A lot of skiiers like to also enjoy a few rounds at the casino tables, and there’s a perception – perhaps partly true – that there aren’t many places in the world to ski and gamble. Lots of casino resorts are in warm places – Vegas, Macau, Monaco, Abu Dhabi, the Bahamas – but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a good ski resort that also has slots or tables nearby. We’ve talked about the best ski hotels, but here are some suggestions of my favorite places – all great ski destinations in their own right, so whether you want a little or a lot of gambling, you’ll still have plenty of other activities to enjoy while the snow falls.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Pictured above, Lake Tahoe is a wonderful town. It’s right on the border of Nevada and California, and you’ll find all of the hot casino action on the Nevada side due to the favorable laws of the state. Tahoe is busy year-round since the lake offers such great views, but I do think Tahoe is one of the best places in the winter for gambling and ski. There are 5 casinos here, each with different things on offer. I think the best place to stay is Harrahs, and I believe it is the largest casino in Lake Tahoe. Montbleu is the newest casino and great if you’re into hopping nightlife.
But really, the Casinos are not far apart at all, so you’ll be able to wander as you choose, no problem.
Mescalero, New Mexico
You might not have considered it, but in fact New Mexico has great luxury ski out/ski in / gamble in options. The appropriately named Inn of the Mountain Gods is a wondrous sight for sore eyes with 273 guest rooms waiting for you to choose from. The hotel offers a number of ski & stay packages whether you want to ski or snowboard, and you’ll have 55 runs to choose from, the majority being intermediate (and quite a few advanced, for those who are interested).
The town itself has a number of other options for those looking to place their bets, whether you want quiet bars, native american themed shopping, budget or midrange accommodation, and very very good food. Even the buffets here in New Mexico are tasty, and you’ll see many locals in the casinos enjoying fine dining and on occasion, locally produced beer, wine, and spirits. That’s a Christmas worth celebrating!
St. Mortiz, Switzerland
Changing our geography a bit for our last ski casino resort recommendation, we’re heading to Europe – the American southwest can’t have all the fun. Switzerland is really for well-versed skiiers as many trails remain open with snowpack even in summer (I’ve gotten stuck on hiking trails due to heavy snow – it’s very high elevation here.) And where’s the perfect place to go to in winter for ski and casino fun in Switzerland? St. Mortiz.
The Kempinski Hotel des Bains is where the casino is located, and it happens to be a fabulous place to stay – not only for its old world charm and luxurious hospitality, but also because they have some of the best ski vacation packages on offer. It’s not cheap to get here in winter, nor is it cheap while you are here, so take what you can get, and Kempinski (as they say, ski is in their name) do a great job of helping you out.
Don’t forget your passport when heading to the casino floor – registration with it is required to play any games or even to venture out onto the hall floor.