Slope off any time from now onwards and chose from the beautiful European Alps or the vast natural landscapes of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the luxury haute-couture shops of the Engadine Valley or the sporty Verbier with its off-piste runs.
St Moritz, Switzerland — luxury for the Jet Set
The village of St Moritz is located in the Engadine region, an 80km long valley (5,979ft) that stretches along the Swiss canton of Graubunden. A long time favourite among the jet set and since its inception in the 19th Century, it has tempted intellectuals and politicians such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Herman Hesse, Richard Wagner, the Kennedy family, and the Shah of Persia, to spend their winter holidays there.
The resort offers 350km of slopes that face the Alps, the Monteratsch Glacier, and the lakes and forests of the Swiss National Park. The highlight is on Friday nights (7pm-2am) when you can ski under the star-lit sky and join the Corvatsch Snow Night parties on the runs.
Every winter the village hosts the White Turf, an annual horse race on the frozen lake. The King’s Palace discotheque, the Dracula Club, and the Kempinski Palace Casino are some of the most exclusive clubs in Europe.
How to get there: The most panoramic way of getting to St Moritz is with the Bernina Express, a panoramic railway (UNESCO World Heritage Site) that runs across the Alps from Tirano (Italy) to St Moritz. Engadine Airport provides private jet flights to/from Zurich, Geneve, Basel, Milan, and Munich, while the Engadine Bus runs across the village’s main attractions.
Language: The official spoken language is Romasch, a Swiss dialect, but most of the people speak German and Italian.
Accommodation: At Badrutt’s Palace a standard suite goes from 370€ (low season) to 1,350€ (Christmas time). You can find cheaper accommodation in mountain lodges such as Berghaus Fuorcla Surlej for 72€ per night.
Eat: A slice of Nusstorte (nut cake) and a cup of hot chocolate at Hanselmann’s patisserie are a must in St Moritz.
Ski Pass and Lessons: A full-day ski-pass costs 60€, while a private five-hour ski lesson costs 350€.
Champoluc, Italy — good value-for-money and ideal for experienced skiers
The small village of Champoluc is located in Val d’Ayas in Valle d’Aosta. This ski resort is directly connected to two other valleys: Gressoney and Alagna. It is one of the highest ski slopes in Europe and suitable for experienced skiers.
On the way down you get to enjoy scenic views over Mount Rosa (4634m), the second highest peak in Europe after Mount Blanc (4810m). Dotted around are the traditional and quaint wood and stone building.
How to get there: The nearest airports to Champoluc are in Turin and Milan, from where trains and buses run regularly to Verres or Pont Saint Martin (two hour ride, 6€). From there, take a local SAVDA bus to Champoluc (30 minutes).
Language: The official language is Italian.
Accommodation: Gabiet Mountain Lodge (located on the runs) offers half board accommodation, with stunning view of Mount Rosa, for 50€ per night (snowmobile transfer, sauna, and dinner cooked in the traditional stube (stove) included).
Eat: La Grange restaurant offers delicious traditional home made menus (fondue, raclette, valdostana soup, and polenta with meat) for 25€, wine included.
Ski Pass and Lessons: A three-valleys ski pass is 40€. A three-hour group skiing lesson cost around 60€ and 25€ for ski rental.
Zermatt, Switzerland — family friendly
The picturesque village of Zermatt is located in the German speaking Canton Valais, in Switzerland, at the foot of Matterhorn, one of the most spectacular peaks of the Alps (4478m). Its altitude means you can ski here in the summer too.
The town has a no-car policy, but you can get around via silent electric shuttles and traditional horse carriages.
Wolli’s Park at Stunnega is the best place to learn how to ski, with restaurants and ice skating rings just nearby. Zermatt also offers an indoor climbing school, several workshops on traditional food cooking, and an Igloo Village (with rooms, snowshoe night hikes, and fondue parties).
How to get there: Most visitors reach Zermatt from Milan, Zurich and Geneva by taking a train to the nearby town of Tasch (three/four hour ride) and the Zermatt Shuttle to the village. The town also has an heliport.
Language: The official spoken language is German.
Accommodation: Hotel Silvana offers family apartments from 150€.
Tempston Luxury offer the best Zermatt luxury ski chalets
Eat: You can find delicious European and local food at Chez Vrony. A dinner menù will be about 30€.
Ski Pass and Lessons: A full day ski-pass is 51€ including connection to Cervinia and Valtournenche ski resorts (Italy) through the Plateau Rosa Glacier. Children group lessons start from 60€ full day (lunch and beverage included), while a three-hour adult class will cost 52€. Ski rental is 30€ for adults and 15€ for children.
Verbier, Switzerland — best choice for off-piste skiing and powder skiing
Verbier is a ski resort in Swiss Canton of Valais and is popular with experienced skiers. It is South-oriented and faces the majestic peaks of Grand Combin.
With its 410km of marked runs, Verbier is part of the 4 Vallées ski area (which includes the ski resorts of Nendaz, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz, and Thyon). Verbier’s highest run, Mont Fort (3330m), has a stunning panoramic view of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc Massif. Off-piste runs such as Tortin, Gentianes, Plan do Fou, and Mont Gel have become legendary among ski-fans.
The final of the Freeride World Tour, Verbier Xtreme (one of the most famous off-piste competions), takes place in Verbier. If you like snow powder, heliski is also very popular at Petit Combin. The village is well-known for its New Year’s Eve celebration, when the young and sporty from all over Europe gather in Place Central in their ski suite and dance until dawn.
How to get there: From Geneva international airport it takes a three-hour drive to get to Vebier. Alternatively, you can take a train from Geneve to Martigny or Le Chable. From there, take a taxi or a local bus to the village.
Language: The official language in Verbier is French.
Accommodation: Hotel de Verbier offers double rooms for 80€ per person per night.
Eat: La Marmotte is a traditional restaurant located in the middle fo the nature. It offers Swiss local food (cheese, ham and egg croute, raclette, fondue, assiette valaisenne, and rostis). The average price for a dish is 20/25€.
Ski Pass and Lessons: 4 Vallées ski pass valid all day is 56€. Rates per person for one helidrop (6,000 feet descent) 615€ for two people, or 60€ for a full day private ski lesson.
Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA — a beginners paradise
For first timers on the slopes, Beaver Creek Ski Resort is a good destination thanks to its vast, wide slopes.
It is located in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, near the town of Avon, Colorado and is surrounded by the scenic White River National Forest. There are several easy runs such as the gentle ones of Strawberry Park.
Being one of the most famous ski destinations in the US and 2015 Alpine Ski Championship location.
There is a vibrant nightlife with its Vilar Performing Arts Center (musicals, comedies, ballets, and classical music) and its taverns, bars, and cafes.
How to get there: Beaver Creek is located 120 miles west of Denver. There is a shuttle service (Colorado Mountain Express) that runs from Denver International Airport to Beaver Creek Village. The nearest airport to the ski resort is Eagle Airport with a non-stop service from 11 primary US airports. A shuttle service is available anywhere in the resort.
Language: The official language at Beaver Creek is English.
Accommodation: Comfort Inn Hotel has rooms at 109$ per night.
Eat: Beaver Creek Chop House is situated slopeside, at the base of Centennial Lift. It offers a range of traditional American food such as elk, salmon, steak, alaskan king crab, and lamb. A dish is qill cost more or less 25€.
Ski Pass and Lessons: A full day ski pass is 60$, while ski rental is about 50$ per day.
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