OUR TOP 5 SKI RESORTS …
Do you choose where to ski based on proximity to home? Or do you prefer to weigh up factors such as weather, scenery, powder, skiing all day without using the same lift, après-ski and entertainment? These are our top five resorts across the world:
Courchevel, the most glamorous resort in France, is part of the fabulous Trois Vallees in the legendary Tarentaise valley. It is a fantastic all-round resort offering exceptional skiing & snowboarding across the world’s most expansive interlinked ski area. Courchevel has carved out a fabulous niche in the upscale and elegant ski market. Prices are sometimes outrageous in the swanky part of Courchevel, but things get cheaper at the villages further down the mountain and a lift ticket here costs less than half of a lift pass in most of the larger USA ski resorts.
Skiing is a 125 year old tradition in Kitzbühel and the ski area is extensive, stretching across the states of Tirol and Salzburg as well as seven municipalities. Skiers can choose between 57 cable cars or chairlifts and 230 kilometres of slopes covering all levels of difficulty. The medieval car free walled town of Kitzbühel forms the centre of what is probably the most charming and beguiling ski town in the world. Quite simply nowhere else on the planet can match it for a sense of history and tradition.
Prestigious St. Moritz is truly the No. 1 winter playground of the international jet set. The St. Moritz village is situated at the centre of the elongated Engadin valley, which the Inn River passes through. The resort incorporates 5 ski areas and their combined 350 kms of terrain is serviced by 56 lifts. As host to the Engadin Ski Marathon, Nordic skiing is quite popular, and the resort offers 185 kms of cross-country trails around the town as well as non ski activities such as winter horse racing, snow cricket, bobsledding and snowshoeing; both shopping and après-ski are marvellous too.
The flagship resort of the ski industry’s current reigning superpower, Vail resort is unsurprisingly the single largest ski resort on the American continent. Vail boasts three distinct mountain areas, each with their own features and fortes, including three terrain parks, seven bowls and over 5,000 acres of skiable terrain. At 11 kms wide, finding fresh tracks is as easy as finding elbow room. In fact, on an average day, there are only two skiers per acre. Vail can also boast the magical combination of averaging more than 300 days of sunshine and about 10 metres of snow each year. In the resort you’ll find world-class accommodations from the top end of luxury to practical condominiums. And for those with travel flexibility, a whole host of affordable last-minute bookings. On the culinary front, the same world-class offerings abound.
The Matterhorn is possibly the most perfect and iconic mountain on the planet, so why wouldn’t you want to ski beneath it. Zermatt and Verbier are arguably Switzerland’s top resorts, but only Zermatt and the linked Italian resort of Cervinia have the Matterhorn as an awe-inspiring backdrop. Zermatt has world-class skiing, a good snow record and all the in-resort facilities you’d ever need. While a tad expensive, it should be skied at least once in any self-respecting skier’s life.