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U.S. News & World Report

5 Wonderful Winter Festivals Worth Traveling For

Embrace cold-weather pursuits and winter fun with snow ice sculpture competitions, concerts and more.

By Sheryl Nance-Nash

Forget staying home for the dark, cold days of winter. As temperatures cool down, awe-inspiring events and festivals around the world beckon to cold-weather enthusiasts. From an annual wine festival in Taos, New Mexico, to a snow sculpting competition in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, these thrilling events are worth facing the winter chill. Read on to discover spectacular seasonal festivals across the globe.

Aspen, Colorado

When: Jan. 11-14, 2018

Aspen‘s annual “toast to winter” dates back to January 1951, when locals began celebrating the town’s unique Nordic lifestyle. The four-day fest features a well-rounded mix of activities, including a Soupsköl (a soup cook-off), a canine fashion show, fat-biking competitions and more. Plus, there are plenty of ways to embrace Aspen’s winter paradise. Four ski mountains make up the terrain for the world-renowned Snowmassresort. Aspen Mountain, locally referred to as Ajax, rises up directly from downtown, creating an enchanting winter scene, and Buttermilk Mountain, home of the X Games, is an ideal spot for kids and beginners. Meanwhile, Aspen Highlands is home to the legendary Highland Bowl, and Snowmass offers diverse runs for all skill levels. Aspen’s beautiful scenery also makes it prime spot for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fly-fishing and even hot-air ballooning. After embracing some outdoor revelry, head out for dinner at one of Aspen’s world-class restaurants. End a perfect day at Belly Up, Aspen’s 500-person live music venue, where you’re likely to hear renowned artists. Aspen’s big-city cultural institutions, well known for their summer programming, also have plenty of events throughout the winter.

St. Barts Music Festival
St. Barts

When: January 5-21, 2018

The much-loved St. Barts Music Festival is celebrating its 34th season. The island will host a collection of international music stars and dancers to perform in informal and open-air settings around the island. The artists, who perform in the leading cities around the world, will hold classical music concerts, recitals and opera performances.

Taos Winter Wine Festival
Taos, New Mexico

When: February 1-4, 2018

If you’re a wine lover, consider heading to Taos for a four-day tasting experience with wines from nearly 40 participating wineries, a selection of breweries and one-of-a-kind food provided by local northern New Mexico restaurants. The festival features film screenings, daily wine seminars, a night of tastings at top restaurants, a traditional pig roast and après-ski drinks, culminating in a Grand Tasting – the cornerstone event that spotlights more than 150 different wines from 36 participating wineries and tastes from the area’s finest restaurants. The fun (and the libations) don’t end there. The Super Sunday Champagne Brunch on Feb. 4, 2018, includes four successive plates with sparkling wines.

With events taking place at high-end spas like El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa and different resorts throughout the Taos Ski Valley, you’re sure to see plenty of highlights in Taos. Wander to art galleries and museums that dot the streets of the Historic Taos Plaza, follow U.S. Route 64 to explore national sites like the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge or hit the slopes and ski or snowboard the snow-capped peaks of the Taos Ski Valley. When you’re ready to call it a day, cozy up at the Dreamcatcher Bed & Breakfast or treat yourself to a night’s stay at Taos Ski Valley’s newest luxury resort, The Blake at Taos Ski Valley.

Winterfest and the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

When: January 27-February 4, 2018

Winter meets art in Lake Geneva every year during Winterfest for the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition. Talented sculptors and artists from across the country create works of art out of 8-foot wide by 9-foot tall snow blocks. Other must-do events and activities during the nine-day festival include the Abominable Snow Race (a 4- to 6-mile course made up of 20-plus obstacles at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa‘s Mountain Top ski area), the Human Dog Sled Race, a wine pairing dinner, live magic and illusion at the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, historic tours of Maxwell Mansion, live music and entertainment, a chili cook-off and the Cocoa Crawl in downtown Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva also has many scenic trails and nature areas for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice skating. Downhill skiers and snowboarders flock to Grand Geneva’s Mountain Top ski area or nearby Wilmot Mountain. Meanwhile, adventurers turn to Geneva Canopy Tours to zip line through the bare trees that allow clear views of the sky, and ice skaters pick from rinks found at The Abbey Resort, The Ridge Hotel, Lake Lawn Resort and Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. The best sledding hills are at Big Foot Beach State Park and near the parking lot at Sage and Mill Streets in downtown Lake Geneva.

