Few legal activities can count as a healthy addiction. Top of that list is chasing powder, whether you board or you ski. So, about this time of year, you’re ready to hit the slopes, at least once. The world is your oyster, but not all ski resorts are created equal, or created for every level of skier. There are those who learned to ski while they were learning to walk. Then there are those who married into families that ski. So, these are the destinations where no matter what slope you take on, or no slope at all, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. It also doesn’t hurt that these destinations have the most luxurious ski resorts in the world.
The Destination: Courchevel, France
If you can’t leave the glamour of home behind, Courchevel is the place to be and one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the world. After all, it is known as the playground for the financially enriched and famous, by the financially enriched and famous. For anyone who has been, (or has an Instagram account) it’s not hard to see why. First Courchevel has the most luxurious hotels of all ski resorts, with two of France’s eight 6-star hotels, also known as “palaces”. Cheval Blanc is a particular favorite of Kate Middleton’s. Then there’s the shopping. Forgot your félicie pochette at home? Versions of boutiques like Louis Vuitton and Hermes that are on steroids make it easy to pop in for essentials, which of course is all relative. Last but not least, Courchevel has serious slopes. This second-generation ski resort recently hosted the 2023 World Ski Championships,
Where to Stay: Cheval Blanc, L’Apogée Courchevel of the Oetker Collection, Aman Le Melezin, Les Airelles, Six Senses
The Destination: Val d’Isere, France
Yes, your friends who tear up the blacks from Aspen to Courchevel are indeed all in Val d’Isere this season. Located just a few miles east of Chourvel, Val d’Isere is connected to over 300 km of marked and backcountry skiing. It also means that the views are straight out of a Bond movie, with overlooks high above nearby Val d’Isère peaks. If there is a black-tie event of winter sports, the boite of Refuge de Solaise is where it will be. Le Refuge is the highest and one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the Alps, situated atop the Val d’Isère Tignes. Access to this marvel of hotel engineering is only available via the Solaise gondola – a 200m ascent into the clouds.
Where to Stay: Le Refuge de Solaise
The Destination: Niseko, Japan
Leaving the west for a ski trip is a tough sell, but there’s no better rival for powder than Niseko, set in Hokkaido, Japan. This must-ski destination used to be off-grid. However, in recent years, the arrival of luxury accommodations has made it a destination for skiers from all over the world. Niseko is known for its abundant snow cover, often called the most beautiful powder in the world. You can tear up the slopes by day, and relax in traditional Onsen baths by night in one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the world. Did we mention Japanese hospitality? The only downside is the short ski season in Japan, but that also helps it retain its exclusivity.
Where to Stay: Aya Niseko and the Park Hyatt
The Destination: Cortina, Italy
Unlike the other European ski resorts, Cortina isn’t in the Alps. Instead, it’s in the stunning red-hued mountains of the Dolomites, for scenery like you’ve never experienced. Add in one of the most luxurious ski resorts done up in the Italian style, and you have yourself top skiing with 2-hour lunches with wine in between. In addition to the Olympic-level slopes, skiers get long, gentle routes and cross-country skiing amidst towering massifs, unlike anything you’ve seen in the Alps.
Like the best destinations in Italy, Cortina is the perfect blend of past and future. This Southern Alpine town was the site of the 1956 Winter Olympics, and since then is the destination for Italian aristocracy and in-the-know Europeans. As the co-host of the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan, this northern Italian resort town is about to come back to the forefront of the international ski scene. It’s also one of the most fashionable of the European ski resorts, where some top designer collections premier here even before Milan.
Where to Stay: Ancora Hotel and Hotel de Lën were recently taken over by the Borgo Egnazia guys. Also, the Mandarin Oriental will open before the Olympics at the historic Cristallo right outside of town.
The Destination: Aspen, United States
Aspen is the perennial favorite of Colorado skiing, where every celebrity and their mother (literally) hit the slopes at least once a year. Think of it as the Hamptons of winter. But the cool part of Aspen is that even with all its scenes, at the end of the day, it’s still somewhat retained its authentic country-Western-town Colorado charm. Add in the best restaurants, unparalleled après ski from spots like The Nell, Cloud 9, and Snow Lodge, and top shopping, it’s hands down the number one ski resort in the U.S., that’s not private. (We’ll get to that next.)
Where to Stay: The Little Nell, St. Regis, and Hotel Jerome
The Destination: Yellowstone Club, United States
If you’re looking for the definition of an exclusive Rocky Mountain resort, the Yellowstone Club is for you. This is not only one of the most luxurious ski resorts but it’s also one of the only private ski resorts in the world. The Montana resort is a haven for Silicon Valley’s top executives to unwind and hit the powder. This VIP-only club will put you in the same league as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tom Brady, and Justin Timberlake. So how do you join? The answer is to snag one of the $22 million condos inside the club. But that membership has a lot of perks. A few include 2,900 acres of skiing, a golf clubhouse, a helicopter pad, and a members-only spa building. Our advice: find a friend who can host you in their 7-room luxury condo.
Where to Stay: Yellowstone Club
The Destination: St. Moritz, Switzerland
If Yellowstone is an American tech mogul’s playground, St. Moritz is a Russian oligarch’s monastery. Located in Engadin, Switzerland, St. Moritz is not shying away from the wealth of the scene during the winter season. However, it still retains its Swiss elegance through the authentic charm of the village. For the cultured traveler, Engadin is home to stunning galleries like the Segantini Museum. If you’re lucky, you can hitch a guest ride on the Olympia Bobrun, the oldest and last natural bob run in the world.
Where to Stay: Badrutt’s Palace, Kulm Hotel, and Carlton Hotel St. Moritz
The Destination: Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier is for the top-level skiers who are serious about the slopes. There are parts of Verbier that make Jackson Hole look like a blue run. Located in Switzerland this southwestern alpine village, Verbier has the largest interconnection of luxury ski resorts in the world. Commonly known as the 4 Vallées, Verbier’s most exclusive aspect is the skiing itself. One 4 Vallées pass will grant the super-athlete access to 410 km of marked runs, and access to over 35 lifts. More than anything, Verbier is known for its backcountry runs, challenging the most daring skiers to forge their own trail.
Where to Stay: Richard Branson’s The Lodge, and The W Hotel
The Destination: Lech, Austria
The old world is still alive and well in Lech, among Austria’s most storied ski villages. Lech’s charm lies in its isolation relative to the rest of Austria. During most winter months, the ski village can only be reached via a hike through the Flexen Pass at Zürs. Those who brave the journey, however, will find a charming yet high-brow village straight from an Oskar Mulley painting. The beauty of Lech is that it’s low-key. However make no mistake that the crowd has coin, they just don’t flash it.