Skiing has always been associated with the rich and famous, great food, opulence and luxury and there are many ski resorts in the alps that reinforce this image. While a number of cheaper options have sprung up over the years to cater to more casual holidays, there are still many luxurious resorts around. Here are a few of our favourites...
1. Kitzbühel, Austria
Kitzbühel is one of the most well known ski resorts around as it is widely regarded as the most beautiful European ski town, and with good reason. The resort has been open for over 100 years and people have been skiing here for more. Kitzbühel is quite uncrowded for such a famous resort, and is the perfect place to visit if you want to enjoy gourmet cooking as well as watching the race down Hahnenkamm Mountain that occurs annually in January. The resort is relatively quiet and isn't very extreme in terms of terrain, so is definitely worthwhile looking into if you prefer a slower pace of piste. Despite the glossy, ritzy appearance it isn't as expensive as you would imagine, so it's ideal if you want some luxury but not at the highest of prices. The best time of year to visit for almost guaranteed snow is the last week of January and the first three weeks of February.
2. Cortina d’Ampezzo
Also known as the “The Queen of the Dolomites,”, Cortina is the largest ski resort in Italy. The resort is well known due to it's upmarket and fashionable vibe, and also has the claim to fame of hosting the 1956 Winter Olympics as well as being featured in a variety of movie franchises, including James Bond. There are plenty of skiing areas that will keep even the most active visitor busy, with the highest ski mountain, Tofana at over 9,000-feet, proving a challenging ski opportunity for enthusiasts. The resort is surrounded by picturesque villages that boast top quality restaurants and other activities to keep the less active satisfied.
3. Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier is known for it's challenging and exciting ski runs, and a large variety of slopes to choose from. The highest slope is Mont-Fort, a glacier that reaches of 10, 925 feet, from here you can see as far as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Apart from the skiing, the resort features luxurious chalets that attract royalty and celebrities from all over the United States as well as Europe. The resort exudes an ambience of charm and sophistication and is a must-visit resort for advanced skiers.
4. Courchevel, France
Due to its north-facing aspect of many of the slopes the snow in Courchevel is usually the best in the area, and with the variety of slopes for beginners to experts its ideal for catering to all skiers and snowboarders. Courchevel consists of not one but four distinct resort villages which are joined by lifts, pistes and a road. Although renamed in 2011, they are most commonly know as Courchevel 1850, Courchevel 1650, Courchevel, 1550 and Courchevel 1300. Courchevel 1850 is the largest, has the main lift hub and is where you will find the Russian oligarchs and rich Parisiennes due to the astronomical prices to stay there. If you want to stay here but for a more affordable price, the other resort villages are much more affordable but you can still visit 1850 to see the luxury shops and hotels.
5. St Moritz, Switzerland
When it comes to iconic exclusivity, the most luxurious ski resort has to be St Moritz in Switzerland. The skiing is varied enough to keep both beginners and experts entertained, but that's not why people go to St Moritz. It is the ultimate haven for the rich and famous and is renowned for it's glamorous and chic atmosphere. As most people prefer to relax in the winter sunshine, the slopes are usually quiet and empty. Its also the world's best all-round winter sports resort with a huge variety of activities on and off-snow if you're looking for something a little more than just piste action.
Have you been to any of these resorts? Let us know in the comments...