When you’re ready to seek warmth, there are plenty of quaint downtown specialty shops, great restaurants like Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub and Tuscan Tavern & Grill. Hunker down at The Cove of Lake Geneva or a historic hotel like The Baker House.

Banff National Park, Canada

When: January 18-28, 2018

Around Lake Louise and Banff in the winter, the annual SnowDays Festival a major event. After all, Lake Louise is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, with its beautiful crystal-clear turquoise lakes enveloped by stunning glaciers. It’s also home to the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. SnowDays includes a mix of events, shows and activities. Ice skate on the whimsical frozen surface of Lake Louise, catch the Banff Ice Magic Festival with its jaw-dropping ice sculptures from top ice artists around the globe or spend a day riding on the slopes of one of the nearby ski resorts. At night, join the festivities in town. Watch live music, ski and snowboard competitions or simply sip drinks by the fire. For more cold-weather pastimes, embrace sleigh rides, extreme winter sports, gondola riding, snowshoeing and Banff’s stunning hot springs.


Money Magazine

The 10 Best Ski and Snowboard Destinations for Your Money

By Allana Akhtar

Now that winter’s in full swing and the snow’s piling up, it’s time to get your snow pants out for a ski or snowboard trip with family, friends or a significant other. Whether you’re a casual skier or experienced racer, there are plenty of mountains with extraordinary views and challenging summits to try all over the country.

MONEY dug into its Best in Travel database to put together the following list of 10 snow-friendly cities that offer the greatest value. Each offers a variety of nearby ski resorts, a nice mix of other apres-ski attractions, and good values on travel, food and lodging for the perfect winter vacation.

1. Reno, Nevada

Total cost of a week for two: $1,625
Number of nearby resorts: 12

Reno has the perfect combination of stunning natural beauty and a lively nightlife scene for after you quit the slopes. It’s only a modest drive from the scenic summits of Lake Tahoe, yet flights to Reno for a winter trip are still a bargain. Average flight prices begin at $312, according to the flight booking app Hopper. You can even ditch overpriced resort stays for a nearby hotel, which will cost around $100 per night, according to

Make sure you hit the runs at local favorite Mt. Rose, the only mountain offering views over both Lake Tahoe and Reno, according to the website Ski Lake Tahoe. Plus, you won’t have a long trip after you fly in—the resort is just 25 miles from the Reno Airport. Lift tickets are $125 for an adult day pass and $75 a day for children, but booking in advance can score you some discounted tickets.

2. Salt Lake City, Utah

Total cost of a week for two: $2,295
Number of nearby resorts: 8

For another ski excursion with truly remarkable views, consider the West Coast’s other great lake. Salt Lake City gets plenty of snowfall, which you can enjoy at any of the eight nearby ski resorts. Flights from U.S. destinations are $258 round-trip on average, according to Hopper, while finds rooms cost about $122 per night.

If you’re a regular skier looking for a new challenge or views unlike any other, hit up Alta, one of the oldest—and one of the rare skiing-only—resorts in the U.S. The top elevation reaches 10,550 feet and the mountain drops about 2,000 feet, with five lifts. An adult single-day lift ticket is about $99, but prices vary depending on age and at what time you purchase.

If you’re a snowboarder or looking for more outdoor options, Snowbird is another great option. During the winter months, the resort offers activities like snowshoeing, mountain tours, “cat skiing” tours and even heli-skiing, for one-of-a-kind views of the 11,000-foot mountain. Snowbird day tickets start at $119.

