With peaks so sharp and pristine, nightlife so boisterous, and historic resorts straight out of a story book, skiing in the Alps has a special magic.
First as a means of transportations through rugged mountains, skiing in the Alps is nowadays much more than a sport, but a deep-rooted culture, a way of life.
While there’s plenty of mountains to choose from around the world, some resorts in the world’s highest and most extensive mountain range are known specifically for epic terrain and luxurious amenities, where Michelin restaurants rub shoulders with ultra-luxury chalets – many of which come with chauffeur-driven cars, home spas, indoor pools, cinemas, and helipads. Each villa comes with its own staff: a butler, a chef and housekeepers to make sure all is taken care of. Comfy is an understatement.
The onset of winter means the chance to ski in the morning; sun bathe in the afternoon and party by night. As glowing slopes receive the first dose of sunshine, breakfast is served at 7ish, leaving you enough time to get kitted out before the lift opens. Straight up the mountain, you can hear the fresh snow crunching under the ski boots. The Alps have so much incredible terrain, options for winter-sporting read like a wishlist.
And comes lunch time, there is no place we’d rather be than on a huge deck in the mountains, enjoying the food, the music and the view of the slopes.
SOFT WINTER ACTIVITIES
The word “adventure” means many things to many people. Not up for skiing all day? Stick with the tried and true pastime of yesteryear: grab a sled and glide down snow-covered pastures.
Or set off on a winter hike that leads through enchanting forests, some specially groomed trails even lead up to some of the highest regions. Taking it easier? There is a mellow mix of open winding trails ideal for horse carriage riding.
One of the unique sights here are the igloo. Why not keep out the chill in an ice house enjoying seasonal quaffs?
We love our après as much as the ski – in fact, it might be the most fun and important aspect of a good ski trip. After the lifts stop running, après-ski is the time for mingling and boozing. Just relax in the mountain air on a sun terrace, sipping chilled champagne or a hot chocolate. Let your hair down. Guaranteed good vibes.
Après ski is my favorite sport.
When the lifts close, it is time to head back for spa, after enjoying mulled wine, some food to munch on and views of the mountain. Take a dip in the indoor pool, keep warm in the Jacuzzi, or let off some steam in the steam room – all well deserved after an active day on the mountain.
Why lift a finger when the private chef designs a menu every day? Evenings typically start with some delicious canapés and an apéritif of your choice before moving on to the main dinner – which can be as formal or informal as desired, a restaurant-style experience in the comfort of your own home.
Take some time to enjoy the haven of peace amid idyllic mountain scenery that is your chalet. Or freshen up a bit and then head out to enjoy some shopping, before joining the clubbier crowd when the DJ starts. With a chauffeur showing you around town, your commute will fly by.
Which resort are you?
Time to find out where you’ll be booking your next flight.
This ritzy village itself is compact and can be explored quite easily on foot. One of Europe’s most glamorous resorts where the high rollers go to ski and be seen, the area is packed with ultra-luxury chalets, Michelin-starred restaurants and swanky clubs, and the night always feels young.
Billed as the foodie capital in the Alps, the ancient village of Zermatt is characterized by Swiss mountain charm. Around town, you see horse-drawn sleighs along quaint streets lined with timber chalets and lively bars, and occasionally a cutting-edge piece of architecture stands out from the pack. Yet the best places to pig out are scattered around the mountains, some along the 13 km long descent from Europe’s highest cable car, blessed with Matterhorn views along the way.
Surrounded by mountains in the postcard-worthy Saanen valley, there is 220 km of mostly intermediate trails winding epic scenery in Gstaad. But perhaps the upscale town is more popular as a shopping destination than a winter sporting one, as many visitors with highbrow taste prefer to stroll the fairy light-strewn promenade lined with designer boutiques.
Set high in the Arlberg mountains, the picturesque village of Lech draws the rich and famous with extensive, manicured slopes and mega-luxury homes. The new Flexenbahn lift cableway now links the entire Arlberg, so now Lech is encompassed by Austria’s largest linked ski area with 305km of pistes.
Also in Arlberg, St Anton boasts 340km of pistes, 200km of off-piste in Europe’s snowiest area, and from the top you can ski back down into the resort through wide powder fields. The heritage ski town has the world’s first ferris wheel Galzig gondola. Increasingly popular among the clubber crowd of experienced skiers these days, the town also plays host to contemporary exhibitions and high-energy concerts, along with a good selection of bars and restaurants.
Counting Russian oligarchs among its affluent clientele, the resort town is widely regarded as very pricey, especially in the upmost part of town where prices are almost mind-numbing. There are more luxury hotels than in Paris, with 16 five-star establishments and five two-star restaurants. The resort even has its own airport for private jets and helicopters. Further down the mountains, food and accommodation becomes less costly, yet still enjoy a pretty woodland setting.