For skiers, it's common to travel throughout the winter in search of the best slopes. World renowned mountains are scattered across the globe, and a huge amount of resorts are able to stay open due to the huge amount of skiers dedicating themselves to winter travel. Families, singles, couples, and competitors alike trek across the globe in search of the perfect powder. The resort you stay at is an important factor in these vacations as well. Some are quite basic, while others can be over the top upscale; some are more family friendly, while others are for more serious skiers who come just for the winter activities.
It's not hard to find a luxurious resort at the base of a great mountain, but it can be difficult to choose which to visit. Culturally speaking, the skiing experience in Italy or France is extremely different from Colorado or Canada. While the actual skiing may be similar, and the resorts generally have a lodge-type feel, there's also a lot of integration with the local culture and cuisine. Where you choose to go will depend a lot on the country or town you want to experience and your skiing expertise. Check out these top 20 resorts around the world that will have you living in the lap of luxury and skiing on some of the best slopes in the world.
Known as one of the largest ski areas in the world, Val Thorens is a world of its own. Hotel Fitz Roy is one of the highest resorts in Europe (in altitude), making it an exciting destination for well traveled skiers. At the same time, the hotel offers many amenities that can make for a very relaxing trip, including a full spa, a cozy lounge, a relaxing deck, and a small, intimate vibe. It is typically known for being one of the most private ski hotels available, making it especially great for couples seeking some time away.
99% of the ski area is above 2000 meters. The hotel is located right at the center of Val Thorens and offers ski-in/ski-out accommodations. It is a common hotel for celebrities to frequent, due to its private nature but intense mountainside offerings.
The Cristallo Resort somehow manages to combine old-world Italian design with a rustic but modern mountainside atmosphere. The design is impeccable - many travelers stay here not to ski, but to witness the resort itself. The rooms are decked out in natural wood but feature ornate pieces that can help you pretend you're a royal for the weekend.
Looking to spend your vacation skiing but munching on gourmet Italian food? The Cristallo is your place. The executive chef has over 20 years experience and creates an almost brand new menu every night, which comes with extra courses if you're willing to splurge for the chef's table. Heated outdoor saunas, a mud spa, and the nearby town make for no shortage of activities.
If you're looking for high altitudes, natural surroundings, and the relaxed Colorado vibe, Breckenridge is the place for you. The town is too adorable. The locals stay year round and are comprised of Colorado natives and ski buffs, all with great stories to tell. It even has its own Art District, with distinct pieces that tell the story of the town.
Both the resort and the town are hot spots in the winter. Skiers and locals alike flock to the multiple bars to drink warm concoctions and listen to nightly live music. If you want a ski town that has a real atmosphere outside of adventure, Breckenridge is your best bet.
La Clusaz is one of France's best "hidden gems." While its medium size, it provides a huge amount of piste types. Because it isn't as well known, it's typically quieter than other ski resorts in France and offers a more intimate experience with nature. If you're an absolute expert, you won't want to spend more than a few days here, unless you really enjoy the scenery and other typical ski resort amenities.
The ski instructors are known to be especially helpful here, making it a great location for beginners. Restaurants are also plentiful, and rates are super inexpensive for practically everything.
For ultimate luxury combined with some of the best skiing in the world, try the Four Seasons Resort in Whistler. It offers insanely upscale amenities like glacier golf, winter helicopter rides, and the best spa in Canada. You can even have a private session with an Olympian!
The food is also amazing. For a hefty price, you can enjoy a private, three course meal with a world renowned chef. The accommodations are mainly private residences with full time private service available upon request.
If you're willing to splurge on one of the most luxurious winter vacations possible, the Four Seasons Whistler is the place.
What's more quintessential skiing than the Swiss Alps?
In the small, car-free town of Zermatt, you can live like a local but ski like a pro.
As you pull into town (in your electric taxi or bus), you'll pass narrow, winding roads dotted by rustic chalets. The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof receives guests in traditional Swiss hospitality that just so happens to be 5 star!