3. South Lake Tahoe, California

Total cost of a week for two: $3,249
Number of nearby resorts: 10

Just across the state line from Nevada, South Lake Tahoe can deliver an adrenaline rush both on and off the slopes. Heavenly Mountain Resort boasts almost 100 runs across 4,800 acres of terrain; you can feast your eyes on celestial views of Lake Tahoe while skiing the mountain’s 3,500-foot vertical drop. In the evening, warm up with some drinks and dancing at Unbuckle at Tamarack Lodge, a nightclub located 9,150 feet above sea level, at the top of the resort’s gondola.

Flights to South Lake Tahoe cost $312 on average, Hopper finds, and hotel rooms are about $155 a night, according to Buying online and advance will land you the best lift ticket deals at Heavenly, but window prices for adults are $126 per day each, while children can enter for $69.

Mt. Brighton in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Jack Affleck/Vail Resorts

4. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Total cost of a week for two: $1,293
Number of nearby resorts: 2

Ann Arbor is known more as a college town than a ski town, but the city has easy access to nearby ski resorts, and its historic landmarks and renowned restaurants make it a lovely winter destination. Flights to Ann Arbor are the cheapest on this list, at $245 on average, according to Hopper, and renting a car costs just $32.50 per day, according to data from

Drive up to Mt. Brighton and hit one of the 24 trails sprawled along the 130-acre resort. More appropriate for family outings than for mogul jumping, the resort is packed with beginner and intermediate runs; it also has some of the least expensive child lift tickets on the list, starting at $35. (And if the family gets bored, there’s also the University of Michigan campus to explore, and obligatory tours of the country’s largest stadium, The Big House.)

 5. Taos, New Mexico

Total cost of a week for two: $1,919
Number of nearby resorts: 4

 You won’t have to drive far from Taos Pueblo to hit the slopes at the nearest ski resort, Taos Ski Valley. Only 18 miles from town, the resort offers spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. There’s also a nearby hot springs destination, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, that offers sulfur-free mineral waters, mud pools, massages, yoga, and hiking trails. Single-day lift tickets at Taos start at $105 for adults, $85 for teens and seniors, and $65 for children.
6. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
 Total cost of a week for two: $1,903
Number of nearby resorts: 2

Don’t forget the South. Gatlinburg’s proximity to the Smoky Mountains situates it as a perfect ski destination south of the Mason-Dixon line. One of the best known ski resorts in the area is Ober Gatlinburg. Ober’s 600-foot mountain might draw sneers from purists, but families will love one of its most unusual features: an outdoor, year-round roller coaster. Airfare to Gatlinburg is about $323, and snag adult single-day lift tickets starting at $36.

 7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
 Total cost of a week for two: $3,214
Number of nearby resorts: 3

Beer and ski hills—what more could anyone want in the wintertime? Flights to Milwaukee are under $300 right now according to Hopper, and the city is about 50 miles away from the scenic Lake Geneva. The Grand Geneva resort gives you gorgeous views while offering cheap lift tickets—just $20 a day. On your drive back, stop to tour some of the best breweries in the state (according to Thrillist), including the Milwaukee Brewing Company and Lakefront Brewery.

8. Burlington, Vermont

 Total cost of a week for two: $1,934
Number of nearby resorts: 5

Vermont’s stunning natural beauty shines from atop the many summits near Burlington. One of the most popular destinations here is Stowe Mountain Resort, and for good reason—the 485 acre land has more mile-long lifts than any other resort in the East, and you can choose from 116 trails, with the highest skiing elevation reaching 3,625 feet. Adult lift tickets are $99 per day in peak periods (and $94 off-peak).

You can also check out the historic Mad River Glen resort, home to the famous ‘Single Chair’—one of just two single-person lifts in the country. It’s also the only skier-owned mountain in America: If you buy a share in the cooperative ($2,000 per share), you can vote on issues surrounding the mountain.

9. Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota

Total cost of a week for two: $2,848
Number of nearby resorts: 3

Midwesterner ski fans shouldn’t write off the Twin Cities: Low-key local resort Buck Hill has launched the careers of World Cup ski racers Kristina Koznick and Lindsey Vonn. The resort’s low prices—lift rates start at $16 some nights—and mix of skiing, snowboarding and tubing trails make this a great family destination.

After the slopes, your family can also hit the Mall of America and other local attractions. Flights from the U.S. cost just $248 on average, according to Hopper.

10. Boise, Idaho

Total cost of a week for two: $2,243
Number of nearby resorts: 1

The last city on our list is Boise, which gets a boost from its affordable average hotel costs ($110 on average, according to You’ll need to drive a couple of hours to reach the famed Sun Valley resort or its newish rival, Tamarack, but Boise has its own historic hill much closer at hand: Bogus Basin, which features 78 runs across 2,600 acres, plus snowshoe trails, a tubing hill and night skiing.


To make the preceding selections, we used MONEY’s Best in Travel database to analyze roughly three dozen of the most popular winter sports destinations nationwide. Then we ranked the cities, identifying the 10 that scored highest for value delivered. Among cost factors, we gave the most weight to the price of airfare, lodging, and food, as well as the biggest year-over-year price drops. We also considered the number of ski resorts each city offered, tourist activities, and experience factors like low crime rates, pleasant weather, and ease of access to public transportation.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Greendale High School home to Wisconsin Restaurant Association Mentors of the Year

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently featured Brian Frakes, Executive Chef of The Pfister Hotel, on his role as a mentor in the ProStart culinary competition at Greendale High School in Greendale, Wis. The ProStart® program, administered by National Restaurant Association Solutions, LLC and state restaurant associations, is a college-prep, two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the skills needed for careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

Read the full story at



Hotel Celebrates 10th Artist in 2018

Milwaukee, Wis., November 29, 2017 – The AAA Four-Diamond Pfister Hotel, owned and managed by Marcus Hotels & Resorts, is in search of its next Artist in Residence. Entering its 10th year, The Pfister Hotel’s internationally recognized Artist-in-Residence program is an opportunity for an artist to be at the forefront of Milwaukee’s art scene, showcasing his or her work in a studio gallery on the first floor of Milwaukee’s most prestigious hotel.

The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program allows local artists to share their work and interact with guests one-on-one in the studio gallery or at art receptions, gallery nights, classes and events hosted by the resident artist. The next artist, succeeding tintype photographer Margaret Muza, will move into the studio space April 1, 2018, and will continue working at the hotel for a one-year period.

Each year, a committee of influential art enthusiasts from throughout the Milwaukee community selects The Pfister’s resident artist from a pool of highly qualified candidates. The committee takes into account the artist’s vision for the gallery space, his or her body of work, artistic process, personality and a public vote. The selected artist works in The Pfister Hotel’s art studio and gallery that is open to hotel guests and the public. The program encourages visitors to interact with the artist, while watching the evolution of each piece of work firsthand.

“This coming year marks a special milestone as we welcome our 10th resident artist,” said Tim Smith, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program has touched hundreds of guests and residents over the years as we provide a one-of-a-kind, engaging experience that allows visitors to learn about new art forms and interact with our artist in a creative studio environment. Since our first artist was selected in 2009, our program has become nationally and internationally recognized, earning recognition from The New York Times, Globe and Mail and other top-tier publications. We are proud to have hosted a diverse group of talented artists including painters, fiber artists and photographers, and remember them by their legacy pieces that adorn the Pfister hallways. Each artist has had a role in our success and we are excited to welcome the next Artist in Residence who will make this year even more special.”

