of 10. The whole point of this scene is to be unisolated.
Cold comfort: OK, you're not into the antler aesthetic, you are happily single and you have no intention of sleeping alone tonight. Locals don't call Whistler "Swillster" for nothing: This is the most happening ski party scene in North America, where après can take place before, during and after the ski day.
The party is inclusive, too — February’s weeklong WinterPRIDE is the biggest gay-oriented event anywhere on the slopes. Bring the party back to the boutique Adara Hotel, where the rooms have funky-cool furniture and fireplaces cleverly built into cabinets. Oh, the lobby does have antlers, but they're made of resin.
The aphrodisiac: The libations and flirtations that begin on the patio of the Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill and eventually segue into general naughtiness and table dancing at Buffalo Bills nightclub. Arrive on a Wednesday to meet all the fit ski instructors and young hotties that work the lifts during the day.
Tel: 866 502 3272 (toll-free)
Tel: 604 905 4009
Doubles from $299
8. The lodge: , Telluride, Colo.
Perfect for you and: Your hard-to-please mate
Isolation index: 6 out of 10. It’s impossible to get a feel for the location of Telluride from a flat map. It can't show you the town’s dramatic placement in a deep box canyon, nor convey the immensity of the surrounding San Juan Mountains — both are reasons why the old mining town still seems cut off from the outside world. Montrose Airport, where most visitors arrive, is only 60 miles north, but in winter the drive can feel like a feat.
Cold comfort: Lumière will pick you up at the airport in a limo or hybrid SUV, easing that arrival. And you'll soon see how Telluride (unlike tony Aspen and Vail) retains much of its quirky frontier quality.
There are plenty of eccentrics ambling along the main drag and swilling beer at the 117-year-old New Sheridan Hotel. Less authentic, but a helluva lot more luxurious, is Lumière, which opened in December 2008 and is located slope-side at 9,550 feet (a 13-minute gondola ride from town). The property’s mission is to provide the utmost in pampering. Just imagine: After arranging ski rentals in the comfort of your suite, staffers actually put your boots on your feet and lead you to your skis.
The aphrodisiac: The 30 penthouse-like rooms, from studios to four-bedrooms, most with full kitchens, lounge areas and balconies. If these spaces are not big and homey enough to satisfy your significant other, there's also a 7,500-square-foot home with five bedrooms, an outdoor patio with hot tub, private elevator, and pool table.
Doubles from $469, including breakfast in bed
9. The lodge: Correntoso Lake & River Hotel,
Perfect for you and: The one you’d go to the ends of the earth for
Isolation index: 9 out of 10. It isn’t as distant as Tierra del Fuego, but the natural splendors of Argentina’s Lake District are still far afield. From Buenos Aires, you’ll fly two hours to San Carlos de Bariloche, then drive another 60 miles through the Andean forests and flatlands along the Seven Lakes Drive — and every inch of those 60 miles is spectacularly scenic.
Cold comfort: Your love is an outdoors kind of person, and you want to take them where they can fish for trout on icy-blue lakes by day (while you're getting spa treatments), and both of you can dine on chef-prepared delights and quaff robust Argentinean reds by night. Correntoso will satisfy all those wishes.
The lodge sits on a bluff overlooking the Correntoso River as it empties into the lake of Nahuel Huapi — offering prime fishing and unbelievable views. The only question is whether to visit now (during their summer), or wait till July so you can escape the heat in the States.
The aphrodisiac: The lodge’s hammam and spa, which is heated by burning wood gathered locally, and uses mountain herbs for the full body wrap. After your treatment, lounge on a wooden chaise by the indoor/outdoor infinity pool and take in vistas of the lake and snow-tipped mountains beyond.
Correntoso Lake & River Hotel
Doubles from $244