There seems to be a sweeping malady affecting young outdoor adventurists from Seattle to L.A. and every West Coast spot in between. Our anthem goes a little something like, "We hate Valentine's Day." And truly, it's hard to blame us—the pressure to reduce a loving and meaningful relationship to disposable heart-shaped boxes, plush toys, and useless diamonds makes everyone feel a little green in the face.
The good news: There's a cure. It's called adventure. Togetherness and new experiences are glues to a perpetually fresh relationship, and there's nothing like a road trip that lends an understanding of your honey's weird music preferences after one too many hours in a car. The West Coast is stacked with adventure (literally, these peaks are massive!), and they're all for the taking during this month designated to the mushy gushies. So instead of making a dinner reservation and buying something from the store, try landing a reservation in a yurt and buying a tank of gas. Your love will thank you later.
Below are five different wintertime weekend getaway itineraries, and below that are supplementary nearby adventures to pepper in as you please.
A short four-hour drive from Seattle, Whistler is winter lovers' mecca. It's home to one of the West's most beloved ski areas, but if you're trying to plan a getaway without breaking the bank, throw your backcountry gear in the utility box, toss in your snowshoes, and drive a little further to get to Banff and throw the dice in an attempt to reserve one of Banff National Park's incredible backcountry huts.
For those with a good travel budget, here's what we recommend:
This small town nestled among towering peaks was originally called Icicle Flats, and it's not hard to determine why. It's a wonderland in wintertime (summertime is breathtaking as well), and it serves up adventure for rowdy couples, leisurely snowshoers, and all lovebirds in between.
After miles and miles of flat, expansive high desert, the sight of the Wallowas is a welcome reprieve. Though relatively off the radar, this wintertime haven is best known for ski touring and snow machining, though with these activities invariably comes excellent cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as well. The people are friendly, the beer is tasty (visiting Terminal Gravity Brewing is a must), and the snow is usually incredible.
The jagged, perpetually snow-dusted Sawtooth Mountains are incredible and chock full of cold-weather adventure. High alpine lakes freeze when the weather drops, and provide an incredible arena for cross-country skiing or for setting up a tent (perfect for a chilly night of hot toddies and snuggling).
Regardless of where your lovey-dovey adventures take you, always be sure to check avalanche and weather conditions before you go. Though it's not imperative, it's highly recommended that if you're heading into the backcountry to ski, at least some in your party have obtained Avalanche I certification at a minumum.