Are you thinking about planning a luxury ski or snowboarding holiday? Imagining yourself cruising down freshly groomed slopes or hitting waist deep powder off-piste?
There are many factors to consider when planning a luxury ski holiday. You’ll want to choose a destination with tons of snow, something that can change year-by-year, as well as plenty of apres-ski activities. You’ll also want a destination with fantastic, high-end ski hotels or chalets equipped with outdoor hot tubs and maybe even a sauna for soaking sore muscles.
Our informative guide features some of our favourite ski destinations including things to do off the slopes and some of the area’s best hotels. Keep reading to discover the ultimate recommendations for planning your next ski holiday.
Welcome to one of the best and largest ski resorts in the world, Les Trois Vallees. The French Alps are known internationally for its excellent skiing and extensive trail network. At Courchevel, you’ll find stunning scenery as well as direct access to some of the best snow conditions in Les Trois Vallees.
Things to Do
While most people come to Courchevel for the skiing, there’s a range of fantastic off-piste activities too. Drink the night away in classic ski resort bars, take a helicopter tour to experience the areas natural beauty and much more. Whether you’re a ski bum or ski bunny, there’s something for everyone.
Helicopter Tours. Taking to the air is one of the best ways to witness the area’s stunning landscape. Scenic flights will take you over the Alps summits to peaks like Mont Blanc, Le Grande Casse and les Ecrins. A helicopter tour is an unforgettable experience.
Skiing. Most people come to Courchevel to ski. With direct access to Les Trois Vallees, the world’s largest ski resort, there are over 300 miles of immaculate pistes to explore. You’ll find slopes suitable for all skill levels from beginners to advanced.
Aquafun Area. Courchevel is also home to Europe’s largest mountain aquafun centre. It includes a 25m swimming pool, indoor and outdoor lagoons, five-lane water slide, hydro baths, sauna, steam rooms and a seawater cave. With so much to offer, Courchevel’s aquafun area is the ideal way to relax after a day on the mountain.
Where to Stay
Throughout the Courchevel region, you’ll find a range of fantastic five-star hotels. Most feature swimming pools, spas and fitness centres and of course easy access to the ski mountains. Here are some of our favourites:
Le Lana. Nestled into the mountains, Le Lana offers guests a luxurious stay with world-class service and amenities. This five-star hotel has a heated indoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and an indulgent spa. There’s also an onsite restaurant and piano bar serving signature cocktails with panoramic views. Guests can get ski equipment at the onsite ski shop or relax after a day of skiing in the games room or cinema room.
Le K2 Palace. K2 Palace is another excellent choice for skiers staying in Courchevel. Rooms have chalet-style decor, flat-screen TVs, seating area and extra conveniences like a DVD player. Onsite you’ll also find an indoor swimming pool and hot tub, a high-end spa, modern fitness centre and three restaurants. One of the restaurants has two Michelin stars and overlooks the nearby ski slopes.
Le Chabichou. Rooms at Le Chabichou are a mixture of traditional ski resort and contemporary styles. This five-star hotel also has an onsite Michelin 2-star restaurant serving French and regional cuisine in a wood-panelled dining room and modern spa offering beauty and massage treatments. Guests also have access to a swimming pool, steam room, sauna, hot tub, fitness room and sensory rain trail.
Best Time to Visit
If you want to hit the slopes, the best time to visit is between December and April. It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before booking a trip as snowfall can vary year-by-year and month-by-month. Christmas and New Year are particularly popular times to visit, which means that resorts can be very busy and we recommend planning ahead. January is another excellent time to visit as the mountain is generally quieter and there are no lift queues. Spring skiing, between March and April, is also fantastic as the weather is good and April often sees the most snowfall.
Vail, Colorado is one of the world’s most luxurious and opulent ski resorts. With towering peaks, waist-deep powder and sunny blue skies 300 days a year, there are many fantastic reasons to visit. Vail Mountain has some of the most extensive ski networks than any other mountain in the USA and boasts over 1500 acres of downhill slopes on the North face and 3500 acres on the back-bowl. Come summer there’s plenty of outdoor activities too like mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. Vail is one beautiful outdoor playground.
Things to Do
Whether you’re carving up the slopes or drinking at the mountain bars, life revolves around the ski mountain in the winter. After all, Vail is one of the world’s most exclusive ski resorts.
Skiing. Vail Ski Mountain has over 5,000 acres, making it the third largest ski resort in the United States. Here, you’ll find several bowls and intermediate terrain in Blue Sky Basin. There are trails suitable for skiers of all levels.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Vail is also home to the world’s highest botanical gardens. These gardens have over 2,000 varieties of plants including over 500 different types of wildflowers and alpine plants as well as a stunning 120-foot waterfall. The gardens are open year-round and offer a relaxing break from the ski slopes.
