The Northwest’s ski resorts have become year-round destinations that offer an array of amenities for vacationers and day trippers. Hotels, vacation rentals, dining, spas, hiking and cycling top the list. When it comes to dining, what’s better than hopping aboard a gondola to ascend to a mountaintop restaurant? The thrill of the ride up the slope alone makes it worth it, but being seated at a window table or outdoors on a patio with the landscape unfolding thousands of feet below make the experience a special occasion. These restaurants top our list for exceptional food with a side of fresh mountain air and panoramas.
Christine’s on Blackcomb, Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
To get to the top of Blackcomb, ride Whistler’s Peak-to-Peak Gondola, the world’s longest and highest unsupported span traveling 2.7 miles nearly 1,500 feet above the valley floor. To say the state-of-the-art ride is a thrill would be an understatement. Once on Blackcomb, head to the stylish fine dining restaurant, Christine’s, for a British Columbia wine and lunch worthy of the view from its 6,102-foot elevation. whistlerblackcomb.com
Summit House, Crystal Mountain Resort, Washington
You’ve never seen Mt. Rainier like this—front and center in all its glory, directly across the valley from the Summit House’s 6.872-foot elevation. Summit House is the highest restaurant in Washington, and to get there you’ll climb 2,400 vertical feet on the Mt. Rainier Gondola. The restaurant’s lunch menu is Northwest-inspired and Northwest-sourced, and will satisfy carnivores and vegans alike. crystalmountainresort.com
Pine Marten Lodge, Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
With its mid-mountain location on Mt. Bachelor, Pine Marten Lodge offers a trio of dining options. Choose American or Mexican-inspired fare at Spark’s Café, the casual coffee-house vibe and selections at Pinnacle’s Café or Mediterranean fare at Scapolo’s. As you dine at the mountain’s 7,775-foot elevation—only 1,300 feet beneath the summit—you’ll marvel at the mountain towering above you and Oregon’s Cascades rising, peak after peak, in the distance. mtbachelor.com
Seven Glaciers, Alyeska Resort, Alaska
Alyeska Resort has many dining options, but for a mountain view, there is only one choice: Seven Glaciers. The Alyeska Aerial Tram transports diners 2,025 feet up to a 2,334-foot elevation. That may not sound like a great elevation, but consider that the tram lifts off from a 300-foot elevation, where Alyeska Resort is located. From the tram and from the top, the views are breathtaking: the saltwater inlet Turnagain Arm, the Chugach Mountains with hanging glaciers and alpine meadows, and the lush green valley below. Seven Glaciers is a fine dining experience offering the best Alaska fare and an award-winning wine list. Tip: Go for the Chef’s Tasting Menu with wine pairings. alyeskaresort.com
The Nest Bar & Restaurant, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho
From The Nest at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the Idaho Panhandle, you can see Idaho, Montana, Washington and British Columbia. That’s only one reason to visit; the other reason is the food. Select from an eclectic menu of sharable and solo dishes, and enjoy the creative libations for a fully relaxing mountaintop experience. To get to The Nest, earn your appetite by hiking 1.5 hours up the moderately difficult Nature Trail. Or save your steps and your energy for eating by purchasing a scenic lift ticket. schweitzer.com
Everett’s 8800, Big Sky Resort, Montana
Any guesses as to how Everett’s 8800 got its name? That’s right: It sits at the 8,800-foot elevation on the top of Andesite Mountain in Big Sky, Montana. To get there, you’ll ride Ramcharger 8, the most technologically advanced lift in the country, with a capacity for eight passengers partially enveloped in a big blue bubble. The Everett’s 8800 lunch menu is populated with thoughtful selections of elevated fare, from a dressed up grilled cheese sandwich to caviar with potato chips. bigskyresort.com.