For skiers and snowboarders looking for more adventure, better nightlife, quainter towns, or just a bigger mountain, the Alps are absolutely the destination they must visit. Since narrowing down a specific mountain or resort (of the thousands available) can be an arduous task, Luxury Travel Advisor selected some of the most notable resort towns to visit this winter.
Courchevel, France – Part of the Les Trois Vallées (Three Valleys), Courchevel is part of the largest skiing area in the world. Heated pavements connect four villages with 11 five-star and two six-star (“palace”) hotels, many of which with ski-in ski-out locations, and seven Michelin-starred restaurants. The elegant L’Apologie Courchevel, who will be hosting Christmas and New Year’s events, opens this week, and recently Aman Le Mélézin underwent a renovation of their guestrooms, suites, and bar.
Gstaad, Switzerland – Gstaad has become a go-to for both continental Europeans and international jetsetters. A mix of Swiss-German architecture in town and luxury hotels allows travelers of all sorts fit in. Le Grand Bellevue is offering a party package, nightclub tickets and hangover-curing brunch included, and a detox package, which focuses on gourmet meals and spa treatments. The Alpina Gstaad’s Adrenalin + Zen experience includes a helicopter ride from Saanen over the Bernese Oberland countryside to the top of Glacier 3000 for a day of off-piste skiing or snowboarding with a private guide.
Zermatt, Switzerland – Surrounded by three mountains, including Switzerland’s most famous, Matterhorn, this Alpine village offers over 60 on-slope restaurants and an impressive list of options for après ski. CERVO, the only ski-in ski-out hotel in Zermatt has become the place to be for entertainment and drinks after a day on the slopes. The log cabin-feeling Hotel Firefly has all of the modern essentials and even has a luxury spa. Note: combustion engines are banned in Zermatt, meaning transportation is entirely made of battery-powered shuttles and horse-drawn carriages (which is perfect for a romantic night on the town).
Cervinia, Italy – Across the Italian border, on the other side of Matterhorn, lays Cervinia. One of the highest European ski resorts, Cervinia has Italy’s best snow records and, on the glacier, skiing is available almost year-round. Cervinia also has a high density of trails for beginners to intermediates, which makes this a great destination for skiers and boarders who want to get their feet wet in the Alps. Principe delle Nevi is the resort’s most modern hotel with a four-star spa, heated outdoor pools, and a solarium.
St. Anton, Austria – St. Anton is the heart of the Arlgberg ski region, which also includes St. Christoph, Lech, and Zürs. While each of the towns has something special to offer, St. Anton tops them all when it comes to après ski. The ski are offers plenty of intermediate-to-expert trails, so this town can draw more intense skiers and boarders as well as more intense partiers. Both Raffl’s St. Antoner Hof and das Mooser Hotel are traditional Tyrolean design but offer “cheeky” amenities: the latter hotel has four saunas and a coed nude spa.
Verbier, Switzerland – First and foremost: the slopes. Vebier has one of the largest number of lift-accessed slopes in the Alps. The Four Valleys provides a wide range of slopes for all types of skiers. The tourists are usually younger and sportier, which means Verbier also has a great nightlife scene. Richard Branson recently opened a hotel named the Lodge here, as did W Hotels, who opened their first Alpine location. Pub Mont Fort, Farm Club, and Fer à Cheval are popular bars to grab a drink with locals and travelers alike.