Luxurious Ski Destinations to Visit This Winter
Whether it’s mountain scenery you’re after or some time on the slopes, there’s nothing like a ski vacation. And when it comes to luxury, there’s no shortage of fantastic options. North American resorts are stepping up their game, serving up cuisine that rivals the best in France or Italy, says David Lowy of Renshaw Travel in Vancouver.
You may also be surprised to find how contemporary the old world can be. Luxury spots in popular European destinations like Courchevel, France, and Zermatt, Switzerland, aren’t just big on ski-in, ski-out access, they’re incredibly stylish, with 21st-century takes on chalet decor, says Lowy. And you can opt for a lodge or your own rental for some extra privacy.
Of course, with so many destinations to choose from, deciding on one can be downright intimidating. Fallon Hirschhorn, a travel advisor with Ovation Vacations in New York, suggests having a good idea of what you want in advance to help you whittle down options. You’ll also want to book certain outings beforehand. Do it at least a month, or even two months, ahead, advises Hirschhorn, as some dinner spots start taking names up to 60 days out. And don’t forget your spa massage. Any time between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. is fair game for appointments, says Hirschhorn, as this is the time most skiers like to unwind.
No matter where you choose to ski, you’ll be satisfied with the picks here. Read on for the most luxurious ski trips you ought to be taking this winter.
Mottaret tends to get overlooked when people visit the Trois Vallées area. Sceney Courchevel hogs the spotlight, and Meribel is just as appealing with its chalet-style architecture. But what Mottaret lacks in panache it makes up for in serious substance — ski in, ski-out access; a nearby ski school; affordable dining options; and plenty of nursery slopes for young skiers. At Mottaret Proveres, a roomy two-bedroom apartment available on ThirdHome starting at $308/night, ticks all the boxes with minimalist decor, alpine views and a generous kitchen. Plus shuttle bus service to Meribel — and ski lifts — are only a short walk away.
San Cassiano, Italy
The quaint mountain village of San Cassiano lies at the foot of the Dolomite mountains, which doesn’t want for accommodation. But if you have heavy pockets, Rosa Alpina is the way to go, says Lowy. Its Chalet Zeno is a bastion of luxury with an outdoor Finnish Sauna and hammam shower, while the newly renovated Penthouse offers a freestanding bath tub with spectacular views.
With its European resort vibe and lively bar scene, Whistler is not to be missed. The ski area is also one of the largest in the world, with some 8,000 acres of pistes. Glacier Lodge, a two-bedroom condo — starting at $138/night on ThirdHome ($306/night during ski season) — offers bedrooms with mountain views and marble bathrooms. Whistler Village is just a short walk away, as are a number of hiking trails.
If high-end luxury is the goal, you can’t beat Courchevel 1850, winter playground of Russian oligarchs, wealthy Britons and hard-core skiers. But you don’t have to be a jet-setter to find a family friendly resort, says Lowy. At L’Apogée Courchevel there’s a “Mini VIP 1850” club for little ones, where the activities include jewelry making, magic tricks and examining snowflakes. For parents, there’s sake tasting, a rooftop hot tub, and a cozy cigar lounge.
Hard-core skiers know Zermatt is the place to go, with off piste areas and panoramas galore. Still, the town is spread out, so think carefully about where to stay. Lowy recommends the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof both for its stellar location — ”you’re in the saddle of the Matterhorn,” he says — and its light-filled rooms with gingerbread details, gabled ceilings and balcony views. As an added incentive to stay there, a horse-drawn carriage will zip you to and from the Zermatterhof and Zermatt station.
Lech Zürs am Arlberg, Austria
Lowy describes Thurnher's Alpenhof as a “typical” Austrian chalet — but there’s nothing average about it. Situated in the country’s largest linked ski area, the elegant five-star hotel doesn’t just ooze luxury, it treats you like royalty. First-class service includes waxing guests’ skis, equipping them with their own ski and snowboard teacher and taking care of storage over the summer. Arriving by private jet? No problem. You can also get help with packing and unpacking and have your favorite newspapers delivered.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is one of the most famous U.S. ski destinations, featuring three prime ski areas: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort. Meaning “peaceful home,” Amangani — at the foot of the Tetons — offers outdoor activities for just about everyone, from heli-skiing, dog sledding, fly fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and white water rafting. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the old-fashioned pastime, as there are more than 2,740 acres of slopes to conquer. Nature lovers can take private tours of nearby Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, and there are also butte-top hikes and wildlife safaris.
Deer Valley, Utah
Vail may get all the fanfare, but Deer Valley is just as substantial — the slopes are well tended, thrilling and varied. Plus, the area’s refreshingly low-key, says Hirschhorn. Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley is perfectly cozy for couples, with private decks, fireplaces, and jetted tubs.
This frontier town has some of the best skiing around and none of the pretense of its ritzier neighbor to the north. Hirschhorn suggests securing a rental at Element 52, part of the Auberge Collection, for its focus on wellness and top-notch concierge. Indulge in a hot riverstone massage, which targets the muscle groups used in skiing, or soak in one of the outdoor cedar hot tubs after a long day outside. Other so-luxe amenities include fireplaces, decks and balconies, children’s bunks and private ski lifts.