Apres-Ski. One of the many perks of skiing is partying after the ski slopes close. Vail has a great apres-ski, French for after skiing, scene with a fantastic range of restaurants, cocktail bars, pubs, and live music. Throughout Vail, you’ll find cosy fires and fun social events.
Where to Stay
Vail has some high-end, luxurious ski resorts. And, there are some fantastic choices for luxury ski and snowboard accommodation. Here are our favourites:
Four Seasons Vail Resort. Located at the base of Vail Mountain, the five-star Four Seasons resort has an extensive complex with outdoor pool and spa. There’s also an American-style steakhouse, bar serving signature hot cocoas, and spa and wellness centre. Rooms feature a fireplace, flat-screen TV and some have fully-equipped kitchens and views of the mountain.
The Arrabelle. The Arrabelle offers direct access to the ski slopes and is only a five-minute walk from Eagle Bahn Gondola. There’s an outdoor rooftop lap pool, hot tubs, an on-site bar and restaurant and spa and fitness centre. Rooms have Alpine style decor and feature fireplaces, perfect for snuggling snuggle up in front of the fire after a day of skiing.
Solaris Residences. Located in the centre of Vail Valley, the five-star Solaris Residence resort has an indoor swimming pool, onsite Japanese restaurant, high-end bar and spa and fitness centre. Guests can enjoy free cookies and hot chocolate after a day of skiing. Each room has a fireplace, fully-equipped kitchen and entertainment amenities like a Nintendo Wii.
Best Time to Visit
Vail’s ski season runs from December to March. Christmas and New Year, like most ski mountains, is particularly busy so it’s best to book ahead. Most years Vail gets over 190 inches of snow with January and February getting the most. March and April are great times to visit for spring skiing, where sunny skies make skiing more enjoyable and give you the opportunity to get a tan.
Gstaad combines glitz and glamour with a traditional village atmosphere, making it one of Europe’s best ski destinations. Every year the rich and famous, like George Clooney, Madonna and even Paris Hilton, flock here to ski and shop at designer boutiques. You can also partake in a range of outdoor activities during the summer and winter months. With such a prestigious reputation, Gstaad is the ideal destination for a luxury ski and snowboard holiday.
Things to Do
Known for its stunning natural beauty, most people visit Gstaad for an opulent ski holiday. Whether you’re dining at Michelin star restaurants or taking private ski lessons at the local mountain, there’s plenty of ways to have a fabulous holiday.
Wispile. Wispile, Gstaad’s local mountain, is ideal for beginners and families travelling with children. In addition to some great ski slopes, you can also take a scenic hike along its broad ridge and then ride a toboggan into Gsteig — a thrilling experience for adults and kids alike.
The Rinderberg. As one of the largest ski and hiking areas in the region, The Rinderberg has over 65 miles of ski runs and links to Schonried to Saanenmöser, Zweisimmen and St. Stephan. Making it an excellent choice for skiers of all ability levels.
Dog Sledging. Dog sledging is a great way to explore the area’s natural beauty without strapping on the skis. You can hire a sledge to whisk you through the woods to the picturesque village of Lauenen. It’s a breathtaking experience and offers a great alternative to skiing.
Where to Stay
Luxury, five-star hotels in Gstaad have old-school charm. Many offer wooden chalets with traditional features and open fireplaces.
The Alpina Gstaad. With an elegant, Swiss Alpine style, rooms incorporate natural materials like marble, sandstone and aged wood. All rooms have balconies with stunning mountain views and some have open fireplaces. Onsite you’ll find three restaurants including Megu which serves Japanese cuisine, a classy wine bar and Havana-inspired cigar lounge. There’s also a spa offering holistic treatments, an indoor and heated outdoor pool, sauna, fitness room and relaxation area. The Alpina also has its own cinema.
Hotel Olden. A charming, traditional boutique hotel in Gstaad’s traffic-free pedestrian zone, Hotel Olden is another great choice for luxury ski or snowboard accommodation. Ski lifts are less than 1000 yards away and there is an excellent onsite restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine.
Ultima Gstaad. Ultima Gstaad has three large wooden chalets in traditional Alpine-style. Gstaad promenade is less than a ten-minute walk away. Every room has a terrace or balcony overlooking Gstaad town and the Bernese Alps and a bronze fireplace. Some suites also have fully-equipped kitchens and private entrances. Onsite, you’ll find three bars including a Shisha bar and smoker’s lounge, a restaurant serving Alpine specialities, and a modern spa. There’s also a sauna, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, a 20 yards swimming pool, and a gym.
Best Time to Visit
Gstaad gets snow from December to April. January and February are considered the winter high season and have the greatest snowfall. Days are relatively short and quite chilly with snow practically guaranteed. The area gets particularly busy during school holidays, like around Christmas and New Year, so if you plan to visit this time of year book ahead.