Eager to slide into their ski boots, many holidayers can’t wait for the first snows. With amazing slopes in both the northern and southern hemisphere, world-class skiing can actually be enjoyed almost year round. We go in search of thrilling heli-skiing, virgin off-piste snow, family fun and glamorous retreats across the globe thanks to these great tips from our award-winning local experts.
Swiss charm, fabulous skiing and jewelbox chalets, there are many reasons to love this traditional village resort, a favorite of our expert James Palmer-Tomkinson. His love for the exceptional resort has been passed down through the generations and sparked the creation of his luxury skiing holiday company PT Ski.
“In the past it was the resort of choice for Hollywood movie stars and although they have since moved on, the cache of Klosters remains,” explains James. “Visitors now prefer it for its discreet and low key ambiance, a complete contrast to the more flamboyant resorts like St Moritz and Gstaad. There are no designer shops, but its glamourous visitors love it instead for its understated chic.”
In addition to its authenticity, it also has amazing skiing. Combined with Davos, it’s one of the largest ski areas in the whole country. Avid skiers can enjoy perfectly groomed slopes and beginners can gain courage via its excellent ski schools. At the end of an invigorating day on the slopes, settle in for a cozy evening fireside at one of the town’s quaint but luxurious chalets.
Where to Stay in Klosters.
Val d’Isère, France
The French Alps have dozens of resorts, but our Alps expert Andy Castle of Ultimate Luxury Chalets adores the Val d’Isère. This former traditional farming village nestled in the Tarentaise Valley close to the Italian border, has become one of the world’s premier ski resorts.
Home to the the Espace Killy ski resort, it also incorporates the neighbouring high altitude station of Tignes, bring together over 300km of pistes, elevating to heights of over 3500m. In addition, the area’s off-piste terrain is both thrilling and easily accessible by some of its 94 ski lifts. New to these this season will be the state-of-the-art Solaise gondola, which will replace the old Solaise Express chairlift.
If your bones aren’t too weary from your physical exertion, discover some of the resort’s superb après ski bars and restaurants. On the whole, these tend to be a much better value for luxury than some of the other high end resorts of the Alps.
Where to Stay in Val d’Isère.
Wanaka, New Zealand
Situated almost in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island, Wanaka offers some of the country’s best skiing and snowboarding. It’s no wonder our experts at MajorDomo like to strap on their boots on at this incredibly stunning location. The lakeside town, abuzz with life, restaurants, bars and boutiques, acts as the gateway to the Southern Alps and gorgeous Mt Aspiring National Park.
“Wanaka is fabulous place to base your family and friends for the ultimate New Zealand extreme ski experience,’ says Lisa Hayden, co-owner of MajorDomo. “In fact it’s the largest heli-skiing area outside North America.”
In addition to being a heliski destination, it has uncrowded slopes, amazing off-piste terrain, the country’s only cross-country ski area and plenty of other activities like snowshoeing, sledding and dog sled tours. The official ski fields are made up of five resorts, two of which, Cardrona and Treble Cone, have teamed up for a joint three or five day flexi lift pass.
Alternatively, let MajorDomo help arrange arrange your heliski experiences, picking you up straight from one of their Wanaka villas with a helipad.
Where to Stay in Wanaka.
Verbier is another wonderfully charming and luxurious resort in the Alps and where Marina Gratsos of Carpe Diem Luxury Travel hits the slopes. Cradled in the southwestern Swiss canton of Valais, it’s considered one of the world’s top “off-piste” resorts.
Verbier sits at 1,500m in a sunny, south-facing valley with spectacular panoramas of the surrounding summits. It’s also the largest and most popular resort of the Four Vallées ski region, connecting with other resorts including Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Thyon and La Tzoumaz. The town is filled with impressive luxury chalets. While it’s a better destination for intermediate and advanced grade skiers, it does have some beginner slopes.
Try to book your trip during one of Verbier’s many annual events like the Freeride World Tour, Xtreme Verbier, held at the end of March. The town is filled with impressive luxury chalets and an abundance of evening entertainment and dining. Gastronomes must book in at the restaurant of the Chalet d’Adrien, the town center’s only Michelin Star which offers delicious locally inspired dishes and fabulous views.
Where to Stay in Verbier.
Telluride, Colorado, U.S.A.
North America’s Rocky Mountains offer some exceptional skiing surrounded by jaw-dropping views of the snowy mountain tops. Our global expert Sylvia Delvaille Jones of Villas and Apartments Abroad takes us to Colorado’s pretty and refined resort of Telluride. Set in a tree-lined box canyon, this former Victorian mining town has retained this heritage through many buildings and other landmarks of this boom era.