The rooms at the Grand Hotel are incredibly cozy (especially the chalet suite!), there are multiple specialty cuisine restaurants on-site (including one dedicated solely to cheese), and the spa is known as the best in the area. The resort is tightly surrounded by a whole 38 summits. One of these is Matterhorn, which is known as the highest altitude accessible in Europe (by cablecar). While beginners may have a tougher time, intermediate to advanced skiers will be in paradise!
Courmayeur is also right in the Alps and offers some of the best skiing in the world. All levels will do well here, and skiing is just a few steps away from most areas of the resort. Au Coeur Des Neiges is a smaller luxury resort and is mainly a collection of individual chalets. Keep in mind that these chalets are absolutely gorgeous, offering small house-like setups with living rooms, kitchens, cozy wood enclosed bedrooms, fireplaces in each room, and jacuzzis.
The resort also has a serene indoor pool with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the mountain and a full wellness center. The staff is known to be incredibly accommodating, whether you're wanting to ski, hike, tube, skate, or just relax at the spa.
The luxury of Hotel Portillo comes not so much in the furnishings, but in the instant access to the mountain and lifts. Most of the rooms also have floor to ceiling windows that look out at the mountain. For a true skier, how can you get better than that? Lodging ranges from small, single rooms, to interconnected family suites. Chalets are also available right next to the main hotel, offering almost panoramic views of the mountain.
Known as a bucket list ski location to adults and children alike, Portillo offers expert skiing but has beginner runs as well. For those looking to take a break from skiing, the resort offers cocktail hours, yoga classes, a full fitness center and gym with courts, a cinema, a game room, and even a health clinic. There are 3 restaurants ranging in cuisine at the resort, as well as 2 on the mountain. Because there is barely a town outside the resort, you'll get to know the guests well during your stay!
You've probably heard about Aspen, Colorado. With powdery slopes and ritzy hotels, it really is a winter wonderland. The resort itself is over the top luxurious. Some special amenities include underground heated parking, multiple mountainside pools and jacuzzis, decadent restaurants, shuttle service to town, Italian marble floors, and private fireplaces in each room.
Skiers will also be in heaven here. Aspen Highlands is only one of four areas with hike-in experiences included. The view from the top is one of the best in the world! Despite the 3,635-foot vertical drop, there are trails for all levels, making Aspen a great family destination as well.
With over 3000 meters of altitude, the skiing area of the Silvretta Arena is known throughout the world. Other adventurous sports are popular here as well, like hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and skating. The hotel itself is impressively large, yet its owners Hans and Alexander manage to maintain a small, cozy family feel.
The resort is incredibly well-insulated and cozy with a European royal feel. The decor is decadent but in warm brown tones. There are two gourmet restaurants available as well as an entire wine cellar; Hotel Trofana is known for drawing wine connoisseurs as well as skiers. For a royal ski trip, Hotel Trofana is definitely your best bet!
Located in one of the most rural and natural locations in the U.S., Hotel Talisa in Colorado is a winter dream. Accommodations are rustic yet modern, many featuring private balconies, walk-in marble showers, floor to ceiling windows, and double sided fireplaces that give off some serious heat. There is a full spa available as well as 3 gorgeous dining outlets: Sunday brunch is a specialty at Vail!
Vail Mountain offers almost 12,000 feet and 33 ski lifts. Surprisingly, skiing is available for all ages, and the resort caters very carefully to beginners. For the multi-sport adventurous type, snowmobiling, winter hiking, tubing, snowshoeing, and skating are all available.
Known as one of the best skiing destinations in the Northeast USA, Stowe is not only adventure friendly but upscale in nature. Accommodations are incredibly luxurious and can be found in the main lodge or in the surrounding smaller chalets.
Offering a huge array of dining within the resort and on the mountain, you may never have to leave your hotel, but if you do choose to you'll find a wide variety of quintessential and modern restaurants downtown as well. Shopping is easily accessible for anyone not inclined to ski, and the town really picks up in the prime winter months.
Austria's Arlberg Hospiz Hotel is the best resort for traditional hospitality, plus the whole exterior of the hotel is pink: you can't get more fun than that! Each room and suite is furnished completely differently, giving you a unique experience every time you visit. The spa is another selling point; it's incredibly extensive, with a full swimming pool, sauna, fitness room and courts, yoga room, cosmetic salon, health bar, massage rooms, and a relaxation lounge with healthy drinks and multiple (massive) fireplaces.