Margaret Muza, current resident artist, said the Artist-in-Residence program has given her a deeper perspective about herself as an artist and her photography. “Working in the historic Pfister Hotel has provided me with a great atmosphere to use my unique artform. From the gorgeous architecture of this timeless Milwaukee treasure to the hotel guests and staff I interact with, I’ve learned so much. This opportunity has allowed me to grow as an artist as I share the process of tintype photography with others.”

The deadline to apply for the program is December 14, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. CT. Interested artists can download the application online at

In the years since its inception in 2009, The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program has been critically lauded as not only a pioneering Wisconsin Artist-in-Residence program, but as an example of a hotel taking its dedication to the local community above and beyond traditional expectations. With a deep appreciation and connection to the arts, launching an Artist-in-Residence program was a natural step for The Pfister Hotel, and in the years since, each artist that has held the residency has helped to grow and evolve the program to its current incarnation today. Marcus Hotels & Resorts has introduced similar Artist-in-Residence programs at additional owned proprieties including The Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Okla. and The Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, Neb.

For more information on the latest news and updates from Marcus Hotels & Resorts, please visit:

About The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence Program

Entering its 10th year, The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program features a working art studio and gallery that is open to hotel guests and visitors. The program encourages the public to interact with the artist and witness the evolution of each piece firsthand.

Over the years, The Pfister has received national attention for its Artist-in-Residence program. Since 2009, the hotel has been a member of the Alliance of Artist Communities,, an international association of artists’ communities and residencies featuring a diverse field of more than 1,000 programs worldwide.

The program’s current artist is Margaret Muza (2017-2018), Past artists include Pamela Anderson (2016-2017),; Todd Mrozinski (2015-2016),, Niki Johnson (2014-2015),; Stephanie Barenz (2013-2014),; Timothy Westbrook (2012-2013),; Shelby Keefe (2011-2012),; Katie Musolff (2010-2011),; and Reginald Baylor (2009-2010),

About The Pfister Hotel

The Pfister Hotel has been the premier hotel in downtown Milwaukee for over 120 years. Originally built in 1893 by businessman Guido Pfister, it was the most lavish hotel of its time. The hotel’s storied elegance had faded following World War II, until 1962, when Ben Marcus, founder of The Marcus Corporation, purchased this grand hotel out of bankruptcy. The Marcus family renovated and restored the hotel to its original glory, adding convention facilities, a parking garage and 23-story guest tower. The Pfister Hotel remains home to the largest collection of Victorian art of any hotel in the world, and offers an interactive augmented reality tour of pieces in this impressive collection.

Today the Pfister Hotel continues its tradition of gracious service and impeccable style, and has been recognized for 41 consecutive years by AAA as a Four-Diamond property. In 2017, The Pfister Hotel was ranked the No. 1 Best Milwaukee Hotel by U.S. News & World Report and was recognized as a Top Hotel in the Midwest in Condé Nast Traveler’s 30th annual Reader’s Choice Awards. This exceptional property is a member of two prestigious hotel organizations, Historic Hotels of America and Preferred Hotels & Resorts. The Pfister Hotel is located at 424 E. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee. For more information, please visit and follow the hotel on Facebook and Twitter (@PfisterHotel).

About Marcus Hotels & Resorts

Marcus Hotels & Resorts owns and/or manages 18 hotels, resorts and other properties in the U.S. The company’s distinctive portfolio includes city-center meeting hotels, upscale resorts, historic properties, and premium branded and independent first-class hotels. Marcus Hotels & Resorts is an approved operator for all major lodging brands. A leader in the hospitality industry since 1962, Marcus Hotels & Resorts creates asset value for hotel owners through its expertise in management, development and product repositioning, including hotel food and beverage

concepts developed by its Marcus Restaurant Group, featuring premier brands such as Mason Street Grill, ChopHouse and Miller Time Pub & Grill. The company is also growing its experiential restaurant concept, The SafeHouse, with a second location that opened in early 2017 in Chicago, Ill. For more information, please visit: and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter (@MarcusHotels).