Voted the best skiing in North America by Condé Nast Traveler, avid skiers won’t be disappointed with its challenging moguls, while beginners and intermediate skiers can journey up to the highest peaks for some level appropriate runs, something normally reserved for advanced skiers only. There is a free gondola connecting Telluride to the Mountain Town, the only public transportation system of its kind on the continent.
There are also a range of unique activities off the slopes such as art walks, theater performances and even professional certificate courses. There is a wide variety of dining options from stylish chalets with stunning mountain views to old fashioned saloons. The resort features some excellent luxury accommodation, including the exclusive Ski Mansion available through Villas and Apartments Abroad.
Where to Stay in Telluride.
Queenstown, New Zealand
On the other side of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Queenstown is another skier’s paradise. A short 20-minute drive from this picturesque town on Lake Wakatipu, the Queenstown ski fields are spread over four resorts. There’s terrain for all abilities and styles from well-groomed runs to daring off-piste zones. For the more adventurous, heli trips can transform the Southern Alps into an endless, thrilling playground.
“Offering an abundance of sunshine, shimmering lakes, snow-capped alpine beauties, and a fantastic selection of activities and attractions, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most popular winter destination,” outlines Jacqui Spice, founder and owner of Touch of Spice. She and her team can take care of both luxury accommodation and everything you need for the perfect skiing experiences around Queenstown.
Founded during the mid-19th century gold rush days, Queenstown has evolved into chic resort. Visitors staying in the towns sophisticated villas with outstanding views can explore the towns stylish shops and fabulous restaurants and bars.
Where to Stay in Queenstown.
Back in the European Alps, we venture to spectacular Zermatt, a personal favorite of Andy Castle of Ultimate Luxury Chalets. This picturesque and lavish resort is tucked in the upper end of the Mattertal and is encircled by some of the most awe-inspiring peaks in Europe, including the world famous Matterhorn.
“Zermatt has established itself as one of the most popular resorts in the Alps,” describes Andy. “With spectacular scenery, an outstanding snow record, phenomenal skiing, amazing luxury chalets and nightlife to match… it’s a resort that has pretty much everything you could ask for!”
As Zermatt is entirely pedestrianized, with only electric buses and taxis that connect all the main lift stations on the valley floor, it makes for a pleasant, family-friendly resort. Your days on the slopes are complemented by hearty mountain meals, horse-drawn sleigh rides, heavenly spa treatments and cozy nights in front of the fireplace at your luxury chalet overlooking the twinkling lights of town and the Matterhorn.
Where to Stay in Zermatt.
Big Sky Resort – Montana, U.S.A.
For a more offbeat skiing experience in the U.S., find your way to remote Big Sky Resort, the Basecamp to Yellowstone Park in beautiful Montana. As its name suggests, the incredible blue sky goes on forever, as do the amazing vistas of the Rocky Mountains, something which has attracted our local expert Suzy Hall of Mountain Home to the area.
The resort features cutting edge lifts, impeccably groomed slopes and nowhere near the crowds found on the more popular slopes of the U.S. – all in the shadow of its iconic, Matterhorn-like peak. Plus, there is a vast array of non-skiing activities to please the whole family from zipline tours to dog sledding and from wall climbing to sleigh rides.
On the development front, there are big plans to expand the resort in the coming decade to make it the “American Alp.” Therefore, it’s an up-and-coming resort to add to your list now!
Where to Stay near Big Sky Country.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
A roundup of favorite ski resorts wouldn’t be complete without glitzy St. Moritz, the go-to European resort of Sylvia Delvaille Jones of Villas and Apartments Abroad. A popular ski holiday destination since 1864, this picturesque Alpine village is set in one of the most breathtaking locations of Switzerland, the gorgeous Upper Engadin lakes district.
The resort has played host to the Olympics on twice and numerous international skiing competitions are held here each winter. It’s also home to some of the top luxury hotels and chalets of the Alps, attracting a jetset crowd attracting the likes of John Travolta, Robert de Niro, Robbie Williams and Liz Hurley.
Off the slopes its designer boutiques lure in prospective clients with furs and exquisite Swiss watches whereas the nights are long at its super glamorous nightclubs. It also hosts world class winter sports events such as the White Turf races held every February.
Where to Stay in St Moritz.
Craving more? Check out these other articles which will have you booking your next ski trip today!