How the other half ski! Here are 5 of the most opulent ski resorts in the world
Sure, some famous faces grace ski resorts just to be papped in the latest Moncler, and über-rich moguls might invest millions without setting foot on the slopes… But many share our passion for pow and can’t resist the call of the mountains. When money’s no object, there are some absolutely awesome resorts to ski.
Here are five of our favourites, and the way to sample how the other half sleep, eat, drink and ski them (providing you have a fair few bob in the bank…).
You can’t consider yourself truly rich or royal ‘til you’ve partied the night away in Verbier, but the resort has more than just legendary nightlife. This is powder paradise and any serious skier worth their salt must explore Verbier’s 4 Vallées area at least once.
It’s a well-known fact that the Duchess of York lives in Verbier, and adrenaline-junkie billionaire Richard Branson is oft-seen mastering the Mont Fort moguls (when not living it up in his luxurious Lodge). James Blunt’s another notable local, who co-owns a mountain restaurant with ski pals Lawrence Dallaglio and Carl Fogarty. Last season’s visitors included none other than Prince William and Madonna.
- Sleep: in the penthouse of W Verbier (winner of the ‘World’s Best Ski Hotel’ title in the 2016 World Snow Awards), purely to test out the rotating bed.
- Eat: Mediterranean masterpieces at Michelin starred La Table d’Adrien.
- Drink: vodka at Farm Club (they’ll label a bottle with your name if you’re a regular).
- Ski: hire a helicopter and hurtle down the Rosablanche, or go touring around the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard.
Laid back, world-class and mad about snow sports, Whistler welcomes one and all and has a following of famous guests. The enormity of the place lends itself to celebrities who want to ski incognito, the slopes get a shedload of snow each season and some of North America’s greatest hotels provide the ultimate post-ski pampering.
As soon as David Beckham’s football retirement let him hit the pistes, he whisked the family away for a winter break in Whistler. Seal and Heidi Klum famously got engaged up on the glacier and Justin Timberlake, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz are among other people seen on the snow.
- Sleep: in the Fairmont Chateau’s Penthouse Suite, on the exclusive Gold package which gives access to a private lounge and reception area.
- Eat: oysters at Araxi.
- Drink: Martinis at the Mallard Lounge.
- Ski: alongside Olympic gold medallist Ashley McIvor with the exclusive ‘Book an Olympian’ programme, and don’t miss the legendary Million Dollar Ridge run either.
A resort more decadent than Courchevel 1850 can’t be found in the European alps, and the fact that it sits in the middle of the enormous Three Valleys – the world’s biggest ski area – is a massive draw for snow fanatics.
Pippa Middleton lists Courchevel among her favourite places to ski, as does American socialite Olivia Palermo. Leonardo DiCaprio has been spotted here, and Courchevel was the resort of choice for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first family ski trip in 2016.
- Sleep: in luxury chalet Le Namaste (formerly Margaret Thatcher’s summer holiday home), which has a dreamy indoor swimming pool with a wave machine. Book it with private flights to Courchevel Altiport through luxury ski specialist SNO.
- Eat: gorge yourself on three Michelin starred cuisine at Le 1947.
- Drink: Dom Perignon Jeroboams with oligarchs at L’Arc Club.
- Ski: the Grand Couloir with a private mountain guide, or take on the Millet ski tour challenge.
Aspen gets a ton of airtime for its A List visitors, international arts events and luxury hotels. But its four ski areas deserve the most mentions. Head to the Highlands for deep powder perfection and glide down wide groomers peppered with trees in Snowmass.
Jack Nicholson, Kevin Costner, Roman Abramovich and Mariah Carey have owned properties in Aspen, and members of the Obama family have been spotted skiing here in recent years.
- Sleep: in the 5-star, 5-diamond Little Nell, and bring your pooch, who’ll be pampered with epicurean treats and provided with a puppy jet lag kit.
- Eat: sushi at Matsuhisa.
- Drink: thousand dollar champagnes at the Caribou Club (if you can get an invite).
- Ski: zip down the Big Burn run or tour Hunter Creek, then recover in the 7000ft2 Viceroy Snowmass spa.
Zermatt village is the definition of alpine charm, perched under the mighty Matterhorn, and accessing some of the snowiest, steepest and most scenic skiing in the world. Old money luxury is the model here, from the grand hotels to generations-old jewellers and gourmet grub.
Phil Collins and Abba’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad own homes here, and visitors include Nicole Kidman and Thierry Henry. Bizarrely, Zermatt’s reputation as a luxury destination has made it the most popular ski resort for celebrity haux deaths on the internet (Charlie Sheen, Christian Slator and Brad Pitt to date…).
- Sleep: in the wonderfully historical Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, whose horse-drawn carriages will transport you around the village.
- Eat: Ivo Adam’s creative 2 Michelin starred cuisine at After Seven.
- Drink: chic cocktails at the Vernissage.
- Ski: the Stockhorn’s powder runs, and cross the border to Italy via the Theodulpass.