Nothing says winter like slipping inside a snow globe at a ski resort. Draped in warm, stylish clothing you’ll s-turn down powder-packed inclines or snow plow with your kids on the bunny slope. After a day well-schussed, you’ll toast the adventure in al fresco, après ski bars, often around a roaring fire while your kids capture snowflakes on their tongues. Fur wrapped, red cheeked, and euphorically tired, you’ll warm your hands with mugs of hot wine or chocolate—maybe sip a glass of cold Champagne held carefully with gloved hands. At night, your ski equipment gainfully in the grips of your hotel’s ski butlers, you’ll fall into deep sleep, wrapped in Frette linens, topped with the best down comforters. The bravest among you will leave the window ajar, ever yearning for a whiff of pine scented, high altitude mountain air.
With more than 480 ski areas in the United States, nearly 4,000 in Europe, and some 6,200 worldwide, the options for whizzing down groomed mountains are countless. While some of us return to carve our turns down pistes we know well and can do with our eyes closed, others choose to conquer new mountains each year, whether in Japan or Aspen. Since skiing outside the United States may actually cost less, some of us rationalize hauling our skis or boards abroad to take advantage of more affordable lift tickets and to immerse ourselves in new cultures. Wherever you go, though, you’ll be part of a passionate cult of snow riders and powder hounds, down-wearing aficionados with a penchant to play on the slopes.
These ski experiences are on our list for 2024. See you on the mountain.
Backcountry Skiing at Sheldon Chalet
Denali National Park, Alaska
Skiers who want to extend the season can scoot through the ultimate backcountry terrain in Alaska from March to June. Based at exclusively intimate Sheldon Chalet (a fully staffed, 10-guest, 5-bedroom hideaway roosting on a nunatak 6,000 feet above the Don Sheldon Amphitheater, 10 miles from the summit of Denali National Park), avid snow enthusiasts can heli-ski, glacier-trek, watch for the aurora borealis, and take custom backcountry ski jaunts led by expert guides. With no crowds, no lift lines, and epic open terrain carpeted with untouched powder, Sheldon Chalet not only offers jaw-dropping moments on skis, but pampers guests, too, with gastronomic fare, premium wines, and a helicopter tour of the region.
City to Slope Moments in Quebec City and Le Massif de Charlevoix
Enjoy French culture in Canada’s romantic Quebec City, the only fortified city on the North America continent north of Mexico. A maze of cobblestone streets, galleries, boutiques, and restaurants awash in French Canadian flair, quintessential Quebec can be enjoyed at elegant Auberge Saint-Antoine, a stunning Relais & Châteaux hotel. In collaboration with Le Massif de Charlevoix (which has 406 acres of varied terrain, including the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies), the hotel offers a City to Slope winter package that includes transportation to the ski area an hour away, lift tickets, overnight accommodations, and more. Add on ski lessons, equipment rentals, and a panoramic brunch at Le Massif’s Restaurant Camp Boule for an extra supplement.
First Tracks in Japan at Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono
Perhaps you thought Japan was all onsen hot springs, cherry blossoms, and sushi boat restaurants. In truth, the graceful nation also reigns as a top global ski destination. Test your mettle at Niseko, which boasts some 30 miles of stellar trails padded by an average 50 feet of snow annually. Hang your poles nightly at the ski-in-ski-out favorite, Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono, an opulent haven with a state-of-the-art spa, its own soothing natural hot spring onsen, and 11 varied restaurants and bars. Join the general manager, Paul Wright, for the hotel’s memorable First Tracks experience, a back country powder run on fresh snow that allows early access to the ski lifts and trails before the ski area opens to the public.
Take The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to Ski the French Alps
Mon Dieu! How does one choose between the French Alps most storied ski resorts? Should you commit to Courcheval, Megève, or Mont Blanc? What about Les Trois Vallées and Tignes–Val d’Isère? It’s a dilemma solved at last by Venice Simplon-Orient-Express’ newest route through Europe, a lavish ride on a train with Jazz Age flair that allows guests the option to visit the region’s best ski resorts. Hearkening back to the golden age of travel, the glamorous train transports travelers to bygone times in opulent carriages adorned with velvet banquettes, gleaming wood, and bits of polished brass—not to mention attentive staff in vintage-inspired uniforms.
Matterhorn Magic in Switzerland
Fondue, Saint Bernard dogs, the pointy Matterhorn, and a car-free village lost in time typify Switzerland’s idyllic village of Zermatt, renowned for its long ski season and exhilarating winter fun. Fancy skiing over the border to Italy and back? You can do that here—as well as dine at a bevy of Michelin-starred restaurants. Tuck into Mont Cervin Palace, a 170-year-old grand dame awash in Alpine sophistication and classic Swiss pampering. With jaw-dropping views of the iconic Matterhorn, a hearty Swiss breakfast, and a restorative spa, this exceptional hotel will be a welcome respite from the rigors of the mountain’s embrace. Take advantage of Mont Cervin Palace’s exclusive access to ski the Matterhorn before anyone else on Thursday mornings.
Unpretentiously Chic at Aspen’s The Little Nell
Location. Location. Location. It doesn’t get any better than where the gorgeous Little Nell nestles into the incline, just steps from the Silver Queen Gondola, a ritzy way to ride up Aspen Mountain. But the Little Nell, ever unpretentiously glitzy, would take its place as a jet setter’s favorite, no matter what address it occupied. An absolutely perfect hotel, slope-side with all the benefits, it proffers guests signature adventures such as First Tracks for the first morning run down the mountain, snowshoe hikes with gourmet picnics, and snowcat powder tours on the backside of Aspen Mountain, among other winter favorites. In addition, foodies will delight in its Michelin-recommended restaurant Element 47, while wine lovers will swoon over its celebrated wine cellar which holds a trove of some 20,000 bottles, cared for by some of the world’s top sommeliers. No wonder the retreat has just been recognized as having the “Best Hotel Wine List in the World for 2023″ by The World of Fine Wine magazine.
Deep Dive into Nature in the Dolomites
Grab your favorite coterie of skiers to discover the-up-and-coming location of the Dolomites. Atop the Plose, a massif of several peaks near South Tyrol’s Puez-Geisler Nature Park, enthusiasts can enjoy ski-in ski-out luxury and sports aplenty at the recently opened Odles Lodge, a sister retreat to FORESTIS, also a luxury, mountain-enveloped hideaway. Odles, known for its jewel box size, features only four individual apartments, each with minimalist design details meant to showcase the outdoors. Enjoy guided ski tours on off the beaten tracks as well as guided winter hikes, among other activities.