The Arlberg Hospiz is known as a great family hotel. There's a huge array of activities for children, and specific group skiing lessons during the day catered to all levels. Ultimately, the amount of activities offered for all ages makes it a great stop.
Coronet Peak offers great views, a huge array of amenities, and some really cool adventurous tours. For example, you can take a Jeep Wrangler (driven by a private driver) up the mountainside in the middle of winter to catch glimpses of the views. There's also a famous nature show with wildlife and bird demonstrations that's family friendly.
The staff is incredible at Coronet Peak, from the moment you arrive. Whether you're a lifelong skiing expert or a complete beginner, there's trails, rentals, and lessons available for your skillset. The views of Lake Wakatipu are especially gorgeous any time of year and are a huge draw for travelers!
Castle Mountain Resort is another great destination for the whole family. They offer a variety of lessons every day and fluffy, white snow most months out of the year. You're able to get to the top as a (somewhat) beginner and see the amazing views of Alberta without being a danger to yourself.
The mountain (and resort) is typically very quiet. While locals might feel that certain days are more busy, travelers would be shocked at how quiet that "busy" is. The winds do get strong on some days, which can be tougher for younger children. Generally, the staff are wonderful and the resort is well set up for a fun vacation!
A resort for the wealthier clientele in Utah, Park City Mountain Resort is quite luxurious and therefore pricey. The mountainside town itself is also more upscale, offering fancy wine bars with wine and cheese tastings and a variety of nightlife choices with fun live music.
In the winter, Park City really fills up and offers a ton of things to do. Some of travelers' favorites are the Alpine Coaster, which is a toboggan style roller coaster, the Flying Eagle zip-line, the mining tours, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and of course, skiing. Park City is a must see destination for any intense skier at least once!
Receiving almost 500 inches of snowfall a year, Shames Mountain Ski Resort is home to incredible amounts of white powder most of the year. The ski facilities are more standard but the area is known as a "backcountry mecca."
One downfall is that it can be tough to actually get to the mountain since transportation in the area is so limited. Shames Mountain is smaller, which makes it a plus that it receives so much snowfall, but also creates a more remote atmosphere.
If you're in the mood for a secluded, intense vacation in nature, then Shames is possibly the most ideal location in the world.
Lake Tahoe is a world renown destination during all 4 seasons, but traditionally attracts skiers at the height of winter. The resort is located around the lake with multiple base areas. Gondolas leave right out of the main Heavenly Mountain Resort base area and indoor activities are just a short walk away.
Winter activities are extreme here. You can engage in guided UTV tours, tubing, skating, a scenic gondola ride, skiing with a ranger, skiing lessons, and of course, hardcore solo skiing. The area is also bustling, with an incredible amount of activities and different types of views all around the lake.
With a large amount to choose from, Niesko is known for having pretty intense runs. For example, many of the beginner runs would actually be intermediate at other mountains. Generally, the terrain is steep and winding for any level. The resort itself is super modern with amazing views. Many of the apartment style rooms have balconies, and offer a full array of room service amenities.
In the village, there's a good amount of traditional Japanese restaurants that provide a cool cultural experience, contrasting with the intense athletics. Niesko Ski Resort is considered one of the best ski resorts in Japan, making it a great first choice for world travelers looking for winter adventure!
Jackson Hole is known as the ultimate skier's paradise for a reason. There's few accommodations that are affordable, despite the very remote nature of the town. Travelers love it for its absolutely amazing skiing, elite but relaxed vibe, and 100% natural surroundings.
The lodge style rooms at The Four Seasons Resort are incredible. They're cozy, with a chalet vibe, but extremely modern and upscale with soft linens, huge balconies, and 24/7 private service. Dining is even available outdoors in the winter due to heaters, and dinner guests are seated in front of private open fireplaces to enjoy the surroundings.
If you're looking for one of the most luxurious vacations combined with one of the best skiing spots in the world, Jackson Hole is it.