Architectural Digest

11 Outdoor Ice Rinks at Luxury Hotels

With views of the Pacific Ocean or the Dolomite Mountains, these are not your typical skating rinks

By Stephanie Strasnick

Equal parts warm holiday nostalgia and invigorating winter fun, it’s no surprise that outdoor ice-skating is a seasonal pastime that’s endured for generations. To the delight of many skaters, high-end hotels around the world are making it easier than ever for snow bunnies to partake in this winter tradition by building their own on-property rinks for guests to enjoy. These hotel rinks aren’t your average no-frills, frozen pond either. Hotels are thinking outside the rink to create twinkle light–filled Kinkadian winter escapes that are brimming with holiday cheer. And for those not confident on skates, a number of rinks offer on-site instruction and rinkside seating and refreshments.

From an enchanting Italian terrace with panoramic Dolomite views to a rooftop rink on the Las Vegas Strip that screens classic holiday movies, here are our picks for the world’s most festive and whimsical hotel skating venues.

Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy

When winter rolls around at this posh Italian hideaway, an eco-friendly ice rink is installed on the hotel’s large panoramic terrace, offering skaters sweeping views of the nearby Dolomites.

Beau-Rivage Palace, a Leading Hotel of the World, Lausanne, Switzerland

The terrace at this historic property is famous for its awe-inspiring views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. In the winter, guests are invited to skate on the terrace’s seasonal rink, and dine on fondue and local meats and cheeses.

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

Hotel del Coronado’s seasonal outdoor rink—the city’s only seaside skating venue—delivers prime views of the Pacific Ocean and Coronado Beach. Its ambience is enhanced by the sight of the hotel itself, which is decked out in twinkle lights and holiday decor.

The Dolder Grand, Zurich

At 6,000 square meters, the open-air ice rink at the luxe Dolder Grand is the largest in Europe. Guests can use the rink for ice-skating, or try their hand at curling or Chneble (the Swiss term for ice hockey).

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas

This winter, the Cosmopolitan is transforming its rooftop pool into a spirited winter dreamland. In addition to traditional skating, the rink will host holiday movie nights (featuring such film as Frozen and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) and will offer a curated seasonal cocktail menu.

The Chedi Andermatt, a Leading Hotel of the World, Andermatt, Switzerland

In the winter months, the Courtyard at the picture-perfect Chedi Andermatt features a sleek skating rink with sweeping views of the snow-covered Swiss Alps. The hotel serves après-skate refreshments that include mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York

For generations, Mohonk Mountain House has been a beloved weekend retreat for New Yorkers. Year-round, vacationers flock to this Victorian castle—which sits on 40,000 acres of protected land—for such seasonal activities as golf, swimming, and horseback riding in the summer, and ice-skating in the winter.

Delta Bessborough, Saskatoon, Canada

Earlier this season, the small Canadian city of Saskatoon garnered international attention with the opening of the expansive contemporary art museum Remai Modern. Travelers who are coming for the art should stay for the skating. Behind the historic and palatial Delta Bessborough hotel, a former railway hotel, is a charming outdoor ice rink with river views.

Dorchester Collection Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris

The outdoor ice rink at this iconic Parisian hotel is brimming with holiday enchantment. Located in the property’s La Cour Jardin, the rink is staffed with skating instructors and is open to guests throughout the winter season.

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Come winter, the family-friendly Grand Geneva Resort transforms into a snow-covered winter wonderland. In addition to sledding and skiing, guests can partake in outdoor skating on the property’s hilltop rink.

The Standard, High Line, New York

Given the city’s space constraints, it’s no surprise that outdoor rinks in Manhattan are few and far between. The Standard has brought open-air skating to the Meatpacking District with a small, but festive, seasonal rink that’s replete with hot chocolate and tasty wintertime treats.


Make It Better

6 Ski Resorts 3 Hours or Less From Chicago

By Wendy Altschuler

A ski slope in your own backyard? Total pipe dream. A mountain within driving distance? Start packing up the car — each of these five wintry wonderlands is within three short hours of Chicago.

