Champagne powder and billionaire chalets, these are the very best luxury ski resorts on the planet
“Luxury is a state of mind,” L’Wren Scott once said. When it comes to the best luxury ski resorts in the world, luxury is more than a state of mind – it’s private helipads, multi-million pound chalets, Michelin star restaurants and rubbing shoulders with royals.
Whether it is star-studded Aspen in Colorado, USA or the groomed pistes of Courchevel in France, all these places have one thing in common – they are all stellar places for skiing and snowboarding.
So if you are interested in where the rich and famous like to quaff champagne and caviar in hot tubs surrounded by fresh snow, read on…
When you think of a luxury ski resort, the first one that springs to mind is probably Aspen. Aspen has been the haunt of many billionaires and celebrities over the last 40 years – with plenty of them hanging out in the Hotel Jerome’s J Bar.
It has one of the most expensive housing markets in the USA with the average house price hovering around $5 million.
Originally a mining town, Aspen gets some amazing snowfall, especially compared to Europe. Head up the hill on a weekday out of holiday season and you’ll find fresh powder with zero crowds.
Verbier is up there will the very best luxury ski resorts in the world. Everyone from Leonardo di Caprio to the Beckhams to Richard Branson ski in Verbier.
Branson even owns a nine-bedroom lodge in Verbier with a mini ice rink, indoor swimming pool, hot tubs in the snow and a luxury spa.
Not only is the mountain teeming with the rich and famous, but it has some of the best backcountry terrain in Europe. Every year the final stage of the Freeride World Tour is held in Verbier with thousands of spectators watching in awe from below.
From royals to Russian oligarchs, Courchevel attracts only the very wealthiest in Europe to its slopes. Located at one of the giant Trois Vallees, it couldn’t be more different than the neighbouring party towns of Meribel and Val Thorens.
With seven Michelin Star restaurants and dozens of designer boutiques, Courchevel 1850 is ranked as one of the most exclusive place to hang out in the Alps.
France even introduced a ‘6 Star’ hotel rating for the most prestigious ‘palaces’ in the country. Only eight hotels have received this accolade – and not surprisingly, two of those hotels are in Courchevel.
Careful where you stop for lunch – you might find yourself paying €20 for a small bowl of chips.
Gstaad in Switzerland has long been the best luxury ski resort to be seen in Europe. It’s currently the second most expensive ski resort in the world to buy a property, ranked just behind Courchevel in France. A 350 CHF dinner is pretty normal here.
Gstaad has attracted glitzy jetsetters since the 1970s when the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were seen skiing these slopes.
Today there are two new five-star hotels opening in town, which locals hope will revive the resort’s popularity.
If you are looking for some of the best skiing on the planet (including the best heli-skiing) you need to visit Whistler in Canada. It’s a favourite with the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Justin Timberlake.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler Hotel is the most luxurious hotel in town with ski in/ski out and an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by metres of fresh snow. The town itself is buzzing during apres-ski, surrounded by designer clothing and luxury furnishing shops.
ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND
If you are looking for a chocolate box-perfect ski resort in the heart of Switzerland, then it’s got to be St. Moritz. With its champagne climate (that means dry air and sunshine, apparently), St Moritz is the place to flaunt your furs on the slopes.
Russians fly over from Moscow by private jet for the snow and to catch the Cartier Polo Snow Tournament in January, one of the glitziest events in the St. Moritz calendar.
It’s also said to be one of Naomi Campbell’s favourite hangouts. Boris Becker even got married here!
Baroness Noémie de Rothschild was lamenting the fact that France didn’t have a St. Moritz back in 1914 – so she decided to create her own. This pretty picturesque village is now one of the most glamorous ski resorts in France.
With swanky five-star hotels lining the streets and five Michelin star restaurants, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to fine dining and the softest beds in the Alps.
Did we mention it’s also home to one of the world’s most famous luxury mountain spas inside Les Fermes de Marie?
LECH ARLBERG, AUSTRIA
Lech and neighbouring resort Zurs probably have more four and five-star hotels between them than any other ski resorts.
Lech is also home to the world’s most expensive chalet called Chalet N. It costs around £280,000 to stay here per week.
It’s not just the chance to hobnob with the rich and famous that draws visitor to Lech. It is known for unbelievably good snow, pristine pistes and acres of off-piste terrain to explore. You can also pick up a pair of bespoke ski boots in town for a mere €800. Bargain.
DEER VALLEY, UTAH, USA
Back across the pond, Deer Valley is America’s answer to St Moritz. They pride themselves on pampering visitors here with ski valets, perfectly manicured slopes, heated driveways and plenty of gourmet restaurants to choose from.
Deer Valley limit the number of lift tickets sold per day here to avoid overcrowding on the slopes. If that’s not luxury, I don’t know what is.
Bad news for snowboarders though, you won’t be allowed on the slopes here as snowboarding is banned. Boo.
Situated beneath the famous Matterhorn, Zermatt is up there with a litany of other exclusive Swiss resorts. If you are looking for fine dining, then Zermatt is the best luxury ski resort around.
It has the highest density of world-class restaurants in the world. Apparently you can hire a guide to take you specifically on a food tour of the mountain. Phil Collins is a semi-permanent resident here, so don’t be surprised if you bump into him on the chairlift.
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