The best thing about winter (and the Christmas period in general) is the onset of snow and the opportunity to put your skiing skills to practice. Most skiing resorts are usually flooded during this time, as people look to make the most of their vacations. If you have been planning for this throughout the year, it can be hard to derive a pleasant experience from the overcrowded venues. The good news is that there are a few exclusive ski areas that are usually restricted to a short number of skiers. Here are five luxurious ski resorts to visit this Christmas.
Zermatt - Switzerland
Zermatt is the most popular ski resort in Switzerland, and rightfully so. It offers spectacular views of the most photogenic mountain in the world – the Matterhorn – and narrow streets lined with wobbly, weathered chalets. The vibrant town is surrounded by thirty eight summits above 4000m and although it has a small population of about 5,700 residents, visitors tend to flock the resort during summer and winter to bike, hike, climb, and of course, ski.
It is an excellent ski destination for ski tourers, experts, intermediaries, and families. It guarantees snow slopes throughout winter and boasts stunning mountain restaurants, a chic lift system that’s upgraded every year, and an industrious cosmopolitan town. Zermatt has been consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive ski resorts, so be prepared to burn some cash. The resorts itself occupies more than 2 miles along a valley, with easily accessible hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops.
You’ll also find the River Vispa here, which flows parallel a couple of blocks away. The narrow lanes on the main street behind the Monte Rosa hotel are especially attractive, lined with a muddle of dark, weathered chalets. The period between early December and the outset of winter usually comes with good natural snow in the ski area, but the mountain is also accessible during other conditions thanks to artificial snowmaking.
Courchevel 1850 - France
Courchevel is located at one of the largest lift-linked ski area in the world – the Trois Vallees, France with more than 170 lifts and 600km of pistes. Most of the local slopes at Courchevel are north-facing, which makes the snow there really appealing. The terrain is suitable for all levels of skiers. The Courchevel is actually divided into four distinct resorts: Courchevel 1300, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650, and Courchevel 1850. These are connected by pistes, lifts, and a road leading from Courchevel 1300, through 1650, to 1850, which is the highest resort. The resort villages feature beautiful woodland settings and are connected by regular free bus service. The slopes above provide panoramic views of Mont Blanc and the valley leading to Bellecote and Champagny.
Deer Valley Resort - Park City, Utah
Deer Valley is explicitly upmarket, situated just one mile from the edge of Park City’s Main St. The St. Regis ski resort is popular for the luxuriously maintained slopes and horde of guests during winter. Guests are treated to immaculately groomed slopes, valets for unloading your skis, gourmet dining, and exclusive access to the mountain. The favorite resting place for most people is Park City town, but there are a few attractive hotels at the Silver Lake area of Deer Valley.
Deer Valley Resort made history over 35 years ago when it became the first resort in North America to offer first-class service reminiscent of a 5-star hotel. It boasts a wide range of luxurious amenities like on-site childcare, ski valets, perfectly groomed slopes, and gourmet dining in three contemporary day lodges. The resorts prides itself in providing customized lodging with private homes and house managed condominiums, Rossignol High Performance Test Center, and a world class ski school.
Deer Valley Resort often minimizes the number of skiers on the mountain, which can reach capacity at peak times, in order to prevent overcrowded lifts and trails. The resort receives most visitors between Christmas and New Year. Although it can be filled to capacity during other times, you can score a ticket throughout the remaining ski season.
Obergurgl Ski Resort - Austria
Situated at about 1930m on the outskirts of the Ötztal valley, the Obergurgl Ski Resort is recognized as one of the highest ski towns in Europe. It is also considered as the most reliable resort in Austria for snow cover in the period between Mid-November and early May. This is attributed to its mid-mountain connection to the neighboring Hochgurgl, which is set at 2150m with a well-established glacier extending up to 3080m.
The resort first made its mark when a Swiss pilot named Auguste Piccard piloted a hot air balloon up to a staggering 16,000m before crush landing on the isolated Gurgler-Ferner glacier, a short distance from the village. The landing was spotted by a sharp-eyed local mountain guide called Hans Falkner, who subsequently conducted a daring rescue the next morning to lead the flyers to safety. Obergurgl is a popular ski destination for Brits and families in general, who often visit the small, traditional village around winter.
The resort is in line with avalanche safety limits, attracts a wealthy global clientele, and has little traffic. The main ski area features 24 lifts and 110 km of piste, according to modern standards, and is perfect for beginners and novices. More advanced skiers might feel a little disadvantaged for the lack of challenge.
Monterosa Ski Area - France
Monterosa Ski Area features 180km of piste skiing as well as excellent off-piste skiing in a serene natural environment. The resort is usually less populated during the week and consists of three valleys reminiscent of the Trois Vallees in France. The better part of the terrain is undeveloped and is ideal for off-piste skiing. The Alagna area is popular for skilled off-piste ventures, but there’s terrain for different levels of skiers.
The Monterosa ski region is generally suited for intermediaries and advanced skiers. the piste skiing involves just 17 kilometers of black runs, all of which are relatively simple. There is an extensive collection of glaciers and peaks above the pistes at the top of the 3 valleys that form the Monterosa massif. A line of off-piste itineraries at the whole southern flank are connected by a mixture of legwork and lifts. The ridge between Alagna and Gressoney serves as the primary starting point.
Written by Garrett Parker
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