Summer is drawing to a close which means it’s time to dig out your salopettes and plan this year’s winter getaway. The ski season in Europe is dominated by the Alps with high-altitude, high-end resorts concentrated in France, Austria, and Switzerland. Beyond the slopes, these picturesque villages offer a rich après ski experience of fine dining, spa treatments, and upscale shopping.
As one of the highest-altitude ski destinations in the French Alps, Val Thorens is always one of the first resorts to open for the season while skiable snow is guaranteed. The resort sits at 2,300 meters while runs reach 3,230 meters. Skiing is available to beginners but intermediate and advanced skiers will get the most out of this particular resort.
Val Thorens is one component of the Three Valleys (Les 3 Vallées) area; the world’s largest alpine ski domain. The majority of the traditionally built luxury chalets in Val Thorens come with a Jacuzzi and ski-in/ski-out privileges. If you purchase the full ski pass, these amenities make all the difference.
Offering tantalizing views of the Matterhorn, Zermatt attracts avid skiers for the powder and the photography. The highest ski resort in the Alps, this exclusive destination is a contender for the best heli-skiing in the Alps. The pilots will steer you as close to the peak as possible before your guide leads the way through the whitest snow on Switzerland’s steepest slopes.
Nights in Zermatt see an eruption of glowing taverns and bistros with roaring fires, silky cocktails, and premium fondue feasts. Located right in the heart of town, the most coveted suites at the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof have a mountain view or balcony. Onsite Alpine Gourmet Prato Borni offers Michelin-starred dining while Say Cheese specializes in raclette and fondue. The 5-star experience is rounded off with a full treatment spa.
Being one of the largest ski resorts in Austria and the world, Lech Zürs has a wonderful supply of winter sports activities for all levels and interests. Beyond downhill skiing, heli-skiing, and snowboarding, you can opt for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through the winter wonderland.
The alpine village has long been celebrated for its string of gourmet restaurants. Experienced skiers can tackle the off-piste slopes to reach the ultra-exclusive Rote Wand Chef’s Table in Zug. After aperitifs and small plates, you will continue the rest of the dining experience in the main hall at this former schoolhouse.
Another member of the Three Valleys ski area, Courchevel is one of the classiest ski resorts in France. Groomed pistes spread across Courchevel 1300, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650, and Courchevel 1850 provide a pleasant experience for all abilities with world-class black runs at La Loze and La Tania will delight pro skiers.
The après ski offering at Courcehval revolves around Michelin-starred restaurants spread across the Courchevel villages. Baumanière 1850 fuses modern mountain cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean to create a dizzying gastronomic experience with views over the Alps.
Booking a ski vacation to Europe requires the advice of a travel planner. Contact me to discuss your aspirations and requirements.