Wilmot Mountain

Wilmot, Wisconsin (Drive time from Chicago: 90 minutes)  

Wilmot has been a destination for family skiing, snowboarding, and tubing since 1938 — and a recent purchase by Vail Resorts has seen a whopping $13 million in improvements, ensuring that its future is bright. New perks include three four-person chairlifts, a high-speed rope tow in the terrain park, two new lifts in the beginner’s area, an upgraded Base Lodge, and a new kids’ ski and snowboard school.

The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort &Spa

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (Drive time: 90 minutes)

There’s something for skiers of all ages and abilities at this 30-acre family-friendly ski destination at Lake Geneva’s iconic Grand Geneva Resort. Featuring three chairlifts and two carpet lifts, easy equipment rental, lessons for beginners, and night skiing, the Mountain Top is a one-stop shop for a whirlwind weekend on the slopes. For even more winter fun, try some sledding and ice skating, and be sure to warm up with a hot meal or drink by the fire at Leinenkugel’s Mountain Top Lodge.

Alpine Valley Resort

Elkhorn, Wisconsin (Drive time: 2 hours)  

Park your poles here to enjoy over 90 skiable acres with 20 runs — including Big Thunder, a steep run with a vertical 388-foot drop and Alpine, the resort’s longest run at 3,000 feet. Ski school for adults and kids is available for beginners of all ages, while experts can check out the flat bar, donkey rail, and corrugated tube at the terrain park. If that’s not enough to entice you, guests at Alpine Valley Resort can enjoy on-site ski-in and ski-out rooms (120 are available, including family suites), complete with bistro dining, free weekend movie nights, and an indoor pool and hot tub. No snow? No worries — Alpine Valley will make some.

Cascade Mountain

Portage, Wisconsin (Drive time: 3 hours)  

Calling all thrill-seekers! This hot spot near Wisconsin Dells boasts four terrain parks with several obstacles, a super pipe and halfpipe, and 10 black-diamond runs with steep descents and mogul fields. But you don’t have to be hardcore to appreciate the place, as the mountain is also home to plenty of beginner slopes (kids under 12 ski free!), a tubing park, and shorter runs.

Devil’s Head Resort

Merrimac, Wisconsin (Drive time: 3 hours)  

Fun fact: This full-service resort — home to one of the state’s highest mountains — is located in Baraboo Bluffs, which was formed by glaciers over a billion years ago. Amenities include a large ski pro-shop, twice-daily groomed trails, long and wide runs,500-foot vertical rise, accredited ski instructors, a terrain park with tubes and jumps, and available cross-country skiing.

Chestnut Mountain Resort

Galena, Illinois (Drive time: 3 hours)

Nestled right next to historic Galena and overlooking the Mississippi River, you’ll find 19 ski trails and a seven-acre terrain park with 25 rails and structures. Everything you need is right on site: rooms; an indoor pool, sauna and hot tub; three restaurants with contemporary cuisine and craft beer; children’s programs; and ski runs for all levels.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Greendale High School home to Wisconsin Restaurant Association Mentors of the Year

By Tiffany Stoiber | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Brian Frakes watches as one of Greendale High School’s ProStart team members plates a dish.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently featured Brian Frakes, Executive Chef of The Pfister Hotel, on his role as a mentor in the ProStart culinary competition at Greendale High School in Greendale, Wis. The ProStart® program, administered by National Restaurant Association Solutions, LLC and state restaurant associations, is a college-prep, two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the skills needed for careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Read the full story online here.


Modern Luxury CS – November 2017

A Grand Time

By Sarah Ryan

New luxury villas at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa provide a crazy oasis that is perfect for a fall long-weekend escape from city life.

