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A Midwinter Yurt Festival

Whether you arrive by ski, snowshoe, or snowcat, these circular tents make cozy venues for extraordinary meals prepared by seasoned chefs.

Park City's Viking Yurt at night, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Esta Brook Photography
Photo caption
Enjoy Nordic food in Park City's Viking Yurt.

If the usual dinners out have lost their luster, slip on a puffy coat and glide your way to an epicurean adventure in a yurt. Whether you arrive by ski, snowshoe, or snowcat, these circular tents make cozy venues for extraordinary meals prepared by seasoned chefs.

  • Hoist a pewter mug of nonalcoholic glogg (a hot, spiced drink) at the Viking Yurt, on a snowy peak at Utah's Park City Mountain Resort. Diners snuggle under blankets in a snowcat-pulled sleigh for the brisk, 23-minute ride to the festive tent. There they can listen to tunes played on a baby grand piano while feasting on five Nordicthemed courses, including smoked trout and lingonberry ice cream.
  • Pop on your snowshoes and follow the glowing tiki torches along an easy half-mile path to the Yurt at Solitude in the Wasatch Range outside Salt Lake City. The chef prepares a four-course, seasonally inspired meal with optional wine pairings inside the rustic Mongolian-style shelter lit with gas lanterns.
  • Luxury camping comes with views at Treebones Resort, where 16 small yurts perch on the edge of Northern California's Big Sur coast. All boast polished pine floors and queen-size beds with colorful quilts; some have doors that open to coastal or mountain vistas. Come mealtime, visitors gravitate to the resort's yurtlike Wild Coast Restaurant, which serves farm-to-table fare enlivened with greens harvested from the on-site garden.
  • To reach the Boulder Yurt, at the base of Butterfield Mountain in Sun Valley, Idaho, diners snowshoe or backcountry ski just over a mile at alpenglow, when "the peaks are lit up pink and gorgeous," says Francie St. Onge of Sun Valley Trekking. Once inside, you're greeted with a gourmet spread from a local caterer. After a postprandial stint in the sauna, it's time to ski back out under the stars.
  • Prefer to relax in the backcountry? Climb aboard Ginger or Dolly—passenger snowcats you can sit inside or atop—and glide through the snow-dusted forest at Montana's Big Sky Resort. A torch-lit sled run and a crackling bonfire signal your arrival at the Montana Dinner Yurt, where you'll tuck into baked French onion soup, filet mignon with peppercorn sauce, and Toblerone chocolate fondue.
  • After a 30- to 45-minute alpine ski trek and gondola ride, warm your mitts by the wood-burning, potbellied stove at Rock Springs Yurt in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The "yurtmeister" whips up hot drinks, dinner, and dessert. Bundled in a sleeping bag, you'll spend the night in the yurt and wake to a light breakfast the next morning.
  • A boho-chic vibe pervades the Blue Moon Yurt in McCall, Idaho, an off-the-grid dinner destination strung with Tibetan prayer flags. Guests ski or snowshoe for a mile beneath the towering pines of Ponderosa State Park before arriving at the yurt and warming up by the potbellied stove. Dinners, served family style, often include an ethnic twist—smoked harissa-stuffed Brie, say, or grilled black cod with green curry sauce.
  • Located 1 mile from a trailhead in Montana's Swan Range, north of Missoula, the Alpine Yurt is not for backcountry beginners. The all-day yurt package includes a gear shuttle and towropes to pull skiers in, but you'll still need ski skills and avalanche equipment to navigate the deep powder. After you kick off your boots, chef Dominick Martin cooks a multicourse meal that might feature duck breast, braised lamb, and crème brûlée.



This article was first published in Winter 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.