Ski holidays have long been cherished by prestigious circles from royalty to Hollywood. This sport encourages the athletic types to fly down pistes, hurtle out of helicopters, and devour gourmet meals on sunny terraces before heading back to grandiose hotels or sumptuous catered chalets.
While the mountain experience does not come cheap, even on a budget, there are ways to enrich your experience further, depending on how deep your pockets go! Throw in gourmet cuisine, designer interiors, chauffeur-driven transfers, and cosseting service; there is little to do but ski… and indulge. So let's dive in and explore the most expensive ski resorts on the planet!
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St Moritz, Switzerland
The Swiss resort of St Moritz is famously one of the world’s most luxurious (and, by default, expensive) resorts. The frivolous luxury can be attested in the five-star hotel and chalet accommodations. St Moritz hotels range from $99 to $921 per night with an average of $198, while most vacation rentals will cost $220 to $500 per night for the entire home, adding a big healthy spoonful of grandeur to an already affluent one-of-a-kind trip. You will be skiing alongside the many rich and famous that visit to experience the lap of luxury this town oozes. Experience high-altitude skiing in style, with a playground of around 354 km of pistes.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: La Marmite is one of the finest mountain restaurants in Europe. You will dine with breathtaking mountain views while sampling delicious truffles, caviar and Bellinis, creating an exclusive escapade.
Zermatt is one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the world. As one of Europe's most extensive and impressive ski areas, you will find it to your taste, even if you are a beginner or a seasoned expert. You will guess this the moment you walk down the charming, pedestrianised streets lined with designer shops and fairy lights. Some thrilling highlights to splash your cash on and off the slopes could be anything from a helicopter ride with Air Zermatt to wine and dining at world-famous mountain restaurants like Chez Vrony. The brilliantly iconic view of Mount Matterhorn makes it worth paying the big bucks as you will feel a million miles from home with its almost cartoonish peak.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: Take a flight with a tandem paraglider and get a bird’s eye view of Zermatt village. Several companies offer this service, and it’s not as scary as it seems!
Join the popstars, movie stars and mega-wealthy A-Listers who take to Aspen in the Rocky Mountains Range to dust off their Prada skis and Gucci mittens. Famous for its chicness Aspen is notoriously known as America’s most luxurious resort. However, you will be more impressed by the sheer size of the terrain and the meticulously well-developed slopes, as you can ski across the four ski resorts that make up Aspen Snowmass. You will get from place to place via a high-end lift system, even with the added luxury of heated gondolas! Stop off at the frequent pop-up champagne bars en route to your Apres festivities. Aspen has a lively nightlife scene, with several private members' clubs, with those seeking the upper echelon of exclusivity.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: Rent a luxury home - explore the properties Airbnb Luxe and VRBO has to offer. If you’re looking for a more full-service experience, Airbnb Luxe offers trip designers who can arrange add-on services — such as housekeeping, a driver, and childcare, to name a few. Select VRBO rentals also provide concierge services.
Courchevel is the ultimate winter wonderland for the ultra-wealthy. As one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, the resort offers world-class skiing, high-end dining, and a buzzing nightlife scene. It is the world’s largest interconnected ski area covering a whopping 650 km. The piste bashers are busy all night grooming scrupulous slopes for your fun-filled days of skiing and snowboarding.
Adding to its luxe, Courchevel is one of the few ski resorts with its very own airstrip and heliport, allowing you to arrive in Courchevel by helicopter or private jet. When strolling down 1850 Courchevel, you will see everything from five-star hotels to high-end designer shops! There is no surprise that there are the most five-star hotels in France, all bar Paris here. There are also the most Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from in France! So, the sky is the limit with fine-dining experiences to spend your evenings in blissful extravagance.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: For those moments off the mountain, you could spend your time in one of the many luxurious spas enjoying the ultimate relaxation and pampering. Try the five-star Le Chabichou hotel spa; kitted out with everything from a swimming pool, steam room, sauna, ice fountain and a sensory shower, you will be the most relaxed you have ever felt!
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
You will find Whistler at the top of every skier and snowboarder’s bucket list! There is an air of opulence in the high-end restaurants and luxury accommodations on offer – garnering the reputation for being one of the most exclusive resorts in the world. The ski resort has the perfect conditions for all abilities, with everything from high open bowls and woodland trails to daring and vertiginous runs! There is ample opportunity to take your holiday up a notch: why not try Heli-picnics, or better yet, Heli-golf or Heli-fishing?
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: Give Whistler Blackcomb’s most exclusive lesson program a go! You will be paired up with an Olympic ski or snowboard athlete for a private lesson. Follow in their tracks, learn their techniques and hear their stories.
The preferred winter destination of Marlene Dietrich and Madonna, Gstaad, is no stranger to the jet set. Gstaad made a name for itself as one of Switzerland’s most fashionable ski resorts, trading its cow sheds for fashion houses, turreted hotels and famous residents. But for all the chocolatiers and watchmakers that line the promenade, it’s not all about the social scene. It was, after all, the towering mountains that drew the crowds in the first place. With a reputation for reliable snowfall, the resort enjoys long ski seasons – not least on its glacier, open almost year-round.
The town also has genuine alpine charm, as virtually all buildings are chalet-style, iced gingerbread houses under a blanket of snow. Titled the “oasis of calm” by socialite heiress Paris Hilton, Switzerland’s Gstaad owes a lot to the company it invites. The resort takes great care to protect the privacy of its affluent guests, whose wealth is hidden behind wooden facades. VIPs take advantage of the resort’s discreet luxury and proximity to mundane life. It offers all the trappings of a fancy European resort town: soft, powdery slopes, terrific hiking trails, fancy restaurants, luxury boutiques and near-unaffordable chalets and hotels.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: Gstaad is known for its luxury hotels, including the Grand Hotel Park, the Alpina Gstaad, the Gstaad Palace, the Grand Hotel Bellevue, the Hotel Olden, and the Arc En Ciel.