When fall sets in, long-weekend jaunts outside the city to experience the colors of the season are a must, and the charming Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis. – situated merely 110 minutes from the city – offers more than its share of festive activities as the weather cools (everything from horseback riding to scenic hiking to that last round of golf before temperatures dip). While the historic property has long been a mainstay for fans of the region, a multi-million-dollar renovation, providing 29 lavishly appointed villas, has added to the resort’s appeal.

The new villas – which range from suite-like studios to expansive three-bedroom properties – have a luxurious home-away-from-home setup and cozy ambiance. Private outdoor patios, gas fireplaces, large kitchens with stone countertops and full-size stainless steel appliances (the resort’s grocery delivery service will certainly come in handy), and outdoor strange for clubs and skis make the spacious accommodations as practical as they are luxurious.

Separate from the main resort, the villas offer welcome privacy, through resort restaurants and the Geneva Club (an exclusive amenities lounge) are a short drive away. Revel in the seclusion and opt to indulge in services from the resort’s celebrated WELL Spa + Salon in your villa. Exclusive to villa clients, the North Shore package ($260) is a 75-minute service including dry brush exfoliation and a massage or facial, and the Day on the Lake package ($210) includes a blowout and makeup application, perfect for if you feel like venturing out. But with these villas, you are likely to sign up for a relaxing nights in. Studio villas form $339, one bedroom-villas from $429, two-bedroom villas from $509, three-bedroom villas from $639, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wis.,



Brian Frakes Honored with Salute to Excellence Award

Brian Frakes Signature HeadshotBrian Frakes, Executive Chef at the Pfister Hotel/Marcus Hotels and Resorts in Milwaukee, will receive the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s (WRA EF) Salute to Excellence Mentor Award at the industry’s Celebration of Excellence dinner taking place on October 22nd at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. He is honored for his dedication to excellence in foodservice and his passion for educating and training the future leaders of the industry.

“Brian Frakes spends countless hours sharing his expertise to help students learn and grow their culinary skills and hospitality knowledge,” said Connie Fedor, Executive Director of the WRA EF. “His involvement as a ProStart® mentor at Greendale High School has made a positive and meaningful impact on students.”

Frakes is currently a member of the WRA EF board of directors and was honored with the WRA EF Salute to Excellence Chef award in 2014.

He has earned many other awards including Fort Lauderdale/Sun Sentinel’s Top 10 Best New Chef in 2000, a Milwaukee Business Journal Forty Under 40 in 2007 and the American Liver Foundation Silver Cleaver in 2015.

Frakes also volunteers for several charitable causes including the American Liver Foundation – Great Lakes Division, Wisconsin March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, Hope House, Hunger Task Force, the Catholic Archdiocese and others.

He is a volunteer advisor for Milwaukee Area Technical College, Culinary Institute of America, Le Cordon Bleu, Johnson and Wales University and Kendall College.

Passionate about sustainability and the use of local Wisconsin products, he is a recognized public spokesperson on these topics. 

The WRA EF recognizes six individuals and one company for dedication and commitment to education in the restaurant industry as Salute to Excellence honorees. Other 2017 Salute to Excellence honorees include: RC Schroeder, Jr. (Fox Valley Technical College), Glee Brechler (James Madison Memorial High School), Trey Hester (Rocky Rococo Restaurants), Chris Roderique (Piggy’s Restaurant), Tom Surwillo (Milwaukee Area Technical College) and Gordon Food Service.

Each honoree creates opportunities for people interested in foodservice industry careers. While they have worked in a variety of roles and in different parts of the state, they all share enthusiasm and optimism for the future of the restaurant industry.

The Salute to Excellence awards will be presented at the 2017 Celebration of Excellence on Sunday, October 22 at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. More information on the event is available at


The WRA Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been in existence since 1987 and is one of the nation’s largest state restaurant association foundations. The Foundation’s vision is to advance professionalism through education, scholarships and community involvement to ensure the future success of the foodservice industry.

The ProStart® program, administered by National Restaurant Association Solutions, LLC and state restaurant associations, is a college-prep, two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the skills needed for careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

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