With snow season in full swing, Baroque Travel lists our top 10 ski resorts for 2020 in Europe and the USA
Ski resorts abound in Europe and the USA, and as the sport becomes not only fashionable but an absolute must for those who seek a luxury lifestyle, choosing where to go gets more difficult. These days, ski resorts are seriously chic, with every possible facility and a choice of luxury hotels to stay in. Restaurants in each resort get better and more varied, the Apres-Ski entertainment gets more exciting and indoor and outdoor activities are on tap, wherever you go. Add excellent shops where you can buy ski and apres-ski clothing and sumptuous spas to relax in, and you have everything possible to make your ski trip a bucket list experience.
Below, we list our favourite ski resorts to visit right now. We’ve listed them alphabetically as, to be honest, we can’t choose which of these 10 resorts is the best. If we had our way, we’d visit each one of them. So pack your bags, and let’s get skiing…
Aspen, Colorado USA
Colorado boasts a number of excellent ski resorts, but king of the heap is definitely Aspen Snowmass, made up of four different ski areas around Aspen and Snowmass Village. Skiers enjoy a combined area that also includes the Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Intermediate and expert skiers head for Aspen Mountain for its steep terrain and black ski runs. The Aspen Highlands are a favorite place for Hollywood A-listers to purchase their own chalets. Aspen is the one of world’s most popular ski resorts, home to legendary places to stay including the St Regis Aspen Resort. It’s also renowned for an incredibly diverse apres-ski life, with numerous places to party. When you’re not skiing, there are plenty of activities, including 40 museums and art galleries, adventure sports such as ice skating, curling, dog sledding and paragliding and a legendary list of fabulous spas.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
With an unmatched, breathtaking setting, Cortina in the Italian Dolomites also boasts equal amounts of chic and charm. Skiing here is gentle, best suited to beginners and intermediate skiers, but the setting is so glorious that it has to be seen to be believed. The resort’s historic old town is another drawcard, another reason to take Instagram-worthy photographs at every turn. Over 35 ski lifts take skiers from the town center to the surroundings, offering unsurpassed skiing. Off the slopes you can enjoy bobsledding and the resort’s Olympic ice rink for skating.
Serious skiers and those who enjoy memorable snow thrills head for Courchevel, part of the legendary 3 Vallees region, the world’s largest linked ski area. Courchevel itself offers 150km of alpine ski terrain accessed by a total of 60 ski lifts. The resort is renowned for its incredible off-piste skiing and a black run that’s considered the most difficult on earth. Experts can enjoy Jean Blanc’s pistes, including the former World Cup downhill run route. Courchevel is actually a collection of four separate villages – and its magnificent north-facing ski slopes offer excellent skiing for every level. The resort is also famous for its Michelin-starred restaurants, including Le 1947, which boasts three Michelin stars.
Deer Valley Utah USA
If you’re single-minded and want a resort where skiing is everybody’s focus, then this world-class ski resort just 38 miles from Salt Lake City is the place to go. Deer Valley offers excellent skiing opportunities in the surrounding pristine snowclad mountains. The resort concentrates on a ski-only experience with 103 chairlifts and over 500 ski instructors. It hosted Salt Lake City’s Olympic Winter Games in 2002, and continues to host international athletic competitions. Skiers enjoy over 2,000 acres of open terrain and stay in world-class luxury lodging. The resort offers a number of iconic pampering facilities including ski valets, daily hosted mountain tours, town transfers in Cadillacs, gourmet dining and the Snow Park Outdoor Ampitheater where various concert performances are held.
Less crowded than many other top resorts, Megeve is a charming little resort town with plenty of superb ski runs. Famous with the jet set since the 1920s, Megeve not only boasts its own airport so that you can jet in with no hassle, but it remains an unspoilt place to visit with magnificent views of Mont Blanc in the distance. Skiers of all levels love it here, and snowboarding is also popular. Off the pistes, there’s plenty to keep you busy, including ice skating, swimming, bowling and shopping. The famous Megeve International Jazz Festival takes place here this year from 26 to 28 March. The quintessential European ski resort, Megeve boasts a medieval square, narrow streets to explore, Alpine architecture and a sophisticated appeal.
St Anton, Austria
This popular resort offers 280km of ski terrain for every type of skier including experts. The Flexenbahn cableway enables visitors to access a number of ski areas, providing plenty of different skiing options in other nearby resorts for beginners and intermediate skiers. St Anton is a charming place and the partying in St Anton is legendary. Austria has perfected apres-ski to an art form and St Anton is the best of the best. Explore the little village with its Alpine inns, shops and restaurants when you have a chance – it really is beautiful.
St Moritz, Switzerland
Despite Switzerland boasting many ski resorts, St Moritz stands out from the crowd. Renowned for its glitz and glamor and burgeoning social scene, St Moritz also offers excellent skiing opportunities – in fact, it’s hosted two Winter Olympics and five Alpine World Ski Championships, so the skiing must be good. Intermediate skiers love it here, and there are also excellent black runs for advanced skiers, including off-piste runs. The apres-ski life is very chic and the resort offers plenty of activities to make sure visitors are entertained day and night.
Val d’Isere, France
Located in the Tarentaise Valley, Val d’Isere is one of Europe’s best-known ski resorts thanks to local Jean-Claude Killy, winner of three gold medals in the 1968 Winter Olympics. Along with neighboring Tignes, Val d’Isere offers over 300km of interconnected ski terrain. This beautiful ski area is part of Parc National de la Vanois. Expert skiers enjoy over 24 challenging black runs as well as exceptional off-piste skiing opportunities. Aside from being one of the world’s finest ski areas, Val d’isere’s two beautiful glaciers ensure that skiing is possible year-round. Beginners and families love it here, as there are plenty of places to learn to ski and more than 300km of runs for intermediate skiers. Relaxing in a mountain restaurant is a popular activity and the resort itself is known for its charm, international flavor, superb restaurants including two with Michelin stars, designer boutiques and vibrant nightlife.
Famous for its exciting ski terrain that is suitable for every type of skier, from beginner to expert, this iconic Swiss ski resort offers myriad opportunities for an idyllic ski holiday. Verbier’s lively apres-ski lifestyle has plenty on offer into the wee hours – whether you choose a fashionable bar, traditional pub or stylish nightclub, you’re in for a treat. There’s plenty to do away from the slopes, including winter hiking trails, dog sledding, tobogganing and ice skating. The shopping is legendary, with numerous high end stores offering everything imaginable from high fashion to niche wine. Luxury chalets are there for the picking, and there’s also The Lodge, Richard Branson’s own Alpine retreat that is available for hire and includes its own indoor pool, ice rink, 24-hour chauffeur and more.
Picture-perfect Zermatt has the magnificent Matterhorn as its jaw-dropping backdrop. The highest winter sports area in the European Alps, this traditional Alpine village also boasts the highest 3S ski lift in the world that takes skiers to the Matterhorn Glacier to ski year-round. Skiers can also ski the longest downhill run in Europe, 25km, from the Matterhorn Glacier to Zermatt. Visitors also enjoy snowboarding in the Zermatt Snow Park on the Theodul Glacier. Off the slopes this lively resort offers more than most with plenty of great shops, restaurants and activities available in its pedestrianized center. Regular international competitions are also held here, including regular World Cup events.