Like the other resorts mentioned in this list, Lech is rich in its luxurious mountain experience. But what makes Lech stand out from the rest?
Lech ski resort is the most exclusive resort in Austria, showcasing old-school alpine charm and a premium feel. Favoured by royals, celebrities, and international jet-setters, a Lech luxury ski holiday equals understated opulence. Head here if you are looking for a sophisticated holiday with superb well-groomed intermediate pistes, sleigh rides and beautiful scenery. Being part of the Arlberg ski area, skiers in Lech are treated to over 350km of exciting terrain and pistes. This makes the Arlberg larger than the Espace Killy, Frances ski area containing the resort of Tignes and Val d’Isere. Lech has plenty of great activities to ensure your luxury ski holiday.
Lech is the only resort in Austria which offers dedicated Heli Skiing packages, and as it is widely seen as one of the best destinations worldwide for off-piste skiing, is there a better place in Europe to experience such a thrill? They have two great peaks to enjoy. You can take on the Mehlsack if you are an advanced skier, while intermediate skiers can still enjoy the experience by taking on the Schneetäli-Orgelscharte.
The most famous store in Lech is the luxury department store Strolz. Strolz houses international luxury brands and a sports shop where your ski boots can be custom fitted for ultimate comfort. In 2008 Lech was named “World Gourmet Village” at the Vöslauer-Falstaff Awards. 8 years have passed since Lech won this award, and more fine dining restaurants have been added since. Lech is amongst the top culinary resorts in the Alps. Its outstanding restaurants attract connoisseurs of good food from all over the world. Two restaurants worth an extra special mention are the Schaulhus and Hûs Nr. 8.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: Why not partake in the Mercedes Benz off-road experience? Here you will take the finest off-road offerings from the prestigious Mercedes-Benz brand through a series of rugged mountain obstacles to test the car to its full potential, all experienced in a luxurious and comfortable environment.
Vail, another Colorado resort, has made it to this esteemed list. It is no wonder that people visit from far and wide to experience its world-class skiing, sumptuous luxury, and range of activities on and off the mountain. The Four Seasons is regarded as the ultimate luxury ski resort accommodation. As a guest, you will be treated to top-notch service and access to many facilities, including an outdoor swimming pool, a sauna, and two hot tubs.
Vail has a famed standing for its luxury, diverse terrain, and vast modern lift system. It is also blessed for delivering consistent and high-quality snow. You will likely get at least one powder day, so if you like it steep and deep, the resort’s tree runs and backcountry areas (off-piste) are perfect for you! When you combine excellent ski conditions with world-class facilities, high-end luxury, and convenience, you are onto a winner.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: Feeling daring? Why not try Vail’s Valley Paragliding to take in the sprawling, spectacular views of the Vail Valley on a tandem paragliding flight? The extended sunset flights are dreamlike!
Cortina has long reigned as the Queen of the Italian Dolomites. It is famous for its glitz and glamour and is one of Italy’s most luxurious ski resorts. Located in the sun-kissed Ampezzo valley with the breathtaking surrounding Dolomite mountains, you will find Cortina serves all your luxury needs on a platter. It is the perfect place for those who like the finer things in life, thanks to its chic and lively atmosphere and the abundance of fine dining establishments, including Michelin-starred restaurants. Cortina’s ski area is part of one of the largest interlinked ski areas in the world that every skier or snowboarder should visit at least once. From pristine slopes to Olympic-level runs, you can try some of the slopes where the best of the best have competed.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: Alternative, thrilling snow activities to be practised in Cortina include fat-biking and snow-kiting. Ice skating and curling can be practised at Cortina’s Olympic Ice Stadium in both summer and winter. Besides the 30m x 60m ice rink, the Ice Stadium has a bar, a solarium and a playground for children.
Last but not least, Megève is also one of the most exclusive luxury ski destinations in the Alps, but its rustic charm and Old-world European glamour will win over those uninterested in ostentation. The resort has an enormous ski area of 300km of trails for all levels, enjoying a beautiful setting beneath Mont Blanc. It also boasts over ninety restaurants, including eight with Michelin stars, and perhaps because of this remains a very French resort, with British skiers making up about ten per cent of its guests. Suppose you’re looking for sophistication paired with quaint tranquillity and to avoid the busier crowds that overwhelm other resorts like Courchevel.
In that case, Megève will provide a perfect setting for a romantic getaway or family-centred luxury holiday. Travellers who appreciate a more understated variety of luxury combined with local authenticity will thoroughly enjoy what the elegant town offers. From casual strolls around the cobbled streets to horse-drawn carriage rides in the snow, drinks and live music, there’s plenty to do following a full day in the powder.
Powster’s 5-star recommendation: Megève is, in fact, well-known for its jazz scene: Les 5 Rues jazz bar is a legendary place in town for memorable live performances, and they also serve food and drinks.
These ten most expensive ski resorts in the world sit on both sides of the Atlantic, offering you a chance to leap the pond for new and exciting ventures or keep it local and take your mountain experience up a notch. If you are feeling extravagant and want to experience the ultimate luxury, head to any of these ski resorts for an incredible time and create lifelong, once-in-a-lifetime memories.